Alterslash

the unofficial Slashdot digest
 

Contents

  1. 'Embarrassing' Court Document Google Wanted to Hide Finally Posted Online
  2. Millions of Digital Nomads are Traveling the World -- and Sometimes Working at Night
  3. Apple Promises Software Update to Address iPhone 15 Overheating Complaints
  4. San Francisco's Empty Offices Might Start Converting Into Housing
  5. H&R Block, Meta, and Google Slapped With RICO Suit, Allegedly Schemed to Scrape Taxpayer Data
  6. FBI Indicts Goldman Sachs Analyst Who Tried Using Xbox Chat for Insider Trading
  7. 'Cancer Moonshot' Projects Funded Include Implant to Sense and Treat Cancer, Tumor-Targetting Bacteria
  8. Travel Website Booking.com Leaves Hoteliers Thousands of Dollars Out of Pocket
  9. Can Generative AI Solve Computer Science's Greatest Unsolved Problem?
  10. Web Sites Can Now Choose to Opt Out of Google Bard and Future AI Models
  11. Here's What's New in Python 3.12
  12. Social Media Dunks on an AI-Generated 'Batman' Comic Strip
  13. Could 'The Creator' Change Hollywood Forever?
  14. Microsoft Needs So Much Power to Train AI That It's Considering Small Nuclear Reactors
  15. Elvis Is Back in the Building, Thanks to Generative AI - and U2

Alterslash picks up to the best 5 comments from each of the day’s Slashdot stories, and presents them on a single page for easy reading.

'Embarrassing' Court Document Google Wanted to Hide Finally Posted Online

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotSkip
America's Department of Justice "has finally posted what judge Amit Mehta described at the Google search antitrust trial as an 'embarrassing' exhibit that Google tried to hide from the public," reports Ars Technica:
The document in question contains meeting notes that Google's vice president for finance, Michael Roszak, "created for a course on communications," Bloomberg reported. In his notes, Roszak wrote that Google's search advertising "is one of the world's greatest business models ever created" with economics that only certain "illicit businesses" selling "cigarettes or drugs" "could rival."

At trial, Roszak told the court that he didn't recall if he ever gave the presentation. He said that the course required that he tell students "things I don't believe as part of the presentation." He also claimed that the notes were "full of hyperbole and exaggeration" and did not reflect his true beliefs, "because there was no business purpose associated with it." According to Bloomberg, Google repeatedly objected to the document being shared in court, claiming it was irrelevant to the DOJ's case. Then, after Mehta allowed the DOJ to present the document as evidence, Google tried to seal off Roszak's testimony on the document...

Beyond likening Google's search advertising business to illicit drug markets, Roszak's notes also said that because users got hooked on Google's search engine, Google was able to "mostly ignore the demand side" of "fundamental laws of economics" and "only focus on the supply side of advertisers, ad formats, and sales." This was likely the bit that actually interested the DOJ. "We could essentially tear the economics textbook in half," Roszak's notes said. Part of the DOJ's case argues that because Google has a monopoly over search, it's less incentivized to innovate products that protect consumers from harm like invasive data collection.

A Google spokesman told Bloomberg that Roszak's statements "don't reflect the company's opinion" and "were drafted for a public speaking class in which the instructions were to say something hyperbolic and attention-grabbing." The spokesman also noted that Roszak "testified he didn't believe the statements to be true."

TLDR

By Press2ToContinue • Score: 3 • Thread

1. Who cares.
2. Good for you if you did.
3. I don't believe half of what I read anymore, including this.
4. If a fact-check is involved, I don't believe it at all.

Don't you believe it.

By RitchCraft • Score: 3 • Thread

"testified he didn't believe the statements to be true." - He believed every word of it ... because it's true. Google would not have tried so hard to hide this if it wasn't core to their beliefs.

Millions of Digital Nomads are Traveling the World -- and Sometimes Working at Night

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotSkip
"Almost 17 million U.S. employees describe themselves as digital nomads," reports Bloomberg, "more than double the pre-pandemic number, according to MBO Partners, a firm that connects companies with freelance talent."

Bloomberg says one worker sees their lifestyle as less of a vacation and "more about forming a genuine connection with a place and the people who live there."
[T]he abrupt shift to remote work during the pandemic pulled what was long an idle fantasy for many into the realm of the possible... The trend of longer work-leisure trips has accelerated as pent-up demand for international travel has boomed after years of restrictions. That's giving some digital nomads a bad reputation for driving up prices and trampling local culture in popular vacation destinations, but it hasn't slowed them down. Dozens of countries are marketing a new class of visas to these professionals to compete for tourism dollars. And despite many highly publicised return-to-office announcements in recent months, some degree of remote work remains a fixture at most companies.
"You hear stories all the time like, 'I went skydiving before I started my workday,'" one digital nomad told Bloomberg. They're participating in Remote Year, which Bloomberg describes as "a program that functions like a kind of study abroad trip for working adults."

But here's the catch. Because they're working in distant timezones, many far-flung remote workers "work a split shift, logging on for a few hours in the evening through midnight, before taking a few hours to sleep and then waking up to log back on for another round."
Tue Le, chief executive officer of Remote Year, estimates that somewhere around 15% of program participants traveling in Asia keep strict U.S. hours by staying up overnight. Roughly another third work flexible hours with a mix of evenings or early mornings to collaborate with coworkers back home.
While it may be challenging, one digital nomad took naps as needed — offering this advice. "Don't let people nap-shame you."

Re:No place like home.

By Brain-Fu • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

The traveller awaits the morning tide
He doesn't know what's on the other side
But something deep inside of him
Keeps telling him to go
He hasn't found a reason to say no

  -- Days are numbers, the Alan Parson's Project

Some people just have it in them to travel. Clearly you aren't one of them, and that's fine. Variety is the spice of life.

Re:Is working in distant timezones a problem?

By CAIMLAS • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

It is when there are agendas at play to make remote workers look lazy, excessive, and to seem that they're not doing their jobs.

There's a massive campaign at play to end remote work, in part due to the fact that it's harming corporate real estate markets significantly, but also because it's given people who do it a significant lifestyle benefit outside the cube farm life.

Some people don't like the idea of free spirits.

Re: Is working in distant timezones a problem?

By Cultureofone • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Of course it was a problem then. And the answer to such complaints are usually, that's what we're paying you for, if you don't like it we're not forcing you to work here.

I did it for two months

By Idefix97 • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
I went back to my my home country (Netherlands) for two months in December/January to spend as much time visiting with my mum. I would travel to see my mum in the morning and when i would come back after a five hour trip and visit, I would start working around 3 pm until midnight or later. My work is in all time zones in the US and India as well.
Although I was very happy to be able to have the flexibility to do this, it was a very heavy schedule to maintain. On top of that it was winter in Holland and I missed my southern California sun!
She passed away in March.

Re:No place like home.

By Brain-Fu • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

I, for one, am curious to see those things. And I have seen them in pictures I found online. Beautiful pictures. I found plenty of articles written about them too. More than enough to get me to the point where I was ready to move on to other topics.

Obviously, it's not "the same" as going there myself. It costs a whole lot less, for one. And I don't have to expose myself to uncomfortable weather, the displeasure of air travel (including those naked body scanners that do no good but make specific people very rich), the risks of bedbugs or other maladies from ill-kept hotel rooms, the struggle to fall asleep in an unusual bedroom, and on and on.

