the Blog

Robots programmed to deceive

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/10/10 10:56 AM

Engineers at the Georgia Institute of Technology* have created a robot capable of deception. They set up two bots in a game of hide and seek. Robot 1 would dash off, knocking over obstacles set in its path. Robot 2 would ordinarily then be able to follow the trail of knocked over stuff and find Robot 1. But Robot 1 was capable of creating false trails and then dash off to hide in unexpected places.

“We have developed algorithms that allow a robot to determine whether it should deceive a human or other intelligent machine and we have designed techniques that help the robot select the best deceptive strategy to reduce its chance of being discovered,” says Arkin, proudly.

“We strongly encourage discussion about the appropriateness of deceptive robots to determine what, if any, regulations or guidelines should constrain the development of these systems,” adds the prof.

* in league with our secret robot overlords.

Comments | Filed Under: robots  domo arigato  

Cheerleaders Gone Wild!

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/09/10 05:53 PM

Again with the compelling headlines. I think it draws attention more than “New clickjacking scam on Facebook”. This link has been going around Facebook for a while now where you click to see the cheerleaders going wild. There’s an advisory that nudity or some such thing is coming your way. You keep on clicking but one of the clicks is a disguised “Like” button and soon you’re publishing to the world that you “like” Cheerleaders Gone Wild and then your mom knows it and your boss and your spouse and you’re screwed and you’re an idiot.

By the way, after all that clicking, you’re taken to a YouTube video of cheerleaders who don’t go wild even a little. In fact, here it is:

There. I just saved you from public humiliation.

Comments | Filed Under: facebook  Social media  cheerleaders gone mild  

Steve Jobs talks about farts

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/09/10 05:39 PM

I figured that was a better headline that “Apple chairman calls for a higher standard for app approval”. Same thing.

Anyway:

“We have over 250,000 apps in the App Store. We don’t need any more Fart apps”

(No fart-related YouTube clip here. Even I have a little shame.)

Comments | Filed Under: apple  smartphones  phones-mobile  

YouTube Time Machine? YouTube Time Machine!

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/09/10 05:35 PM

Here’s a site where you can pick a year and see videos from that year. Earliest is 1860 and they’re pretty sporadic for a while but then it picks up.

As they say, it’s in the early alpha testing stages but it’s live to me. You can even write in to become an admin on the site.

Comments | Filed Under: Web Culture  Entertainment  search  

Microsoft engages in Fort Gay bashing

 by John Moe // Posted: 09/09/10 12:30 PM

Josh Moore lives in the very small town of Fort Gay, WV. He signed up to play on the Xbox Live network and entered his hometown as part of his profile.

“But was subsequently accused of violating Microsoft’s LIVE Code of Conduct. Among other things, the code stipulates that you shouldn’t “create a gamertag, profile content, or in-game content that other users may be offended by, this includes comments that look, sound like, stand for, hint at, abbreviate, or insinuate any of the following: profane words/phrases, topics or content of a sexual nature, hate speech (including but not limited to racial, ethnic, or religious slurs), illegal drugs/controlled substances, or illegal activities.”
Apparently someone spied Moore’s city name, was offended (or assumed Moore was trying to offend), and reported it to Microsoft.”


So his account has suspended. Now Microsoft has apologized to Moore and the town.

But this stinks in a couple of ways. First, the idea that “gay” is an offensive word. And second that Microsoft wouldn’t take 5 seconds (fewer if they use Google Instant!) to check if the town was real.

Comments | Filed Under: games  microsoft  

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today's show

What will we do with all this "white space"?

09/26/10 11:15 AM

There’s a vote coming up this week in Washington that will have a big impact on how you use the internet, what’s available to you, how much faster you’ll be able to get things online. On Thursday, the FCC is expected to open up unused parts of the broadcast spectrum, a lot of people call it “white space”. This is space that was positioned to be something of a buffer between television stations but such padding is proving less essential since the conversion to digital TV.

On today’s show, we talk to Glenn Fleishman from Wi-Fi Networking News and The Economist about how the spectrum works and what kind of new space we’re talking about. We also check in with Tim Wu from Columbia Law School about the companies that will look to use the space and what it all might mean for you and me as internet consumers.

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