By msmash from Slashdot's stranger-things department
There has been an uptick in reports of video doorbells getting stolen, according to local news reports. A story adds: According to the reports, residents are waking up in the morning or coming home at night only to find their video doorbell devices stolen. Typically the devices are screwed into place on the outside of a house, often with mounts or braces to hold them in place. While they are wired into the wall, thieves don't seem to care too much about that. In most cases, residents appear to report the devices have been pried off the side of their home. In some cases, the cameras are able to capture an image of the perpetrator as they are stealing the device. Those images are usually available through mobile apps connected to the doorbell, which might help police track down the person responsible for the theft. However, there's no guarantee that officers will be able to find the thieves, especially if they steal the device while keeping their face and other identifying features covered while on camera. Police are suggesting that people keep track of the serial number on their devices in order to keep track of them and watch in case the devices appear on Craigslist, eBay, or other online marketplaces.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
C++ has knocked machine-learning favorite Python out of the top 3 in the TIOBE Index of popular programming languages. From a report: It marks a reversal of fortune for C++, which, after years of occupying third place in the index, was pushed down to fourth place by Python in September last year. First and second place in the list remain unchanged, with Java in pole position and C at number two. The TIOBE Index attempts to estimate the popularity of languages worldwide based on results from major search engines. The index is sometimes criticized for being a rather blunt measure, likely to be influenced by a range of factors beyond a language's popularity, but its rankings are broadly in line with others, with a similar mix of languages albeit arranged in a different order.
In an analysis alongside the latest figures, TIOBE attributes the comeback of C++ to a surge in its popularity, rather than a fall in the use of Python. "This is certainly not because Python is in decline: Python is scoring all time highs almost every month. It is just that C++ is also getting more and more popular," it writes. The report credits this growing interest in C++ to C++11, the version of the language released in 2011 that TIOBE said made C++ "much simpler, safer and more expressive."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's closer-look department
Working remotely can be really tough. To get some insight into how to do it better, Google conducted a two-year study involving data from 5,600 employees across the U.S., Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. From a report: Approximately 30% of the company's meetings involve staff in more than two time zones, and 39% involve more than two cities. Veronica Gilrane, manager of Google's People Innovation Lab, oversaw the study and has written a guide for how to make the most of distributed teams. Last week, she released a report of her findings. On the outset of the study, the team hypothesized that distributed teams might not be as productive as their centrally located counterparts. "We were a little nervous about that," says Gilrane. She was surprised to find that distributed teams performed just as well. Unfortunately, she also found that there is a lot more frustration involved in working remotely. Workers in other offices can sometimes feel burdened to sync up their schedules with the main office. They can also feel disconnected from the team. Gilrane says there are three key tricks to optimizing a remote workforce.
< article continued at Slashdot's closer-look department
>Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's moving-forward department
The European Commission has launched a pilot project intended to test draft ethical rules for developing and applying AI technologies to ensure they can be implemented in practice. It's also aiming to garner feedback and encourage international consensus building for what it dubs "human-centric AI" -- targeting among other talking shops the forthcoming G7 and G20 meetings for increasing discussion on the topic. From a report: The Commission's High Level Group on AI -- a body comprised of 52 experts from across industry, academia and civic society announced last summer -- published their draft ethics guidelines for trustworthy AI in December. A revised version of the document was submitted to the Commission in March. It's boiled the expert consultancy down to a set of seven "key requirements" for trustworthy AI, i.e. in addition to machine learning technologies needing to respect existing laws and regulations -- namely:
Human agency and oversight: "AI systems should enable equitable societies by supporting human agency and fundamental rights, and not decrease, limit or misguide human autonomy."
Robustness and safety: "Trustworthy AI requires algorithms to be secure, reliable and robust enough to deal with errors or inconsistencies during all life cycle phases of AI systems."
Privacy and data governance: "Citizens should have full control over their own data, while data concerning them will not be used to harm or discriminate against them."
Transparency: "The traceability of AI systems should be ensured."
Diversity, non-discrimination and fairness: "AI systems should consider the whole range of human abilities, skills and requirements, and ensure accessibility."
Societal and environmental well-being: "AI systems should be used to enhance positive social change and enhance sustainability and ecological responsibility."
