February 13, 2017
Valentine’s Day Price Tag… For those with a date for Valentine’s Day (HOTS is still available, incidentally), it can be expensive, but it turns out location has a lot to do with it. According to a report from online florist BLOOMY DAYS – which seems like the pinnacle of a reputable source – two people enjoying a night at a luxury hotel, a day at a spa, dinner and wine at a nice restaurant and a movie (with snacks) will pay over $1,300 in Los Angeles while in Prague,Czech Republic, the cost for same dose of romance is a measly $458. Wherever you invite HOTS, however, be sure a large box of chocolates is included.
An Apple a Day Keeps the Killer AI Away… HOTS occasionally wonders if Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant, may not be as benevolent as she helpfully seems, which would be bad since HOTS wouldn’t know how to survive without her. Fortunately, Apple is also concerned about the potential for artificial intelligences behaving evilly or being used unethically. The Partnership on Artificial Intelligence – which was founded in Sep. 2016 by Google/DeepMind, Facebook, Microsoft, IBM and Amazon – announced on Jan. 27 that Apple has joined as a founding member.
HOTS thinks this would be like calling Abraham Lincoln a Founding Father of the United States, but HOTS isn’t complaining. It is happy Apple has joined the Partnership. After all, the nonprofit seeks to provide “best practices” on AIs, research the impact (positive and sinister) of AI on society and educate the public about AI and its potential.
Presumably this means Apple will likely keep Siri a helpful assistant rather than turn it into a world-conquering HAL 9000 – or so HOTS hopes.
Kitty Intelligence… New research published by Japanese scientists in the journal Behavioural Processes has documented something HOTS has known for years: cats are as smart as dogs. The researchers tested 49 cats on their memories and abilities to recognize human behavior and emotion, and the results went against the common belief that dogs are smarter than cats.
HOTS prefers cats over dogs since cats know how to clean themselves and answer Nature’s Call in a litter box. Dogs, however, tend to engage in a wide variety of uncultured behaviors. Some dogs, of course, are perfect ladies and gentlemen, and every puppy is a puppy HOTS wants to hold, but few dogs bring their owners gifts whereas cats often do. HOTS loves presents – even misguided ones like a dead mouse – since it’s the thought that counts, and cats, evidently, have at least as intelligent thoughts as dogs.