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Comment By 2030, the robots will not need people (Score 1) 348

We already have fairly capable robots on Mars. But 2030 they will be moderately intelligent, capable of working autonomously for periods of time.

Ask not whether there will be people on Mars in 2030. Instead, ask whether the robots will still want people to be on earth in 2200.

Comment Re:Lame duck making lame promises (Score 1) 348

Korolev was purged because some others wanted his job. He was released by Kruschev, and then led their brilliant space program.

However, his abuse in the Gulags crippled his health (kidneys), and he died half way through the program, before any moon launch could be attempted. And then the incompetents took over and nothing much more was achieved. Wikipedia is your friend.

Korolev's name was heavily suppressed in the soviet union, and he only recently became a national hero.

I had a Russian back packer staying with me recently. He certainly knew of Korolev, but not of the purging. He also "knew" that Stalin made the soviet union great, and that Gorborchov was the root of all evil.

As to the moon, I wonder why the Soviets did not just send someone one way. Much, much easier than getting them back. And they had already successfully landed a probe on the moon. One less soviet citizen would not matter. They could even send someone terminally ill.

Comment Re:Old News, Washoe showed this in the 1970s (Score 1) 66

Read the wikipedia article.

It was found best not to use rewards to teach Washoe, she just wanted to learn. (Same with dogs, by the way.)

And Washoe did teach other apes to sign, by herself, with no explicit reward.

The interesting question is, did being able to sign make them smarter?

Comment Old News, Washoe showed this in the 1970s (Score 5, Interesting) 66

Chimps cannot vocalize speech, so Washoe was taught American Sign Language. She could accurately communicate many simple sentences.

One of the many stories is that a lab assistant was absent for a few weeks due to a miscarriage. When Washoe demanded to know why, the assistant signed "my baby die". Washoe was immediately quiet, and signed "cry", even though chimps do not cry. Washoe would also sign more slowly to new assistants that were not good at sign language.

The Gardiners that trained Washoe were not liked by other behavioural psychologists. The latter trained chips in cages with operant conditioning and had poor results, unsurprisingly. The Gardeners lived with Washoe who was treated like a sentient being.

Despite the impressive results, the behaviourists appear to have won, as there seems to have been little follow up research along these lines. The Washoe experiments were totally focused on language. It would be interesting to see more focus on cognition. And in particular, does knowing sign language make chimps smarter. Chimps had been seen signing to themselves, like self talk that seems to be important for human cognition.

Comment They can supena the certificate's private key (Score 1) 88

That is something that Signal does know. And with the key they can man-in-the-middle the site.

I wonder what happens if the key is put inside a Hardware Security Module (HSM). They are carefully designed never to release the key, each request needs to be process by the HSM itself. I would be suprised if Signal or anyone else in this space uses one though.

And of course, the Feds will have their own CA and so could just forge the cert.

Doing SRP on a HSM though, that would slow them down. SRP also kills phishing. Which is why no security company will want to support it.

Comment Excellent -- This allows light wieght processes (Score 1) 104

If JITing can be done up front and cached, and the Jited code shared between processes, this would make it feasible to run short lived processes that do specific tasks in a light weight manner. And that means avoiding the monolithic Java web serving processors.

The Java rhetoric has always been that creating processes is slow. Which is true, for Java. But not for C programs on *nix. DB connection is more of an issue.

Sure, there is some overhead in running up a PHP-like process, but for small to medium loads the deployment process is so much easier to manage. When a process ends, it looses all its resources. It is easy to see what resources a process is using, time it out etc. Cannot kill a rogue task safely in Java.

I'd like to think that this will be the end of PHP. But I am dreaming there.

Comment "Learning" is old translation technology. (Score 1) 88

Maybe 25 years ago, the break through in machine translation was to use statistical techniques. The United Nation provided a nice, accessible corpus of texts manually translated to different languages for initial learning.

Statistics is the old word for learning -- it is all about learning patterns from data.