Accountability: "Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure responsibility and accountability for AI systems and their outcomes."Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's how-about-that department
Viber, the chat and messaging app acquired by Japanese ecommerce titan Rakuten for $900 million five years ago, is introducing a new subscription service that lets users pay to have a local phone number that anyone can call. From a report: Founded in 2010, Viber has grown to claim more than 1 billion "registered users" globally, though the company doesn't reveal how many of those are active on the platform. As with similar messaging apps such as WhatsApp, users sign up to Viber using their own mobile phone number, which allows them to easily connect with other friends and contacts who have joined Viber. With Viber Local Number, which has been in closed beta until now, users can pay $4.99 per month to access a local telephone number for anyone outside of Viber to call or text (SMS).
For the caller, it costs whatever their network rates are for calling a local number, while the Viber user doesn't pay anything extra beyond their monthly subscription. There are caveats with the service for now, though: Viber users can't call out using their local number, and they can't respond to text messages using their local number. So if someone messages you on your special Viber number asking a question, you won't be able to respond. The company told VentureBeat that it plans to make the number function bidirectionally in the future.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's not-mincing-words department
New Zealand's privacy commissioner has lashed out at social media giant Facebook in the wake of the Christchurch attacks, calling the company "morally bankrupt pathological liars." From a report: The commissioner used his personal Twitter page to lambast the social network, which has also drawn the ire of prime minister Jacinda Ardern for hosting a livestream of the attacks that left 50 dead, which was then copied and shared all over the internet. "Facebook cannot be trusted," wrote Edwards. "They are morally bankrupt pathological liars who enable genocide (Myanmar), facilitate foreign undermining of democratic institutions. [They] allow the live streaming of suicides, rapes, and murders, continue to host and publish the mosque attack video, allow advertisers to target 'Jew haters' and other hateful market segments, and refuse to accept any responsibility for any content or harm. "They #dontgiveazuck" wrote Edwards. He later deleted the tweets, saying they had prompted "toxic and misinformed traffic."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's behind-on-broadband department
Salon just published a new interview with Susan Crawford, the author of "Fiber: The Coming Tech Revolution -- And Why America Might Miss It."
Crawford has spent years studying the business of these underground fiber optic cables that make fast internet possible. As it turns out, the internet infrastructure situation in the United States is almost hopelessly compromised by the oligopolistic telecom industry, which, due to lack of competition and deregulation, is hesitant to invest in their aging infrastructure... This is going to pose a huge problem for the future, Crawford warns, noting that politicians as well as the telecom industry are largely inept when it comes to prepping us for a well-connected future...
"The decay started in 2004 when -- maybe out of gullibility, maybe out of naivety, maybe out of calculation -- then-chairman of the FCC, Michael Powell, now the head of cable association -- was persuaded that the telcos would battle it out with the cable companies, that their cable modem services would battle it out with wireless, and all of that competition would do a much better job than any regulatory structure could at ensuring that every American had a cheap and fantastic connection of the internet. That's just turned out that's just not true. Since then, he deregulated the entire sector -- and as a result, we got this very stagnant status quo where in most urban areas -- usually the local cable monopoly has a lock in the market and can charge whatever it wants for whatever type of quality services they're providing, leaving a lot of people out."
"Because Americans don't travel," she adds, "you don't get the sense of what a third-world country the U.S. is becoming when it comes to communications."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's future-shock department
Citing "significant" new corporate investments in AI technology, futurist Gary Grossman argues that AI "may be the fastest paradigm shift in the history of technology -- and warns there's a counter-argument to the theory that AI will create as many jobs as its displaces.
"The other view is that this time is different, that we are not just automating labor but also cognition and many fewer people will be needed by industry."
KPMG claims more than half of business executives plan to implement some form of AI within the next 12 months... The disruption is already beginning, with fully 75% of the organizations KPMG surveyed expecting intelligent automation to significantly impact 10 to 50% of their employees in the next two years. A Citigroup executive told Bloomberg that better AI could reduce headcount at the bank by 30%. In the face of all this change, many companies publicly state that AI will eliminate some dull and repetitive jobs and make it possible for people to do higher-order work. However, as a prominent venture capitalist relayed to me recently on this topic: "most displaced call center workers don't become Java programmers." It is not only low-skilled jobs that are at risk. Gartner analysts recently reported that AI will eliminate 80% of project management tasks....
