By manishs from Slashdot's smart-bots-are-coming department
A small company called Viv on Monday unveiled a "frictionless", artificially intelligent software also called Viv, which understands complicated human queries and connects with other apps to get your work done more conveniently and efficiently. Viv was demonstrated live at TechCrunch's Disrupt NY conference on Monday. Dag Kittlaus, co-founder of Viv, and creator of Siri, said that the idea behind it is to open the app to all developers so that they could leverage their technology. (Interestingly, under the realm of Apple, Siri, five years since first launched, is still not open for developers.) Ben Popper, reports for The Verge: The major difference between Siri and Viv is that the latter is a far more open platform. One of the biggest frustrations with Siri is that it has only a small number of tasks it can complete. For the vast multitude of requests or queries, Siri will default to a generic web search. Viv's approach is much closer to Amazon's Alexa or Facebook's Messenger bots, offering the ability to connect with third party merchants and vendors so that it can execute on requests to purchase goods or book reservations. The company's tagline -- intelligence becomes a utility -- nicely sums up its goal of powering the conversational AI inside a multitude of gadgets and digital services.Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's sharing,-oversharing,-crossing-the-line department
Next time you share pictures of your children on Facebook, you will want to take their permission before doing that. French authorities have warned parents in France of fines of up to $50,000 and a year in prison for publishing intimate photos of their children on social media without permission. From a Guardian report: It's a development that could give pause for thought for many parents used to sharing details of their children's lives across social media. A 2015 study by internet company Nominet found parents in the UK post nearly 200 photos of their under fives online every year, meaning a child will feature in around 1,000 online photos before their fifth birthday. [...] "In a few years, children could easily take their parents to court for publishing photos of them when they were younger," Eric Delcroix, an expert on internet law and ethics, told Le Figaro. "Children at certain stages do not wish to be photographed or still less for those photos to be made public," he added.It may seem like an absurd law to many, but think about the potential consequences of putting a kid's picture on social media. Among others, we've seen plenty of pictures becoming meme on the web.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's food-for-thought department
HughPickens.com writes: According to a new study, the chance of an obese person attaining normal body weight is 1 in 210 for men and 1 in 124 for women, increasing to 1 in 1,290 for men and 1 in 677 for women with severe obesity, suggesting that current weight management programs focused on dieting and exercise are not effective in tackling obesity. Now neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt writes in the New York Times that "in the long run dieting is rarely effective, doesn't reliably improve health and does more harm than good". And according to Aamodt, the root of the problem is not willpower but neuroscience. Metabolic suppression is one of several powerful tools that the brain uses to keep the body within a certain weight range, called the set point. The range, which varies from person to person, is determined by genes and life experience. When dieters' weight drops below it, they not only burn fewer calories but also produce more hunger-inducing hormones and find eating more rewarding. If someone starts at 120 pounds and drops to 80, her brain rightfully declares a starvation state of emergency, using every method available to get that weight back up to normal. This coordinated brain response is a major reason that dieters find weight loss so hard to achieve and maintain. According to Aamodt dieting can actually lead to weight gain because dieting is stressful. Calorie restriction produces stress hormones, which act on fat cells to increase the amount of abdominal fat. Such fat is associated with medical problems like diabetes and heart disease, regardless of overall weight.... Aamodt recommends mindful eating -- paying attention to signals of hunger and fullness, without judgment, to relearn how to eat only as much as the brain's weight-regulation system commands.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's power-up department
MojoKid shares a video showing the upcoming Doom game on NVIDIA's new GeForce GTX 1080 graphics card using the Vulkan API, quoting this report from HotHardware:
At a private briefing with NVIDIA, representatives from id software came out on stage to show off the upcoming game...the first public demonstration of the game using both NVIDIA's new flagship and the next-gen API, which is a low-overhead, cross-platform graphics and compute API akin to DirectX 12 and AMD's Mantle. In the initial part of the demo, the game is running smoothly, but its frame rate is capped at 60 frames per second. A few minutes in, however, at about the :53 second mark...the rep from id says, "We're going to uncap the framerate and see what Vulkan and Pascal can do".
