* Posts by Pete 2

2659 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009

Level 5 driverless cars by 2021 can be done, say Brit industry folk

Pete 2
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Determinism

> concern over speeding up autonomous vehicle testing processes – particularly when it comes to assessing the artificial intelligence aspect of them

I am not at all convinced that AI should have any place in the control of an autonomous vehicle. The one thing you want from an AV is repeatability. Not just to know that it is following "the rules", but also so that forensic examination of accidents is possible. When a vehicle is autonomous - making decisions for itself, based on what it has "learned" - the concept of liability disappears. You can't blame a driverless car that learned or failed to learn, if it causes an accident.

And if I was running an insurance company I would not be prepared to cover a vehicle who's behaviour was therefore not predictable. You couldn't perform an actuarial assessment of risk to work out the cost of a policy.

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iPhone X: Bargain! You've just bagged yourself a cheap AR device

Pete 2
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Show us the money

> Others dubbed AR a "minor sideshow" to accompany Apple's iPhone noise

Maybe the lack of enthusiasm is because Apple do not yet know how to monetise AR

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Some 'security people are f*cking morons' says Linus Torvalds

Pete 2
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inter-intelligence sex.

> Some 'security people are f*cking morons' says Linus Torvalds

Shouldn't they be stopped?

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Fear not, driverless car devs, UK.gov won't force you to write Trolley Problem solutions

Pete 2
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Academic problems

> We may be creating a complication where the insured party, or no party in fact, gets paid for some time while these complications get sorted out.

It would be quite easy to define the law such that in the first instance the car's insurance policy pays out. It would then be up to the company to recover the cost. They would either claim against the supplier for a faulty car: whether a mechanical or software fault - it makes no difference, or against a third party which they consider to be at fault.

But that is a purely civil matter, not a criminal one. It gets the right compo to the victims quickly. The matter of criminal charges could fall under existing negligence laws. There is no need for any new ones as there are no new legal principles at stake. A negligent software design or implementation is no different from a negligent hardware design or implementation and there is a lot of precedent in that area.

The "trolley problem" is a largely bogus, merely academic exercise. If a vehicle was ever in that situation, the default action would be to stop as quickly as possible. Sure, anyone can dream up some fictitious circumstance where that would be sub-optimal, but it's just an intellectual game. The decision would be made by the prosecutor of who to go after and a jury would decide the result.

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Prosecute driverless car devs for software snafus, say Brit cyclists

Pete 2
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Re: Why stop at prosecuting Dev's? andy why just the car manufacturer?

> Is lack of design for predicting a situation the same as an error?

In many cases, yes it is. There is a huge class of foreseeable events. Not just in autonomous vehicle design but in every aspect of software. No programmer only writes error handlers for situations that have already shown up in testing. (Actually, looking at the state of a lot of software, many programmers don't handle any errors at all - but let's limit the discussion to responsible individuals and professionally run organisations).

it would be the responsibility of governments to define the standards to be applied. It is then incumbent on the manufacturers to adhere to those and to pass certification. Just as it is with car design and manufacture today. There is no need for laws to define the "how" a safety feature is produced, just the "what" it should do or prevent.

One side-effect of stringent safety certification will be (hopefully) a small number of software updates - assuming the whole system would need to be re-certified in the event of any software change.

Another would be the absolute prohibition of AI in a vehicle's safety-critical systems, All software would have to be standard, unchanging (apart from legitimate updates) and adherent. Self-altering systems could not possibly meet that criterion.

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Pete 2
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First, find the problem

I can see three separate types of failure that could lead to an event requiring liability to be identified

1.) An operational failure (including a mechanical problem)

2.) An implementation failure

3.) A failure to define a suitable standard of operation

Operational failures, such as a blow-out, computer failure, faulty battery have a lot of case history to determine where blame lies. There would obviously be some extensions to this as new technology becomes included, but that is always the case.

An implementation failure is an entirely new concept. Since having a software driven vehicle (i.e. fully autonomous - no human input at all) is something that has never been considered. This is what the new laws are all about. Every level of "autonomy" lower than this - the ones that require a qualified driver to be able to take control - is already covered.

But a failure of the vehicle's (and we are talking lorries, buses as well as cars) systems does need to be defined. And the liability has to be determined.

