Bleeding Edge

by Mike Masnick




Microsoft Anti-Spam Software To Stop AIDS?

from the good-luck-with-that-plan... dept

Remember how Steve Ballmer said Microsoft has a special research department just to deal with the spam he and Bill Gates get? While he was caught exaggerating how much spam they really deal with, Microsoft's anti-spam researchers apparently think they're really on to something. In fact, Microsoft is now hoping that their anti-spam techniques may be useful in finding an AIDS vaccine. Yes, you read that right. They think that the machine learning techniques they've come up with work well against mutating threats -- which is the biggest problem with AIDS. Does this mean we should expect Microsoft AIDSstopper sometime soon? Will people know enough to at least wait until version 3.0, as it usually takes Microsoft at least three attempts to get something right?

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  • identicon
    nonuser, 23 Feb 2005 @ 6:34pm

    it occurred to me as well

    Spam could probably be largely solved in a straightforward manner using some combination of authenticated email and sender micropay (e.g., by charging three cents to send an email to an address that hasn't agreed to accept mail from the sender). Viruses could similarly be contained by re-architecting operating systems. But this would deprive us of a chance of learning a lot of useful information about intelligent viruses, some of which may be transferrable to the biological domain.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    dorpus, 23 Feb 2005 @ 6:52pm

    Bwa ha ha

    So Mr. Gates thinks he understands the field of bioinformatics now?

    Sure, such simple techniques will work once more useful problems are solved, such as the protein folding problem. Until the protein folding problem is understood in, say, another 20-30 years, DNA is just so many letters.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Koey London, 23 Feb 2005 @ 11:19pm

      Re: Bwa ha ha

      Well, actually we're not that far off. Remember, it only took us a few hundred years to get from throwing axes at one another to nuking each other. It's a small step from understanding what DNA is to understanding what it does. And if we can take the enxyclopedia Britanica and fit it into my vest pocket at work, we can sure as hell beat AIDS and, more importantly, HIV, the virus responsible.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        dorpus, 23 Feb 2005 @ 11:28pm

        Re: Bwa ha ha

        Can we? For all the technological glory, we have not beaten the common cold virus. We have not beaten any of the herpes simplex viruses. The only viruses we have managed to defeat are those with unusually low rates of mutation, such as smallpox or polio virus. HIV is a high-mutation virus, which has resisted vaccines -- more than one attempt has been made. Researchers expect to just make incremental progress, by treating it like a managed condition like Herpes. There have been plenty of false hopes, such as when secretary of HHS Donna Shalala said a cure for AIDS is 5 years away.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Jared, 24 Feb 2005 @ 9:04am

        Re: Bwa ha ha

        Remember, it only took us a few hundred years to get from throwing axes at one another to nuking each other.

        And we've devleoped nukes by studying axe throwing? Biological and binary are two completely seperate fields. This will not aid (pardon the pun) any research in combatting biological viruses because we don't program bilogical viruses, while we do program digital viruses. Biological viruses have a nasty habit of "building up immunities" to our vaccines or drugs, and they will only continue to do so. Call it, the will to live, if you must, but at any rate the human race will always be sick in this world.

        I don't understand why MS brings themself down by stating one specific virus, AIDS. Why AIDS? Why not the common cold, or the flu? When they don't live up to this, they're going to say, "Oh, well, we didn't really mean curing AIDS, we meant...uh...hold on a sec, I'm waiting for my queue."

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Guy Mitchell Gauthier, 30 Jan 2007 @ 11:08am

        there is a cure

        did you know that there is a cure for aids?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2005 @ 8:21pm

    No Subject Given

    so their software cures you of aids, then crashes and kills you?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    guest, 24 Feb 2005 @ 7:13am

    No Subject Given

    Why does nearly every mention of Microsoft meet with such sarcasm? It's almost as if MSFT has become the habitual whipping boy for every geek out there.
    Although it admittedly has its rough edges, what other companies compare in providing customer value, and a corporate leader willing to commit billions of dollars for humanitarian causes?
    Oracle?
    Sun?
    IBM?
    Perhaps we should save some of our sarcasm for them as well.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    sly squirrel, 24 Feb 2005 @ 9:38am

    replace aids with need to get people going with th

    no thanks

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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