< article continued at Slashdot's future-shock department
>Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's 24-hour-stories department
"Snapchat pioneered Stories, the popular feature where users create and share ephemeral posts that disappear within 24 hours," reports Business Insider. "And now, it's taking them everywhere." Users are now able to share their Stories on third-party partner apps like Tinder -- and Snap is also sharing its Bitmoji's with Venmo and Fitbit.
For 2.5 years, Snapchat foolishly tried to take the high road versus Facebook, with Evan Spiegel claiming "Our values are hard to copy". That inaction allowed Zuckerberg to accrue over 1 billion daily Stories users across Instagram, WhatsApp, and Facebook compared to Snapchat's 186 million total daily users. Meanwhile, the whole tech industry scrambled to build knock-offs of Snap's vision of an ephemeral, visual future.
But Snapchat's new strategy is a rallying call for the rest of the social web that's scared of being squashed beneath Facebook's boot. It rearranges the adage of "if you can't beat them, join them" into "to beat them, join us". As a unified front, Snap's partners get the infrastructure they need to focus on what differentiates them, while Snapchat gains the reach and entrenchment necessary to weather the war. Snapchat's plan is to let other apps embed the best parts of it rather than building their own half-rate copies. Why reinvent the wheel of Stories, Bitmoji, and ads when you can reuse the original?
A high-ranking Snap executive told me on background that this is indeed the strategy. If it's going to invent these products, and others want something similar, it's smarter to enable and partly control the Snapchatification than to try to ignore it. Otherwise, Facebook might be the one to platform-tize what Snap inspired everyone to want.
The article concludes that Snap "needs all the help it can get if the underdog is going to carve out a substantial and sustainable piece of social networking."Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's in-the-chips department
jwhyche (Slashdot reader #6,192) tipped us off to some interesting speculation about AMD's upcoming Zen 2-based EPYC Rome server processors. "The new Epyc processor would be Gen 4 PCIe where Intel is still using Gen 3. Gen 4 PCIe features twice the bandwidth of the older Gen 3 specification."
And now Tom's Hardware reports:
While AMD has said that a single EPYC Rome processor could deliver up to 128 PCIe lanes, the company hasn't stated how many lanes two processors could deliver in a dual-socket server. According to ServeTheHome.com, there's a distinct possibility EPYC could feature up to 162 PCIe 4.0 lanes in a dual-socket configuration, which is 82 more lanes than Intel's dual-socket Cascade Lake Xeon servers. That even beats Intel's latest 56-core 112-thread Platinum 9200-series processors, which expose 80 PCIe lanes per dual-socket server.
Patrick Kennedy at ServeTheHome, a publication focused on high-performance computing, and RetiredEngineer on Twitter have both concluded that two Rome CPUs could support 160 PCIe 4.0 lanes. Kennedy even expects there will be an additional PCIe lane per CPU (meaning 129 in a single socket), bringing the total number of lanes in a dual-socket server up to 162, but with the caveat that this additional lane per socket could only be used for the baseboard management controller (or BMC), a vital component of server motherboards... If @RetiredEngineer and ServeTheHome did their math correctly, then Intel has even more serious competition than AMD has let on.Read Replies (0)
By EditorDavid from Slashdot's unfriending department
After their Instagram accounts were hijacked, two different users say they contacted Instagram ten times -- and even proved their identity by submitting selfies -- but received no response.
And one Silicon Valley newspaper points out that If your account is hijacked at Instagram, Google, Facebook, or Twitter, "there's nobody to call... your options are limited to submitting an automated online form and hoping an actual human being gets back to you."
In his book "Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe," longtime Silicon Valley investor Roger McNamee criticized tech companies' approach to user service: "The customer service department is reserved for advertisers. Users are the product, at best, so there is no one for them to call." That's by design at most companies that offer free online services. In "I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59," a 2011 book by Douglas Edwards, he wrote that as Google was beginning to grow, co-founder Sergey Brin asked, "Why do we need to answer user email anyway?"
Problems have multiplied as the companies' user bases have skyrocketed. Instagram cited its scale (1 billion users, a spokeswoman pointed out) as one reason all user questions are routed first to an automated system. Facebook, Twitter and Google said they use a combination of humans and automation -- but mostly automation, and in Google's case, forums made up of other users -- to respond to users' concerns. A Google spokesman said the company focuses on making sure user accounts don't get hacked in the first place...
< article continued at Slashdot's unfriending department
>Read Replies (0)