From the point of view of either someone inside the vehicle (aka a passenger) there can clearly be no blame. Thus everything else comes down to "equipment failure" - just who's equipment would merely be a matter for the various suppliers to sort out in civil proceedings. But that is no different from what we have today. I reckon the major legal cases would be between the (vehicle's) insurance company and the producer of the vehicle - and after that between the maker and their subcontractors.

The third point, about situations that aren't covered by the safety standards imposed by governments is again, something we already have to deal with. Those will get closed as a matter of course, though probably only after the fact, as accidents happen and regulations get tightened.

From the cyclists' point of view, I would get worried. All these (truly) autonomous vehicles will have such a vast array of sensors that they will record every facet of an accident. Video from every direction, audio, weather conditions, positions of every object in the vicinity. All of that will be of "forensic" quality, It wold be very difficult for a cyclist, or pedestrian, who was faced with a weight of evidence that they were in the wrong, to defend against. No longer would there be an automatic presumption that every collision was always the car's fault.

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Universal basic income is a great idea, which is also why it won't happen

Pete 2
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fast forward.

UBI is a great idea in theory. But so is giving everyone everything for free. Forever.

And it is the "forever" bit that is the problem. All the descriptions of UBI portray it as something that will go on for a year or two .... maybe 5 years, tops.

But consider 100 years in the future. Where will the UBI come from then? What will the citizens of 2117 be getting. And more importantly, what about the families that have known nothing except getting all their money from the state for as long as any of them can remember - what will they be like?

Will they have any education (unnecessary when the UBI pays for everything, and expensive). Will they have any skills? If UBI stopped - what would they do. And most important of all: when your entire population is dependent to a greater or lesser extent on government pay-outs, do you still have any form of democratic process? Or is the entire place run by a small elite who can use money to keep the vast majority in subservience: too scared speak out, or do anything wrong in case their UBI gets cut.

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Sure, Face ID is neat, but it cannot replace a good old fashioned passcode

Pete 2
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Re: Read my lips

> you're basically screwed?

It's Apple. You're basically screwed whatever you do.

Just as if your spectacles go dark in daylight after you've grown a beard and caught a cold, put on weight, had a nose job, have a sticking plaster on your "printed" finger and been given a black eye by whoever broke your tooth - though they probably stole your phone, so the whole thing becomes moot.

Though I do agree: those features mightn't be much use if you knew a ventriloquist.

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Pete 2
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Read my lips

A static solution: merely looking for matches on a stationary (or very nearly so) face seems too simple. A better solution would be able to check several metrics simultaneously.

For example having to say "hello iphone¹" while having the camera watch how your mouth moves. It could recognise both the sound of your voice, the words you spoke plus the shape and movement of your mouth. Move the fingerprint detector to the side of the phone (where you hold it) and it could use that as another factor.

With a little refinement it could even make a dental appointment for you if it detected the signs of caries.

[1] or whatever phrase the user had chosen

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IBM asks remaining staff to take career advice from HR-bot

Pete 2
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Re: So basically, management are admiting IBM's failed as a company?

I think it means (what every IBMer has known for decades) is that IBM Management, and specifically their HR operation is a failure.

Although it is 20 years since I worked for them, even in those days there was a huge chasm between the day-to-day technical staff: generally on the ball, practical, knew what had to be done, just wanted to get on with doing it - and the managers. They had little or no experience of actual customers. Knew nothing except "processes". Managed by numbers. Simply did not understand any technical reasons for anything that didn't run 3270 protocols. And had no motivation to do anything that didn't directly improve their own lives.

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UK Home Sec thinks a Minority Report-style AI will prevent people posting bad things

Pete 2
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Too complicated

It seems to me to be pretty simple to do. Even if it isn't what Rudd thinks she wants.

Just give each post an AI scan between the time the poster hits SEND and the message appears. If it is "approved" then it just passes into the general population of pointless witterings.

However if it fails that first test, there are all sorts of possibilities. The bluntest instrument would simply be to lose the post (maybe Yodel would tender for that job?). But that might not be subtle enough. A far more amusing possibility would be to alter the post somehow.

I expect everyone has, at some point or other, typed "now" instead of "not" [ Dilbert reference goes here ]. And I am equally sure there are far more devious possibilities that could be laid at the door of predictive text.