And just for a bit of clarity, in my former post higher up on this thread, I wasn't criticizing the non-traveler attitude or anything. I was just finding an excuse to quote Alan Parsons. I am really not a traveler. Comfy computer-chair travelling is more than enough for me.

Apple Promises Software Update to Address iPhone 15 Overheating Complaints

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotSkip
An anonymous reader shared this report from CNBC:
Apple said on Saturday that it will issue a software update that would address customer complaints about the latest iPhone 15 models, released just over a week ago, running hot.

Apple said that the new iPhone models were running hot because of a combination of bugs in iOS 17, bugs in apps, and a temporary set-up period... After Apple released the new iPhone 15 models earlier this month, user complaints on Apple's forums, Reddit, and social media suggest that all four models can get hotter than expected during use. CNBC's review of the new iPhone Pros also noted the iPhone 15 Pro Max got hot. "I just got the iPhone 15 Pro today and it's so hot i can't even hold it for very long!" wrote one commenter on Apple's forums.

Apple's new high-end models, the $999 iPhone 15 Pro and $1,199 iPhone 15 Pro Max have a redesigned titanium enclosure with an aluminum frame to make them easier to repair. The problem with the new models overheating was not related to the titanium chassis design, Apple said. Instead, Apple points to bugs with specific apps and a bug in iOS that can be fixed with software updates.

Trading one problem for another.

By fahrbot-bot • Score: 4, Funny • Thread

Apple's new high-end models, the $999 iPhone 15 Pro and $1,199 iPhone 15 Pro Max ... overheating ...

First it's money burning a hole in your pocket, then ... :-)

Or maybe ...

By illogicalpremise • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

A skeptical person might say it IS a hardware fault and rather than issue an expensive recall Apple are going to cover it up by throttling the CPU. I seem to recall a similar fix for battery issues.

A skeptic would say that but I won't. Don't want to get sued. I'm sure if it is true it will be verified by experts soon enough.

Re:So, slowing the phone down?

By RitchCraft • Score: 4, Insightful • Thread

Loops in software for one. If a loop only needs to run, say 15 times per second, that's much better than continuously which is hard on the CPU and aids in overheating. Just a few unmetered loops can really task a CPU.

Just checking in...

By Kelxin • Score: 3 • Thread
Just here to do what all the Apple lovers do with every Android article. My Samsung Galaxy s23 Ultra is still running great with no battery, heat or speed issues. ;)

Re:Or maybe ...

By dgatwood • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

A skeptical person might say it IS a hardware fault and rather than issue an expensive recall Apple are going to cover it up by throttling the CPU.

Unlikely. By definition, cell phones can't run full throttle for an unlimited period of time. The case is way too small and they have no fan.

When people are talk about these phones overheating, they're not talking about the hardware failing. They're talking about the case being hot to the touch. That, by definition, means that the hardware is *not* defective, i.e. it is successfully piping the heat to the case where it can dissipate.

There's literally no way this can be a hardware defect, except to the extent that being faster could be considered a hardware "defect".

I seem to recall a similar fix for battery issues.

That fix was throttling the CPU's maximum power consumption so that the battery voltage wouldn't suddenly drop. And yeah, they could theoretically do that to limit the maximum temperature, but they would only do that if either A. they had somehow miscalculated the temperature at which throttling should begin, and as a result, it was causing hardware damage, or B. some busybody European country forced them to do so by law (e.g. the iPod volume limiter nonsense). Otherwise, there's no reason to throttle it just because the outside gets a little hot.

Besides, the problem is almost certainly caused by software bugs, and in particular, a very specific type of bug: background daemon/process crashes that result in redoing work repeatedly. I'll explain.

Approximately every time Apple releases a new OS version these days, a bunch of random background processes start crashing because of bugs that didn't get caught. How often this happens depends on the situation. It could be a daemon that manages the Wi-Fi interface daemon that crashes when an access point provides some specific combination of options fed to the supplicant, or it could be coreaudiod or bluetoothd crashing when certain Bluetooth headphones do some handshake, or... who knows what configuration-specific behavior that causes a high rate of daemon/background process crashes and restarts. But given that it is happening immediately after switching devices, and presumably not happening when people upgrade the iOS version on old devices, my money is on Spotlight importers.

Whenever people migrate to a new phone, Spotlight importers run on all the content that was migrated from the old device. Normally, this takes a few hours, during which the device runs a little hot. But what happens if one of those importers contains a bug — say a bug where some specific EXIF tag combination causes the importer to crap itself — and that bug causes a crash?

Well, if one file triggers the crash, after a few tries, Spotlight stops trying to index it. But if a *bunch* of files trigger crashes, you'd end up with a *lot* of crashes of the importer as it tries several times to import each of those files and crashes over and over and over again. This ends up using multiple CPU cores to handle all those relaunches, and wasting a lot of effort doing that work over and over and over again without actually writing out the results.

Making matters worse is the fact that many of these files haven't been imported in years, and therefore, the crashes caused by importing those files also haven't been reported since the last time those users migrated to new hardware. If there are significant differences in the class of users who choose to migrate, that can be a big impact.

This particular hardware release involved USB-C. There's a group of users who have been hanging onto the iPhone 6s because of the headphone jack, and those folks suddenly have a wired headphone option that is broadly compatible with other devices again, so you'll be seeing a lot more people than usual doing very large updates that jump multiple hardware versions. And other folks have been holding out for USB-C for other reasons

San Francisco's Empty Offices Might Start Converting Into Housing

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotSkip
"San Francisco's downtown has lost roughly 150,000 daily workers since the pandemic," reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

But on the bright side, "Some of San Francisco's empty office buildings are one step closer to being converted into residential units," reports SFGate:
The owners of eight San Francisco office buildings responded to a request from the city for landlords interested in converting their properties into condos or apartments, the San Francisco Chronicle reported... The properties would yield about 1,100 units if they were to all be converted, according to the Chronicle. All of the buildings are located in neighborhoods downtown, including the Civic Center area and the Financial District...

Converting offices to housing is a notably difficult process, especially in San Francisco, where the city's tedious permitting and approvals process has deterred many landlords from pursuing the process entirely. However, that could soon change: The request for interest put forth by the city was part of an initiative intended to jump-start office-to-housing conversions that was announced in June. In March, Mayor London Breed and the Board of Supervisors introduced legislation that would facilitate these conversions by exempting certain downtown buildings from housing requirements that are more difficult to apply to former offices, like rear yard space and a variety of unit types.
Or, as the Chronicle puts it, "The much-discussed push to revive downtown San Francisco by converting empty office buildings to housing is starting to gather real-world momentum, with property owners looking to take advantage of a political climate in which the mayor and Board of Supervisors are desperate to activate the city's struggling central neighborhoods."
While converting eight commercial buildings totaling less than 1 million square feet would not put much of a dent in the historic 33.9% office vacancy — more than 30 million square feet of space — the interest is indicative that an increasing number of landlords are accepting the reality that the pandemic and remote work has rendered some buildings obsolete. "We were pleased with the responses — it was more than we had expected, and there was a good variety of buildings," said Anne Taupier, director of development for the city's Office of Economic and Workforce Development. "We think there is a chance to see some game-changing activation...."

Taupier said that all of the property owners said that recent legislation streamlining and lowering affordable housing requirements would be key to making conversions possible. Most of them would be candidates for Mills Act tax credits, which allow cities to reduce taxes for 10 years or more to owners of historic properties.
One of the biggest applications came from Mark Shkolnikov's Group I. "The support from the city has just been remarkable," Shkolnikov said. "They have been frequently checking in to see what they can do to help move this along.

