By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
In the era of AI superpowers, Finland is no match for the US and China. So the Scandinavian country is taking a different tack. From a report: It has embarked on an ambitious challenge to teach the basics of AI to 1% of its population, or 55,000 people. Once it reaches that goal, it plans to go further, increasing the share of the population with AI know-how. The scheme is all part of a greater effort to establish Finland as a leader in applying and using the technology.
Citizens take an online course that is specifically designed for non-technology experts with no programming experience. The government is now rolling it out nationally. As of mid-December, more than 10,500 people, including at least 4,000 outside of Finland's borders, had graduated from the course. More than 250 companies have also pledged to train part or all of their workforce.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's up-next department
The iconic Motorola RAZR might be making a comeback as a $1,500 foldable screen smartphone, and it could launch as early as February, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. From a report: The price point puts the handset north of even Apple and Samsung's flagships, at $1,500. Of course, there isn't really a standardized price point for the emerging foldables category yet. The Royole FlexPai starts at around $1,300 -- not cheap, especially for a product from a relative unknown. And Samsung, the next on the list to embrace the foldable, has never been afraid to hit a premium price point. Ultimately, $1,500 could well be standard for these sorts of products. Whether or not consumers are willing to pay that, however, is another question entirely.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
An anonymous reader shares a report: For more than two months after employees at IBM moved into a Manhattan building managed by office space giant WeWork, frequent elevator problems forced workers to climb the stairs of the 11-story building and prompted complaints to the company. One of the landlords behind the building was no ordinary owner: It was Adam Neumann, WeWork's chief executive, who leased the property to WeWork after buying it [Editor's note: the link may be paywalled; alternative source], according to people familiar with the situation.
Mr. Neumann has made millions of dollars by leasing multiple properties in which he has an ownership stake back to WeWork, one of the country's most valuable startups. Multiple investors of the privately held company said the arrangement concerned them as a potential conflict of interest in which the CEO could benefit on rents or other terms with the company. [...] WeWork, which was recently valued at $47 billion by investor SoftBank, signs long-term leases for office space with landlords, then subleases the space on a short-term basis to companies. Mr. Neumann, the 39-year-old executive who founded WeWork in 2010, is WeWork's largest individual shareholder and has voting control over the company.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sharing-is-caring department
hackingbear writes: "China exchanged data with NASA on its recent mission to land a Chinese spacecraft on the far side of the moon, the Chinese space agency said Monday, in what was reportedly the first such collaboration since a Cold-War-era-like American law banned joint space projects with China that do not have prior congressional approval," reports New York Post. "The Chinese space agency's deputy director, Wu Yanhua, said NASA shared information about its lunar orbiter satellite in hopes of monitoring the landing of the Chang'e 4 spacecraft. China, in turn, shared the time and coordinates of Chang'e 4s scheduled landing. He added that while NASA's satellite did not catch the precise moment of landing, it took photographs of the area afterward." In response to the question about why would China allow this exchange given that the U.S. has put technological obstacles to China's lunar exploration program and refused to issue visas to Chinese experts, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said, "China could have chosen not to offer the relevant information to the U.S., but as a major country, we should act with the posture and bearing of a major country. I believe what Mr. Wu said has shown the confidence, openness, and broadmindedness of Chinese aerospace engineers as well as scientists and researchers and China's confident and open posture as a major country."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's more-data-more-problems department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Guardian: Scientist Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished. His return to the Luquillo rainforest in Puerto Rico after 35 years was to reveal an appalling discovery. The insect population that once provided plentiful food for birds throughout the mountainous national park had collapsed. On the ground, 98% had gone. Up in the leafy canopy, 80% had vanished. The most likely culprit by far is global warming. "It was just astonishing," Lister said. "Before, both the sticky ground plates and canopy plates would be covered with insects. You'd be there for hours picking them off the plates at night. But now the plates would come down after 12 hours in the tropical forest with a couple of lonely insects trapped or none at all."
