By Soulskill from Slashdot's smart-money-is-on-the-lethal-autonomous-weapons department
writes: Should robots be allowed to make life and death decisions? This will be the topic of heated debate at the United Nations (UN) Palais des Nations in Geneva next week (April 13-17th, 2015). As part of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (CCW), experts from all over the world will gather to discuss 'questions related to emerging technologies in the area of lethal autonomous weapons systems.' The Open Roboethics Research Initiative will be presenting public views at the debate.
Human rights groups are urging the UN to ban such weapons
. A new report titled "Mind the Gap
" details the accountability issues that need to be solved before going any further. "A key concern with fully autonomous weapons is that they would be prone to cause civilian casualties in violation of international humanitarian law and international human rights law. The lack of meaningful human control that characterizes the weapons would make it difficult to hold anyone criminally liable for such unlawful actions
."Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's there-should-an-absurdity-check department
Ars Technica reports some good news on the YRO front. An excerpt:A year-and-a-half after the Electronic Frontier Foundation created a crowd-funded challenge to a patent being used to threaten podcasters, the patent has been invalidated.
In late 2013, after small podcasters started getting threat letters from Personal Audio LLC, the EFF filed what's called an "inter partes review," or IPR, which allows anyone to challenge a patent at the US Patent and Trademark Office.
The order issued today by the USPTO lays to rest the idea that Personal Audio or its founder, Jim Logan, are owed any money by podcasters because of US Patent No. 8,112,504, which describes a "system for disseminating media content representing episodes in a serialized sequence."
The article points out, though, that the EFF warns Personal Audio LLC is seeking more
patents on podcasting. Mentioned within: Adam Carolla's fight against these patents
and our Q&A with Jim Logan
.Read Replies (0)
By timothy from Slashdot's bits-and-pieces-from-all-over department
An anonymous reader writes BitTorrent today launched Project Maelstrom, the company's distributed browser, in beta. The company also released new tools on GitHub that let developers and publishers build content for the browser. Announced in December, BitTorrent described Project Maelstrom, then just an invite-only alpha, as "the first torrent-based browser." The launch today is an open beta, meaning anyone can now try an early version of Maelstrom. You do, however, need a Windows computer. Windows users can download the beta now from here. Since the alpha, BitTorrent says it has improved stability, integrated support for automatic updates, and added DHT visualization for users when loading torrents.Read Replies (0)
By Roblimo from Slashdot's is-this-an-easy-way-to-connect-the-'rear'-speakers-in-your-home-theater-system? department
While Timothy Lord was at SXSW
, he chatted with Yuki Nishida of AgIC
and learned about the company's conductive ink products. But AgIC wasn't the only company at SXSW showing off conductive ink. You could also meet the Electroninks people and see their Circuit Scribe
product, which had a Kickstarter campaign a while back that raised $574,425.
This kind of product seems to be attractive to the kind of people who fund Kickstarter projects, and this bunch seems to have good resumes
and some interesting, well thought-out products
. There is apparently room in the 'draw circuits and learn electrical basics' market for both AgIC and Electroninks -- and probably for another dozen competitors, too.Read Replies (0)
By Soulskill from Slashdot's get-out-of-my-inbox department
An anonymous reader writes: The Electronic Communications Privacy Act was written in 1986. It's incredibly outdated, yet it still governs many internet-related rights for U.S. citizens. Microsoft has now challenged Congress to update the legislation for how online communications work in 2015. The company is currently embroiled in a legal battle with the government over a court order to release emails stored in a foreign country to U.S. authorities. In a new legal brief (PDF), Microsoft says, "For an argument that purports to rest on the 'explicit text of the statute,' the Government rewrites an awful lot of it. Congress never intended to reach, nor even anticipated, private communications stored in a foreign country when it enacted [the ECPA]." In an accompanying blog post, Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith wrote, "Until U.S. law is rewritten, we believe that the court in our case should honor well-established precedents that limit the government's reach from extending beyond U.S. borders. ... To the contrary, it is clear Congress's intent was to ensure that your digital information is afforded the same legal protections as your physical documents and correspondence, a principle we at Microsoft believe should be preserved."Read Replies (0)