2712 posts • joined 10 Jun 2009
> a neural network that can self-replicate.
Code has been spawning itself for decades. To merely take a copy (on-write) and instantiate itself is nothing new or particularly difficult.
Even to clone itself and diddle with the NN weightings isn't that impressive. As for evolving, this is also well embedded in neural network design.
And it must be remembered that not all "mutations" are beneficial. For real evolution to take place, there has to be competition between the different instances in an ecosystem, with successful (though not necessarily success in terms of what the original programmer intended) instances taking precedent over less successful ones.
This sounds like an amusing diversion. But in the real world I doubt we'd want to employ AIs with random "mutations" simply on the offchance that one of them might be better than the original.
Re: Digestive biscuits are surprisingly fireproof
> Getting SpaceX to replace their boat-borne catcher's mitt with a giant cup of tea would be a fine thing, too.
Just so long as the inevitable recovery failures don't lead to flying saucers.
Whose satellite is it anyway?
So will the chinese limit themselves to only recovering their own satellites or ones that the owners request?
Or will there be the option of "recovering" other people's satellites, against their will?
Re: Tougher sanctions
> A good stiff talking to by Our Man in Moscow
That might work .... if Boris Johnson was made the ambassador.
But apart from a stern talking-to and an angry glare there is nothing much we can do that wouldn't open up the UK to tougher reprisals.
Say no more
> It is not clear why the summary report has taken so long to be made public.
But the very first sentence tells us why it took so long: NASA has fingered ...
Closing down sale?
We are told the americans plan to dump the ISS in 2028. That gives Musk about 10 years to make them an offer. Considering that it is impractical to drop it straight into the ocean in one piece, the disassembly into easily disposable chunks will take some time .... and considerable money.
If Musk was to suggest that he would take it off NASA's hands for free and do something useful with it (by then the BFR could well have been replaced by the MFingHR). Possibly converting it into a staging post for Mars trips. Then I wonder just what the practicality of such an idea would be?
You're never alone with all your online personalities
> China's "social credit" system, wherein each of the Middle Kingdom's billion connected adults have a rating drawn from the performance of their public role
We already have such a system in the West. Many employers (we are told) will refer to candidates social media presence to get an idea of the "real" them. Prospective partners, too. And I fully expect it is the first port of call for anyone who does a bit of private detective work, or stalking.
Therefore it would be only sensible to have as many different and separate (using different browser profiles, so different sets of cookies) online presences as possible. One to communicate with your close family, another to converse with your work colleagues, a third for your actual friends, another for your secret passion regarding whippets and maybe others concerning leathercraft, baby oil and jubilee clips (to choose items purely at random, you understand?).
Even though many social media sites have Ts & Cs that require you use your own name, none have the wherewithall to validate or even check if that is so. Until they do, this would be a good time to establish all your personas and their individual networks of associates.
Then, as the old naval toast used to go "May they never meet".
> You need to increase fees by more like 35% to make up the difference.
I was a contractor - actually, a consultant since I wore a suit - before and after IR35 was introduced. Prior to IR35 I paid myself, through my company, a sensible monthly wage and took whatever profits there were at the end of the year as a dividend. All perfectly legal and with the requisite taxes paid.
After IR35 kicked in I simply raised my rate to account for the difference between the CT I had been paying and the additional NI/PAYE costs.
I didn't make any more money. The clients paid a higher rate for my services and HMRC got their legitimate slice.
If a contractor is good, then companies will recognise the savings they are getting from their skills and experience. If the contractors don't have any special skills to offer then they probably shouldn't be in that business.
Re: "I was able to get all my junk on the desk"
Brings a whole new meaning to one-fingered typing.
Used or available?
> one in four to one in five new premises don't have provision for 30Mbps.
Until there is data on what percentage of premises (homes. businesses, schools, etc) actually run up against the limit of their available bandwidth, this sort of statistic is meaningless.
If no user, anywhere in the country ever found they needed more than this (or any other arbitrary definition of "fast", "super-fast", "ultra-fast" or "so unbelievably, incredibly, eye-wateringly fast" connectivity) then it wouldn't matter what proportion of places didn't have access to it.
