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Apple Machine Learning Journal on How ‘Hey Siri’ Works

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Deep dive into how “Hey Siri” actually works. I’m really enjoying these layman’s explanations of how these things work. The Machine Learning Journal is the new “open” Apple at its best.

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jkevmoses
2 days ago
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Yeah! The layman's explanation that includes layman gems like:

"The “Hey Siri” detector uses a Deep Neural Network (DNN) to convert the acoustic pattern of your voice at each instant into a probability distribution over speech sounds."

Very layman-like layman-ness.
McKinney, Texas
internetionals
1 day ago
Explaining something in laymens terms doesn't necessarily mean that you shouldn't call something by its proper name. But I agree that it's not really laymen's terms. If you know a few basics than its a very approachable article.
jkevmoses
1 day ago
Agreed. I just thought Gruber's comment was somewhat amusing at first glance and my snarkiness got the best of me :)
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Things More Heavily Regulated Than Buying a Gun in the United States

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I can’t even today.

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jkevmoses
18 days ago
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That list is not true. Just more muddying of the waters such that real change will never happen as both sides try to score points against the other rather than talking using real facts. Sigh.
McKinney, Texas
Cacotopos
17 days ago
Fair comment, but McSweeny's is a comedy site, so don't take it too seriously.
jkevmoses
17 days ago
Agreed. It's just dis-heartening to see all the people talking past each other. Unfortunately I am guilty of that at times too.
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Facebook Enabled Advertisers to Target ‘Jew Haters’

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ProPublica:

Last week, acting on a tip, we logged into Facebook’s automated ad system to see if “Jew hater” was really an ad category. We found it, but discovered that the category — with only 2,274 people in it — was too small for Facebook to allow us to buy an ad pegged only to Jew haters.

Facebook’s automated system suggested “Second Amendment” as an additional category that would boost our audience size to 119,000 people, presumably because its system had correlated gun enthusiasts with anti-Semites.

One: Facebook is a morally corrupt company. They’re just bad people.

Two: as David Simon noted, “I kind of love that ‘Jew hater’ aligns cleanly with the Second Amendment demographic. The algorithms don’t lie, do they.”

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jkevmoses
36 days ago
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It's stuff like this why I hate it when Gruber goes off on politics. He's a political no-nothing. The 2nd Amendment crowd is most likely the ones who show a lot of support for Israel. Hence many 2nd Amendment fans love of the IWI Tavor.
McKinney, Texas
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jhamill
37 days ago
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No, Gruber, no. Just no. Don't equate the actions of a company to all of it's emplyoees.
California

[Eugene Volokh] The ‘bourgeois culture’ controversy

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Professors Amy Wax and Larry Alexander wrote an op-ed condemning the decline of “bourgeois culture” and suggesting that this decline helps explain many of the problems afflicting America today. In the process, they wrote:

[Bourgeois culture of the late 1940s to the mid-1960s] laid out the script we all were supposed to follow: Get married before you have children and strive to stay married for their sake. Get the education you need for gainful employment, work hard, and avoid idleness. Go the extra mile for your employer or client. Be a patriot, ready to serve the country. Be neighborly, civic-minded, and charitable. Avoid coarse language in public. Be respectful of authority. Eschew substance abuse and crime….

All cultures are not equal. Or at least they are not equal in preparing people to be productive in an advanced economy. The culture of the Plains Indians was designed for nomadic hunters, but is not suited to a First World, 21st-century environment. Nor are the single-parent, antisocial habits, prevalent among some working-class whites; the anti-“acting white” rap culture of inner-city blacks; the anti-assimilation ideas gaining ground among some Hispanic immigrants. These cultural orientations are not only incompatible with what an advanced free-market economy and a viable democracy require, they are also destructive of a sense of solidarity and reciprocity among Americans. If the bourgeois cultural script — which the upper-middle class still largely observes but now hesitates to preach — cannot be widely reinstated, things are likely to get worse for us all.

This predictably drew not just criticism but mischaracterization and calls for suppression; Heather Mac Donald has details on that in the National Review, which I won’t repeat here (but which I urge you to read about).