So, it would not be beyond the bounds of possibility to take messages that would and could be flagged as "terrorism" and turn them to your own advantage. Thus: I do now believe America is the source of all that is good from someone who's ovine followers would then be forced to give up the fight and spend, spend, spend.

With luck the originator wouldn't even notice the change!

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Stop worrying and let the machines take our jobs – report

Pete 2
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No chance I'll be replaced

> techies shouldn't be scared, not in the slightest.

Not until someone invents a machine that does absolutely nothing.

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Facebook's send-us-your-nudes service is coming to UK, America

Pete 2
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Re: Another wee problemette...

> how does A upload a photo of themselves, (which exists only on B's phone) for Zuk to drool over?

And how does anyone who wishes to have a photo "hashed" prove that they are the person in the photo.

Would you have to send a copy of your passport - and hope Google doesn't hash that one by mistake.

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Pete 2
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Re: Only someone as disfunctional as Zuk could have come up with this

> The photo will have to be shared across across a common nude photo platform and made available to other social networks.

Are you suggested there should be a network standard for this?

The Common Naked Photo Interchange Protocol

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Parity calamity! Wallet code bug destroys $280 MEEELLION in Ethereum

Pete 2
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Time to disappear?

So who are these actual companies that have lost hundreds of millions of $$$ - or at least the make-believe equivalent? I find it hard to believe they would be involved in legitimate, honest, above-board, business transactions.

On the assumption that at least one of them is a crime syndicate (or that at least one of them isn't), I would expect the developers to be getting seriously worried about the repercussions of "accidentally" losing a vengeful, violent, law-ignoring, gang a 7 or 8-figure sum.

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Would insurance firms pay out if your driverless car got hacked?

Pete 2
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A one-way street

> driverless vehicle software updates would take place "over the air" and explained that "several BVRLA members have indicated they will not accept [this] as this means that sensitive customer, driver and/or vehicle data could be accessed by the manufacturer

This sounds to me like a rather desperate attempt at misinformation. There is no reason why a software update that is pushed to a vehicle (or PC or phone) would have the need or means to collect any information and pass it back. The payload can be delivered, validated by the vehicle (or PC blah blah) and installed. There is no need for data to travel in the other direction, once the vehicle's unique identifier has been received by the software dispatcher.

A further "safeguard" might be to have the updates handled by a third party. One that is obligated to NOT send any information back to the manufacturer.

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This could be our favorite gadget of 2017: A portable projector

Pete 2
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Relativity

It is odd that a $500 device with only 720p resolution would be described as "outstanding". It seems that there is no absolute definition, it depends completely on the reviewer's disposition towards whatever is being reviewed. If they have already decided they like a product, then such descriptions will fit. But (I suspect) only until something better comes along: a 1080p projector, for example.

As such, we have to wonder what is actually being reviewed? Is it the gadget itself, or the progress in technological development. It would appear to be the latter.

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No humans allowed: How would a machine-centric data centre look?

Pete 2
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I don't buy this

A datacentre is still a case of data-in, data-out. Irrespective if whether the initial source or destination is another computer person.

As far as ultra-fast, low latency comms. We already understand that at 1 foot per nanosecond, the speed of light is a major drag. Especially when the interconnects between computers (or even their internal buses) can be quite long. The drive to miniaturise has been around for a long time. As has the idea of building your datacentres close to the data - just ask any high-speed traders.

So what, if anything is new? Possibly the only aspect would be with the dedicated and frighteningly speedy programmable hardware. When we get around to having the AIs design and (re)program them on the fly, we could see some very interesting developments. Sadly they would probably need another AI to explain them to us.

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Your future data-centre: servers immersed in box full of oil, in a field

Pete 2
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Re: Back to the 80's @Pete 2

> It'd make security simple - Sharks with frikkin lasers in the server tank.

But maybe more susceptible to FISHING attacks (it took me all morning to think of that - I wish I'd never bothered now)

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Pete 2
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Back to the 80's

Didn't Thinking Machines have a liquid cooled supercomputer 30+ years ago?

ISTM the idea is nothing new and doesn't seem to have changed the world.

As for placing this outside. That's fine until the winter arrives and every bug, insect, and crawly thing is attracted to the nice warm environment and starts to make a nest / cocoon / web in those nice, accessible cooling fins. Followed quickly by all the birds and animals that eat those things.