For any sense to be gleaned from this, the proportion of people who don't have it is irrelevant. What matters is who needs more and what effect not having more will have on their lives or businesses.
Re: requesting customer data
> I think requesting this data will quickly become the annoyance of choice for any disgruntled customers.
Or employees ....
The end of the world?
> The other thing you need to understand is whether there's a gap between how you think you work and how you actually work. My favourite example here is backups:
The absolute LAST thing that any business mangler wants is to "know" that the way they think their business runs is different from reality. They are all firmly convinced of several things:
* Everything works perfectly, all of time, except when the I.T. dept. change something
* Every I.T. person has a special key on their keyboard labeled The Answer they only have to press that to respond to any technical question in easily understood language - but they don't.
* All problems happen because the techies are lazy, watching pr0n or are stupid
* The reasons that "issues" take so long to fix, is the same reason problems happen in the first place (they are probably correct about that, but not for the reasons they think).
* Most techies sit around all day (see above) and will fight for the privilege to answer the phone, if you ever call them.
That is their world view. Even a second's exposure to reality would cause a nervous breakdown in even the most hardened and cynical manager. They would never be able to sleep again, talk in coherent sentences and it would utterly destroy their golf.
5G benefits: real or imaginary
> It is true that 5G will change everything... kind of. Samsung gave some examples: download a 15GB movie in six seconds on mobile broadband,
To what end? it still takes the same amount of time to watch, so why not stream it at 20MB/sec and watch it as it arrives.
And another way to say you can stream a 15GB file in 6 seconds is to say that you can use up your monthly data allowance in 4 seconds. Or if you prefer, fill all the free space on your 32GB smartphone (the one without a microSD slot) in less than 10 seconds.
And as for a 1mS latency? Unless that is guaranteed: end-to-end everywhere AND has a diverse and redundant path for a backup, it is of no use for any sort of safety critical function.
In practical terms, if that is how 5G is to be marketed to users, it is completely useless and offers nothing of any value.
Re: In order to be bargained, it needs to exist
> If Russia really wants to make a point, expect a hypersonic demo in Syria
Unlikely, as the debris from the attack could easily find its way to western intelligence and its actual capabilities analysed and mitigated. Far better to conduct tests in territory you (and you alone) control.
Aimed right at the heart of america
The yanks' biggest vulnerability is their paranoia. Their fear. And they will go to great (extreme?) lengths to assuage that.
Just like the 1980's Star Wars programme promised to make the USSR vulnerable to high-tech american weapons - even though they didn't exist and could never have been made - so this is the same: right back at ya!
Putin seems to have the measure of Trump. He knows the guy is an unbearable narcissist (it takes one to know one?) and that he couldn't let a challenge like this go unanswered. So by hinting that the USA might be "naked" and susceptible to some
real imaginary military threat is a great bit of plonker-pulling.
And if it gets the merkins to crank up their unbelievably inefficient war-machine and spend $ TREEEEEELIONS on countering some Youtube videos and cartoons, then Putin will be laughing all the way to his next election.
Re: Obligatory - Britian's Got Whingers
> any of those humourless 100 complainants
I would be surprised if the individuals who complained on this occasion were complaint "virgins". I have the impression that a considerable proportion of complaints all come from the same (small group of) people. To that end we could hope that the ASA is even just a little bit joined-up and can recognise the usual whining from the usual suspects and treat them with the scorn they have earned.
Well, there's your problem!
> Productivity is defined as GDP output divided by the total of hours worked
I used to think that improving "productivity" meant getting factory floor workers to speed-up a bit. To reduce the distance they had to walk or the number of turns they had to give a screw.
But this measure, that includes ALL jobs. shows this view is faulty.
When you have so many "workers" who do absolutely nothing that contributes to the bottom line, you have a problem. When so many of them do nothing except go to meetings, fill in tick-box processes that don't shift more "stuff" (or services) out the door, or when you need to get approval from 5 different - and often competing to avoid responsibility - departments for pretty much anything then it is no surprise that your business will be inefficient, unproductive. Employing too many people who just sit at a desk and too few who actually do / make the stuff that is sold to your lucky customers.
