* Posts by theOtherJT

541 posts • joined 6 Jun 2013

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Facebook's turbo-charged Instant Articles: Another brick in the wall

theOtherJT

But who's going to use it?

The point of these "standards" such as they are - or even the CPP Specification - is to say "We wrote this page in a way devoid of annoying bloat"

...but the site owners are the ones including all that crud in the first place. They chose to do it - no one made them - and presumably they chose to do it because they have numbers that say that forcing flash ads and "Please sign up to our newsletter" popups actually _does_ increase site revenue.

To make them change, surely the first step is going to have to be to convince them otherwise, or else to the suits who sign off on the final site design, this is going to look like a deliberate attack on their revenue streams, and why on earth would they agree to that?

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Modular phone Ara to finally launch

theOtherJT
Trollface

Re: That video

We've graduated from the information age in to the "Post-information" age where truth is irrelevant and facts are for losers. Get with the program. Ignorance is strength!

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Microsoft shifts Windows 7 and 8.1 fixes to 'rollup' bundles

theOtherJT

Re: "Microsoft could solve these problems 'easily'"

I'm sort of with you. I have a work laptop that runs windows 10 and it's fine. It's just a Windows PC. It does everything I want of it. The control panel/system settings split is a massive step backwards, but everything else - meh, it's fine.

I'm still never installing Win10 at home because I don't trust Microsoft to be responsible with the data they'll gather from it, or trust them not to break my machine with some future update that I'm not allowed to opt out of.

I don't control the work machine, so I don't care about the loss of control. That's someone else's department. I'm not prepared to tolerate it on a machine that I manage personally.

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Sick of storage vendors? Me too. Let's build the darn stuff ourselves

theOtherJT

Re: Well, I agree in theory but...

I have tried bloody everything :/

It's a well defined problem at least. The nfs-kernel-server process owns the lock on the file. Since nfs-kernel-server isn't kind enough to proved a human parsable entry in /proc to let you know which instance of nfsd is actually holding a given file (and since each nfsd process doesn't map 1:1 to a particular nfs export that wouldn't help even if they did) there's no way to know which instance you can kill to get your lock back.

The only thing to do is shut down all of nfs-kernel-server and kick the 99% of your users who aren't causing problems.

Possibly we'd be better served with a user space NFS server, but they all seem to have their own problems.

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theOtherJT

Well, I agree in theory but...

Assuming you're using Linux at some point you will come across those words that make even the most hardened systems/storage admin tremble.

nfs-kernel-server.

I swear to fucking god they designed that thing just to mess with us. Anyone recognise this?

You need to delete this directory because $USER doesn't work here any more.

# umount /pool/home/$USER

umount: /pool/home/$USER: device is busy.

(In some cases useful info about processes that use

the device is found by lsof(8) or fuser(1))

cannot unmount '/pool/home/$USER': umount failed

Wait... mounted? No they bloody don't. $USER has had their account deactivated. They've left the building. Their machine has been returned to the pool. No one other than the IT team could have mounted their share anyway - what gives?

Oh, wait, they turned the machine off at the wall didn't they. Well, now we're screwed, becuase nfs-fucking-kernel-server is going to sit there and await an unmount from the client and the only way to stop it is to restart the daemon - kicking everyone who actually IS using it.

(Honestly tho - if anyone has any ideas how the HELL you kick a user from a Linux NFS server in order to cause the kernel to release its lock on an exported filesystem, this is a bane-of-my-life type problem)

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Adobe...sigh...issues critical patch...sigh...for Flash Player zero day

theOtherJT

Re: Why....

Stupid bloody "Web apps" that use it for the UI in my case. I'd love to get rid, but there's no way I can retire it as long as these things exist and we have to use them.

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Investigatory Powers Bill: As supported by world's most controlling men

theOtherJT
Unhappy

Re: So all political parties are for it

Sadly, not voting is NOT voting no!

This is the biggest problem in modern politics. I despise practically every "representative" that I've been offered for the last 3 parliaments. I don't trust any of them. I don't believe any of them will represent my interests in any way.

Not voting at all however achieves exactly the same, no representation. It's a nasty vicious circle. Short of running for office myself - something I consider myself entirely unfit to do - I have no idea where you even start to find a candidate that's worth the time of day.

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Lauri Love: 'Britain's FBI' loses court attempt to evade decryption laws

theOtherJT

Ah, I was looking for this one. Do you know what those requirements are as they pertain to this case? I was curious why they tried to do something this obviously legally questionable when they already had a clear standing in law to get what they wanted.