"We are essentially destroying the very life support systems that allow us to sustain our existence on the planet, along with all the other life on the planet," Lister said. "It is just horrifying to watch us decimate the natural world like this." Lister calls these impacts a "bottom-up trophic cascade", in which the knock-on effects of the insect collapse surge up through the food chain. "I don't think most people have a systems view of the natural world," he said. "But it's all connected and when the invertebrates are declining the entire food web is going to suffer and degrade. It is a system-wide effect." To understand the global scale of an insect collapse that has so far only been glimpsed, Lister says, there is an urgent need for much more research in many more habitats. "More data, that is my mantra," he said.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's not-as-harmless-as-it-seems department
If you've spent any time on social media lately, you've probably noticed a trend where users are posting their then-and-now profile pictures, mostly from 10 years ago and this year. While this "10 Year Challenge" appears harmless, founder of KO Insights and the author of Tech Humanist, Kate O'Neill, says all this data "could be mined to train facial recognition algorithms on age progression and age recognition." She adds: "It's worth considering the depth and breadth of the personal data we share without reservations." From the report: Imagine that you wanted to train a facial recognition algorithm on age-related characteristics, and, more specifically, on age progression (e.g. how people are likely to look as they get older). Ideally, you'd want a broad and rigorous data set with lots of people's pictures. It would help if you knew they were taken a fixed number of years apart -- say, 10 years. Sure, you could mine Facebook for profile pictures and look at posting dates or EXIF data. But that whole set of profile pictures could end up generating a lot of useless noise. People don't reliably upload pictures in chronological order, and it's not uncommon for users to post pictures of something other than themselves as a profile picture. A quick glance through my Facebook friends' profile pictures shows a friend's dog who just died, several cartoons, word images, abstract patterns, and more. In other words, it would help if you had a clean, simple, helpfully-labeled set of then-and-now photos.
< article continued at Slashdot's not-as-harmless-as-it-seems department
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By BeauHD from Slashdot's bug-bounty department
The Model 3 will be entered into Pwn2Own this year, the first time a car has been included in the annual high-profile hacking contest. The prize for the winning security researchers: a Model 3. TechCrunch reports: Pwn2Own, which is in its 12th year and run by Trend Micro's Zero Day Initiative, is known as one of the industry's toughest hacking contests. ZDI has awarded more than $4 million over the lifetime of the program. Pwn2Own's spring vulnerability research competition, Pwn2Own Vancouver, will be held March 20 to 22 and will feature five categories, including web browsers, virtualization software, enterprise applications, server-side software and the new automotive category. The targets, chosen by ZDI, include software products from Apple, Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, Oracle and VMware. And, of course, Tesla . Pwn2Own is run in conjunction with the CanSec West conference. There will be "more than $900,000 worth of prizes available for attacks that subvert a variety of [the Model 3's] onboard systems," reports Ars Technica. "The biggest prize will be $250,000 for hacks that execute code on the car's getaway, autopilot, or VCSEC." "A gateway is the central hub that interconnects the car's powertrain, chassis, and other components and processes the data they send. The autopilot is a driver assistant feature that helps control lane changing, parking, and other driving functions. Short for Vehicle Controller Secondary, VCSEC is responsible for security functions, including the alarm."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's insider-trading department
Federal prosecutors unveiled charges in an international stock-trading scheme that involved hacking into the Securities and Exchange Commission's EDGAR corporate filing system. "The scheme allegedly netted $4.1 million for fraudsters from the U.S., Russia and Ukraine," reports CNBC. "Using 157 corporate earnings announcements, the group was able to execute trades on material nonpublic information. Most of those filings were 'test filings,' which corporations upload to the SEC's website." From the report: The scheme involves seven individuals and operated from May to at least October 2016. Prosecutors said the traders were part of the same group that previously hacked into newswire services. Carpenito, in a press conference Tuesday, said the thefts included thousands of valuable, private business documents. "After hacking into the EDGAR system they stole drafts of [these] reports before the information was disseminated to the general public," he said.
