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The Early List – May 3, 2011

May 3, 2011

Good Morning,

Just two quick links this morning.

First, via Consumerist, computer scientists have successfully taught a computer to properly say “Thats what she said…” 79% of the time.  I realize the majority of you are wondering why this is important, but the programming problem behind this is a really interesting one.  Essentially, its a language processing problem where the computer has to be able to 1. understand what is being said literally, and 2. be able to recognize a subtext inside the normal meaning.  This is important because it is the same type of steps a computer will have to take to process sarcasm or humor.

From Ars Technica, we have the story about the record industry’s attempts to lobby the US and New Zealand governments to ban iPods and Tivos in 2005.  Well, not those products specifically, but instead the acts of “cd-ripping” and “time-shifting”.  CD ripping is well understood, but time-shifting appears to be “watching a tv program at any time other than the time it is broadcast.”  The courts in the US have continually maintained consumers have the right to do both the above actions, but that hasn’t stopped the record industry from lobbying in countries where the courts have not made strong statements.

Thats what I have for today…

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