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What AI Experts Think About the Existential Risk of AI

Slashdot.org - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 11:32md
DaveS7 writes: There's been no shortage of high profile people weighing in on the subject of AI lately. We've heard warnings from Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Stephen Hawking while Woz seems to have a more ambivalent opinion on the subject. The Epoch Times has compiled a list of academics in the field of AI research who are offering their own opinions. From the article: "A 2014 survey conducted by Vincent Müller and Nick Bostrom of 170 of the leading experts in the field found that a full 18 percent believe that if a machine super-intelligence did emerge, it would unleash an 'existential catastrophe' on humanity. A further 13 percent said that advanced AI would be a net negative for humans, and only a slight majority said it would be a net positive."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Michael Meeks: 2015-05-24 Sunday.

Planet GNOME - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 11:00md
  • Up late; read news, watched fascinating SpaceX GPU compute talk. J. and babes home in the afternoon; nasty cellulitis infected bite in leg - hmm. Out to Histon Baptist church for an afternoon service; pizza; bed early.

Randall Ross: Introducing the Juju Charmer

Planet UBUNTU - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 10:24md

Today, Ubuntu Vancouver is proud to release our newest ubuntu-themed cocktail: the Juju Charmer!

The Juju Charmer cocktail has been meticulously crafted to meet the highest quality standards of the Juju Charmers team and community Charmers everywhere. After a full development cycle including rigorous testing, an alpha, and a beta, and numerous reviews we've refined this cocktail to match the quality and consistency that one would expect from the best Charms. Best practices distilled and mixed!

We've also worked extra hard to ensure that the taste and colour of this beautiful cocktail is something that you, your friends, and your family can enjoy regardless of whether they've ever heard of ubuntu or juju.

In fact, when you enjoy a Juju Charmer together, you might just find that they get quite curious about the world's friendliest and most collaborative development project. They may even get curious enough to sample the freedom that you enjoy every day, thanks to ubuntu and juju.

So raise a glass and cheer "Juju" (joo-joo), or even "Ubuntu" (oo-boon-too) and watch heads turn. Watch people wonder what all the fuss is about.

A full-resolution image suitable for printing is available at http://www.ubuntuvancouver.org/jujucharmer. Why not print a few thousand of these cards and hand them out to bartenders everywhere? That's how ubuntu spreads.

:~$juju deploy spin

Enjoy!

--
Special thanks go to Joe Liau, co-creator.
The creators wish to thank Marco Ceppi for his superb choice of rum and also Canonical's Juju Ecosystems team for graciously providing feedback and for adding enough units to ensure spin!

Microsoft Reportedly May Acquire BlackBerry

Slashdot.org - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 10:21md
New submitter techtsp writes: Microsoft is just one one of many companies reportedly looking to get a bigger piece of the enterprise mobile market by buying BlackBerry. Reports claim that Chinese firms including Huawei, Lenovo and Xiaomi are also interested in picking up BlackBerry following the company's recent return to profitability. This report comes on the heels of BlackBerry announcing it is cutting jobs across its global business units in an attempt to consolidate its software, hardware and applications business.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Wouter Verhelst: Fixing CVE-2015-0847 in Debian

Planet Debian - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 9:18md

Because of CVE-2015-0847 and CVE-2013-7441, two security issues in nbd-server, I've had to updates for nbd, for which there are various supported versions: upstream, unstable, stable, oldstable, oldoldstable, and oldoldstable-backports. I've just finished uploading security fixes for the various supported versions of nbd-server in Debian. There're various relevant archives, and unfortunately it looks like they all have their own way of doing things regarding security:

  • For squeeze-lts (oldoldstable), you check out the secure-testing repository, run a script from that repository that generates a DLA number and email template, commit the result, and send a signed mail (whatever format) to the relevant mailinglist. Uploads go to ftp-master with squeeze-lts as target distribution.
  • For backports, you send a mail to the team alias requesting a BSA number, do the upload, and write the mail (based on a template that you need to modify yourself), which you then send (inline signed) to the relevant mailinglist. Uploads go to ftp-master with $dist-backports as target distribution, but you need to be in a particular ACL to be allowed to do so. However, due to backports policy, packages should never be in backports before they are in the distribution from which they are derived -- so I refrained from uploading to backports until the regular security update had been done. Not sure whether that's strictly required, but I didn't think it would do harm; even so, that did mean the procedure for backports was even more involved.
  • For the distributions supported by the security team (stable and oldstable, currently), you prepare the upload yourself, ask permission from the security team (by sending a debdiff), do the upload, and then ask the security team to send out the email. Uploads go to security-master, which implies that you may have to use dpkg-buildpackage's -sa parameter in order to make sure that the orig.tar.gz is actually in the security archive.
  • For unstable and upstream, you Just Upload(TM), because it's no different from a regular release.

