A machine’s ability to think is something that’s been questioned for nearly half a century, thanks to mathematician Alan Turing. Turing, who helped decipher German military codes during WWII, created a test that is designed to find out if a machine can think on its own. The test consists of a machine attempting to fool a judge into believing that it could be a human by having a text-based conversation on any subject. If the computer’s responses convince the judge that they are speaking with a human, then it has passed the Turing test, and is believed to be capable of thought.
This Sunday, six computer programs will be put through the Turing test in an attempt to win their creator not only an 18-carat gold medal and $100,000, but to prove that computers are capable of thought. The programs competing for the prize go by the names Alice, Brother Jerome, Elbot, Eugene Goostman, Jabberwacky and Ultra Hal. While the names sound like those of rejected VH1 reality show contestant names, they’re far more intelligent, and won’t be spitting on any of their opponents anytime soon.
Should the computers be found to have the ability to think, it’ll raise ethical questions as to how conscious a computer is, and if humans have the “right” to switch them off.
But the Turing test isn’t for everyone. "The test is misguided. Everyone thinks it's you pitting yourself against a computer and a human, but it's you pitting yourself against a computer and computer programmer,” criticizes Professor AC Grayling of Birkbeck College, “AI is an exciting subject, but the Turing test is pretty crude."
Do you think you’ve got what it takes to decipher whether or not you’re talking to a computer? Test your mental mettle after the jump.
Last Friday the world’s largest computing grid was launched in order to help tackle the nearly 15 million gigabytes of data that will be coming out of the Large Hadron Collider every year. 33 countries are already contributing 140 computer centers to the project, but with that much data, they’ll need worldwide assistance.
Here in the U.S. we’ve got 15 universities and three Department of Energy national laboratories contributing their power to the project (and maybe you, if you’ve decided to contribute your spare CPU cycles to the project). And every last bit of that help will be needed, because when the LHC finally gets up to full speed it will produce enough data to fill six CD’s per second.
Once the data has been processed, physicists from around the world will begin searching for he tiny signals that will lead them to discoveries about the nature of the physical universe. And perhaps then, they’ll be able to explain just why they LHC will rock us in the head.
With a design so simple it falls under the “I-can’t-believe-no-one-else-thought-of-this-before” category, Sangho Jin of Yanko Design’s hanging hard drive concept is looking to clear up desk clutter, one tiny footprint at a time.
The hanging hard drive, which would mount to your laptop’s screen, provides a nice way to add additional storage to your machine without using valuable desk space. Granted, this simple shift in external HDD placement wouldn’t change any lives, there are definitely plenty of laptop users out there worried about aesthetics (looking at you, Mac users), and to them this will be a welcome change.
“Portable hard drives are not really THAT portable if you have to tote around another peripheral but maybe you should have bought a laptop with a bigger hard drive! OOO Zing! No I didn’t! Yes, yes I did just go there,” writes Yanko Design’s Long Tran on the concept’s page, “Kidding aside, the Hang it On hard drive encloser lets you hang you 2.5” companion off the back of your lappie’s LCD screen. Sure, now your MacBook Air looks like it has a tumor growing off it’s svelt lines but at least you’ll get more than a measily 80GB.”
SSD’s are hot, but how do you mount your new 2.5-inch solid state drive in a 3.5-inch bay without it looking ghettolicious?
The answer: Use a VelociRaptor’s extruded aluminum shell with Intel’s wicked fast SSD. The result is one a combination even better than peanut butter and chocolate if we may so say our selves.
Does it make sense to do this with a live VelociRaptor? Probably not, but we just happened to have a dead unit and rather than toss it in the garbage, we shucked out the dead drive by removing the four Torqx screws and mounted the Intel X25-M in its place. You can actually do this with a live VelociRaptor but you’ll immediately void the warranty on the drive. Does an SSD need all that aluminum to keep it cool? The answer is no, but it sure looks cool, right?
Western Digital's making a plea to those who are concerned about the environment yet still need oodles of hard drive space. The company's new 1TB Caviar Green drive delivers on both fronts. WD stuffs three 333GB platters in its new drive along with a beefy 32MB of cache, the most currently available on any consumer desktop drive. The company says the platter density and large cache help reduce the power draw by up to 20 percent while increasing performance by 10 percent.