It would probably be better to drop these boxes in a lake somewhere and use the warmed water for fish farming or summat. That would make a service tech's job even more interesting. "Yes, I'm a qualified Microsoft engineer and SCUBA diver!"

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39 episodes of 'CSI' used to build AI's natural language model

Pete 2
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visuals?

It has always struck me as amusing that the vast majority of the data broadcast / streamed for a TV programme is video. However, that contributes almost nothing to the informational content of a programme. As this is mostly in the tiny little proportion of audio sent along with it. A situation that is even more apparent with HD and 4K: large increases in the (mostly content-free) video, very little if any change in the audio - and none at all in what is arguably the most important part of any TV drama: the script.

I would expect that at least some of the clues, picked up by the audience in trying to guess "whodunnit" would be visual. But that these would be inaccessible to the AI-thingy. So it comes as no surprise that people guess better than computers. It might also be that the human audience knows the "rules of the game" that the perp. won't be revealed before the first ad-break.

Surely a better source of training material would be to use radio programmes, or to only have the audience listening to the sound (and not viewing the screen). That would give a more equal basis for comparison.

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Guess who's now automating small-biz IT jobs? Yes, it's Microsoft

Pete 2
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Progress: but in which direction?

> Indeed, BOFHs are considered a solution of the past,

Now replaced by the Bastard Software From Microsoft BSFM¹ - doesn't quite have the same ring to it.

If the future is anything like the past, it will need many more BOFHs to run this, than it will save.

[1] Not sure why, but my fingers kept adding a superfluous D to that acronym.

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Simon's Cat app rapped for random 'racy' advert

Pete 2
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Nicely played

And now, thanks to all the added publicity (so freely given by the ASA) the advert achieves much more exposure than it ever had in some child's cartoon.

One single complaint, huh? Presumably filed by the advertisers, safe in the knowledge that nothing the ASA could do would have anything except benefits to them.

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Official: Perl the most hated programming language, say devs

Pete 2
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A glaring omission

So where is SQL?

All I can suggest is that it simply isn't "trendy" enough for the people at Stack overflow to know, care or hate.

it also makes me wonder whether the "hate" is because a language is difficult to use to achieve the desired result, or due to some factor like unfashionable (i.e. not object-orientated), clunkiness or doesn't have a pretty editor.

My personal "hate" is for any language that resides wholly in an IDE - that doesn't have a printable form, cannot be written in a single file (even if it isn't generally done like that) or that enforces silly rules likeCapitalsInTheMiddleOfWords.

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Robot takes the job of sitting on your arse

Pete 2
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Simply

Ro - bot

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Why you can't boycott the Mail: Google makes a mint from 'fake news'

Pete 2
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3 no trumps!

> the CfA notes that this includes false positives. The "Trump Excel" website promotes an ebook on mastering the Microsoft spreadsheet

It makes you wonder how all the contract bridge websites are faring. Are they suffering massive boycotts or raking in millions of mistaken clicks?

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Vietnam bans Bitcoin as payment for anything

Pete 2
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Re: dodgy dealings

> @pete2 "defraud the government of tax income",

If you had a business that only accepted BTC and you were then able to use that "money" to buy all your worldly needs, it would be untraceable and therefore untaxable. The business would also be unaccountable - literally - and could deal illegally without fear of being found out.

The beneficiary of such a scheme would therefore avoid company taxes and income taxes, thus defrauding the government of the taxes that everyone else rightfully pays.

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Pete 2
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dodgy dealings

> Virtual currencies' represent a threat to command economies that such regimes find hard to tolerate

Well, apart from the possibility of their users losing their shirts as the massive fluctuations in value continue. There is the pretty obvious reason that the anonymity afforded by these transactions defraud the government of tax income. Add to that, BTC transactions also facilitate illegal purchases, as well as enabling the spending of ill-gotten gains - for example from cyber attacks and exploiting their victims.

The only legitimate use that comes to mind is to reduce the commissions and fees for FOREX deals. But again, those could easily be conduits for circumventing state's restrictions on foreign currency dealings: whether for good reasons or bad.

As for why one-party states are more likely to make such pronouncements? Being one-party states, it's a dam' sight easier for them to say and to be able to enforce.