While I understand how the differences between the various approaches have come to exist, I'm not sure I understand why they are necessary. Clearly, there's some room for improvement here.

As anyone who reads the above may see, doing an upload for squeeze-lts is in fact the easiest of the three "stable" approaches, since no intermediate steps are required. While I'm not about to advocate dropping all procedures everywhere, a streamlining of them might be appropriate.

India Ends Russian Space Partnership and Will Land On the Moon Alone

Slashdot.org - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 9:10md
An anonymous reader writes: The Russian space program has experienced numerous accidents and delays recently, leading Indian officials to call into question its long term viability. Now India has decided to pull out of a partnership with Russia for a mission to the moon. According to the Examiner: "Previously, India was scheduled to launch a Russian lander on one of its rockets and send it to the lunar South Pole. Now, according to a story in Russia and India Report, India will go it alone, building its own lander to touch down on the lunar surface within the next few years.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Dell Precision M3800 Mobile Workstation Packs Thunderbolt 2, Quadro, IGZO2 Panel

Slashdot.org - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 7:58md
MojoKid writes: Dell recently revamped their M3800 model to better entice graphic designers, engineers, and other high-end users who often work in the field, with a true mobile workstation that's both sufficiently equipped to handle professional grade workloads and is thin and light to boot. Dell claims the M3800 is the "world's thinnest and lightest 15-inch mobile workstation" and at 4.15 pounds, it could very well be. In addition, ISV tools certifications matter for workstation types, so the M3800 gets its pixel pushing muscle from an NVIDIA Quadro K1100M GPU with 2GB of GDDR5 memory. Other notable specs include an Intel Core i7-4712HQ quad-core processor, 16GB of DDR3L memory, and a 256GB mSATA SSD. One of the new additions to the M3800 is a Thunderbolt 2 port with transfer speeds of up to 20Gbps that allows for the simultaneous viewing/editing and backing up of raw 4K video. Finally, the M3800 is equipped with a 3840x2160 native resolution IGZO2 display, which equates to a 60 percent increase in pixel density over a current gen MacBook Pro with Retina display. Performance-wise, the M3800 holds up pretty strong with standard productivity workloads, though as you can image it excels more-so in graphics rendering throughput.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Al-Qaeda's Job Application Form Revealed

Slashdot.org - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 6:52md
HughPickens.com writes: ABC News reports that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has released a list of English-language material recovered during the raid the killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan in 2011 including one document dubbed "Instructions to Applicants," that would not be entirely out of place for an entry-level position at any American company – except for questions like the one about the applicant's willingness to blow themselves up. The questionnaire includes basic personal details, family history, marital status, and education level. It asks that applicants "answer the required information accurately and truthfully" and, "Please write clearly and legibly." Questions include: Is the applicant expert in chemistry, communications or any other field? Do they have a family member in the government who would cooperate with al Qaeda? Have they received any military training? Finally, it asks what the would-be jihadist would like to accomplish and, "Do you wish to execute a suicide operation?" For the final question, the application asks would-be killers that if they were to become martyrs, who should al Qaeda contact? The corporate tone of the application is jarringly amusing, writes Amanda Taub, but it also hints at a larger truth: a terrorist organization like al-Qaeda is a large bureaucratic organization, albeit one in the "business" of mass-murdering innocent people. Jon Sopel, the North American editor from BBC News, joked that the application "looks like it has been written by someone who has spent too long working for Deloitte or Accenture, but bureaucracy exists in every walk of life – so why not on the path to violent jihad?"

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Shivam Mishra: GNOME Shell It is!!

Planet GNOME - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 6:36md

It’s been a while since my last post, I was busy with my university exams and didn’t get much time to work on my GSoC project. But during whatever time I got I tried to get myself familiar with GNOME Shell coding style and get a hang of the way it works, since GNOME Shell is the main module I will be working with in this project. But things weren’t as simple as I initially thought them to be. It has been a struggle trying to find out some structured documentation for GNOME Shell code-base mainly the JavaScript part.

After a lot of searching I realized that although nothing much directly related to JavaScript is available but it’s not a complete blackout, there are some ways and materials available which can provide a pretty good understanding when put together. So here I would like to mention my findings, it might not be a complete list but I would try to cover most of the things that I found:

Then next is GNOME Wiki which also contains a lot of information.

It’s the GNOME Wiki for GNOME Shell, each link inside that is worth a visit but some of the most important one’s are:

So after going through all these documents I was able to gain a pretty good idea of the mapping between the libraries written in C and used from JavaScript in GNOME Shell. These documents provided me a great deal of information and helped in a lot in understanding GNOME Shell’s JavaScript binding better.