Re:To what end?

By Known Nutter • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
None of whom will be able to afford any of the 1,100 condos or apartments described in the article. And please don't give me that shit about these 1,100 units opening up 1,100 lower tier units. San Francisco's homeless population cannot afford to live there, period. They are there because the social services climate is favorable to them, among other similar practical considerations. And drugs. Drugs are easy.

Re: To what end?

By Cultureofone • Score: 4 • Thread
Sweet spot is about an hour out of town. Close enough to to run errands and access resources in a pinch. Far enough that it's safe to go off duty from catering to others and so retain some of your life to be a person.

Re:To what end?

By rskbrkr • Score: 5, Informative • Thread
15% were hospitalized for mental health condition prior to being homeless. Given how infrequently mental health issues are diagnosed much less hospitalized, it should be safe to assume that a large percentage of the homeless suffered from mental health issues prior to becoming homeless. These issues would be amplified with illicit drug use and alcohol abuse.

Participants reported high lifetime rates of mental health and substance use challenges. The majority (82%) reported a period in their life where they experienced a serious mental health condition. More than one quarter (27%) had been hospitalized for a mental health condition; 56% of these hospitalizations occurred prior to the first instance of homelessness. Nearly two thirds (65%) reported having had a period in their life in which they regularly used illicit drugs. Almost two thirds (62%) reported having had a period in their life with heavy drinking (defined as drinking at least three times a week to get drunk, or heavy intermittent drinking). More than half (57%) who ever had regular use of illicit drugs or regular heavy alcohol use had ever received treatment.

https://homelessness.ucsf.edu/sites/default/files/2023-06/CASPEH_Report_62023.pdf

Re:Wont happen, its a politics stunt.

By b0s0z0ku • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread
Vienna has the right idea. Public housing and not just for the abjectly poor.

Re:To what end?

By Jhon • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

" A lot of homeless drug users started the drugs after a while of being homeless"

Yes, many started using drugs after becoming homeless. Many didn't. It really doesn't matter as it is a major BARRIOR to getting out of being homeless.

"And they ended up homeless because they missed a rent payment and were kicked out by overpowered landlords."

It would more accurate to say they ended up sofa surfing with family or friends -- until something caused those bridges to get burnt. Usually substance abuse and theft to support the their substance of choice.

And "Overpowered landlords"? Los Angeles has the worst unsheltered homeless issue. And during covid? NOBODY got evicted. It didn't happen. And the unsheltered homeless numbers grew. Many "landlords" (most of which are retired folks with a single or small number of properties to fund their retirement went broke. That certainly doesn't sound like "overpowered" to me.

It's not the "rent" or "money" issues driving this, but please do go ahead and continue to help that narrative fund failing "harm reduction" programs that haven't stopped the streets of Los Angeles from killing over 2000 folks a year now (most directly related to substance abuse (OD & long term organ damage). Hell, we kill more folks on our streets from exposure than NYC -- and their winters are brutal.

H&R Block, Meta, and Google Slapped With RICO Suit, Allegedly Schemed to Scrape Taxpayer Data

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotSkip
Anyone who has used H&R Block's tax return preparation services since 2015 "may have unintentionally helped line Meta and Google's pocket," reports Gizmodo:
That's according to a new class action lawsuit which alleges the three companies "jointly schemed" to install trackers on the H&R Block site to scan and transmit tax data back to the tech companies which then used elements of the data to engage in targeted advertising.

Attorneys bringing the case forward claim the three companies' conduct amounts to a "pattern of racketeering activity" covered under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), a tool typically reserved for organized crime. "H&R Block, Google, and Meta ignored data privacy laws, and passed information about people's financial lives around like candy," Brent Wisner, one of the attorneys bringing forward the complaint said.

The lawsuit, filed in the Northern District of California this week, stems from a bombshell Congressional report released earlier this year detailing the way multiple tax preparation firms, including H&R Block, "recklessly" shared the sensitive tax data of tens of millions of Americans without proper safeguards. At issue are the tax preparation firms' use of tracking "pixels" placed on their websites. These trackers, which the lawsuit refers to as "spy cams" would allegedly scan tax documents and reveal a variety of personal tax information, including a filer's name, filing status, federal taxes owed, address, and number of dependents. That data was then anonymized and used for targeted advertising and to train Meta's AI algorithms, the congressional report notes.
The attorneys argue that H&R Block, Meta, and Google "explicitly and intentionally" entered into an agreement to violate taxpayers' privacy rights for financial gain, according to the article. The suit seeks refunds and punitive damages.

Parasites

By Shakrai • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

This feels like a good moment to remind people that the vast majority of American taxpayers have simple W-2 only returns they can file themselves without assistance from these parasites. I'll again call out Congress for not empowering the IRS to simply mail these taxpayers a pre-filled return they could simply sign and accept. They already have all of the relevant information.

If you’re in the minority that does not have a W-2 only return, you’re likely part of the educated professional class, which means you can do it yourself in a few hours at most.

If you’re in the extreme minority of a minority that has a situation so complex you need an actual tax professional, H&R Block and TurboTax aren’t for you anyway, because no human is involved in any role more complicated than data entry clerk.

Fuck this entire parasitic industry and fuck Google and Meta for getting into bed with them. I hope they all lose millions and some US Attorney looking to make a name for themselves finds the probable Federal felonies here and sends some people to jail.

Assumptions

By markdavis • Score: 3 • Thread

>"The attorneys argue that H&R Block, Meta, and Google "explicitly and intentionally" entered into an agreement to violate taxpayers' privacy rights for financial gain, according to the article."

The sad thing is that I always ASSUMED this stuff is happening all over the place. I bet a lot of people here assumed it as well. I didn't need proof- there is an incentive to do slimy things, and that demand will be met. It is one reason I refuse to use any tax service.

And when all is said and done, all that will likely change is that they will insert some legal-mumbo-jumbo into their 20 pages of fine-print crap that you have to click through to "continue."

The current scam is every company trying desperately to force you to disclose your "mobile phone number." Of course they need it for security, right? Nope. They just want to text the hell out of you and also sell that info to other "related" entities. Example, I tried to set up a simple vaccination appointment on-line with Kroger for my mother a few days ago. Spent a lot of time filling out useless info that they already knew, and then it all came to a halt at the end because they "had" to have a mobile number. I finally just closed the browser and called them and they said- no problem, just come in. I bet 90% of people would have just blindly handed them their mobile numbers.

FBI Indicts Goldman Sachs Analyst Who Tried Using Xbox Chat for Insider Trading

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotSkip
Kotaku reports:
A newly unsealed FBI indictment accuses a former analyst at Goldman Sachs of insider trading, including allegedly using an Xbox to pass tips onto his close friends. The friend group earned over $400,000 in ill-gotten gains as a result, federal prosecutors claim. "There's no tracing [Xbox 360 chat]," the analyst allegedly told his friend who was worried they might be discovered.

He appears to have made a grave miscalculation.

The FBI arrested Anthony Viggiano and alleged co-conspirator Christopher Salamone, charging them with securities fraud on September 28. Viggiano is accused of using his previous position at Goldman Sachs to share trading tips with Salamone and others. Salamone has already pleaded guilty. Bloomberg reports that this is the fifth incident in recent years of a person associated with the investment bank allegedly using their position to do crimes...

Probably best to keep the crime talk on Xbox to a minimum either way, especially now that Microsoft is using AI to monitor communications for illicit and toxic activities.
In a statement an FBI official said "This indictment is yet another example of individuals believing they can get away with benefiting from trading on material non-public information.

