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Halting Problem Proves That Lethal Robots Cannot Correctly Decide To Kill Humans

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:It's just wrong (327 comments)

Theoretically yes, you may be able to determine if a particular program will halt by testing and inspecting.

Practically, you may not be able to determine if a program will halt. See the Collatz conjecture. Assume a program that accepts as input a positive integer n and returns the number of steps before the first time the Collatz iteration reaches 1. Does that program halt for all possible legal input values?

As another point, regardless of whether or not a program or robot can _choose_ to kill a human, Asimov's robot stories indicate that not even the First Law of Robotics excludes the possibility of robots killing humans. Does the robot _know_ that to take a particular action will kill a human? A robot chef could use shrimp in the preparation of a dish not knowing the diner who will eat it is deathly allergic. What is the definition of "human"? The debate about abortion shows human beings can't answer that one. And then there's the Zeroth Law of Robotics, a limited version of which these researchers seem to be trying to test. That one is particularly tricky as neither humans nor robots can predict the future (no one has developed psychohistory yet.)

about a week ago
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Pianist Asks Washington Post To Remove Review Under "Right To Be Forgotten"

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:its terrible (257 comments)

If the original reviewer is still at the Post, inviting them to write the new review would make it an apples-to-apples comparison. If the original reviewer is not still at the Post, inviting the person who has responsibility for writing "culture" or "entertainment" reviews now would at least make the comparison apples-to-crabapples (same genus, different species.)

about three weeks ago
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Pianist Asks Washington Post To Remove Review Under "Right To Be Forgotten"

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:its terrible (257 comments)

Nothing is ever "clearly". The pianist could argue that he's greatly improved since then and thus the post is now wrong, outdated, and unduly hurts the pianist. Therefore it's in the public interest to remove that terrible post from the internet.

Then the artist should invite the Post reviewer to his next concert and ask the Post to amend the review by adding a link to a new article describing how the artist has improved.

about three weeks ago
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A Library For Survival Knowledge

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:100 year old survival knowledge in PDF files??? (272 comments)

There was an episode of the animated series "The Batman" (specifically "Artifacts" in season 4) where future archaeologists find the Batcave in an attempt to find information that will enable them to defeat Mr. Freeze. Turns out Batman had had his database of information on criminals etched into the titanium supports of the Cave for just such a possibility.

about a month ago
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A Library For Survival Knowledge

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:100 year old survival knowledge in PDF files??? (272 comments)

If I were going to store these electronically, I'd include a solar charger for the electronic display device (tablet, laptop, etc.) as well as a manual one.

If you were going to print these documents out, I probably wouldn't use paper. When I worked at the university library in college, we had a large machine storing I don't know how many microfiche. You could fit a whole reference book on a sheet barely larger than an index card and store hundreds of those books in a shoebox. In addition, as long as you have the ability to create a magnifying lens and a light source, you could theoretically project the information on a wall or screen -- you wouldn't necessarily need a highly technical reader to view the text. As long as the books include only text and black-and-white drawings, this seems like a good archival medium -- and the Wikipedia page gives a reference claiming a lifetime of 500 years.

about a month ago
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FTDI Removes Driver From Windows Update That Bricked Cloned Chips

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Computer Missues Act 1990 (572 comments)

Is that one offense total (distributing the driver) or one offense _per bricked chip_ (unauthorized modification of the code in the chip itself that renders it unusuable?)

With the UK proposing life sentences for people who cause economic damage that threatens national security, I suppose it's good (for them) that they pulled this now rather than when or if that proposal is approved and enacted. After all, can they be SURE that this didn't affect some computer used by a security agency?

about a month ago
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Password Security: Why the Horse Battery Staple Is Not Correct

Hotawa Hawk-eye Bang for buck (549 comments)

If 500 people each use the "correct horse battery staple" approach to generating pass phrases, then an attacker who wants to compromise 5 of those 500 accounts is going to have to break 5 passwords.

If 500 people each use the same password manager, then an attacker who wants to compromise 5 of those 500 accounts needs to break just one security mechanism -- the password manager itself. In addition, that attacker may have help in doing so, from all the other attackers that want to compromise a different set of 5 accounts from that group of 500.