If you have some more information or link related to this context please drop a comment. :-)


Colin King: comparing cpuburn and stress-ng

Planet UBUNTU - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 6:03md
The cpuburn package contains several hand crafted assembler "burn" programs to load x86 processors and to maximize heat production to stress a system.  This also is the intention of the stress-ng "cpu" stress test which contains a variety of methods to stress CPUs with a wide range of instruction mixes.   Stress-ng is written in C and relies on the the compiler to generate efficient code to hopefully load the CPU.  So how does stress-ng compared to the hand crafted cpuburn suite of programs on modern processors?

Since there is a correlation between power consumed and heat generated, I took the liberty to measure the CPU package power consumption measures using the Intel RAPL interface as one way of comparing cpuburn and stress-ng.  Recent versions of powerstat supports RAPL, so I ran each stressor for 120 seconds and took CPU package power measurements every 4 seconds over this interval with powerstat.

So, the cpuburn "burn" programs do well, however, some of the stress-ng CPU stress methods seem to do better.   The best stress-ng CPU methods are: ackermann, callfunc, hanoi, decimal128, dither, int128decimal128, trig and zeta.  It appears that ackermann, callfunc and hanoi do well because these are very localised deeply recursive function calls, so I expect register save/restores and some stack activity is the main power consumer.  The rest exercise the integer and floating point units and memory load/stores.

As it stands, a handful of stress-ng CPU stressors aren't as good as cpuburn. What is noticeable is that burnBX on an i3120M seems to do rather well in terms of loading the CPU.

One conclusion to draw from this is that modern C compilers such as gcc (in this case, gcc 4.9.2) with a suitably chosen mix of stores, loads and integer/floating point operations can outperform hand written assembler in terms of loading the full CPU package.  When I have a little more time, I will try and repeat this experiment with clang and gcc 5

Google and Gates-Backed Khan Academy Introduces "Grit"-Based Classroom Funding

Slashdot.org - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 5:46md
theodp writes: Their intentions are no doubt good, but some will be troubled by Google and Khan Academy's recently-concluded LearnStorm initiative, which pitted kids-against-kids, schools-against-schools, and cities-against-cities in a 3-month learning challenge for prizes based not only on students' mastery of math skills on Khan Academy, but also their perceived 'hustle' (aka 'grit'). "Points are earned by mastering math skills and also for taking on challenging new concepts and persevering," explained a Khan Academy FAQ. A blog entry further explained, "They've earned points and prizes not only for mastering math skills but also for showing 'hustle,' a metric we created to measure grit, perseverance, and growth. They competed over 200,000 hours of learning and 13.6 million standards-aligned math problems. In addition, thanks to the generosity of Google.org, DonorsChoose.org, and Comcast's Internet Essentials, 34 underserved schools unlocked new devices for their classrooms and free home internet service for eligible families, increasing student access to online learning tools like Khan Academy." Apparently funded by a $2 million Google grant, the Google, Khan Academy, and DonorsChoose grit-based classroom funding comes on the heels of the same organizations' gender-based classroom funding initiative. Supported by some of the world's wealthiest individuals and corporations, Khan Academy's Board members include a Google Board member (Diane Green), spouse of a Google Board member (Ann Doerr), and the Managing Partner of Bill Gates' bgC3 (Larry Cohen); former Board members include Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

<em>A Beautiful Mind</em> Mathematician John F. Nash Jr. Dies

Slashdot.org - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 4:40md
Rick Zeman writes: John F. Nash Jr. revolutionized the mathematical field of game theory and was given a mind that was unique and deeply troubled. He became known to most people by the movie about his life, A Beautiful Mind. Dr. Nash died, along with his wife, May 24 in a two-car accident on the New Jersey Turnpike. The Washington Post reports: "In 1994, when Dr. Nash received the Nobel Prize in economics, the award marked not only an intellectual triumph but also a personal one. More than four decades earlier, as a Princeton University graduate student, he had produced a 27-page thesis on game theory — in essence, the applied mathematical study of decision-making in situations of conflict — that would become one of the most celebrated works in the field. Before the academic world could fully recognize his achievement, Dr. Nash descended into a condition eventually diagnosed as schizophrenia. For the better part of 20 years, his once supremely rational mind was beset by delusions and hallucinations. By the time Dr. Nash emerged from his disturbed state, his ideas had influenced economics, foreign affairs, politics, biology — virtually every sphere of life fueled by competition. But he been absent from professional life for so long that some scholars assumed he was dead."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Soft Sensors Map Skin Mechanics

