Are we safe from self-aware robots?

End-of-mankind predictions about artificial intelligence, which have issued from some of today’s most impressive human intellects, including Stephen HawkingElon Musk, Bill GatesSteve Wozniak and other notables, have generally sounded overly alarmist to me, exhibiting a bit more fear-of-the-unknown than I would have expected from such eminences, especially the scientists. But that was before I saw reports on the self-aware robot.

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You can’t do that!

It’s the 1980s, and this public utility’s engineering department has discovered that these newfangled PCs can be useful after all, according to a pilot fish on the scene.

“We had to have permits to cut roads for pipeline crossings, and had to send in a specific four- or five-part form to the state,” says fish. “This would usually be to the tune of at least 15 to 20 per month.

“The forms were tractor-fed, so why not build a program to print them on a dot-matrix printer and record them into a database? We did a little development work with dBASE III+ and Basic to do that.

“We even, in the days before our Novell network was in place, set it up to sneaker-net the permit information into the department check registry to cut out retyping the information.

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7 predictions for the next-gen MacBook Air

With so much focus on iPhone and iPad it’s easy to forget Apple also makes Macs. Recent speculation claims the next MacBook Air upgrade may appear this fall. Here’s what to expect:

Skylake is falling

A set of supposedly leaked specifications for Intel’s upcoming Skylake processors suggests some of the technical improvements we can anticipate within future MacBook Air models. As revealed by FanlessTech, the great and the good of the Mac rumor Web appear to have coalesced around expectation these Macs will use chips from either/both the Core i5-6200U (2.3GHz and 2.4GHz) and Core i7-6500U (2.5GHz and 2.6GHz). The processors offer integrated Intel HD 520 graphics and are built using Intel’s new 14-nanometer architecture.

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