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You're designing an internet fridge. Should you go for fat HTML or a Qt-pie for your UI?

Pete 2
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The code!

loop () {

set_temperature = read_twiddly_thing()

if(get_internal_temperature() > set_temperature) {

run_cooler_until(set_temperature)

}

if(door == open) {

turn_on_light()

} else {

turn_off_light()

}

}

does it really need more?

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IBM wheels out upgraded FlashSystem: Now breathe in and squeeeeze

Pete 2
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Back to the 90's

> IBM provides an optional compression guarantee of 50 per cent capacity savings no matter the workload environment.

I have memories of StorageTek disk arrays from 20+ years ago that used on the fly compression to treble the capacity of their spinning stuff.

All very good, but it made no difference to encrypted data. And I suspect that for pre-compressed content like video, the raw and real capacity will still work out to be the same.

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So long – and thanks for all the phish

Pete 2
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The (traditional) three questions

Things like response plans are laudable, but security is like any other company process. It will always be subject to executive scrutiny. That will involve providing adequate answers to at least these three questions:

1.) What is the company's legal / commercial obligation?

2.) What will it cost?

3) How much will it save?

And I would suggest that one of the barriers against widespread adoption of additional anti-phishing measures is a failure to address those points.

The first one is the easiest. It is probably the only one that has a clearly defined response. Depending on the details of the company, the sort of data it handles and the markets it operates in, demonstrating a requirement to comply with some sort of "best practice" or regulatory requirement could be enough to carry the day.

If you have to rely on a financial argument, the problem becomes a lot trickier. Especially since those costs and savings can be easily measured.

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Fake-news-monetizing machine Facebook lectures hacks on how not to write fake news that made it millions

Pete 2
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Re: 'Biggest drop in organic reach we've ever seen'

> Why don't the majors organize as a cartel, and shun their content away from it...???

I don't think it is the majors who are the problem. ISTM that most of what passes for "news" on FB is merely sensationalised, made-up stuff from people with no interest in informing their audience. They seem to either simply want as many eyeballs as possible or to push their own agenda.

What I would like to see is FB preventing anything from the "news" section being reposted.

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It's time to rebuild the world for robots

Pete 2
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Just who's world is it, anyway?

> we shouldn’t expect that we can simply drop an autonomous vehicle into a road system that’s been designed around human capacities and expect them to perform like we do

Uhhh, yes. We should. Because that is what backwards compatibility is all about. Keeping old standard while introducing new ones isn't easy. We know that from the past 60-odd years of IT development. However, if you want your new stuff to be accepted by a population that has a large investment in the old stuff, it is a prime requirement.

And apart from that, why should all the people on the planet change their world to accommodate a bunch of machines? The example of printer paper is a good one. It was hard for printer mechanisms to do what we do easily - but it wasn't impossible. And with printers now being sold for £30, it doesn't appear to be an overwhelming increase in complexity or cost or loss of reliability. The manufacturers of AVs that get it right will succeed, those that can't will fail. But they should fail before they get a vehicle on the roads.

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Raspberry Pi burning up? Microsoft's recipe can save it and AI

Pete 2
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Doctor, doctor!

When I raise my arms above my head and clap, I get this terrible pain in my shoulders.

Doc: then don't raise your arms above your head and clap.

The same applies to the Pi. While it might, in theory, have enough power to execute the cycles per second needed for AI implementations, it is not designed for that sort of work. You can supercharge a Reliant Robin to pull a caravan - but nobody would.

And so, for the Pi: simply don't try to run an AI implementation on it. It clearly isn't up to the job.

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Assange thanks USA for forcing him to invest in booming Bitcoin

Pete 2
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Paper profits only

If Wiki was "forced" to dip its toe in the BTC world, it won't actually make any profit from Bitcoins until it cashes them in. But since it is prevented from doing that whatever value it thinks it has, in its Bitcoin wallet(s) is purely theoretical. And so long as it is embargoed from using proper money it will remain asset rich, but illiquid.

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El Reg was invited to the House of Lords to burst the AI-pocalypse bubble

Pete 2
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The AI engine

Consider the electric motor. It is ubiquitous and invisible at the same time. It is embedded in maybe half the things that have a power supply (leaving out light bulbs). But while it performs the same action - turning electricity into movement - it's function in each appliance varies.