But it's the performance that will have power users feeling the wrong kind of green. The new Caviar checks in with a poky 5400RPM spindle speed, trading off raw performance for noise management and power savings. Price becomes another trade off with WD setting the MSRP to $219, a good chunk higher than what many other 1TB drives are commanding on Newegg. Whether or not the new Green Caviar falls more in line with the competition on the street remains to be seen.
Barcelona might have been a sullen nightmare for AMD but it seems to have moved on. It has now pinned its hopes on Shanghai, a quad-core processor for the server market, which happens to be its first processor to be synthesized on a 45-nanometer process.
The company has begun shipping Shanghai to its OEM partners. Shanghai will be launched ahead of time, before the end of this year, unlike Barcelona that was plagued by delays.
This multi-function Wi-Fi device is super handy in some applications; utterly useless in others. It’s great if you have an extensive hardwired network and want to deploy a wireless access point and a three-port switch in a room your Wi-Fi router can’t otherwise reach. But it sucks as a wireless bridge because of its extremely poor range.
Since our last Budget Badass update back in July, the hardware industry has made some dramatic turns as far as new technology goes. With the release of the energy-efficient Penryn core from Intel, we took a side step away from the Kentsfield core and took a swing at the Q9300. While the Q9300 sports a slightly smaller cache than the Q6600, we found the Penryn to perform better in our tests. With the extra leeway we had in the budget from the previous configuration, we also swapped out the Radeon 4870 for a beefier GTX 280 while keeping the final price tag under $1500. Now this, my friends, is what we would like to call a Budget Badass!
Going green is something that just about everyone is worrying about these days, and NETGEAR is no exception. Having recently announced a new line of Wireless-N routers with the Prius driving consumer in mind, they’ve finally thrown their hat into the eco-friendly ring.
NETGEAR’s new routers will be shipping in packaging that has been made from at least 80% recycled materials, as well as boasting a fancy new on/off switch that will allow users to save energy when the network isn’t in use. There’s also a separate on/off switch that will allow users to turn off only the router’s wireless component.
The inside of the routers will be getting quite a makeover as well, "The enhanced wireless speeds and greater coverage provided by Wireless-N technology enables the simultaneous use of applications such as voice-over-IP, video and multimedia streaming, console gaming, and Web surfing. The launch of these new Wireless-N networking solutions makes it easier and more affordable for consumers to replace their existing routers or modem routers and upgrade their WiFi networks to support these more bandwidth-intensive applications. The new product family is feature-rich in terms of performance capabilities and ease of use as well as energy-efficiency,” says Som Pal Choudhury, NETGEAR’s senior product line manager for advanced wireless products. And when he says affordable, he means it. These bad boys will run you only $89 for the router, and $119 for the router with a built in DSL modem.
The mighty Fudzilla has dropped a rumor that we can expect the first Core i7 to arrive in the US in week 46, between the 10th and 14th of November. They also said that Japanese customers might even be able to buy them as early as the first days of November. They cite unnamed sources.
Intel of course, remains mum only saying to expect it sometime in Q4 of 2008. Intel is more of a tease than my first girlfriend.
As Fudzilla notes there are plenty of X58 based motherboard prototypes that have floated on the internet in the pasted few months from names like MSI, Gigabyte, and Asus. If there is a mid November launch of Core i7, there should be a selection of motherboards available for it, some with overclocking features.
I have only had my Newegg wish list system configured since last March. It has gone through several revisions waiting on Core i7, and the power supply is up in the air depending on the stated needs of the motherboard I pick. I figured on $300 on the CPU and another $300 on the Motherboard. Yeah, I know it is no Dream Machine. However, I have to operate like the government and tell the wife that my stated budget is $1800, when in reality its $2,200 and I am going to run a little over that. Better to beg forgiveness and have a nice new game machine to console myself with, than to ask permission and be denied. I know my limits however and racking up a $5,000 bill on a game system would result in my summary execution. Another $500 bucks I can fix with flowers, chocolate and extra attention (I hope).
Anyone else have a wish list for their new Core i7 system? Tell me about it below!