Like their own stock?
If the business is anything like the tat they flog, I wouldn't be surprised if it won't work properly and the buyer wouldn't get their money back if they complain.
40 years ago (somewhere I have a catalog with a Concorde on the cover) they were a force: I could post in an order on a wednesday and get the stuff delivered on saturday. Now it just seems to be a purveyor of over-priced flashing lights.
Nothing a bit of editing can't fix
> Overall, it’s still pretty readable. The text generation seems to work OK, in your humble vulture's opinion
The "human" generated text focuses much more on the personality and biography of the guy who created the site and it tells us nothing of any use about the website itself.
While the AI version has the feel of being written by someone learning English (the repetition, instead of short-form: "it", "the site", "they"). However, it provides much more useful and relevant information to inform the reader of what to expect if they visited the site.
Once the AI overcomes its English as a foreign language issues it seems to me that its output will be of a higher quality than the human-generated version. I would suggest that, just as with real journalism, there is an additional AI-editor role needed, above just an AI text generation function.
Drones are only considered a solution for delivery problems because the roads are so crowded. But that makes a drone solution merely a temporary one (a bit like the Pony Express - it only operated for a year or two, despite the folk tales) until better technology makes it pointless.
And so with drones. Once the streets are cleared of both parked cars outside their owners' homes AND 4-person vehicles with just a single occupant - mostly looking for somewhere to park - then the drone solution will become obsolete. Even better is that autonomous road delivery will allow packages to be delivered when people are actually AT HOME rather than at a time which is convenient for couriers (though if pizza joints can deliver in the evening, why is it such a big deal for couriers or the Post Office?).
Maybe [ a sharp intake of breath ] autonomous deliveries could even be made at ....... weekends!
Blink and it's gone.
> Stanczak said expanding auto industry connectivity and massively connected sensors will create massive overhead and “a lot of uncertainty in the network”.
The only uncertainty I have is why I would want (or pay extra for) a 5G mobile device (let's not call them "phones" any more!). There is talk of speeds of 500 MByte/sec which would use up my monthly data allowance in a dew seconds if I used this on my mobile "device". As for IoT connections: secure or not, what benefits would I personally see from 5G? What new things would I be able to do, that I couldn't do before?
For home use, there may be some benefit. But with freshly installed fibre is there really any point? Sure, for isolated communities it provides a decent connection rate. But will any of the mobile operators want to spend money prioritising internet and IoT connections for a few farms and a bunch of sheep?
Seeing the goods
> In regards to flagging nonconsensual content, either the person who deems the content nonconsensual or their legal representative can use the form to request removal of content and cite that they themselves did not contest for it to be uploaded.”
What about if the pr0n star who's body was used objects to it being associated with the famous person's head? Do they have a say in the matter? And have they got a way to prove that it was actually their body.
Maybe it is time for pr0nstars to have a unique bar code tattooed somewhere on their skin. It would have to be in a place that would be readily visible in a porno. Hmmmm, where, exactly????
The power and the glory
> The ASA, which has the power to ask ...
I am sure Poundland and every other advertiser is quaking in their boots. Imagine that! Being asked not to display an advertisement.
Although in this case the ASA's power is commensurate with the harm done: both stand at zero
Works both ways?
> Choi acknowledged making false statements about his educational background
So it is "wire fraud" because the claims were made electronically. That would imply two things. First, that everything you say on your CV must be supportable and provable- but only if you email it.
And secondly, possibly more importantly - that everything companies say in online job ads must be true, as well.
So the vacancy that says "dynamic company" or "good working environment" or "strong promotion prospects" or that makes promises about training, "fun" or where you will work can be sued if the job doesn't live up to the description.
I wouldn't hold my breath!
Pass it on
> ISPs arguing that while they don't mind being ordered to block copyright-infringing content, someone else should be bearing the costs of doing so.
And someone else does: their customers. ISPs aren't some magic, infinitely deep well of money, gold and resources. Where all they have to do is dip in and pull out a wad. Any costs they incur gets passed on to their customers.
