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Submission + - Google's DeepMind Is Developing An AI Kill Switch (hothardware.com) 2

MojoKid writes: With big companies like Google, Microsoft, Facebook and IBM all racing to develop AI software and hardware to address real-world needs, it's now commonly thought that one day soon AI could be much more intelligent and powerful than humans. As Elon Musk recently expressed concern--in the wrong hands or gone rouge--an AI agent could be a very real threat. The threat of a real life skynet apocalypse will not be the stuff of science fiction one day. Fortunately, some smart folks are actually also working on methods to maintain control of super-intelligent AI agents. In fact, a team of researchers at Google-owned DeepMind, along with University of Oxford scientists, are developing a proverbial kill switch for AI. The team has released a white paper on the topic called "Safely Interruptible Agents." The paper details the following in abstract: "Learning agents interacting with a complex environment like the real world are unlikely to behave optimally all the time. If such an agent is operating in real-time under human supervision, now and then it may be necessary for a human operator to press the big red button to prevent the agent from continuing a harmful sequence of actions..." The papers goes on to explain that these AI agents might also learn to disable the kill switch and further explores ways in which to develop AI's that would not seek such an activity.

Submission + - Coolest Kickstarter Moves Production Off Shore, Backers Go Wild (kickstarter.com) 1

nixkuroi writes: The Coolest, a cooler/smoothie maker/speaker box/usb charger which was successfully and overwhelmingly funded on Kickstarter, announced today that they were moving production to a factory outside the US. Backer outrage in the comment section was swift, with many backers asking how they could get a refund.

The cooler, which recieved 62,642 pledges totaling $13,285,226, is one of the most successful Kickstarters of all time. In a backer update, project owner Ryan Grepper outlined the following:

I can’t tell you how excited I am to announce that we have finally selected the factory that will be manufacturing your Coolest Cooler. We used two separate sourcing groups helping us locate a trustworthy and experienced factory with a history of producing products at the highest level of quality. We looked at the US and overseas, but ultimately decided US manufacturing wasn’t feasible for our launch because of the tight timeline and the challenge of finding large blow-molding/injection-molding capabilities AND high quality electronic/motor/battery assembly that could work together quickly.

Our chosen factory is fully committed to the Coolest vision, and my production team and I will be visiting them, along with battery and bluetooth speaker suppliers next week. Go frequent flier points!

Grepper also outlined an update in battery technology as well as an investment (presumably made from backer money) that was made in a survey tool that would help his team create surveys for his and other Kickstarter projects.

Comment Upgrade compatibility? (Score 1) 205

When Firefox went to constant updates, they broke all of their plugins over and over until devs changed over to addons; orphaning a ton of plugins and repeatedly breaking essential tools like firebug. The addon move opened the door to chrome and ie dev tools, which weren't even on my radar before.
What's their app story for OS upgrades?

Submission + - Redbox Raises its Prices to $1.20 per Day (redbox.com)

nixkuroi writes: "Redbox, apparently not having noticed the backlash against Netflix, as decided to charge its customers 20% more per day. Though there will be a discounted grace period for the first day of rental until Nov. 30 2011, the full pricing increase will kick into effect on December 1. Merry Christmas movie lovers!"

Comment This has been coming for a while now. (Score 1) 415

Firefox is getting close to the day where Google stops donating ... er advertising with them to the tune of millions a year (http://techcrunch.com/2008/08/28/mozilla-extends-lucrative-deal-with-google-for-3-years/) . At the end of that, they're going to be sitting in a version hole compared to their benefactor's product which is now a direct competitor. It seems to me, FF is doing whatever is necessary to make themselves look competitive when all of their opponents a) own the browser space on their own devices, b) own an OS or two that supports that browser natively and c) can get away with it because they all have monopolies in their own spaces but which all fall under a single general computing umbrella that makes them seem less like an overall monopoly.

Mozilla is in an extremely unenviable position of looking old and outdated because of any kind of real mobile support, behind in version numbers compared to ALL other browsers (ie9? Opera 11.5? Chrome 1.5 billion?). I remember when Firefox defiantly announced that they wouldn't support the iPhone when even Opera was able to make it work. Do I use Opera on my iPhone? No. Does it remind me that Opera is still relevant in the mobile space? Yes.

Mozilla is starting to remind me of an aging child star. This version thing is just them acting out to get attention. There's no reality shows for old browsers though, so they'd better start figuring out how to ingratiate their plugin developers or their only supporters are going to start writing Chromebug (Whaaaa? http://blog.getfirebug.com/category/chromebug/) and Ubiquity (Nahhh...hey! https://github.com/cosimo/ubiquity-chrome/)

It's not too late. Firefox could still release its own tablet (http://www.tomsguide.com/us/firefox-mobile-firefox-fennecomb-android-tablet-ipad,news-11489.html) - but they're going to have to do it before the money starts running out and that's going to require community support, plugin developers and everyone that they're alienating with these most recent moves.

Comment Re:So I can buy my way out of airport security? (Score 1) 388

It's extortion or coercion. First take something pleasant and make it awful, then charge to make it pleasant again. They do it with eating on the airline, now they're doing it with security. It might as well be a protection scheme.

YOU NEED PROTECTION so I'm going to pat you down or look at you naked, UNLESS, you give me something - then everything will be back to normal.

Comment Getting information about a user this way=simple. (Score 1) 195

Coupon 1 - 75% off Geritol sent to people who have bought Always Panty liners.

Result: Redeeming person is probably an older woman.

Coupon 2 - 75% off cannondale mountain bike to anyone having donated to the RNC.

Result: Probably young Affluent Republican

Forget about it if you can base it off more than one purchase or store locations.

Coupon 3 - 50% off diapers for anyone who has purchased pregnancy test && maternity clothes || co-pay on prenatal meds && made purchases near Redmond Town Center && pays rent in this apartment complex.

result: I now know there's likely a woman who's had a baby who lives in Redmond Washington in Shadowdale apartments.

Data mining can make these kinds of correlations not hard, especially if someone can use location and multiple criteria (as they can in Facebook). You don't need to have the personal information from the bank. Based on the products they buy from the coupon and the previously purchased products and store locations (think local stores with few or one location), you get a good idea of who they are PLUS if they use the coupon, you're probably getting their name as a part of the credit card transaction online.

So hello Mrs. Scott in Shadowdale apartments, how's your baby? Chances are they were healthy because you were on those pre-natal pills. Would you like to buy some life insurance? Sorry Mrs. Jensen, your baby is on formula, we're going to pass.

Comment Re:MS Sec Essentials replaced Norton, NOD32 etc. h (Score 1) 324

Most people criticize MS for having crappy security and being virus prone, but when they try and do something about it, people get pissed and call it anti-trust. Where's the happy medium? Is there one if the average user refuses to buy anti-virus yet not having it literally endangers everyone else on the internet?

Comment Re:No standards at all (Score 4, Interesting) 640

This article reads less like a news story than an emotional, personal rant by someone who's puckering with contempt because he got his feelings hurt.

Tech companies make crappy decisions all the time. Ubuntu probably thought it would have more time to become the king of the desktop before realizing that soon the desktop would be irrelevant and that *nix alternatives had already beaten it to the punch for being the kings of mobile.

At this point, he should probably start thinking further down the road to gesture and voice computing. My kinect tells me that it's almost time to stop touching devices at all, and I believe it.

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