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Alexa is Implementing Self-Learning Techniques To Better Understand Users

Slashdot - 3시간 28분 지남
In a developer blog post published this week, Alexa AI director of applied science Ruhi Sarikaya detailed the advances in machine learning technologies that have allowed Alexa to better understand users through contextual clues. From a report: According to Sarikaya, these improvements have played a role in reducing user friction and making Alexa more conversational. Since this fall, Amazon has been working on self-learning techniques that teach Alexa to automatically recover from its own errors. The system has been in beta until now, and it launched in the US this week. It doesn't require any human annotation, and, according to Sarikaya, it uses customers' "implicit or explicit contextual signals to detect unsatisfactory interactions or failures of understanding." The contextual signals range from customers' historical activity, preferences, and what Alexa skills they use to where the Alexa device is located in the home and what kind of Alexa device it is. For example, during the beta phase, Alexa learned to understand a customer's mistaken command of "Play 'Good for What'" and correct them by playing Drake's song "Nice for What."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Kernel prepatch 4.20-rc6

lwn.net - 5시간 5분 지남
The 4.20-rc6 kernel prepatch is out for testing. "Most of it looks pretty small and normal. Would I have preferred for there to be less churn? Yes. But it's certainly smaller than rc5 was, so we're moving in the right direction, and we have at least one more rc to go."
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The Electric Airplane Revolution May Come Sooner Than You Think

Slashdot - 5시간 58분 지남
An anonymous reader shares a report: An all-electric mini-airliner that can go 621 miles on one charge and replace many of the turboprops and light jets in use now -- flying almost as far and almost as fast but for a fraction of the running costs -- could be in service within three years. But this isn't another claim by another overoptimistic purveyor of electric dreams. It's using current technology, and the first planes are being built right now. In fact, the process of gaining certification from aviation regulators for what would be the world's first electric commuter plane has already started. The pressurised Alice from Israeli company Eviation is a graceful-looking composite aircraft with one propeller at the rear and another at the end of each wing, placed to cut drag from wingtip vortices. Each is driven by a 260 kW electric motor, and they receive power from a 900 kWh lithium ion battery pack. Alongside its 650 mile range, the pressurised $3 million-plus Alice can carry nine passengers and two crew, and cruise at 276 mph -- up there with the speed of the turboprops that are widely used in the commuter role, if not anywhere near that of jets. But crucially, says Eviation chief executive Omer Bar-Yohay, "operating costs will be just 7 to 9 cents per seat per mile," or about $200 an hour for the whole aircraft, against about $1,000 for turboprop rivals.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Japan is Giving Away Free Houses

Slashdot - 8시간 58분 지남
There are some 8 million abandoned homes -- or akiya -- in Japanese suburbia, according to The Japan Times . And if you've got a visa allowing you to live in Japan, some of them can be yours for free or very low prices, and the government may give you a subsidy to renovate one. From a report: There are even databases devoted to helping people find these homes, known as "akiya banks." What's driving the government to give away homes? In part, it has to do with Japan's aging population: According to the World Bank, the country's population decreased by -0.2% in 2017 alone, while China and the U.S. slowly grew 0.6% and 0.7% respectively. There are simply fewer people in Japan than there once were -- roughly 1.3 million fewer people than in 2010 by one count [paywall].

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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CVE-2018-20000

Latest 7 days CVE Lists - 10시간 29분 지남
Apereo Bedework bw-webdav before 4.0.3 allows XXE attacks, as demonstrated by an invite-reply document that reads a local file, related to webdav/servlet/common/MethodBase.java and webdav/servlet/common/PostRequestPars.java.

CVE-2018-20001

Latest 7 days CVE Lists - 10시간 29분 지남
In Libav 12.3, there is a floating point exception in the range_decode_culshift function (called from range_decode_bits) in libavcodec/apedec.c that will lead to remote denial of service via crafted input.

CVE-2018-20002

Latest 7 days CVE Lists - 10시간 29분 지남
The _bfd_generic_read_minisymbols function in syms.c in the Binary File Descriptor (BFD) library (aka libbfd), as distributed in GNU Binutils 2.31, has a memory leak via a crafted ELF file, leading to a denial of service (memory consumption), as demonstrated by nm.