And if all ISPs are required to pay for a universal blocking service, it isn't as if they can find "efficiency savings" (aka making people redundant and requiring the poor gits who remain, work harder and longer hours).
So a universal cost increase will just be passed on to all the ISPs' users. They will all raise their prices by the cost of implementing this. Just as all energy companies raise their prices almost in lock-step when wholesale gas prices increase.
Not just faces
It seems the principle is applicable to much more than the salacious topic that the author has chosen (clickbait, anyone?).
Why not use it to remove undesirable individuals from family videos. Or add other people in. Or move the whole setting to Paris, or somewhere more exotic. Or turn that random passer-by in the background into The Queen or George Clooney (or Donald Trump).
It doesn't seem to be much of a stretch to be able to remove ugly background (power lines, graffiti, photobombers) or maybe even correct for camera shake.
While we are told that porn has been one of the drivers of internet "development", focusing on that for a cheap article in a tech pub. is unimaginative and sleazy.
> Apparently judges seek shapely humps, firm muscular physiques and luscious leathery mouths.
And when interviewed, all the camels claimed they wanted to do charity work and help camels less fortunate than they were.
I wonder if we should start to steel ourselves for the spin-off shows:
I'm a Dromedary, get me out of here
The hump factor
> Moore’s Law has hit the wall, bounced off - and reversed direction
No. Moore's Law is only about gate density on integrated circuit chips. To extend it to imply that means anything about computing power, is a misuse of the term.
Though it must be said that given the size of a Silicon atom is 0.2nm and we are now looking at 5nm architectures, the prospect of a transistor consisting of just 25 atoms, and that this would be available in your local Tesco, is worthy of some contemplation. Even if that signifies that Moore's Law (the actual Law) is banging up against physical limits.
As far as performance factors go. That is merely a limit on (current) human ingenuity. We will find ways to re-design chips. To squeeze more computation out of each square millimetre of Silicon (or maybe each cubic millimetre). We will will adopt more efficient architectures - maybe even secure ones - that will do more stuff, faster. And who knows, in the end we might even learn how to write efficient code.
Please sir, can I have some more?
> This comes after calls from MPs to increase defence spending
Have the heads of Britain's armed forces every taken a different view?
When was the last time they said "thanks, but we've got enough money".
As for threats to internet traffic from undersea cables being cut - surely the sensible thing is to route all traffic through cables running through the Channel Tunnel. From there the only places that can't be reached by land are the americas, Australia and other Pacific islands.
> they'd be able to guess as well as this software as to whether the criminal would break the law again.
But that is only a small part of the process. You could equally say that the software is no worse at identifying potential reoffenders than an ordinary person.
But that "ordinary person" comes with a lot of uncertainty regarding their own background. It would be extremely easy for a challenge to be mounted against that "ordinary person's" competency, bias or consistency. And then to repeat that challenge until a result is obtained from another "ordinary person" that suits the challenger.
But a black-box approach, with a highly scrutinised history of over a million - sorry: MEEEEEELION - cases can demonstrate that over its history, it has shown no bias, racial leaning, random choices or inconsistency. Even if its inner workings are unknown. Its results and the analysis of them for any of those factors puts it above suspicion.
Life at the top
> CEO Patrick Dennis has his work cut out
I wish someone would cut my work out. Then I would be free to goof around all day. Without annoying people constantly asking me to do things.
Does an AI's lips move when it reads?
> The answer to every question is explicitly contained in the text. It's not so much reading comprehension as text extraction. There is no real understanding of the prose by the machines; it’s a case of enhanced pattern matching. Human beings are smarter than this.
Errrrr, some human beings are smarter than this. I would suggest that there are millions (in the UK alone) who are not. It is entirely likely that many of their jobs will be at risk.
Just as the Turing test is intended to compare AI and human capabilities, it does not imply that all humans would be able to provide responses that were at a sufficiently high level to be deemed "human".
Who needs 'em?
> in 2017 the market began to pick up, increasing 3.8 per cent to $3.5bn. Meanwhile, spend in Europe increased 0.7 per cent to €658bn last year.