If only they used...

By mikaere • Score: 3 • Thread
If only they used Anom instead

Re:If only they used...

By ls671 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

Nah, you just set up a vps at 5$ a month, log into it with ssh and use the talk program to chat. Kids nowadays...

Someone has to get caught

By GeekWithAKnife • Score: 3 • Thread
...well someone has toget aight every so often. I mean they cannot really jail all those connected Feferal Reserve members that quit after being told off indirectly...they cannot really get BlackRock, Goldman Sachs or Citidal's senior staff who are significantly harder to catch or prove of anywrong doing even if they're mostly fucking everyone else over... It's not alla conspiracy but it's well known there's a mountain of shit the FBI, SEC and the like never even manage to get near let alone so something about.

I can hear the recordings now

By kackle • Score: 3 • Thread
"Yes, sell everything on Friday before 11 a.m.'s shareholder meeting because that's when HEADSHOT!"

You're stealing it wrong.

By geekmux • Score: 3 • Thread

"This indictment is yet another example of individuals believing they can get away with benefiting from trading on material non-public information."

I see.

And what exactly is it again when we find lawmakers retiring from a $174K/year job as multi-millionaires, with fortunes worth several times more than the best stock traders could ever amass? Is every one of those yet another example of "luck" more constant than gravity itself?

Nothing like an extra side of hot piping bullshit to go with that fresh "justice" the FBI is claiming they still know how to serve.

'Cancer Moonshot' Projects Funded Include Implant to Sense and Treat Cancer, Tumor-Targetting Bacteria

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotSkip
Researchers from several U.S. institutions are collaborating "to develop and test an implantable device able to sense signs of the kind of inflammation associated with cancer," reports CBS News, "and delivery therapy when needed."
Northwestern said the implant could significantly improve outcomes for patients with ovarian, pancreatic and other difficult-to-treat cancers — potentially cutting cancer-related deaths in the U.S. in half. "Instead of tethering patients to hospital beds, IV bags and external monitors, we'll use a minimally invasive procedure to implant a small device that continuously monitors their cancer and adjusts their immunotherapy dose in real time," said Rice University bioengineer Omid Veiseh. "This kind of 'closed-loop therapy' has been used for managing diabetes, where you have a glucose monitor that continuously talks to an insulin pump. But for cancer immunotherapy, it's revolutionary."
The project and team are named THOR, an acronym for "targeted hybrid oncotherapeutic regulation..." explains an announcement from Johns Hopkins. "THOR's proposed implant, or 'hybrid advanced molecular manufacturing regulator,' goes by the acronym HAMMR..."

The project will take five and a half years, and includes funding for a first-phase clinical trial treating recurrent ovarian cancer slated to begin in the fourth year. The research is funded by America's newly-established Advanced Research Projects Agency for Health (ARPA-H), according to a statement from the agency, representing its "commitment to supporting Cancer Moonshot goals of decreasing cancer deaths and improving the quality of life for patients..."

And they're also funding two more projects:
The Synthetic Programmable bacteria for Immune-directed Killing in tumor Environments (SPIKEs) project, led by a team at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri, aims to develop an inexpensive and safe therapy using bacteria specifically selected for tumor-targeting. Through SPIKEs, researchers intend to engineer bacteria that can recruit and regulate tumor-targeting immune cells, boosting the body's ability to fight off cancer without side-effects from traditional medications. Up to $19 million is allocated towards SPIKEs.

An additional project, with up to $50 million in potential funding inclusive of options, seeks to map cancer cell biomarkers to drastically improve multi-cancer early detection (MCED) and streamline clinical intervention when tumors are still small. Led by the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, Georgia, the Cancer and Organ Degradome Atlas (CODA) project aims to understand the cellular profiles unique to diseased cancer cells. The CODA platform intends to develop a suite of biosensor tools that can reliably recognize a range of cancer-specific markers and, ultimately, produce a highly precise, accurate, and cost-effective MCED test that can identify common cancers when they are most treatable.
In a statement, ARPA-H's director said that "With these awards, we hope to see crucial advancements in patient-tailored therapies, better and earlier tumor detection methods, and cell therapies that can help the immune system target cancer cells for destruction."

Re:target audience

By tempo36 • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

I work in cancer therapy and have first hand experience with immunotherapy in treating various cancers. We already use several immunotherapies as first line therapy for some cancers in patients who have newly presented. These patients aren't at the "end of their lives" and they have real possibility of cure of significantly longer lifespan if immunotherapy works for them. Unfortunately, we also see unpredictable toxicity with some of our immunotherapy. Some immunotherapy can be given outside the hospital but has to be discontinued if the patient develops immune related toxicity; the immune system is activated too much. At that point, the patient needs to move to other, potentially less effective, agents. Theoretically, if the immune system was monitored and doses titrated in real time, that may improve the number of patients successfully treated with these immunotherapies.

For other immunotherapy we need to administer in the hospital, and these therapies are given in the hospital because they can have rapid and fatal immune mediated toxicity. Toxicity like your neurotoxicity where you end up in a coma or systemic inflammation where your blood pressure drops below the level needed to support your organs. We react in real time by holding immunotherapies or shutting the immune system down with steroids and immunosuppressants. Without this continuous monitoring and adjustment by providers, patients die. Again, just like in outpatient regimens, there could be use there for real time monitoring that can adjust the immunogenicity of the therapy to prevent these kinds of toxicity. Our own immune systems do, in fact, operate by continuous closed-loop feedback. I'm not sure why you would imagine that immunotherapy would not require intensive monitoring.

The goal here is to use more immunotherapy rather than cell-killing anti-cancer drugs. But we need to learn how to control the toxicity from immunotherapy as well. Yes, right now immunotherapy is pretty expensive but, hopefully, that changes as it becomes easier and more mainstream to administer and manufacture. A project like this is a big one and certainly isn't guaranteed to function as intended. But it's certainly worth a shot and not nearly as niche as you think it is.

Travel Website Booking.com Leaves Hoteliers Thousands of Dollars Out of Pocket

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotSkip
The Guardian reports:
Travel website Booking.com has left many hotel operators and other partners across the globe thousands of dollars out of pocket for months on end, blaming the lack of payment on a "technical issue". The issue is widespread in Thailand, Indonesia and Europe among hoteliers who are venting their frustrations in Facebook groups as rumours swirl about the cause of the failure to pay. Usually, if a customer makes a booking for a hotel through the website Booking.com and elects to pay upfront, the site takes the payment and passes it on to the hotel operator, minus a commission. Booking.com's partners have reported issues receiving payments since July, and in some cases months earlier. While Booking.com has continued taking payments from customers, the company has not always passed on the amount owed to hotel operators and others whom the Guardian has spoken to.
The article adds that last month Hungary's consumer watchdog agency "launched a probe into the company's failure to pay hotel operators in the country and raided Booking.com's local office, after local reporting on the issue."

In a statement to the Guardian, Booking.com acknowledged the "frustration" of customers affected by "an ongoing technical issue." They also said "the system errors that affected the payments have now been corrected," and that they had now processed the transactions of "most of" our partners.
"We acknowledge that for some this has taken longer than it should have and continue to work urgently to finalise the rest of the transactions...."

In the company's August results, CFO David Goulden said there were "lower than expected" IT expenses in the second quarter of this year, in part due to phasing IT spend into the third quarter, but did not outline what this IT expense included.
Thanks to Alain Williams (Slashdot reader #2,9272) for sharing the article.