China Forms New Body To Review Ethics Risks of Video Games

Slashdot - 10시간 58분 지남
China has established a new body that reviews ethical issues in video gaming, marking the country's latest attempt to tighten control over the world's biggest games market. From a report: The recently formed Online Games Ethics Committee has so far evaluated an initial batch of 20 video game titles, according to a report on Friday from state broadcaster China Central Television (CCTV). This was the first time the committee's existence was made public. Without elaborating, the CCTV report said the ethics committee rejected nine games for publication in the domestic market, while ruling that certain content be modified in the 11 other games that were reviewed. The report neither revealed which government department the ethics committee was directly under nor identified the 20 games that the body processed. The creation of the Online Games Ethics Committee has come amid concerns over internet addiction, childhood myopia and unsuitable content in China's US$38 billion video games market, which has led Beijing to tighten its control over the industry and freeze the approval of new titles this year.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Scientists Say Most Diverse Coral Site Ever Seen on Great Barrier Reef Discovered

Slashdot - 12시간 18분 지남
In a space no longer than 500 metres, researchers say they recorded at least 195 different species of corals. From a report: A team of researchers says it has discovered the most diverse coral site ever recorded on the Great Barrier Reef. Great Barrier Reef Legacy, a non-profit organisation that conducts research trips on the reef, and scientist Charlie Veron, known as the godfather of coral, have identified the site on the outer reef. In a space no longer than 500 metres, the researchers say they recorded at least 195 different species of corals on a research expedition last month. The group first stumbled upon the site on a voyage last year, and returned in November to conduct studies. "I've spent eight years working on the Great Barrier Reef in just about every nook and cranny," Veron said. "I thought there would be nothing new for me on the Great Barrier Reef." Veron returned with the group to record the corals and will write a paper on the site. He said it was located in a general area that had been affected by widespread coral bleaching and coral mortality and it would take further work to assess why this particular spot had survived so far. It also appeared to have been unaffected by cyclones and other factors such as crown of thorns that threaten coral health.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

카테고리:

CVE-2018-19991

Latest 7 days CVE Lists - 12시간 29분 지남
VeryNginx 0.3.3 allows remote attackers to bypass the Web Application Firewall feature because there is no error handler (for get_uri_args or get_post_args) to block the API misuse described in CVE-2018-9230.

'What Straight-A Students Get Wrong'

Slashdot - 14시간 13분 지남
From a story: Year after year, I watch in dismay as students obsess over getting straight A's. Some sacrifice their health; a few have even tried to sue their school after falling short. All have joined the cult of perfectionism out of a conviction that top marks are a ticket to elite graduate schools and lucrative job offers. I was one of them. I started college with the goal of graduating with a 4.0. It would be a reflection of my brainpower and willpower, revealing that I had the right stuff to succeed. But I was wrong. The evidence is clear: Academic excellence is not a strong predictor of career excellence. Across industries, research shows that the correlation between grades and job performance is modest in the first year after college and trivial within a handful of years. For example, at Google, once employees are two or three years out of college, their grades have no bearing on their performance. Academic grades rarely assess qualities like creativity, leadership and teamwork skills, or social, emotional and political intelligence. Yes, straight-A students master cramming information and regurgitating it on exams. But career success is rarely about finding the right solution to a problem -- it's more about finding the right problem to solve.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Alibaba Already Has a Voice Assistant Way Better Than Google's

Slashdot - 15시간 58분 지남
Like Google's Duplex, Chinese internet giant Alibaba has its own humanlike voice assistant capable of making restaurant reservations and salon appointments. But unlike Google, which has rolled out the feature to select audience, Alibaba's offering already has a wider reach. And it's smart, too. From a report: On December 2 at the 2018 Neural Information Processing Systems conference, one of the largest annual gatherings for AI research, Alibaba demoed the AI customer service agent for its logistics company Cainiao. Jin Rong, the dean of Alibaba's Machine Intelligence and Technology Lab, said the agent is already servicing millions of customer requests a day. The pre-recorded demo call involved the agent asking a customer where he wanted his package delivered. In the back-and-forth exchange, the agent successfully navigated several conversational elements that demonstrated the breadth of its natural-language capabilities. Take this exchange at the beginning of the call, translated from Mandarin: Agent: Hello, I am Cainiao's voice assistant. I am -- Customer: Hello. A: Yes, hi, you have package scheduled for morning delivery to 588 Culture West Road. Is it convenient for you to receive? C: Who are you? A: I am Cainiao's voice assistant. I'd like to confirm your morning delivery to 588 Culture West Road. Does that work for you? C: I'm not home in the morning. A: Then do you have another address that you'd like to use? Within 30 seconds, the agent has smoothly handled three common, and tricky, conversational ingredients: interruption, nonlinear conversation, and implicit intent. Interruption is self-explanatory: the agent can respond to the customer's interruption and continue relaying relevant information without starting over or skipping a beat.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Can the US Stop China From Controlling the Next Internet Age?