Those documents included quarterly earnings, mergers and acquisitions plans and other sensitive news, and the criminals were able to view it before it was released as a public filing, thus affecting the individual companies' stock prices. The alleged hackers executed trades on the reports and also sold them to other illicit traders. One inside trader made $270,000 in a single day, according to Carpenito. The hackers used malicious software sent via email to SEC employees. Then, after planting the software on the SEC computers, they sent the information they were able to gather from the EDGAR system to servers in Lithuania, where they either used it or distributed the data to other criminals, Carpenito said.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's privacy-first department
Search engine DuckDuckGo now displays location information from Apple Maps in its search results. "DuckDuckGo now uses Apple Maps both for small maps in location-related search results and for larger, interactive search results that appear in a separate maps tab," reports CNET. "That replaces a combination including MapBox, OpenStreetMap and homegrown technology." From the report: The top reason DuckDuckGo argues you should try it is that it doesn't keep any personal information on you and what you searched for, unlike search leader Google. That dovetails nicely with Apple's sustained push to improve online privacy. But maintaining your privacy can be tough when you're looking for location-related information. DuckDuckGo says it's struck a balance, though. It doesn't send personally identifiable information such as your computer's Internet Protocol network address, to Apple or other third parties, DuckDuckGo said. "For local searches, where your approximate location information is sent by your browser to us, we discard it immediately after use," the company added.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's contrary-to-popular-belief department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: There have long been anecdotal reports that the eyes of the Mona Lisa -- Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci's most famous painting -- sometimes seem to follow viewers as they move around the artwork. The phenomenon is even called the "Mona Lisa effect" because of it. But a new study published in the journal i-Perception found that she's really "looking" to the right-hand side of her audience. "There is no doubt about the existence of the Mona Lisa effect," the authors wrote. "It just does not occur with the Mona Lisa herself."
This was a small study, with just 24 subjects. All were asked to look at a high-resolution recreation of the Mona Lisa on a computer monitor, with a folding ruler placed between them and the screen to track viewing distance. Subjects would signal where they perceived Mona Lisa's gaze met the ruler. The researchers sampled 15 sections of the famous portrait, ranging from the Mona Lisa's full head to just her eyes and nose, and they showed subjects each image three times in random order. They also changed the ruler's distance from the monitor halfway through the sessions. Based on the more than 2,000 individual assessments, they found no evidence of the Mona Lisa effect with Leonardo's masterpiece. "We demonstrated that Mona Lisa gazes to her left-hand side [the viewer's right] from about 35.5 cm inside pictorial space, and 14.4 degrees to the viewer's right-hand side in real space," the authors wrote. "Thus, Mona Lisa does not fulfill the premise of the Mona Lisa effect. She does not gaze at the viewer."Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's beauty-is-in-the-eye-of-the-beholder department
"Motherboard spoke to the Barcelona Supercomputing Center about how it outfitted a deconsecrated 19th century chapel to host the MareNostrum 4 -- the 25th most powerful supercomputer in the world," writes Slashdot reader dmoberhaus. From the report: Heralded as the "most beautiful data center in the world," the MareNostrum supercomputer came online in 2005, but was originally hosted in a different building at the university. Meaning "our sea" in Latin, the original MareNostrum was capable of performing 42.35 teraflops -- 42.35 trillion operations per second -- making it one of the most powerful supercomputers in Europe at the time. Yet the MareNostrum rightly became known for its aesthetics as much as its computing power. According to Gemma Maspoch, head of communications for Barcelona Supercomputing Center, which oversees the MareNostrum facility, the decision to place the computer in a giant glass box inside a chapel was ultimately for practical reasons.
"We were in need of hundreds of square meters without columns and the capacity to support 44.5 tons of weight," Maspoch told me in an email. "At the time there was not much available space at the university and the only room that satisfied our requirements was the Torre Girona chapel. We did not doubt it for a moment and we installed a supercomputer in it." According to Maspoch, the chapel required relatively few modifications to host the supercomputer, such as reinforcing the soil around the church so that it would hold the computer's weight and designing a glass box that would house the computer and help cool it. The supercomputer has been beefed up over the years. Most recently, the fourth iteration came online in 2017 "with a peak computing capacity of 11 thousand trillion operations per second (11.15 petaflops)," reports Motherboard. "MareNostrum 4 is spread over 48 server racks comprising a total of 3,456 nodes. A node consists of two Intel chips, each of which has 24 processors."Read Replies (0)