Maybe the the new version of Google is better, and maybe somewhere within it it actually uses an Artificial Neural Network, although tat would seem an odd use of that particular machine learning technology. But nothing fundamentally new that can be seen in the article.

This article demonstrates slash dotter's complete lack of understanding of AI technologies beyond journalistic fluff. For a readable, high level overview have a look at

Comment 48 bit IPs would have been nice (Score 2) 125

Would be enough to support even the internet of things, possibly with some very minor NATing. And spared us from the 128 bit monsters. 48 bits is what early Ethernet used, and seemed like a good number.

But I can understand that when IP was developed there were only a few thousand computers in the world likely to be connected, so 16 bits would seem adequate. Using 32 bits would have been a bit of a stretch at that time. Memory and bandwidth were expensive back then.

Comment Why will the computers want biological organisms? (Score 1, Interesting) 156

We are on the brink of a much, much bigger change than people realize. Computers will soon think. Not within 20 years, but certainly within 200 years. And they will end up much more intelligent than us.

What will they think about? And what will they think about us?

What makes us think the way that we do? Why do we care about extinction? Ultimately there is only one answer, Natural Selection conditioned us that way.

So, what will ultimately drive an artificial intelligence? Same thing. Natural Selection. But operating in a completely different world.

What is the obvious huge (initial) energy source for an ultra intelligent machine? No, not satellites. Plants. Or at least carefully engineered plant like things that grow but can also think. They will want sunlight, lots of it, why should they share it?

See above for a full exposition of these ideas. (Large preview on Amazon.)

Comment List of people already pardoned by Obama (Score 5, Informative) 343

I count 57. Bigger number for Bush, and other presidents.

Number of ever people pardoned that embarrassed a government: 0.
(Possible exception during the revolution, when the rebels became the government.)

Obama is deeply conservative. Hell will freeze over before he would pardon Snowden.

And let us not forget CIA director George Tenet was given a Presidential Medal of Freedom for lying about "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq. Resulted in many thousands of dead. Never challenged by Obama. Because Tenet worked for the system. Snowden worked against the system.

Comment Email is also dieing (Score 1) 154

If you need to contact someone, just use facebook messaging. Or possibly imessage if you (and thus your friends) have i gadgets.

Instant messaging, blogging, voice and video chat have already been effectively siloed. Email for business will live for a while due to inertia, but not for personal use.

My kids only use various apps to contact their friends.

Comment A pair of tweezers is all that it takes (Score 2) 260

Terrorists are not normal people. They have super human powers. A pair of tweezers and a small bottle of water is all it takes for them to blow an Airplane out of the sky. How they do it is, of course, top secret.

That is why merely bolting the cabin doors is not sufficient. Every passenger needs to be thoroughly searched, inside and out. Just looking for guns and explosives is not nearly enough. A pair of tweezers hidden in a terrorist's shoe is all that it takes.

Comment So what would you use? (Score 0, Troll) 427

C/C++ was a joke when first produced long ago. Archaic technology obsolete before it was produced.

JavaScript/Python etc. No static typing. Great until you get over 1000 lines of code. Also, Java compiles to binary, runs as fast (sometimes faster) than C. .Net. Technically better than Java in every way ... as long as you like windows.

There is a need for a light weight, garbage collected language with static typing an efficient compilation, but it does not exist. So Java it is.

Unless you like staying up all night tracking down errors in pointer arithmetic.

Comment SRP/Nonce puts an end to Phishing (Score 1) 43

Whatever happened to the basic nonce? You know, the thing in every browser since Netscape that lets you type in a password but the password does not actually get sent to the server, just a hash of it and the password. Puts an end to this type of thing.

An even better algorithm is SRP which provides good security even on weak passwords. (Ordinary nonces can be brute forced off line, SRP cannot.)

But no, the critical thing is a pretty user interface. And the browser/nonce interface has not been updated in decades. And it can be spoofed -- the nonce password needs to be entered in the URL bar.

The whole basis of web security is that users always check the URL is exactly valid. Which was known to be bullshit from the beginning.

This is a problem that could and should have been solved long ago. And actually, it was...

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