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theOtherJT

Re: Extradition to a Police State where slavery for black people still exists

We wouldn't extradite Brits to Iran or North Korea, so why extradite to US?

Well, rightly or wrongly we do have an extradition treaty with the US so...

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At the BBC, Agile means 'making it up as we go along'

theOtherJT

The BBC Trust admits that MyBBC “did not define its its expected benefits upfront”, because because it “was an ‘agile’ project where benefits were to be defined as the project progresse[d].”

...and what chinless wonder signed off on that?

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The 'new' Microsoft? I still wouldn't touch them with a barge pole

theOtherJT

Re: HEAR HEAR!

Amusingly mine applied this last night. Got down this morning to find that it had failed and wanted to try again. Fortunately for me I'd found out what it did in the intervening time and promptly blocked it, but I remain curious as to why it didn't install in the first place.

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MongoDB on breaches: Software is secure, but some users are idiots

theOtherJT

There really is no defence...

...against users being idiots. If you're going to leave your DB open to the internet with a default password or worse no password on it, well, this is what happens.

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Auto erotic: Self-driving cars will let occupants bonk on the go

theOtherJT

Re: one-way foreplay

It's like they've never heard the term "Road Head"...

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I am Craig Wright, inventor of Craig Wright

theOtherJT
WTF?

It's too early in the morning for this sort of thing.

I need a coffee.

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Reskilling to become a devops dude could net you $105k+

theOtherJT

Dev on a budget

That's what this is really about. When you're Ops that also does Dev I'm prepared to bet that 95% of the time it's because whoever you work for is too cheap to employ proper devs. I reckon that I'm "DevOps" which is to say my title is "Systems Administrator", which sounds like Ops to me, but when it comes to what I actually _do_ here, that doesn't mean a damn thing.

I'm responsible for researching things, buying them, installing them, configuring them (which all seems like Ops) but then, when inevitably someone goes "Oh, can it also do this? AndbythewayweneeditbyFriday" hacking together some code to patch in whatever awful thing we've been asked for without spending any money because we haven't got any.

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How to overcome objections that stop your enterprise from adopting DevOps

theOtherJT

Re: Aversion control

Honestly, the number of places I know within a mile of me (I might occasionally spend Friday lunchtimes in the nearest pub with other distressed IT staff) that don't have version control is seriously frightening.

I've asked why before, and the answer is always the same: We don't have time to implement it because we're too busy putting out the fires caused by not having it.

I don't really know how you get out of that one.

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theOtherJT

Re: Enough already!

As far as I can tell it translates roughly like this:

Nothing ever gets finished because you can never stop "developing" it to deal with the fact that it's got to keep "Operating" all the time and can't be shut down for proper testing.

Development + Operation all at the same time by the same people, see?

That's certainly what it feels like around here anyway.

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Academic network Janet clobbered with DDoS attacks – again

theOtherJT

Less dramatic this time

I'm seeing pretty much normal service now, and at it's worst earlier it was nothing like as bad as last time. Whatever they're doing to mitigate this, it's clearly working.

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Linux command line mistake 'nukes web boss'S biz'

theOtherJT

Re: Format C:

My personal take on that is dd if=/dev/sdb of=/dev/sdc and then realizing that the disk I wanted to copy FROM was at sdc and I'd just written a load of nonsense over it from and unformatted drive :/

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USB-C adds authentication protocol

theOtherJT

To be fair to the car park people...

...I'm actually expected to do this by work in the hope we might find out who it belongs to and return it to them. I managed to get the responsibility passed to me from the Receptionists who usually manage lost property because I at least have a bunch of disposable linux VM's to try it on.

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Vulture conservationists hatch cunning 3-D printed egg plan

theOtherJT
Devil

Re: Diclofenac

Well, that depends how many of them have been making feature requests for "One more tiny thing" after we were supposed to be at release candidate state...

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theOtherJT

Diclofenac

Also an anti-inflammatory drug for people.

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Bundling ZFS and Linux is impossible says Richard Stallman

theOtherJT

Re: Ubuntu's legal advice process

Well, yes, but to be fair that is largely how legal advice works.

Ultimately whether or not this is legal will have to be decided by a court, at which point if lawyer N can convince the court that it is, then they were right.

That might be a crazy hard sell, which is why none of the others wanted to try it, but the law isn't some immutable thing like mathematics. If you want to make something legal, you just need to convince a court* that it is.