If the security for that password manager is sufficiently stronger than the security of those pass phrases (think Fort Knox versus your local bank branch) then attacking the individual accounts will be easier. But if the password manager's security has a vulnerability (a back door into Fort Knox, manned by a guard who's just two days away from retirement) then that leaves not just one person vulnerable, but all 500.

about a month and a half ago
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Accessing One's Own Metadata

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Request the government to provide it (94 comments)

"The number of law enforcement investigations in which I am one of the parties being investigated" seems like a piece of information about you that the government has a legitimate reason to refuse to provide you. If the government says that there are some such investigations (or delays answering until they have enough information to arrest you) then you're likely to try to reach a country with no extradition agreement with your government before they move. So they're always going to say that there are none or refuse to answer -- and to avoid lying in the case where they ARE investigating you, I'd prefer them to simply refuse to provide that information in all cases, at least until they get into the courtroom.

about a month and a half ago
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Accessing One's Own Metadata

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Bull (94 comments)

According to the article, he claims that the law requires them to provide him with the information.

So I asked Telstra to provide me with all of the metadata it had stored about my mobile phone account, informing them that they had a duty to do this under the Privacy Act's National Privacy Principles, which gives Australian citizens a right of access to their "personal information" from a company, and the right to have that information corrected if it is inaccurate, incomplete or out-of-date.

After about a month of back and forth phone calls chasing up a response, Telstra refused me access, saying I needed a subpoena to access the data. A subpoena is a writ usually issued by a court with authority to compel production of evidence under a penalty for failure.

As I didn't have the cash to sue Telstra and get a court to issue a writ, I complained to the federal privacy commissioner, claiming Telstra was in breach of the Privacy Act.

Now it's up to the privacy commissioner to decide who's correct: Telstra or Mr. Grubb.

about a month and a half ago
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Ask Slashdot: Dealing With an Unresponsive Manufacturer Who Doesn't Fix Bugs?

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:The name (204 comments)

The summary gives some information about moofo:

"I also talked to various executives at the company and besides giving me apologies, nothing good is coming my way. It's been more than two years (on a three-year subscription that I can't terminate early)"

How many customers do you think have spoken to multiple executives at the security company? That may narrow down the number of people who could be moofo. [Assuming moofo is telling the truth about that; it could have been a misdirection.] The duration and terms of the contract may narrow that even further. If moofo used that same name in another place, linked in some way to his or her real identity, or if he or she provided more information about him or herself in another Slashdot comment it may not be too difficult to deanonymize him or her given a short list of subjects.

about a month and a half ago
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NASA Asks Boeing, SpaceX To Stop Work On Next-Gen Space Taxi

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Ridiculous (139 comments)

I interpreted Firethorn's first point to be that the shuttle was designed to retrieve and bring back to Earth a large object, but none of the objects it actually did return to Earth were that large. In that case, if the shuttle's payload bay had been smaller in the original design the orbiter itself would have been smaller and lighter and so would not have required quite so complicated a booster system (or a booster system at all.)

I'm not sure why that capability was included in the original design; if it was included in case a bad but still reasonably possible scenario happened then retroactively removing it from the design seems like a bit of 20/20 hindsight. On the other hand, if it was included just in case the worst-case scenario happened, which was very unlikely, then _maybe_ it could have been smaller.

about a month and a half ago
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Statistician Creates Mathematical Model To Predict the Future of Game of Thrones

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Prediction... (127 comments)

My prediction is that the last chapter will be two sentences long:

    Snow falls. Everyone dies.

Whether the first word is "snow" or "Snow" is left as an exercise to the reader.

about 2 months ago
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Statistician Creates Mathematical Model To Predict the Future of Game of Thrones

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Books 4 and 5. (127 comments)

He specifically notes this -- see sections 3.1 through 3.3 of the paper.

I think another approach that might be interesting to try would be to model the distance between adjacent POV chapters by a given character given the distribution of their previous POV chapters. For instance, if Arya's POV chapters are 10 chapters apart on average and book 6 will be 70 chapters, you'd probably expect 6 or 7 Arya POV chapters if they're uniformly distributed. On the other hand, Ned's last POV chapter was quite a while ago, and so you would expect that trend to continue. [He could still have a POV chapter via Bran trying to see into Ned's past. That would certainly surprise readers looking at the list of POV characters!]

about 2 months ago
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Once Vehicles Are Connected To the Internet of Things, Who Guards Your Privacy?