Although factories (back in the day when they were called manufactories used to have one honkin' great source of motive power: a water mill, steam engine, whatever. Now they rarely do: they have many dedicated sources of physical movement where that application is needed. So it is with computers - mainframe verses embedded. And so it will be with AI.

The AI of the future will be invisible. It won't be a giant "brain" watching over us. Deciding the fate of humanity or the planet. it will be lots of little devices making decisions, adapting them, optimising. Maybe working together as we network computers now. Each one doing a little bit where it is needed. More worker bees than Terminators.

The main issue we will have is in developing the tools to program these little AIs. The compilers and editors if you like. What degree of abstraction will the devices work with? How will we define their goals (rather than their operation - that is the AIs job). How will we keep them on the "straight and narrow" - not wandering off in some undetermined direction like Sirius Cybernetics lifts. And how will will get them to recognise when they are being hacked?

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'There has never been a right to absolute privacy' – US Deputy AG slams 'warrant-proof' crypto

Pete 2
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Missing the first basic step

Before demanding that someone hands over a password or decryption key for an "encrypted" message, it should be incumbent on law-enforcement to prove that the message is indeed encrypted,

A block of random data looks identical to an encrypted message. Yet it cannot be decoded (or cracked) since it contains no information. ( Undergraduate philosophy course question: How do you know when you have successfully decoded a message?)

So if you were to generate (say) 1MB of random data and send it to someone, could you then be required on pain of punishment to provide the means to decrypt it - even though the authorities have not demonstrated that there is anything to decrypt.

Similarly, entering certain autocratic countries with a TB or two of random numbers on a lappy could lead to the grammatical howler - and possibly recursive statement - of "I'm going to need you to decode that" from someone in a peaked hat. Explaining that there is nothing to decode and therefore no pass-key is unlikely to get you past the government checkpoint.

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OpenEBS v0.4 is live, uses Google container scheduling tech

Pete 2
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But what does it do?

In January we wrote: "OpenEBS is containerised storage which, via its also open-source Maya orchestrator, provides the ability to tier the storage to S3-compatible storage with intelligent caching. OpenEBS has snapshotting, replication, high availability, and backup to S3 features."

It is available under the Apache 2 licence.

Kiran Mova, CloudsByte engineering VP, wrote of the new version: "OpenEBS delivers container-native storage by using Kubernetes (as opposed to running on Kubernetes) itself as the underlying framework for scheduling and storing configuration data.

So basically it's just some sort of online storage thing?

I have a feeling that an inability to express its function in simple terms, or to explain why a company would want whatever (unexplained) benefits this thing offers, is not going to make it into a roaring success.

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Calm down, Elon. Deep learning won't make AI generally intelligent

Pete 2
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Start with the baby steps

> celebrated the successes of deep learning

Why is there so much work going on to make dumb machines super-intelligent?

Can't we aim at the more pressing issue of making dumb people even moderately intelligent. If we aren't smart enough to do that, I doubt we'll have any better luck trying to make intelligent machines.

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Brit prosecutors fling almost a million quid at anti-drone'n'phone ideas

Pete 2
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Re: would a

A net. Yes.

Make it with a metal (wire) running through the mesh and it would act as a shield against mobile phone signals (if the mesh was correctly designed). That wouldn't completely block the signal, but it would make things harder. Randomise the daily schedule so that pre-scheduled "drops" would have a much lower chance of anyone being able to collect the contraband.

In addition, remove the opportunities to recharge the phones once they are inside the prison.

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Power meltdown 'fries' SourceForge, knocks site's servers titsup

Pete 2
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Here's an idea!

> "We recognize there have always been issues with SourceForge and Slashdot, both with our current provider and within the infrastructure,"

If only someone would start a project to let websites make some sort of copies of themselves. ...

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Compsci degrees aren't returning on investment for coders – research

Pete 2
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More!

> Average student debt is now more than £50,000, according the Institute of Fiscal Studies

And when you factor in the 3 years the degree course takes, when you could have been earning instead of studying - and gaining experience, so at age 21 you have 3 years experience instead of none, the "loss" is even greater.

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Yet more British military drones crash, this time into the Irish Sea

Pete 2
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3 services in one

A Royal Artillery drone flies into the sea.