*or possibly many courts, assuming what you're trying is contentious and is going to result in an appeal.

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theOtherJT

Re: You can already use ZFS as a bolt on

Yeah. Running 5 production servers, 2 test servers over about 500Tb of total storage on it and Ubuntu 14.04. It Just Works. The only issue is having to wait for the DKMS modules to compile whenever you do a kernel upgrade and given how rarely we actually do that I could so care less about any of this nonsense.

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Websites take control of USB devices: Googlers propose WebUSB API

theOtherJT
FAIL

We need awards...

...for this level of stupidity. Guys, it took about 5 seconds from reading the headline to realizing that this was going to be a TERRIBLE idea. How on earth did anyone manage to get from thinking it up to actually telling people about it without clocking at least one of the absolute show stoppers here?

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Seagate's Kinetic drives: They're moving... but in what direction?

theOtherJT

I'd love to have an opinion...

...but I still can't find anyone whose prepared to sell me just half a dozen or so to do some feasibility testing with.

2
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BOFH: Sure, I could make your cheapo printer perform miracles

theOtherJT

There are times I like my workplace

Brought in your own kit? Well, enjoy that because unless it's either a mouse, a keyboard, or a USB flash drive the PC is your office is going to ignore it.

There are A3 multifunction copier/scanner/fax/printer things on each floor by each stairwell. Those you may use. Other scanners, printers, 1980s fax machines you will not use. We won't support them. No exceptions.

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Windows 10 with Ubuntu now in public preview

theOtherJT
Coat

re: Will it be possible to run the Ubuntu GUI instead of the Windows one?

I doubt it, but then why would you want to? All the Ubuntu GUI's are really horrible compared to the Windows...

...oh, wait. Windows 10. Gotcha.

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theOtherJT

It's very clever but...

...I'm not sure it really does anything I need. Maybe it does things you need - and if so, that's great - but from where I'm sat (which incidentally is in front of a Windows 7 desktop with half a dozen PuTTY sessions open to various Linux machines) what I'd really want from this is a way to use my extensive bash experience to control Windows machines as easily as I control Linux ones.

That doesn't seem to be what Microsoft are aiming for here. They talk about "developers" but really, when I have my developer hat on I would never rely on this to test Linux code because it's not actually representative of what that code would do on a real Linux machine.

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Neighbour sick of you parking in his driveway? You'd better hack-proof your car

theOtherJT

Sticking with classic cars...

...until auto manufacturers start taking network security seriously.

I'm glad someone's doing it, but really it's pretty poor that this is required in the first place. As soon as internet connected things started going into cars there should have been requirements that they were properly isolated from anything that managed the actual driving, and those requirements should have been laid down in law as important public safety concerns.

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UK Home Office seeks secret settlements over unlawful DNA retention

theOtherJT

Re: Not surprised

Are you suggesting that, as is so often the case in the UK, we are in fact protected by from our government by it's own incompetence?

No I'm suggesting that catastrophic failures of the PNC to properly handle sensitive data are not only unsurprising to me, but from my experience with the thing, were inevitable.

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theOtherJT

Not surprised

Let me tell you a little story about a library cataloguing program called genesis. Genesis was originally implemented to use serial terminals attached to a minicomputer, but at some point in the early 80s was updated to run as a DOS program on x86 pcs. When they did this, they made some design decisions that are beyond bizarre, including reserving a few blocks of memory as a keyboard and screen buffer.

Yes, the same buffer.

The practical upshot of this was that if you were a proficient typist you could overflow the keyboard part of the buffer into the screen part and corrupt the display. The "fix" implemented for this was a keyboard combination that flushed the entire buffer and reset the system to the last saved state - effectively deleting any work you had done since the last commit.

Commits were only possible on the last page of each form, and forms couldn't scroll, so you had to fill in a page, read it carefully, tab your way to the "next" button, fill in the next page and so on until you got to the last one where you could finally save the data you'd just entered. If you cocked up by typing too fast, well, now the form was corrupted and you had to start all over again and some of these forms ran to 20 pages or so.

That is the second worst computer system I've ever used.

The PNC is the worst.

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How do you build a cheap iPhone? Use a lot of old parts

theOtherJT

Re: £359 retail !

I'm right with you on that one. I loathe Android. The problem is that iOS is actually worse, and god knows how they even managed that.