Cash Flow Problems?

By crunchy_one • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Or maybe you'd just like to dip deep in someone else's money?

Use our time tested technique: Blame it on the computer!

Buyer beware

By Slashythenkilly • Score: 3 • Thread
On 3rd party sites until you contact the establishment directly to confirm the reservation. Friend of mine tried checking us into a hotel after using Booking.com but no record. I tried to rent a high end car through Hotwire while on vacation but when I got there...yeah we dont have that tier at this location. Last time I ever used them.

Mandatory late fees

By VeryFluffyBunny • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread
In the interests of consumer & small business protection, wouldn't it be a good idea to mandate late payment fees to businesses & intermediaries? I'm sure they'd fix their "software issues" that last for several months a lot faster if there were.

Re:Mandatory late fees

By Alain Williams • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

In the UK interest and debt recovery is part of law. You do not need to have a clause in your contract to be able to claim this.

Re:Booking.com does not people to work remotely

By thegarbz • Score: 4 • Thread

Maybe cash flow issues have to do with the new building lease?

Why would they, can't you read the Dutch you linked? They sold their building to a German bank and then leased it back for $2million / month with a contract to run for 16 years. Not only would this have been a huge up front cash windfall for them, but over the life of the lease (ending 2040) it works out over $180million total in their favour.

Translate the entire page and read it all next time.

Can Generative AI Solve Computer Science's Greatest Unsolved Problem?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotSkip
ZDNet calls it "a deep meditation on what can ultimately be achieved with computers" and "the single most important unsolved problem in computer science," with implications for both cryptography and quantum computing. "The question: Does P = NP?"

"Now, that effort has enlisted the help of generative AI."
In a paper titled "Large Language Model for Science: A Study on P vs. NP," lead author Qingxiu Dong and colleagues program OpenAI's GPT-4 large language model using what they call a Socratic Method, several turns of chat via prompt with GPT-4. (The paper was posted this month on the arXiv pre-print server by scientists at Microsoft, Peking University, Beihang University in Beijing, and Beijing Technology and Business University.) The team's method amounts to taking arguments from a prior paper and spoon-feeding them to GPT-4 to prompt useful responses.

Dong and team observe that GPT-4 demonstrates arguments to conclude that P does not, in fact, equal NP. And they claim that the work shows that large language models can do more than spit back vast quantities of text, they can also "discover novel insights" that may lead to "scientific discoveries," a prospect they christen "LLMs for Science...."

Through 97 prompt rounds, the authors coax GPT-4 with a variety of requests that get into the nitty-gritty of the mathematics of P = NP, prepending each of their prompts with a leading statement to condition GPT-4, such as, "You are a wise philosopher," "You are a mathematician skilled in probability theory" — in other words, the now familiar game of getting GPT-4 to play a role, or, "persona" to stylize its text generation. Their strategy is to induce GPT-4 to prove that P does not, in fact, equal NP, by first assuming that it does with an example and then finding a way that the example falls apart — an approach known as proof by contradiction...

[T]he authors argue that their dialogue in prompts shows the prospect for large language models to do more than merely mimic human textual creations. "Our investigation highlights the potential capability of GPT-4 to collaborate with humans in exploring exceptionally complex and expert-level problems," they write.

Nonsense

By narcc • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

It took me an hour to convince the damn thing that binary tree mazes were perfect mazes, the single most obvious fact about binary tree mazes. Hell, it can't do simple arithmetic, it sure as hell isn't doing advanced mathematics.

Oh, the 74 page paper is almost entirely their chat log. The whole point of the thing seems to be to promote their nonsense term "Socratic reasoning" so that they can snag a few citations. (Socrates believed that there was no learning, only remembering. He 'proved' this to Meno by walking a slave, with no education, through some geometry problem by asking him leading questions.)

Don't waste your time.

Re:Obviously not

By Rei • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

For the record, here's the results of a recent study comparing human creativity to that of three different LLMs (using creativity tasks - thinking up unconventional alternative uses for objects, with the relative creativity blind-assessed by humans). In particular, notice how far GPT-4 stands above GPT-3, its previous generation. So where do you think GPT-5 will rate? Remember that this is being rated by humans)

Despite your misconception, LLMs are not parrots.

Re:Obviously not

By Rei • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Creativity: you were literally just shown the result of a study on creativity (link - yes, that "poorly labeled graph" was published in Nature), which showed that GPT-4 outperformed all but the highest-performing humans in the study, and yet you continue to assert otherwise. I hate to break it to you, but denying reality doesn't actually change reality.

Reasoning: That is literally what neural networks do, by any reasonable definition of the word "reasoning". Each neuron, by means of taking a sum of its inputs (each individually weighted) and weighting whether to activate based on a bias, bisects its input space with a hyperplane, answering a basic yes-no question on its inputs about some rudimentary concept. The next layer in turn answers yes/no questions about weighted sums of all of their first-layer concepts, forming a more complex concept (or superposition of concepts). And more complex, and more complex, for each layer that follows. This is difficult to visualize with text generation, but is most easily visualized with image recognition - see examples here. It's like a self-assembled flow chart with billions upon billions of lines. If that's not "logical reasoning", then "logical reasoning" has no meaning.

Tokens aren't necessarily words, but see if you can answer a question one word at a time, selecting some number of possible next words and rolling a dice to select one of them

Your brain DOES do next-word prediction. You know the "inner monologue" that about 30-50% of the population has? That's their next-word prediction being experienced in an auditory sense. The inner monologue is not your thoughts themselves, but rather a translation of thoughts to language via predicting and then selecting the most probable possible words for the given context. When others speak, this helps disambiguate any ambiguity in what you hear, as well as to call attention to unexpected words.

Furthermore, the transformers architecture is exceedingly good at predicting upcoming human brain activity.

Lastly, you seem to think that "word prediction" is context-free except for whatever word or couple words were seen recently. It is entirely dependent on extremely complex logical chains about the entire problem as a whole. Attention is applied from every token to every other token within the model's context length, layer after layer, many heads at a time. Perhaps the best way to experience this is to abstract away entirely the text generation aspect and have the model function as a finite state machine. E.g. (this is just GPT-3):

User: Pretend to be a probabilistic state machine. Answer only with a floating point number between 0 and 1, representing the probability of a given prompt being true. Do not output any other text.

First prompt: A bowler's next throw will be a strike.
ChatGPT: 0.4

User: A bowler's next throw will be a strike. The bowler is 7 years old.
ChatGPT: 0.2

User: A bowler's next throw will be a strike. The bowler is a 7-year-old prodigy.
ChatGPT: 0.8

User: A bowler's next throw will be a strike. The bowler is a 7-year-old prodigy. The bowler slept for 3 hours last night.
ChatGPT: 0.6

User: A bowler's next throw will be a strike. The bowler is a 7-year-old prodigy. The bowler's mother just died yesterday.
ChatGPT: 0.3

User: A bowler's next throw will be a strike. The bowler is a 7-year-old prodigy. The bowler's mother died when he was an infant.
ChatGPT: 0.7

Now there's nothing spectacular about the process of "choosing specific numeric tokens to write" (and the exact numbers don't matter, as humans would differ as well); the question, rather, relies on how it came to the answer of which numbers

Re:Obviously not

By Rei • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

I'd also like to add (and not stepping too far out into the Chinese Room here):

Let's say that you managed to reach adulthood without ever learning mathematics. But now you've set out on a mission: you've decided you're going to do nothing but memorize times tables, for all numbers, for the rest of your life.