With the framerate cap removed, the framerate jumps into triple digit territory and bounces between 120 and 170 frames per second, give or take. Note that the game was running on a projector at a resolution of 1080p with all in-game image quality options set to their maximum values. The game is very reminiscent of previous Doom titles and the action is non-stop.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's judge-dread department
An anonymous reader writes: Judge Stephen Wm. Smith argues that questions about the government's "golden age of surveillance" miss an equally significant trend: that the U.S. Courts are "going dark". In a new editorial, he writes that "Before the digital age, executed search warrants were routinely placed on the court docket available for public inspection," but after the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986, more than 30,000 secret court surveillance orders were given just in 2006. He predicts that today's figure is more than double, "And those figures do not include surveillance orders obtained by state and local authorities, who handle more than 15 times the number of felony investigations that the feds do. Based on that ratio, the annual rate of secret surveillance orders by federal and state courts combined could easily exceed half a million."
Judge Smith also cites an increase in cases -- even civil cases -- that are completely sealed, but also an increase in "private arbitration" and other ways of resolving disputes which are shielded from the public eye. "Employers, Internet service providers, and consumer lenders have led a mass exodus from the court system. By the click of a mouse or tick of a box, the American public is constantly inveigled to divert the enforcement of its legal rights to venues closed off from public scrutiny. Justice is becoming privatized, like so many other formerly public goods turned over to invisible hands -- electricity, water, education, prisons, highways, the military." The judge's conclusion? "Over the last 40 years, secrecy in all aspects of the judicial process has risen to literally unprecedented levels. "Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's now-Mario-retires department
An anonymous reader writes:
Standing in front on a Donkey Kong arcade cabinet, Wes Copeland set a new all-time high score on Thursday, playing Donkey Kong for 3 hours, 20 minutes, and scoring 1,218,000 points."It's how he took the title, though that's so staggering," reports Polygon. "Copeland did not lose a single Mario in the game. He took his first life all the way from the first level all the way to the end, cashing in the extra lives to obliterate all comers." Since the game ends after 22 levels, it will be difficult to surpass Copeland's "perfect game".
For comparison, Steve Wiebe set a high score in 2007 with just 695,500 points in the documentary "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters," eventually bumping his score up to 1,064,500 by 2010. But Thursday, posting a picture of his new high score on Facebook, Copeland announced that "This will be my last record score. I don't believe I can put up a game any higher than this."Read Replies (0)
By manishs from Slashdot's cost-cutting department
Not everything is working out at Dropbox, popular cloud storage and sharing service, last valued at $10 billion. Business Insider is reporting a major cost cutting at the San Francisco-based company. As part of it, the publication reports, Dropbox has cancelled its free shuttle in San Francisco, its gym washing service, pushed back dinner time by an hour and curtailed the number of guests to five per month (previously it was unlimited). These cuttings will directly impact Dropbox's profitability. According to a leaked memo, obtained by BI, employee perks alone cost the company at least $25,000 a year for each employee. (Dropbox has nearly 1,500 employees.) From the report: Dropbox isn't the only high-profile startup to unleash a company wide cost-cutting campaign lately. A number of unicorn startups, worth over $1 billion, including Evernote, Jawbone, and Tango, have all gone through some form of cost cuts, whether layoffs, office closures, or reduced employee perks. [...] A lot of this has to do with the slowing venture funding environment in Silicon Valley. Investors have become much more conservative with their money lately, and are losing patience for startups that have failed to generate returns after years of free spending. For Dropbox, the cost cuts may have less to do with the state of the VC market than with its own ambitions. Dropbox CEO Drew Houston has repeatedly said in the past that he doesn't need to raise capital in the private market anymore. Instead, Dropbox may want to show investors that its business is strong enough to IPO.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's do-not-pass-Go department
"A new system called 'video visitation' is replacing in-person jail visits with glitchy, expensive Skype-like video calls," reports Tech.Mic. "It's inhumane, dystopian and actually increases in-prison violence -- but god, it makes money."
Slashdot reader gurps_npc writes: In-person costs a lot to administer, while you can charge people to 'visit' via video conferencing. (Charge as in overcharge -- just like they charge up to $14 a minute for normal, audio only telephone calls). This is new, and the few studies that have been done show that doing this increases violence in the prison -- and it's believed to also increase recidivism. But the companies making a ton on it like that -- repeat customers and all. Of course, the service is horrible, often being full of static and dropped calls -- and the company doesn't help you fix the problem.
Meanwhile, the EFF reports that last year Facebook disabled 53 U.S prisoner and 74 U.K. prisoner accounts at the request of the government, and is urging people to report takedown requests for inmate social media to OnlineCensorship.org.Read Replies (0)