I've not found a mobile OS I liked since webos went under. WinPho started well, but it's just turned into a complete train wreck the last couple of years.

I'm still holding out some forlorn hope that some form of converged Ubuntu might actually appear and be usable in the near future.

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Your pointy-haired boss 'bought a cloud' with his credit card. Now what?

theOtherJT

Re: Missing the real point

I'm certainly not going to downvote you because you're at least half right. It's a thing that happens. Sometimes tho, it's not that IT is doing things badly, it's that they're not successfully explaining why they won't do things at all.

Sometimes the reason this happens is that whatever the PHB is trying to get done is stupid and dangerous, IT have said "Not in a million years and here's precisely why", the PHB hasn't understood the "here's precisely why" bit, and then spends ages trying to circumvent the process instead of rethinking the original plan.

Our industry has a bit of a history of promising a pet bear. Sure, it sounds cool, and everyone is going to be impressed if you have one, but sooner or later it's going to bite your face off. Most PHB's don't have the technical understanding to realize that, and most IT staff aren't good at explaining complex problems to people who don't have a technical background.

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Calm down, dear: Woman claims sexism in tech journalism

theOtherJT

With all due respect to the first comment...

... that had a really weird tone. Like, just weird.

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What was all that about a scary iMessage flaw? Your three-minute guide

theOtherJT

"Eve must also have a bunch of domains that can serve mangled iCloud.com URLs."

If she's got herself a malicious access point that bob here is attached to, and a server capable of masquerading as one of Apples, wouldn't she be better off just hijacking all DNS requests to iCloud.com or have I missed something?

0
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Telling your wife why you were fired is the only punishment

theOtherJT

Stupid things, stupid times...

To take a break from all the smut related ones, I still think the stupidest thing I've ever been asked to do at work was remove a pair of lesbian ducks* and their duckling from a lecture theatre.

The logic, apparently, was that they had gotten into the lectern and were disrupting the ability of a lecturer to use the computer, and it was ergo an IT issue.

It turns out that ducks defending a duckling won't run away from you so as to stop you touching them, but will go absolutely fucking mental once you pick them up and try and carry them away from their charge.

*Yeah, you read that right. If you want to read up on the breeding habits of the common mallard duck, feel free, it's pretty surreal reading.

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FreeBSD crushes system-crashing bug

theOtherJT

Friday afternoon, is it?

The operating system had an integer signedness error that resulted in a heap overflow in the kernel vulnerability

I just got back from the pub, is it just me, or does that sentence not actually make sense?

2
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How Microsoft copied malware techniques to make Get Windows 10 the world's PC pest

theOtherJT

You're not the only one.

I have 3 Win 7 machines at home. 2 of them got the disease, and were treated as suggested in this article, one seems to remain naturally immune. Perhaps I should donate it's body to science to find out where it got this special power...

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theOtherJT

All of it, I would imagine.

Somehow I can't see there being a lot of Latin speakers in Redmond. Or just roundly educated people in general, based on evidence so far.

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Apple tells iPhone court 'the Founders would be appalled' by Feds

theOtherJT

Re: @DonL

That's as may be, but the law must still hold that man accountable, even if those who are supposed to enforce it are unable to do so. There's a world of difference between breaking a law because you are powerful enough to get away with it, and claiming that you're actually not bound by the law in the first place.

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theOtherJT

Re: Rubbish

Jefferson wasn't living with Islamic terrorism and cell phones.

That's right. He was fighting an actual revolutionary war against a vastly superior military force. He had more to fear than we have ever had, and still believed that the rights of the individual were worth enshrining in the constitution.

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theOtherJT

@DonL

Yes. That's exactly what they meant.

No man, no matter how virtuous, blessed by god, blood of kings - whatever - NO man is above the law. By the same token, no man is beneath it either. The devil himself is owed a fair trial, conducted with the same rigour and defence of his rights as anyone.

Either a right applies to all, or to no one. Otherwise it's not a right.

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Brits seek rousing name for polar research vessel

theOtherJT

The Borealis

...obviously.

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UK Snoopers' Charter crashes through critics into the next level

theOtherJT

Re: Typical Labour

... the bill was a good and necessary way of updating the law ... but the bill's nickname of "Snoopers' Charter" was insulting to the people who work to make the country safer

Good! They should feel insulted. The whole bill is an insult. Not just to the people of this country but to the people who work in the security services.