Maybe Europe has enough computers?
Since the RoW consists mostly of developing countries (and America) we would expect its I.T. growth to lag behind more technological advanced countries (and America). The more advanced countries will reach saturation soonest and then, hopefully, realise that enough is too much and not feel the need to keep buying more computers. While the RoW keeps improving its I.T. and therefore will keep growing its market.
Bye bye, buy buy!
> They anticipate a period like the Great Depression
Though it is interesting to note that the 2007-8 crash actually increased the level of wage equality. Since the highest earners (in the UK, at least) took a larger hit on their pay than the lowest deciles. While that obviously didn't make anyone better off, it does show that economic downturns are not solely the domain of the least well off (though since they have less - or no - financial buffer, they do suffer the worst). It also shows that statistical analyses, such as "equality" do not measure what many people read into the data.
But regarding wealth. Robot owners can only make money of there is a large enough number of people with disposable incomes to buy the products their robots make. Impoverishing the majority of the population will not achieve that, since those people wouldn't have the money to buy stuff, apart from basics.
This is also the weakness of Universal Basic Income. Once a large enough proportion of people aren't economically active, the idea of a market driven consumer society fails.
Re: Please leave a message after...
> ** Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep **
At least the message didn't end
Boom time over?
> illustrating the point that the RN is overstretched and the defence budget needs to grow.
Maybe not. Isn't it just possible that it means you can get by with far less destructive capacity when you stop trying to blow the crap out of every government you disagree with?
If the price is right?
> a legal right to minimum broadband speeds of 10Mbps
But that does not imply that the customers would get that speed cheaply.
If ISPs are forced to offer a 10 MBit/s product, there doesn't seem any sensible reason why they would be compelled to make a loss on it. So if it cost £1 million per mile to lay a cable out to a couple of houses in the middle of nowhere, who would pay for their "right" to high-speed porn?
As it is, almost every premises in the country could install a 10 MBit/s satellite internet connection. It would only cost them £20-30 a month. So it would appear that people's "right" to 10 Mbps has already been met.
How many are habitable? ALL OF THEM!
By the time we have developed the technology to travel to those planets, parallel developments in all other spheres of research and development will have provided the techniques for adapting them to our needs.
And since (the real) Mars is far closer than any of those other worlds, the teraforming or genetic modification programmes will have had a long, long, time to get their tech. working - before the need to use it elsewhere in the galaxy becomes a requirement.
What goes up
> cryptocurrencies are most useful “to those who want to make transactions in the black or illegal economy, rather than everyday transactions”
Although with Bitcoin's current wild fluctuations in value ... or at least: cost, it isn't much use to anybody for making transactions.
When a "currency" is rapidly gaining in value buyers don't want to part with it. And when it is rapidly losing value sellers don't want to accept it.
> Regarding sprouts ... as long as they're not overcooked.
My view too. I reckon that the people who dislike sprouts are simply doing them wrong.
Prepare them and the carrots at the same time. Toss 'em all in the same pot. Bring to the boil and then down to a simmer. When the carrots are done (soft but firm), the sprouts are, too.
> something more exotic such as a Beef Wellington
Tried that one year. But the boots gave off a nasty rubbery smell once the oven got hot.
Re: Man Flu - banter OK but no balance
> As a boss, if someone has a cold/flu/whatever, I'd rather they not come into the office. One person off ill is inconvenient. Half a dozen staff off a few days later with the same infection is much worse
But where do you draw the line? If someone has a cold (almost none of the self-reported "flu" is anything more than a cold, if you had real flu you wouldn't be well enough to make the call) and is capable of getting themselves into the office, it can't be that bad. So to suggest that others would get it worse and be confined at home for several days sounds a lot like slacking.
As it is, most people work at far below their capacity, so a little bit of illness won't affect their ability to delete unread emails, sit in boring meetings or add bugs to code.
Given the picture shows three balls in a row with another further up the "table", shouldn't they be coloured green brown and yellow (going L to R) with the one in the background being blue?
C'mon yanks. Show a bit of cultural awareness.