My thinking: My parents brought me from a place — Soviet Russia — that had not just an oppressive political system and a failed economic system, but also (largely as a result but perhaps partly a cause of) a destructive culture, a culture characterized (much more than American culture) by cheating, shirking and distrust. They brought me to a country that thrived because of its superior cultural assets (which is not to deny that it had cultural weaknesses as well).

It seems to me indubitably clear that certain cultural traits, including the ones that Wax and Alexander note, are more conducive to societal success and long-term individual happiness and others are not. (The norm of raising children in stable, married two-parent families is one well-documented example.) Indeed, my sense is that most on the left actually believe that some cultural traits and some cultures are superior, just as most on the right do: It’s just that they often praise different kinds of cultural traits, and different kinds of cultures and subcultures. Indeed, openness to other cultures is itself a cultural trait, one that different cultures possess to different extents and in different ways; so are, for instance, aversion to race discrimination, support for sexual equality and embrace of sexual freedom.

And of course there is nothing racially exclusive about positive cultural traits. All racial groups can benefit from adopting them (or from the good fortune of having been born into them), just as they can benefit from adopting successful political and economic systems (most reliably, by moving to places that have such beneficial political and economic systems and cultures, and raising their children to adopt those cultures). Indeed, many people of all racial groups, in the United States and elsewhere, eagerly seek to acculturate their children to the bourgeois traits that Wax and Alexander pointed to. Some nonwhites are actually likelier than whites to adopt — or not to abandon — the bourgeois values that Wax and Alexander note: For instance, the birth rate to unmarried mothers in the United States among Asians (16 percent) is about half that for non-Hispanic whites (29 percent).

Likewise, all racial groups can be harmed by adopting or being born into cultures with worse traits, just as they can be harmed from adopting failed political and economic systems. Indeed, the history of the second half of the 20th century well illustrates how both predominantly white and nonwhite societies have both thrived and suffered depending on which political, economic and cultural systems they have adopted or preserved (or had thrust upon them).

There is no doubt that there is a natural human tendency to overvalue one’s own culture and to confuse the familiar with the superior. (There is also a tendency among some to do the opposite, but I think on balance that tendency is generally the weaker one.) Even Rudyard Kipling, who surely cannot be accused of “prais[ing], with enthusiastic tone, All centuries but this, and every country but his own,” recognized this (which indeed was a great part of his literary quality and success):

Father, Mother, and Me
Sister and Auntie say
All the people like us are We,
And every one else is They.
And They live over the sea,
While We live over the way,
But — would you believe it? — They look upon We
As only a sort of They!

People who fall prey to this tendency can lose, and lose big. Let your prejudices against a foreign culture keep you from recognizing them as formidable competitors, and you’ll find yourself lagging behind. Open your doors to productive immigrants, who can enrich your culture while assimilating to its key aspects, and you can profit immeasurably. How might the arms race in World War II have turned out if (a deeply counterfactual question, of course) the Nazis and their allies hadn’t chased away many great European scientists but instead drew them in?

But it is equally unsound to reject the possibility that your own culture has great strengths that need to be preserved, renewed and returned to — or to reject talk of the superiority of various cultural traits altogether, or assume that such talk (which goes on, implicitly or explicitly, in many households of all races) is somehow just cover for claims of racial superiority.

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jkevmoses
53 days ago
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It is always interesting that the points in an article like the one referenced are never debated. The article is just attacked with no reference to the points the author was trying to make. I guess that's why we can't have civil discourse on some issues. Heather MacDonald's piece was very interesting too.
McKinney, Texas
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[Eugene Volokh] UC Berkeley chancellor’s message on free speech

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Circulated this morning by University of California at Berkeley Chancellor Carol Christ:

This fall, the issue of free speech will once more engage our community in powerful and complex ways. Events in Charlottesville, with their racism, bigotry, violence and mayhem, make the issue of free speech even more tense. The law is very clear; public institutions like UC Berkeley must permit speakers invited in accordance with campus policies to speak, without discrimination in regard to point of view. The United States has the strongest free speech protections of any liberal democracy; the First Amendment protects even speech that most of us would find hateful, abhorrent and odious, and the courts have consistently upheld these protections.