Slashdot - 16시간 58분 지남
Tech executives worry China will turn to tit-for-tat arrests of Americans in response to the detention of Meng Wanzhou. And the worries don't stop there. Kara Swisher, writing at The New York Times: Imagine, if you will (and you should), a big American tech executive being detained over unspecified charges while on a trip to Beijing. That is exactly what a number of Silicon Valley executives told me they are concerned about after the arrest this week of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecom company Huawei, in Canada at the behest of United States officials. "It's worrisome, because it's an escalation we did not need," one executive said, referring to the already tense trade talks between the two countries. "What China will do, given all the existing tensions, is anyone's guess." No one I spoke to would talk on the record, out of fear of antagonizing either side and also because no one knows exactly what is happening. But many expressed worry about the possibility of tit-for-tat arrests. While everyone focuses on the drama of the arrest -- Ms. Meng was grabbed while changing planes at the airport -- and its effect on the trade talks and stock prices, to my mind there is a much more important fight brewing, and it is about tech hegemony. Specifically, who will control the next internet age, and by whose rules will it be run? Until recently, that answer was clearly the United States, from which the Internet sprang, wiring the world together and, in the process, resulting in the greatest creation of power and wealth in history. While China has always had a strong technology sector, in recent years it has significantly escalated its investment, expertise and innovation, with major support from the government. That hand-in-glove relationship creates obvious issues, and the Trump administration is right to stop pretending that China does not present a threat both from security and innovation perspectives. Further reading: China summons U.S. ambassador, warns Canada of 'grave consequences' if Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou is not released.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

카테고리:

CVE-2018-19653

Latest 7 days CVE Lists - 17시간 29분 지남
HashiCorp Consul 0.5.1 through 1.4.0 can use cleartext agent-to-agent RPC communication because the verify_outgoing setting is improperly documented. NOTE: the vendor has provided reconfiguration steps that do not require a software upgrade.

CVE-2018-19982

Latest 7 days CVE Lists - 17시간 29분 지남
An issue was discovered on KT MC01507L Z-Wave S0 devices. It occurs because HPKP is not implemented. The communication architecture is APP > Server > Controller (HUB) > Node (products which are controlled by HUB). The prerequisite is that the attacker is on the same network as the target HUB, and can use IP Changer to change destination IP addresses (of all packets whose destination IP address is Server) to a proxy-server IP address. This allows sniffing of cleartext between Server and Controller. The cleartext command data is transmitted to Controller using the proxy server's fake certificate, and it is able to control each Node of the HUB. Also, by operating HUB in Z-Wave Pairing Mode, it is possible to obtain the Z-Wave network key.

CVE-2018-19983

Latest 7 days CVE Lists - 17시간 29분 지남
An issue was discovered on Sigma Design Z-Wave S0 through S2 devices. An attacker first prepares a Z-Wave frame-transmission program (e.g., Z-Wave PC Controller, OpenZWave, CC1110, etc.). Next, the attacker conducts a DoS attack against the Z-Wave S0 Security version product by continuously sending divided "Nonce Get (0x98 0x81)" frames. The reason for dividing the "Nonce Get" frame is that, in security version S0, when a node receives a "Nonce Get" frame, the node produces a random new nonce and sends it to the Src node of the received "Nonce Get" frame. After the nonce value is generated and transmitted, the node transitions to wait mode. At this time, when "Nonce Get" is received again, the node discards the previous nonce value and generates a random nonce again. Therefore, because the frame is encrypted with previous nonce value, the received normal frame cannot be decrypted.