A data protection racket
> monetise the data companies hold
Surely a CDO /. CIO can do far better than that?
Just have a quiet word with the payroll team a few days before the end of the month. Something along the lines of: "It would be a pity if all those bank transfers were late ... so how about a little bit of cross-charge to make sure everything happens on time?"
Or a similar approach when the VAT return is due.
They could even "leverage" all the pr0n that users (aka employees) leave lying around to "persuade" them to not record all that overtime.
Or ask other C-levels for a "small contribution" when a critical file goes missing, or needs to go missing.
Since IT is at the very heart of almost every company, there should be no possible reason why they ever feel under threat from other departments or the top boss. Provided they learn how to use their position. Capisce!
Two sides to the coin
Internet cables are needed both to enable international communication and trade and ALSO for the bad people to push their propaganda to the west. Without the internet, many terrorist organisations could not operate.
So it is debatable whether sub-sea cables would be a terrorist target - they'd be cutting off their own supporters as well as hurting us.
This seems to be a very good device for doing all sorts of things that simply don't need doing.
I like having discrete remote controls. They work far better in a multi-person house with levels of techo-savvy ranging from the couldn't-care-less to the <ahem> uber-geek.
And as for the rest, all I ask of a "smart home" and its lighting system is that it turns on the light when the first person enters a given space and turns it off again after the last one leaves. A truly smart home would know what level of lighting is appropriate at each juncture and would therefore not need programming.
The same philosophy applies to all other "smart" functions. To live up to the name, they should be smart enough to work out for themselves what needs to be done. Simply trading a switch on the wall for one on a phone or web interface is not my idea of progress.
one for you, one for me
> It found that 17 per cent of the IT crowd were female
and only 20% of teachers are men.
We hear a great deal about the lack of women in IT, yet very little about the proportion of men in other professions. If people are going to start crusades about gender equality in work, it would help their cause appear impartial if they addressed the general issue rather than specific cases.
A numbers game
All phones and (t|ph)ablets are basically the same. They perform the same functions: primarily running apps, occasionally taking photos and rarely making calls.
As such, to the man in the street, their only distinguishing features are brand recognition and the numbers touted in their specifications.
It seems that there are only two numbers that people either understand or care about. One is the number of megapixels the camera claims and the other is the size of the screen. MegaPix seems to be a busted flush, since the numbers are getting so large - yet the picture quality of a 20 MPix "phone" is no better than a 4 MPix phone's. And when you view them on the screen they are the same.
So stop pushing camera specs and focus on the other number. However, buyers will soon tire of over-large phones. Whether due to their unwieldy nature or their excessive weight. I can't see many people wanting to lug an 8-inch screen around - we had that with laptops.
Personally, I'd settle for any size screen. Just so long as you could see what was on it in daylight.
Sounds like we need to start another war
The small number of combat hours for £1G of "toys" is only because we aren't currently bombing the crap out of any third-world countries. Personally, I would say that the number of hours NOT flown is a mark of a successful defence strategy and not something that should be criticised.
But it does also raise a question about the need or wisdom in buying F35s. Given that (at the current rate) the cost of just 1 F35 could keep all the remaining Watchkeepers flying for the next next half-century.
And if there aren't any combat missions for them, maybe Amazon would be interested in using them for deliveries?
The river of progress
> if the tech industry wants another wave of innovation to match the PC or the internet, Google and Facebook must be broken up
It's a catchy meme to promote a book and make some money. But it is wrong.
Think of progress as being a river. It flows in one direction, from the "primitive" past through the innovative present and into the "futuristic" errr, future.
While I see no reason to consider Google or FB to be anti-innovation (they produce many new products, continually change - maybe even improve - search engine's abilities to give us useful stuff rather than promoted stuff) I suppose if I was trying to wring money out of the techno-world, being anti-establishment is the way to go.
But even if they were choking off innovation, they would be little more than boulders in the river of progress. And we know that water flows round a rock in a river. Even if there are enough of them to stop the flow, the river will just change direction and go off elsewhere. Or roll over the top of the blockage and continue on its path·