But the most powerful argument for free speech is not one of legal constraint — that we’re required to allow it — but of value. The public expression of many sharply divergent points of view is fundamental both to our democracy and to our mission as a university. The philosophical justification underlying free speech, most powerfully articulated by John Stuart Mill in his book, On Liberty, rests on two basic assumptions. The first is that truth is of such power that it will always ultimately prevail; any abridgement of argument therefore compromises the opportunity of exchanging error for truth. The second is an extreme skepticism about the right of any authority to determine which opinions are noxious or abhorrent. Once you embark on the path to censorship, you make your own speech vulnerable to it.

Berkeley, as you know, is the home of the Free Speech Movement, where students on the right and students on the left united to fight for the right to advocate political views on campus. Particularly now, it is critical that the Berkeley community come together once again to protect this right. It is who we are.

Nonetheless, defending the right of free speech for those whose ideas we find offensive is not easy. It often conflicts with the values we hold as a community — tolerance, inclusion, reason and diversity. Some constitutionally-protected speech attacks the very identity of particular groups of individuals in ways that are deeply hurtful. However, the right response is not the heckler’s veto, or what some call platform denial. Call toxic speech out for what it is, don’t shout it down, for in shouting it down, you collude in the narrative that universities are not open to all speech. Respond to hate speech with more speech.

We all desire safe space, where we can be ourselves and find support for our identities. You have the right at Berkeley to expect the university to keep you physically safe. But we would be providing students with a less valuable education, preparing them less well for the world after graduation, if we tried to shelter them from ideas that many find wrong, even dangerous. We must show that we can choose what to listen to, that we can cultivate our own arguments and that we can develop inner resilience, which is the surest form of safe space. These are not easy tasks, and we will offer support services for those who desire them.

This September, Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos have both been invited by student groups to speak at Berkeley. The university has the responsibility to provide safety and security for its community and guests, and we will invest the necessary resources to achieve that goal. If you choose to protest, do so peacefully. That is your right, and we will defend it with vigor. We will not tolerate violence, and we will hold anyone accountable who engages in it.

We will have many opportunities this year to come together as a Berkeley community over the issue of free speech; it will be a free speech year. We have already planned a student panel, a faculty panel and several book talks. Bridge USA and the Center for New Media will hold a day-long conference on October 5; PEN, the international writers’ organization, will hold a free speech convening in Berkeley on October 23. We are planning a series in which people with sharply divergent points of view will meet for a moderated discussion. Free speech is our legacy, and we have the power once more to shape this narrative.

Sounds right to me.

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jkevmoses
58 days ago
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This quote is what free speech does:
"that we can cultivate our own arguments and that we can develop inner resilience, which is the surest form of safe space"

The truth will win out when hateful people speak hateful things in the open and let the light of day burn out the darkness.
McKinney, Texas
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CrashPlan Exits Consumer Backup Business

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Joe Payne, writing for CrashPlan parent company Code42:

Today we announced our decision to no longer offer the consumer version of our product, known as CrashPlan for Home. We will honor all of our existing agreements with consumers, but we will no longer renew any consumer subscriptions, nor will we sign up any new consumers for CrashPlan for Home.

Allow me to take this opportunity to endorse Backblaze. Now, Backblaze has sponsored this website and my podcast so many times that I’d be a fool not to disclose that fact up front. But I’m not posting this because of that. They’re not paying me to say this. I’m just a delighted (and paying!) customer of their service, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Really, the fact that Backblaze is a frequent sponsor made me hesitate to post this, to avoid any appearance of playing favorites for sponsors, but online (and thus off-site) backups are so important that I’m doing it anyway. If you don’t have an off-site backup system in place for your Macs, I implore you to check out Backblaze.

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jkevmoses
59 days ago
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Does icloud count as offsite backup? :)
McKinney, Texas
peterdoerrie
58 days ago
If you trust Apple with your data farther than you can throw an iPhone, yes. I'd have my reservations given their history with cloud services.
jkevmoses
58 days ago
I totally agree if I had critical data on a mac. For the type of mac user I am, which is a casual home user, icloud has been great. Of course if something terrible happened to the data on my mac it wouldn't be a disaster. I also don't use Apple products for my documents so all my documents are stored on Microsoft servers :)
kenfair
58 days ago
I've been using Backblaze for a couple of years now and can heartily endorse it. It was easy to set up and the backups happen transparently in the background.
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