Google Just Can't Get the Message

Slashdot - 17시간 58분 지남
It's been a rough week or so to be invested in a Google messaging service, hell it's been a rough decade to be invested in a Google messaging service. Phandroid: The latest victims are Allo, which will be going away in March of 2019, and "Hangouts Classic" which has a more nebulous end of life forecast. These products join the host of other Google messaging casualties over the years, Google Wave, Google+ Huddles, Google+ Hangouts, Google Spaces, to name a few. Now if this left us with an entirely clear picture of Google's messaging strategy going forward that would be something, but the reality is that the company still has 5 such apps with at least some overlapping functionality. The 5 survivors are Duo (Video), Messages (Text), Hangouts Chat (Enterprise Text), Hangouts Meet (Enterprise Video), and Google Voice (Voice and Text). Why am I including two enterprise-focused products in a discussion about consumer messaging? Because the head of those products, Scott Johnston, indicated that "Hangouts (Classic) users will be migrated to Chat and Meet." This was corroborated by an official blog post from Google's VP of Consumer Communications Products, Matt Klainer, who similarly put no definite timeline on this migration. This is a problem that Google themselves seemed ready to settle once and for all almost exactly 2 and a half years ago when they announced Allo and Duo at Google I/O 2016, this was going to be the two-pronged answer to messaging on Android. But it became clear reasonably quickly that Allo wasn't going to hold up its end of the bargain, it saw limited adoption and within two years of launch, Google has now admitted that it shifted resources away from Allo and instead was focused on bringing the relevant features into Messages.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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As We Forge the Web of Tomorrow, We Need a Set of Guiding Principles That Can Define the Kind of Web We Want, Says Tim Berners-Lee

Slashdot - 18시간 58분 지남
Tim Berners-Lee, writing for The New York Times: All technologies come with risks. We drive cars despite the possibility of serious accidents. We take prescription drugs despite the danger of abuse and addiction. We build safeguards into new innovations so we can manage the risks while benefiting from the opportunities. The web is a global platform -- its challenges stretch across borders and cultures. Just as the web was built by millions of people collaborating around the world, its future relies on our collective ability to make it a better tool for everyone. As we forge the web of tomorrow, we need a set of guiding principles that can define the kind of web we want. Identifying these will not be easy -- any agreement that covers a diverse group of countries, cultures and interests will never be. But I believe it's possible to develop a set of basic ideals that we can all agree on, and that will make the web work better for everyone, including the 50 percent of the world's population that has yet to come online. Governments, companies and individuals all have unique roles to play. The World Wide Web Foundation, an organization I founded in 2009 to protect the web as a public good, has drawn up a set of core principles outlining the responsibilities that each party has to protect a web that serves all of humanity. We're asking everyone to sign on to these principles and join us as we create a formal Contract for the Web in 2019. The principles specify that governments are responsible for connecting their citizens to an open web that respects their rights.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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The Friendship That Made Google Huge

Slashdot - 19시간 58분 지남
Coding together at the same computer, Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat changed the course of the company -- and the Internet. An anonymous reader writes: The New Yorker has profiled Jeff Dean and Sanjay Ghemawat, two of Google's most storied developers and to date, the company's only Senior Fellows, the highest level Google awards to engineers. The article dives into some of Dean and Ghemawat's successes at Google but focuses on their deep and collaborative friendship -- particularly exploring the power of programming with a partner. "I don't know why more people don't do it," Ghemawat explains. As Dean points out, all you need to do is "find someone that you're gonna pair-program with who's compatible with your way of thinking, so that the two of you together are a complementary force."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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Freshwater is Getting Saltier, Threatening People and Wildlife

Slashdot - 20시간 58분 지남
Salts that de-ice roads, parking lots and sidewalks keep people safe in winter. But new research shows they are contributing to a sharp and widely rising problem across the U.S. From a report: At least a third of the rivers and streams in the country have gotten saltier in the past 25 years. And by 2100, more than half of them may contain at least 50 percent more salt than they used to. Increasing salinity will not just affect freshwater plants and animals but human lives as well -- notably, by affecting drinking water. Sujay Kaushal, a biogeochemist at the University of Maryland, College Park, recounts an experience he had when visiting relatives in New Jersey. When getting a drink from the tap, "I saw a white film on the glass." After trying to scrub it off, he found, "it turned out to be a thin layer of salt crusting the glass." When Kaushal, who studies how salt invades freshwater sources, sampled the local water supply he found not just an elevated level of the sodium chloride, widely used in winter to de-ice outdoor surfaces, but plenty of other salts such as sodium bicarbonate and magnesium chloride. He also found similar concentrations of these chemicals in most rivers along the east coast, including the Potomac, which provides drinking water for Washington, D.C. Where did all of it come from? De-icing salts, Kaushal determined, are part of the problem, slowly corroding our infrastructure.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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