Slashdot.org - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 3:33md
MTorrice writes: An international research team has built electronic, flexible patches that can measure the mechanical properties of skin and other biological tissue. The sensors consist of nanoribbons of a piezoelectric material, lead zirconate titanate, which deforms when jolted with electrical energy and, conversely, produces electricity when it's deformed. The researchers mapped the skin elasticity of dozens of patients in the clinic, building up quantitative data on healthy and damaged tissue. The information could help doctors better assess conditions such as dermatitis and skin cancer. The team believes that similar sensors could be implanted inside the body to monitor blood vessels and other soft tissue for damage or dysfunction.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Universe's Dark Ages May Not Be Invisible After All

Slashdot.org - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 2:27md
StartsWithABang writes: The Universe had two periods where light was abundant, separated by the cosmic dark ages. The first came at the moment of the hot Big Bang, as the Universe was flooded with (among the matter, antimatter and everything else imaginable) a sea of high-energy photons, including a large amount of visible light. As the Universe expanded and cooled, eventually the cosmic microwave background was emitted, leaving behind the barely visible, cooling photons. It took between 50 and 100 million years for the first stars to turn on, so in between these two epochs of the Universe being flooded with light, we had the dark ages. Yet the dark ages may not be totally invisible, as the forbidden spin-flip-transition of hydrogen may illuminate this time period after all.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Nerve Cells Made From Blood Cells

Slashdot.org - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 11:31pd
BarbaraHudson writes: CBC reports that Canadian scientists are turning blood into nerve cells. They do so by manipulating stem cells that have been taken from a patient's blood, eventually switching them into neural stem cells (abstract). These can then give rise to multiple different nerve cells suitable for use in the rest of the body. Team leader Mick Bhatia said, "We can actually take a patient's blood sample, as routinely performed in a doctor's office, and with it we can produce one million sensory neurons. We can also make central nervous system cells." They're working on turning the neural stem cells into motor neurons for treatment of diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

2.6.32.66: longterm

Kernel Linux - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 10:10pd
Version:2.6.32.66 (longterm) Released:2015-05-24 Source:linux-2.6.32.66.tar.xz PGP Signature:linux-2.6.32.66.tar.sign Patch:patch-2.6.32.66.xz (Incremental) ChangeLog:ChangeLog-2.6.32.66
Kategoritë: Kernel Linux

Software Patch Fixes Mars Curiosity Rover's Auto-focus Glitch

Slashdot.org - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 8:20pd
An anonymous reader writes: Scientists from Los Alamos National Laboratory have successfully uploaded and applied a software patch to NASA's Curiosity Rover on Mars. The patch fixes a focusing problem that cropped up in November when the laser that helps to focus one of its cameras failed. "Without this laser rangefinder, the ChemCam instrument was somewhat blind," said Roger Wiens, ChemCam principal investigator at Los Alamos. "The main laser that creates flashes of plasma when it analyzes rocks and soils up to 25 feet [7.6 meters] from the rover was not affected, but the laser analyses only work when the telescope projecting the laser light to the target is in focus." Before the fix, scientists had to shoot images at nine different focus settings to distill a decent set of data. Now, they say the new software results in better images in a single shot than even before the laser broke down. The program that runs the instrument is only 40 kilobytes in size.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Amazon Decides To Start Paying Tax In the UK

Slashdot.org - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 5:16pd
Mark Wilson sends word that Amazon will begin paying corporate taxes on profits made in the UK. The company had previously been recording most of its UK sales as being in Luxembourg, which let them avoid the higher taxes in the UK. But at the end of last year, UK regulators decided they were losing too much tax revenue because of this practice, so they began implementing legislation that would impose a 25% tax on corporations routing their profits elsewhere. Amazon is the first large corporation to make the change, and it's expected to put pressure on Google, Microsoft, Apple, and others to do the same.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Russ Allbery: git-pbuilder 1.34

Planet Debian - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 2:59pd

Long time without a blog post. My time got eaten by work and travel and work-related travel. Hopefully more content soon.

This is just a quick note about the release of version 1.34 of the git-pbuilder script (which at some point really should just be rewritten in Python and incorporated entirely into the git-buildpackage package). Guido Günther added support for creating chroots for LTS distributions.

You can get the latest version from my scripts page.

Study: Science Still Seen As a Male Profession

Slashdot.org - Dje, 24/05/2015 - 2:04pd
sciencehabit sends news of a study published in the Journal of Educational Psychology which found that science is still perceived as a predominantly male profession across the world. The results were broken out by country, and while the overall trend stayed consistent throughout (PDF), there were variations in perception. For explicit bias: "Countries where this association was strongest included South Africa and Japan. The United States ranked in the middle, with a score similar to Austria, Mexico, and Brazil. Portugal, Spain, and Canada were among the countries where the explicit bias was weakest." For implicit bias: "Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, and Sweden were among the countries with the highest implicit bias scores. The United States again came in at the middle of the pack, scoring similarly to Singapore. Portugal, Spain, and Mexico had among the lowest implicit bias scores, though the respondents still associated science more with men than with women."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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