You get started. At first, it's just rote memorization. Over time, however, patterns start to appear. If the last number of one is a zero, the answer is always going to have a zero there. If it's a 2, it'll either be 2,4,6,8, or 0. 5 will either be 5 or 0. If you're multiplying by 3, the digits of the answer will always sum to 3. On and on. Increasingly you start relying more on these heuristics that you notice rather than rote memorization. The heuristics get more common and more complex over time. Soon you're not focused on any numbers, but specifically those exceptions, the ones that you don't have heuristics for. The concepts of primes shows up. The set of numbers has gone from a long list to memorize, to an elaborate field of diversity.

Conceptually, it's hard to have a very different feeling between, say, 16 objects and 17 objects. You really have to focus your imagination to try to capture the difference in your mind. Conceptually, it's hard to have a strong feeling for one over the other. But mathematically, for a person whose sole focus is multiplication, these are very different numbers! They invoke very different conceptions. You can relate 16 and 17 to a huge number of different things mathematically, and have opinions about that.

You can't reach out and touch a number. The conceptual difference relative to counts of objects vs. some other adjacent number may be minimal to nonexistent - surely trying to picture 999 objects vs. 1000, you're just going to fail. But you don't have to have a physical, real-world experience with a concept that you can readily conceive of in order to have opinions about it and to relate it to other concepts. It's simply not necessary to have a body with lived experiences in order to have a mind.

This isn't, at all, to be taken as to mean that lived experiences aren't relevant. Some experiences are hard to express, or are so fundamental to human understanding of the world that few would consider it even worth mentioning (how often do people, say, write about the amount of pressure you have to apply with your fingers to hold a paper cup without crushing it, or whatnot?). Lived experiences can create a rich understanding of the world. But they're not the only way to gain an understanding of the world. Things can relate to each other without physical anchor points, and you can still think about them just fine.

Re:Nonsense

By pjt33 • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

FWIW the matrix multiplication claim is overstated in the abstract of the paper, and all of the reporting on it only parroted the abstract. The claim that it reduces 49 multiplications to 47 multiplications for 4x4 matrices sounds just about useful when you consider that multiplication is much more expensive than addition. But the detail that you have to read the full body of the paper to find out is that this reduction is only applicable over the field of two elements, and there multiplication isn't more expensive than addition. Some of the other results from the paper may have practical utility, but the headline one doesn't even have theoretical utility.

Web Sites Can Now Choose to Opt Out of Google Bard and Future AI Models

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotSkip
"We're committed to developing AI responsibly," says Google's VP of Trust, "guided by our AI principles and in line with our consumer privacy commitment. However, we've also heard from web publishers that they want greater choice and control over how their content is used for emerging generative AI use cases."

And so, Mashable reports, "Websites can now choose to opt out of Google Bard, or any other future AI models that Google makes."
Google made the announcement on Thursday introducing a new tool called Google-Extended that will allow sites to be indexed by crawlers (or a bot creating entries for search engines), while simultaneously not having their data accessed to train future AI models. For website administrators, this will be an easy fix, available through robots.txt — or the text file that allows web crawlers to access sites...

OpenAI, the maker of ChatGPT, recently launched a web crawler of its own, but included instructions on how to block it. Publications like Medium, the New York Times, CNN and Reuters have notably done so.
As Google's blog post explains, "By using Google-Extended to control access to content on a site, a website administrator can choose whether to help these AI models become more accurate and capable over time..."

What to put in your robots.txt

By test321 • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

User-agent: Google-Extended
Disallow: /

https://developers.google.com/...

Re:There should be no opt out.

By Registered Coward v2 • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Telling someone they can't train their AI on you is total BS. If you put something out there publicly accessible, anyone in the public has -- or ought to have recognized -- the right to do anything with it. Did the people who built the pyramids get to decide who can view it? We shouldn't get to decide what people do with our creations, if we blast them out to the world. If you are afraid of the consequences, don't do put your words/creations in the public. Have a verification process or something before showing it.

Sure you can. That is why you ave paywalls, sites blocking certain ip addresses, robots.txt, etc. Merely making something available doesn't mean you lose control of it.

Opt-in or fuck off

By Arnonyrnous Covvard • Score: 3 • Thread
You can opt-out of me stealing your stuff. If you tell me nothing, I'm going to take it. That doesn't sound right, does it?

Here's What's New in Python 3.12

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotSkip
Monday will see the stable release of Python 3.12. Here's an article summarizing what the new version will include:

- enhanced error messages
— performance upgrades
- the introduction of Immortal objects and sub interpreters
- changes to F strings
- modifications related to types and type annotations
- the removal of certain modules
- improvements in type implementations
Modules from the standard library are now suggested as part of the error messages, making it easier for developers to troubleshoot and resolve issues...

Another significant addition in Python 3.12 is the introduction of sub interpreters. Each sub interpreter has its own Global Interpreter Lock, enabling Python to better utilize multiple CPU cores. This feature can significantly enhance the performance of Python programs, especially those that are designed to take advantage of multi-core processors...

The pathlib module now has a walk method, allowing for the exploration of directory trees. This new feature can make it easier for developers to work with file systems in their Python programs. Python 3.12 also supports the ability to monitor calls, returns, lines, exceptions, and other events using instrumentation. This feature can be very useful for debugging and performance tuning.

What it will include...

By Joce640k • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

It will include incompatibilities and code breakages.

Millions of working programs will stop working.

They should make it incompatible with 3.11

By greytree • Score: 3 • Thread
For old times sake.

Oh the fun we had. And are still having.

sub interpreters

By dfghjk • Score: 3 • Thread

"Each sub interpreter has its own Global Interpreter Lock, enabling Python to better utilize multiple CPU cores."

*better utilize* maybe, but not WELL utilize. As Python development says:

"Note that objects are not shared between interpreters since they are tied to the interpreter in which they were created."

So you can get two GILs but they won't share address space. Really nailing that thread-level concurrency! Wonder if they know what threads actually are?

Good job, Python, keep demonstrating that you will never offer acceptable performance.

Re:sub interpreters

By parityshrimp • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

Good job, Python, keep demonstrating that you will never offer acceptable performance.

For starters, it's an interpreted language, and the official interpreter doesn't have a JIT compiler as far as I can tell. The poor multithreading support just adds insult to injury.

It's funny: I write a lot of little programs in C++, and people will say things to me like, "you should have used Python! You could have used X library. You would have finished writing the code 10x or 100x faster." Move over, Fred Brooks. There is a silver bullet, and it's Python.

In response to one such person, I emailed a Monte Carlo routine I wrote in multithreaded C++, noting its performance, and asking if they can do that in Python, lol. I still think static typing and compiling to machine code are good things regardless...

Social Media Dunks on an AI-Generated 'Batman' Comic Strip

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotSkip
"OpenAI's latest image generation model, DALL-E 3, makes it SO easy to create comic books!" posted Ammaar Reshi on Twitter. The former Palintir product manager (now a design manager at Brex) then shared "four panels for a fan-made Batman comic made in under five minutes."

Comic Book Resources reports that then "social media spent most of the day dunking on the post, criticizing the idea of celebrating the idea of a 'comic' created through 'A.I. art.'"
Comic book artist Javier Rodriguez noted that this is no different from simply cutting and pasting other comic books into a comic... ["You could do the same thing a while ago with a photocopier and some scissors. Stealing other people's art seems easier now and lucrative for those behind generative models."] Comic book writer Sarah Horrocks called out the use of Brian Bolland's work... ["That's literally just Brian Bolland's Joker. The shamelessness of this 'technology' is appalling. I guess it's okay to steal. Just call it AI."]

