Nope, Apple still doesn’t get it

The big news out of Cupertino today was more of the same. While a lot of the tech press, yours truly included, expected Apple to announce a netbook (albeit a pricey one at $800), what we got was more 13 and 15 inch Macbooks that look pretty much like the ones already on the market. The old plastic Macbook dropped in price to “under a thousand dollars” (that would be $999) but it’s still 13 inches and over four pounds. Pass.

When asked why Apple wasn’t releasing a netbook in the Q&A, Jobs replied that netbooks are still a “nascent” market and Apple doesn’t do that. That’s a may be, but that also means that Apple is gleefully ignoring 37% of the market, which, oh, by the way, just happens to be the only part that’s actually growing.

Given that it’s pretty easy to put OS X on a netbook if you really want to, maybe this is for the best. Let Apple keep their overpriced shiny to themselves, and the next generation of mobile computing will just move on without them.

I for one welcome our robot overlords

AIs are getting closer and closer to passing the Turing test. Note that every AI managed to fool at least one human judge.

Scientists at the University of Reading tested five machines to see if they could pass themselves off as humans in text-based conversations with people. The test was devised in 1950 by British Mathematician Alan Turing, who said that if a machine was indistinguishable from a human, then it was "thinking". One robot, Elbot, came close on Sunday by reaching 5% below the pass mark. One of the machines in the Turing Test No computer has passed the test by fooling 30% of its human interrogators No robot has ever passed the Turing Test, which requires the robot to fool 30% of its human interrogators. During the experiment, five artificial conversational entities (ACEs) competed in a series of five-minute long, unrestricted conversational tests.

BBC NEWS | UK | England | Berkshire | Test explores if robots can think

The cool part here is that the technology that goes into programs like Elbot can be used in conjunction with voice recognition to make devices that understand vocal instruction and can even ask for clarification when they need it. Put that kind of tech into a car-based GPS, and you’re well on your way to KITT…