Unless our hypothetical security services employee actually is a supporter of a fascist state and hopes to make such a state reality by bringing about the British stazi*, then obtaining powers like these is absolutely not why they signed up.

Proposing that state intrusion into the lives of citizens on this scale is required for the security services to do their job is an insult. The rest of us are just calling it what it is.

*And if they are, then I reckon we're all free to insult them as much as we like.

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Whatever happened to Green IT?

theOtherJT

Give a dog a bad name...

I think part of what happened was that people wised up to the fact that most of the "Green" IT policies were green in name only. They didn't make any serious difference to power consumption, they just annoyed everyone.

Once everyone had gotten utterly sick of them shutting off their screens every 2 minutes because you were busy reading something and hadn't moved the mouse, or parked the hard disk heads because you'd not requested any files in a while leading to this feeling that the machine was sleeping on the job every time you actually wanted something from it; all that shit got turned off and quietly dropped from the sales pitch because everyone was complaining about it.

In the meantime all the improvements in tech that actually drove down power consumption just happened quietly and without any fuss in the background as we went from each generation of tech to the next. New desktops / monitors drew less power than the ones they replaced, new servers hosted more VMs than could be put in the rackspace required for the old physical boxes at a lower price, and so the "Green IT" revolution ended with something of a whimper.

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Microsoft's done a terrible job with its Windows 10 nagware

theOtherJT

Re: The Terrible...

@Jeffrey Nonken

It is. It's a complete deal breaker. Not because Outlook is any good, it's not. It's horrible but we've got an administrative and secretarial staff here that simply do not know, and will not learn how to use anything else.

Despite the fact that we have people with mailboxes running to over 50gig which completely flummoxes Outlook and makes it fall over about twice a week, we've had people down tools and go home - and then be backed by their boss that this was appropriate! - when we were forced to shut the outlook translator off for an update for a few minutes and it went wrong and we didn't get it back for a day.

They could have carried on working through the web interface, but they just won't and until we can convince certain parts of the world - or at least their managers - that there's more to booking meetings than using Outlooks shared calendars we're stuck with it.

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I beg you, please don't back up that secret directory full of photos!

theOtherJT

About ten years ago...

...I was working as the junior member of a 2 man IT department for a college. Students would rock up all the time with "My internet isn't working! Help!" which nearly always meant that we'd detected something horrible coming off the network port in their room and blocked them at the switch until they brought the offending machine in for decontamination.

This one girl brought in her pc with a DVD in the drive. Nothing terribly surprising about that, but this machine was in a real state and we had to resort to a live CD to get it booted, I didn't think about the DVD, I just put it on my desk until the computer was clean. When she came to get it back, I thought I ought to put the disc back in. She had her machine set to auto play DVDs. I saw the look on her face go from "Oh, thankyou, wouldn't want to leave that behind" to "Actually, what IS that?" to "Oh god NO!" just as it started playing a shaky camcorder quality porn film staring her, some other girl, and about 10 obviously incredibly drunk guys.

All you can really do at that point is close the lid and tell them to just take it away. No, really, I don't want to know. Don't say anything, just take your machine and go and we'll forget this ever happened.

8
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Apple: FBI request threatens kids, electricity grid, liberty

theOtherJT

Re: Time for a compromise?

They already have updated their OS - and their hardware. In newer phones it seems that they genuinely wouldn't be able to comply with this order anyway.

4
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How exactly do you rein in a wildly powerful AI before it enslaves us all?

theOtherJT

Nonsense.

15 years ago I was an undergraduate student.* One of our courses was a joint session with the Philosophy, Computer science and psychology departments about the development of artificial intelligence.

I remember it like this:

The computer science professors were all absorbed by the incredible technical developments being talked about. They were so excited by the technology itself. How cool is it to make new minds?

The psychology professors were excited too. They expected to be able to use those developments to learn more about what makes us the way we are. (After all, all the _really_ interesting psychology experiments are illegal to perform on real humans)

The philosophy professors, who spent more time out in the world interacting with actual people, mostly sat there and said "Yeah, but none of that is ever going to work, because all that stuff will have to be created by people, and people are fucking idiots."

15 years later and not a single one of the predictions about what AI would be able to do in 10 years time has come true. Not. One.

We still can't even make a counterstrike bot that doesn't play like you're fighting either a drunk labrador retriever, at one end or the god of war himself at the other, and the scope of that problem is really, REALLY small compared to making a useful general purpose AI.

*I'll leave it to the room to decide which subject I was studying at the time

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