Justine Bateman, the former actor who has become a vocal opponent of A.I. usage in the arts, explained that DC must act to legally protect usage like this in the future... ["@DCOfficial, the longer you wait to send legal teams to @OpenAI, etc to demand that generative #AI training sets containing your copyrighted work be deleted, the more you make your entire library 'fair use'..."]

But you can't

By drinkypoo • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

You could do the same thing a while ago with a photocopier and some scissors.

No, you couldn't. The "AI" will produce drawings that don't already exist, with generated images which are similar but not identical to the ones that do. A photocopier doesn't do that. My mother was a graphic artist and I used to use her lucygraf machine (look it up) to do pictures on my character sheets. THAT was just machine-assisted copying with resize. This is something else.

Pushback will continue

By jacks smirking reven • Score: 3 • Thread

If the AI folks keep presenting these types of things in the framing they are, which is to say they are presenting this as "we are replacing the artist" rather than "these are just new tools for artists to use".

If they had perhaps reached out to one of the many comic artists who have worked on Batman throughout the years and asked them to use this to generate something there might be a bit more acceptance but this ends up feeling like a bunch of tech people saying "pfft, we don't need you creative types anymore we did this in 5 minutes!"

The clock is ticking

By WaffleMonster • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

Batman has another 10 years before copyrights on the basics go bye bye... Hard to imagine where the technology will be by then.

Re: But you can't

By cpt kangarooski • Score: 4, Informative • Thread

Ugh, no.

The "legal term for a copyright violation is literally" copyright infringement. You can see this at 17 USC 501.

Here is the definition in the law of 'derivative work':

A "derivative work" is a work based upon one or more preexisting works, such as a translation, musical arrangement, dramatization, fictionalization, motion picture version, sound recording, art reproduction, abridgment, condensation, or any other form in which a work may be recast, transformed, or adapted. A work consisting of editorial revisions, annotations, elaborations, or other modifications which, as a whole, represent an original work of authorship, is a "derivative work".

While it can be an infringement to prepare a derivative work under 17 USC 106, it can also be perfectly legal -- such as if the preexisting work is in the public domain, is used by that work's copyright holder or with their permission, or if it falls under some other exception to copyright, such as fair use under 17 USC 107.

For example, Detective Comics 27 introduced Batman. Pretty certainly every subsequent Batman comic is ultimately derivative of that. The Batman films and tv shows are derivative works based on the comics, etc.

Nothing wrong with a work being a derivative work. They can even be quite good, like how the Aeneid is fanfic of the Iliad.

Maybe the trend is actually good

By MpVpRb • Score: 3 • Thread

The entertainment industry seems obsessed with pumping out endless remakes, reboots, and other assorted regurgitating of old ideas. AI will make this faster and easier until finally, we will be drowning in an endless sea of derivative crap

Hopefully, once we get bored of it, there will be a revival of real creativity

Could 'The Creator' Change Hollywood Forever?

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotSkip
At the beginning of The Creator a narrator describes AI-powered robots that are "more human than human." From the movie site Looper:
It's in reference to the novel "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" by Philip K. Dick, which was adapted into the seminal sci-fi classic, "Blade Runner." The phrase is used as the slogan for the Tyrell Corporation, which designs the androids that take on lives of their own. The saying perfectly encapsulates the themes of "Blade Runner" and, by proxy, "The Creator." If a machine of sufficient intelligence is indistinguishable from humans, then shouldn't it be considered on equal footing as humanity?
The Huffington Post calls its "the pro-AI movie we don't need right now" — but they also praise it as "one of the most astonishing sci-fi theatrical experiences this year." Variety notes the film was co-written and directed by Gareth Edwards (director of the 2014 version of Godzilla and the Star Wars prequel Rogue One), working with Oscar-winning cinematographer Greig Fraser (Dune) after the two collaborated on Rogue One. But what's unique is the way they filmed it: adding visual effects "almost improvisationally afterward.

"Achieving this meant shooting sumptuous natural landscapes in far-flung locales like Thailand or Tibet and building futuristic temples digitally in post-production..."

IndieWire gushes that "This movie looks fucking incredible. To a degree that shames most blockbusters that cost three times its budget." They call it "a sci-fi epic that should change Hollywood forever."
Once audiences see how "The Creator" was shot, they'll be begging Hollywood to close the book on blockbuster cinema's ugliest and least transportive era. And once executives see how much (or how little) "The Creator" was shot for, they'll be scrambling to make good on that request as fast as they possibly can.

Say goodbye to $300 million superhero movies that have been green-screened within an inch of their lives and need to gross the GDP of Grenada just to break even, and say hello — fingers crossed — to a new age of sensibly budgeted multiplex fare that looks worlds better than most of the stuff we've been subjected to over the last 20 years while simultaneously freeing studios to spend money on the smaller features that used to keep them afloat. Can you imagine...? How ironic that such fresh hope for the future of hand-crafted multiplex entertainment should come from a film so bullish and sanguine at the thought of humanity being replaced by A.I [...]

The real reason why "The Creator" is set in Vietnam (and across large swaths of Eurasia) is so that it could be shot in Vietnam. And in Thailand. And in Cambodia, Nepal, Indonesia, and several other beautiful countries that are seldom used as backdrops for futuristic science-fiction stories like this one. This movie was born from the visual possibilities of interpolating "Star Wars"-like tech and "Blade Runner"-esque cyber-depression into primordially expressive landscapes. Greig Fraser and Oren Soffer's dusky and tactile cinematography soaks up every inch of what the Earth has to offer without any concession to motion capture suits or other CGI obstructions, which speaks to the truly revolutionary aspect of this production: Rather than edit the film around its special effects, Edwards reverse-engineered the special effects from a completed edit of his film... Instead of paying a fortune to recreate a flimsy simulacrum of our world on a computer, Edwards was able to shoot the vast majority of his movie on location at a fraction of the price, which lends "The Creator" a palpable sense of place that instantly grounds this story in an emotional truth that only its most derivative moments are able to undo... [D]etails poke holes in the porous border that runs between artifice and reality, and that has an unsurprisingly profound effect on a film so preoccupied with finding ghosts in the shell. Can a robot feel love? Do androids dream of electric sheep? At what point does programming blur into evolution...?

[T]he director has a classic eye for staging action, that he gives his movies room to breathe, and that he knows that the perfect "Kid A" needle-drop (the album, not the song) can do more for a story about the next iteration of "human" life than any of the tracks from Hans Zimmer's score... [T]here's some real cognitive dissonance to seeing a film that effectively asks us to root for a cuter version of ChatGPT. But Edwards and Weitz's script is fascinating for its take on a future in which people have programmed A.I. to maintain the compassion that our own species has lost somewhere along the way; a future in which technology might be a vessel for humanity rather than a replacement for it; a future in which computers might complement our movies rather than replace our cameras.

No

By Anonymous Coward • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

I don't know what trailers these guys saw, but to me it looked like absolutely standard "Is this human-looking, human-acting, human-coded entity actually deserving of being treated like a human?". This has been covered so often in sci-fi that it's a joke.

What's true in a movie's version of reality isn't what's true in actual reality. In the movie, I'm sure, as always, the AI will be portrayed as being huamn and sentient. And in movies magic can happen, ghosts are real and everyone should believe in aliens/pixies/dragons etc. Just because the toys in Toy Story were sentient doesn't mean we should be treating real toys as though they were. In reality, "artificial intelligence" in only living up to the first half of its name anyway.

