By timothy from Slashdot's doesn't-all-this-artificiality-annoy-you? department
TechCrunch reports that Google has acquired
London-based artificial intelligence firm Deep Mind
. TechCrunch notes that the purchase price, as reported by The Information, was somewhere north of $500 million
, while a report at PC World puts the purchase price lower
, at mere $400 million. Whatever the price, the acquisition means that Google has beaten out Facebook, which reportedly was also interested in Deep Mind. Exactly what the startup will bring to Google isn't clear, though it seems to fit well with the emphasis on AI that the company underscored with its hiring of futurist Ray Kurzweil:"DeepMind's site currently only has a landing page, which says that it is 'a cutting edge artificial intelligence company' to build general-purpose learning algorithms for simulations, e-commerce, and games. As of December, the startup had about 75 employees, reports The Information. In 2012, Carnegie Mellon professor Larry Wasserman wrote that the 'startup is trying to build a system that thinks. This was the original dream of AI. As Shane [Legg] explained to me, there has been huge progress in both neuroscience and ML and their goal is to bring these things together. I thought it sounded crazy until he told me the list of famous billionaires who have invested in the company.'"Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's good-work-if-you-can-get-it department
The L.A. Times reports that a group of students and parents, fed up with what they see as overarching job security in California schools, are suing in the hopes of making harder for poor teachers to stay on the books. From the article:"The lawsuit, filed by the nonprofit, advocacy group Students Matter, contends that these education laws are a violation of the Constitution's equal protection guarantee because they do not ensure that all students have access to an adequate education.
Vergara versus California, filed on behalf of nine students and their families, seeks to revamp a dismissal process that the plaintiffs say is too costly and time consuming, lengthen the time it takes for instructors to gain tenure and dismantle the 'last hired, first fired' policies that fail to consider teacher effectiveness.
The lawsuit aims to protect the rights of students, teachers and school districts against a "gross disparity" in educational opportunity, lawyers for the plaintiffs said." Perhaps related
.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's he-oughtta-know department
VentureBeat is one of the many outlets featuring recently surfaced video of Steve Jobs doing an early demo of the Macintosh
, 30 years ago
. I remember first seeing one of these Macs in 1984 at a tiny computer store in bustling downtown Westminster, Maryland, and mostly hogging it while other customers (or, I should say, actual
customers) tapped their feet impatiently.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's just-tell-me-I'll-pass-on-the-message department
An anonymous reader points out this recently published study (PDF)
on detecting malicious (or at least suspicious) Tor exit relays
. From their conclusions: "After developing a scanner, we closely monitored all ~1000 exit relays over a period of four months. Wed discovered 25 relays which were either outright malicious or simply misconfigured. Interestingly, the majority of the attacks were coordinated instead of being isolated actions of independent individuals. Our results further suggest that the attackers made an active effort to remain under the radar and delay detection."
One of the authors, Philipp Winter, wrote a followup blog post
to help clarify what the paper's findings mean for Tor users, including this clarification: "First, it's important to understand that 25 relays in four months isn't a lot. It is ultimately a very small fraction of the Tor network. Also, it doesn't mean that 25 out of 1,000 relays are malicious or misconfigured (we weren't very clear on that in the paper). We have yet to calculate the churn rate of exit relays which is the rate at which relays join and leave the network. 1,000 is really just the approximate number of exit relays at any given point in time. So the actual number of exit relays we ended up testing in four months is certainly higher than that. As a user, that means that you will not see many malicious relays 'in the wild."Read Replies (0)