Is this a case of all three: army, air-force and navy pilots (drivers, game-players, supervisers, operators) trying to wrest the controls off each other?

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Bespoke vending machine biz Bodega AI trips cultural landmine

Pete 2
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No need to worry

> reassure people that it isn't out to kick mom-and-pop stores to the curb.

Just as soon as customers realise that the stuff they get from the vending machine is a ¢ or two cheaper, they'll do all the "kicking to the curb", themselves.

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Regulate, says Musk – OK, but who writes the New Robot Rules?

Pete 2
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Re: Liabilty? No difference!

> all our self driving cars will then start crawling through town at a snail's pace, just in case.

Which brings us nicely to the second part of the unfolding AV saga (part 3 would deal with: what crime has been commited, and where should the offence be prosecuted?).

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. Part 2. The ability of individuals to hold up traffic indefinitely would soon need to be addressed - within minutes of the first herd of AVs hitting the streets. We clearly cannot have pedestrians simply walking out to cross the road at will, safe in the knowledge that whatever they do, the AVs will be forced to bend to their will. So what will happen is that people will become subject to much more stringent "jay walking" regulations. Just to keep the traffic flowing.

So it will become illegal to walk in the road just because you feel like it. And just as illegal to cross except when the traffic lights permit. The AVs will enforce this law with their 360° cameras and the police's facial recognition systems.

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Pete 2
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Liabilty? No difference!

> “If an autonomous system acts to avoid a group of school children but then kills a single adult, did the system fail or perform well?”

This is a pretty simplistic situation as the answer is the same as it is for human driver/operators today: vehicles should not travel so fast that they cannot stop safely. If that means an AV needs to regulate its speed down to a crawl, then so be it. Since that is what a responsible human-driver would do.

And the same judgements regarding liability pertain to when someone runs out in front of a fast moving vehicle. If the act was unforeseeable then there can be no blame.

But AVs offer the possibility of having much more forensic quality information available to back up their case. Rather than "he said - she said" type disputes, there will be the ability to re-run all the recorded events leading up to an incident. There should therefore be far fewer cases of disputed liability. Though I am sure that to start with there will be many more cases of people trying to claim compo, fraudulently.

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Linus Torvalds' lifestyle tips for hackers: Be like me, work in a bathrobe, no showers before noon

Pete 2
Silver badge

The money motive

> “Sometimes I get the feeling these smart people are doing bad things, but I wish they were on our side because they are so smart and they could help us.”

The problem is that writing code is "fun". It is easy to get people to do that.

Testing for faults, exploits and problems is boring. It is hard to get volunteers and amateurs to do that

Debuggering code is difficult. It is very difficult to get people who are "giving" their time to do that.

The main motivation, therefore, to look for problems is so that you can exploit them. That exploitation might be peer-recognition: "Look at me. I'm so clever. I found some holes in your system". Or they might be monetary: "Pssst! wanna buy a zero-day" or it could be anarchistic: "Let's use this to break things"

And this is the biggest weakness of much FOSS stuff - not just Linux. If people have the choice to to "fun" things, they will. But you cannot coerce them to do the boring stuff.

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Everyone loves programming in Python! You disagree? But it's the fastest growing, says Stack Overflow

Pete 2
Silver badge

Re: Usefulness

> The poor fuckers who have to maintain your pile of shite code after you've been sacked, that's who!!!

Any "support" coder who is only able to understand software that is written in one particular way is never going have either the flexibility to understand that "there is more than one way to do it", nor would they be experienced enough to reliably do general purpose software support.

One trick ponies!

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Pete 2
Silver badge

Re: Usefulness

> But like any programming language there are areas that it sucks at.

Although I use it a lot, I cannot respect a language where white space is a critical part of the syntax.

Move a line of code in or out by a space or two and it either becomes part of a preceding conditional clause, or is removed from it.

As for "pythonic"? In my book, if the code works, it works. Who cares whether it conforms to the "right" way of doing it.

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Whoosh, there it is: Toshiba bods say 14TB helium-filled disk is coming soon

Pete 2
Silver badge

Need to check if it's any use for A/V storage

> helium-filled disk is coming soon

Does it make all the voices on audio tracks sound squeaky?

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