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Comment Re:... move to a shared, distributed database ... (Score 1) 59

unless, of course, you manage to get a majority of the people to record it incorrectly... but gee, that's impossible, right?

Nothing's impossible. However, the relevant question would be, is it harder to subvert a blockchain-based system (where you need subvert "a majority of the people") than the current system (where you need to subvert only one person, as long as it is the right person)?

Comment This. (Score 1) 146

I have close knowledge of one project in which a codebase performs an action using an initial human-supplied table of data, then records the result as either a positive or negative outcome and adds that result back into the table. Then it performs another action based on the table data, records the result as a positive or negative, and adds that back into the table. Over time, of course, the table entries with the highest positive rate rise to the top and influence the actions that are chosen. It's CS101 stuff on a fairly mundane dataset.

But the codebase is hosted on Amazon and it's a marketing-led company, so they went to press with "Our innovative new artificial intelligence system uses a deep machine learning algorithm running on new exascale computing platforms to determine the best course of action to take in each case."

The engineers in the room were not happy about this. The marketing person said, "Don't sell yourself short. You developed a system that records data about what has already happened, remembers it, then makes decisions about what to do next based on what has already happened. I call that artificial intelligence."

One of the engineers shot back with, "When I was in college, we just called that 'computation.'"

Submission + - Law for Autonomous Vehicles: Supporting an Aftermarket for Driving Computers (perens.com)

Bruce Perens writes: How will we buy self-driving cars, and how will we keep them running as self-driving software and hardware becomes obsolete much more rapidly than the vehicle itself? Boalt Hall legal professor Lothar Determann and Open Source Evangelist Bruce Perens are publishing an article in the prestigious Berkeley Technology Law Journal on how the law and markets might support an aftermarket for self-driving computers, rather than having the manufacturer lock them down or sell driving as a service rather than selling cars. The preprint is available to read now, and discusses how an Open Car, based on Open Standards and an Open Market, but not necessarily Open Source, can drive prices down and quality up over non-competitive manufacturer lock-in.
Businesses

Toshiba Might Spin Off Its Semiconductor Business (fortune.com) 10

Toshiba is considering spinning off its semiconductor business and selling a partial stake in the unit to Western Digital, the Nikkei financial daily reported on Wednesday. From the report: Toshiba will sell a roughly 20% interest in the unit for about 200 billion yen-300 billion yen ($1.77 billion-$2.66 billion) while retaining a majority stake, the newspaper reported. Besides Western Digital, U.S. investment funds are also showing interest in Toshiba's semiconductor business, the Nikkei reported, sources familiar with the matter.

Comment Re:IT is amazing (Score 3, Informative) 88

Most folks drink stale coffee. Try roasting your own (I use Sweet Maria's for supplies) or going somewhere with a roaster on site who is honest enough to tell you the roast date. It should be from 2 to 10 days ago. Flavor development in coffee is a rancidification process. Like cheese, you want to catch it when it is a little, but not too, rancid.

Comment Re:...Or Just Take Aspirin. (Score 2) 88

Let's not forget the effect of helicobacter pylori bacteria on ulcers, they are in general held to be the main cause these days.

I have another theory about the beneficial effect of aspirin, caffine, etc. We evolved with them. Our diet was rich in salycilates and chemicals similar to theobromine or caffine. They came from the plants we ate, some of which were mildly toxic and which we evolved to process to the point that we became dependent on some of their effects. There are a lot of things in the primitive diet that modern people don't eat much at all, like acorns which had to be soaked to remove alkalai and tannin.

If this is the case, taking aspirin and drinking coffee or tea replace substances found in a more primitive diet.

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