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Just wait 'til the Insurance Companies get it! (130 comments)

Your insurance company could introduce a clause (if it's not already there) suspending your insurance coverage for a short period of time (say a minute or two) after the telemetry indicates that you violated a motor vehicle law. They could claim it was introduced to prevent a carjacker from getting paid for injuries related to the sudden and violent end of his or her high-speed chase, but it could also apply if you went 0.1 MPH over the speed limit just before an accident (trying to prevent the accident by getting out of the way and failing?)

And of course, each and every violation would be a point which would, as X!0mbarg suggests, increase your insurance premium. Depending on the precision of the instruments, even something like crossing a double yellow line could be detected.

about 2 months ago
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Text While Driving In Long Island and Have Your Phone Disabled

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:That's nice and all (364 comments)

If you're driving in stop-and-go traffic, texting using your cell phone isn't quite as bad as if you're barreling down the highway at 70, 80, 90 or more miles per hour while texting.

As for differentiating passengers and drivers ... tethering is one possibility. Not electronic tethering, but literal physical tethers that connect the phone to the car and are short enough and positioned carefully enough (for the front seat, in the far corner of the dashboard from the driver above the glove compartment) where it will allow passengers to bring the phone to their ears but will not allow drivers to do so. Any phone that is physically tethered can make a call via the car's antenna; phones that aren't are blocked.

Now sure, drivers could probably try to attach extender cables to allow them to text while driving. And if a police officer sees an extender, they can pull the driver over, confiscate the cable (and possibly the phone), and fine the offender.

about 2 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: What Are the Strangest Features of Various Programming Languages?

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Mixed arithmetic in Matlab (729 comments)

Do you really want this:

    A = ones(10000, 10000, 'int8'); % 10000-by-10000 matrix each entry of which is 1, stored using the 8-bit signed integer type
    B = 1; % double precision
    C = A+B;

to blow C up into a 10000-by-10000 matrix of doubles, requiring eight times as much memory as A?

There's also the question of false precision.

about 3 months ago
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MetaFilter Founder Says Vacation Firm Forged Court Docs To Scotch Review

Hotawa Hawk-eye Screw the Streisand effect (116 comments)

I want to see them subjected to the Hood effect, named for the Attorney General of Mississippi.

As a coincidence, the headline of the current most recent "Latest News" item on the Attorney General's website is "Pontotoc Woman Going to Prison for Forgery."

about 3 months ago
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Fermilab Begins Testing Holographic Universe Theory

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Flip the switch (247 comments)

So would you want to know kung fu, turn on god mode with IDDQD, or simply request "Computer, arch."

about 3 months ago
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Statistics Losing Ground To CS, Losing Image Among Students

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Agreed (115 comments)

Hmm ... John de Lancie in the next Bond film as the gadgeteer for the CIA, with whom MI6 partners on a mission of importance to both agencies? I'd see that.

about 3 months ago
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California Passes Law Mandating Smartphone Kill Switch

Hotawa Hawk-eye Re:Legislating Technology (233 comments)

I predict that as soon as a phone with the (undoubtedly standard) kill switch is released, someone will write a software program to reverse the locking. For good measure, that software program will probably also users to kill a phone remotely by spoofing the signal to make the kill switch program believe it's coming from the telecom company or law enforcement.

Unless there's a hardware component (say a physical key you need to insert into a slot on the side of the phone) the security WILL be broken quickly because the financial and bragging rights rewards for doing so are huge. If there IS a hardware component, the thief will likely turn mugger and demand the person's keys -- I suspect many people will probably put the key on their key ring.

about 2 months ago

Submissions

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California Senator Yee (Brown v. EMA) indicted on corruption charges

Hotawa Hawk-eye Hotawa Hawk-eye writes  |  about 7 months ago

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) writes "California state Senator Leland Yee, known for sponsoring the law banning the sale of violent video games to minors that was overturned in Brown V. Entertainment Merchants Association, was indicted by the FBI on public corruption charges Wednesday morning. According to the article, targets of the early-morning raids in this case are expected to appear in court Wednesday afternoon."
Link to Original Source
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"A Memory of Light" To Be Released January 8, 2013

Hotawa Hawk-eye Hotawa Hawk-eye writes  |  more than 2 years ago

Hotawa Hawk-eye (976755) writes "Tor Books has announced that the release date for the final volume in the Wheel of Time series of books, A Memory Of Light, will be January 8, 2013. [Barring a Mayan apocalypse, of course.] The fantasy series, started by Robert Jordan and continued by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan's death, will span 15 books and over 10,000 pages."
Link to Original Source

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