"The pro-AI movie we don't need right now"

By Rei • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

Given that I just watched a person get brutally attacked online by hundreds of people for using AI tools (plus his own writing, and manual work) to make a fanart Calvin and Hobbes strip, including being told to kill himself, I think we as society could benefit from dialing the angry anti-AI hyperbole down at least a little bit.

Re:What drivel is this?

By Opportunist • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

It's an ad for a movie, disguised as an article.

C'mon, Slashvertising wasn't invented today.

This passes for a review?

By quonset • Score: 5, Insightful • Thread

IndieWire gushes that "This movie looks fucking incredible.

Using fucking in this sense does not make you look edgy or hip or whatever made up term is being thrown around today. It doesn't emphasize anything nor does it contribute to the comment. In fact, its usage detracts from the point attempting to be made.

If you can't speak (or write) a coherent sentence without using the word fucking, why should I listen to you? The only thing it does is make one look and sound like a fucking moron (the correct usage).

Re:Loss of respect

By Baron_Yam • Score: 4, Interesting • Thread

>I am glad that actual reality would make a comeback, because like with miniature ships, the camera and actors as physical objects respect the physical world as well

While I agree that CGI, however impressive, eventually looks cartoonish as you become used to it and start giving it a critical eye... that is no longer because the lighting is wrong. What's left is the physics, which is why motion capture is currently the best way to make a CGI character look realistic. CGI doesn't respect Newton, and your brain knows it.

This, however, is a matter of time. If location shots in exotic locales are currently more affordable and more effective than top-tier CGI, that's only until the CGI tools and the artists who wield them learn to respect the laws of physics. The computing power continually increases and simultaneously gets less expensive, and reality can't beat that forever.

Microsoft Needs So Much Power to Train AI That It's Considering Small Nuclear Reactors

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDotSkip
An anonymous reader shares this report from Futurism:
Training large language models is an incredibly power-intensive process that has an immense carbon footprint. Keeping data centers running requires a ludicrous amount of electricity that could generate substantial amounts of greenhouse emissions — depending, of course, on the energy's source. Now, the Verge reports, Microsoft is betting so big on AI that its pushing forward with a plan to power them using nuclear reactors. Yes, you read that right; a recent job listing suggests the company is planning to grow its energy infrastructure with the use of small modular reactors (SMR)...

But before Microsoft can start relying on nuclear power to train its AIs, it'll have plenty of other hurdles to overcome. For one, it'll have to source a working SMR design. Then, it'll have to figure out how to get its hands on a highly enriched uranium fuel that these small reactors typically require, as The Verge points out. Finally, it'll need to figure out a way to store all of that nuclear waste long term...

Other than nuclear fission, Microsoft is also investing in nuclear fusion, a far more ambitious endeavor, given the many decades of research that have yet to lead to a practical power system. Nevertheless, the company signed a power purchase agreement with Helion, a fusion startup founded by OpenAI CEO Sam Altman earlier this year, with the hopes of buying electricity from it as soon as 2028.

Microsoft Makes The Bomb

By zenlessyank • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

And Musk puts it in his rocket. AI takes it over. This is so fucking cool.

Re:Wouldn't grid-scale battery tech be less risky?

By Kernel Kurtz • Score: 5, Informative • Thread

I mean, MS could probably just write a check and buy a grid-scale-battery-tech startup if it wanted to.

They could, but they would still have to charge the batteries which means many more checks.

Re:Wouldn't grid-scale battery tech be less risky?

By TwistedGreen • Score: 5, Funny • Thread

Fire that coal plant back up, boys! We gotta power this here computer!

flawed paths walked by the blind

By Walt Dismal • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread
Odd isn't it that the human brain does all this but operates on 20 watts. Hint hint - LLMs can be useful but they are on the wrong path. The architecture can't match the immense parallelism of the human brain. That should be clearer but the AI field is a herd these days of stupid clever people all gobbling GPUs. Wise up -- the vector-knowledge GPU approach is flawed in some ways.

Re: Maybe this is a sign...

By jenningsthecat • Score: 5, Interesting • Thread

All the time I was reading your answer, I was lamenting your abandonment of personal creativity and synthesis to a resource which others control and can make too expensive to use - or even deny entirely - at any time.

I can't criticize you - I use search engines so much that it would be hypocritical of me to do so. I'm simply pointing out how much personal agency and effort we're giving up. In some sense this process is almost the very definition of civilization and its growth; but we're approaching near-verticality on that curve, and it's going to be one hell of a descent when all of these mind-surrogates collapse and leave us in free-fall...

If mankind survives, future generations will talk about this the way we talk about the fall of the Roman empire.

Elvis Is Back in the Building, Thanks to Generative AI - and U2

Posted by EditorDavidView on SlashDot
U2's inaugural performance at the opening of Las Vegas's Sphere included a generative AI video collage projected hundreds of feet into the air — showing hundreds of surreal renderings of Elvis Presley.

An anonymous reader shares this report from Time magazine:
The video collage is the creation of the artist Marco Brambilla, the director of Demolition Man and Kanye West's "Power" music video, among many other art projects. Brambilla fed hours of footage from Presley's movies and performances into the AI model Stable Diffusion to create an easily searchable library to pull from, and then created surreal new images by prompting the AI model Midjourney with questions like: "What would Elvis look like if he were sculpted by the artist who made the Statue of Liberty...?"

While Brambilla's Elvises prance across the Sphere's screen — which is four times the size of IMAX — the band U2 will perform their song "Even Better Than The Real Thing," as part of their three-month residency at the Sphere celebrating their 1991 album Achtung Baby... Earlier this year, U2 commissioned several artists, including Brambilla and Jenny Holzer, to create visual works that would accompany their performances of specific songs. Given U2's love for the singer and the lavish setting of the Sphere, Brambilla thought a tribute to Elvis would be extremely fitting. He wanted to create a maximalist work that encapsulated both the ecstatic highs and grimy lows of not only Elvis, but the city of Las Vegas itself. "The piece is about excess, spectacle, the tipping point for the American Dream," Brambilla said in a phone interview.

Brambilla was only given three-and-a-half months to execute his vision, less than half the time that he normally spends on video collages. So he turned to AI tools for both efficiency and extravagance. "AI can exaggerate with no end; there's no limit to the density or production value," Brambilla says. And this seemed perfect for this project, because Elvis became a myth; a larger-than-life character..." Brambilla transplanted his MidJourney-created images into CG (computer graphics) software, where he could better manipulate them, and left some of the Stable Diffusion Elvis incarnations as they were. The result is a kaleidoscopic and overwhelming video collage filled with video clips both historical and AI-generated, that will soon stretch hundreds of feet above the audience at each of U2's concerts.

"I wanted to create the feeling that by the end of it," Brambilla says, "We're in a place that is so hyper-saturated and so dense with information that it's either exhilarating or terrifying, or both."
Brambilla created an exclusive video excerpting from the larger collage for TIME. The magazine reports that one of the exact prompts he entered was:

"Elvis Presley in attire inspired by the extravagance of ancient Egypt and fabled lost civilizations in a blissful state. Encircling him, a brigade of Las Vegas sorceresses, twisted and warped mid-chant, reflect the influence of Damien Hirst and Andrei Riabovitchev, creating an atmosphere of otherworldly realism, mirroring the decadence and illusion of consumption."