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Abduction (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)

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You happen to know that Tim and Harry have recently had a terrible row that ended their friendship. Now someone tells you that she just saw Tim and Harry jogging together. The best explanation for this that you can think of is that they made up. You conclude that they are friends again. One morning you enter the kitchen to find a plate and cup on the table, with breadcrumbs and a pat of butter on it, and surrounded by a jar of jam, a pack of sugar, and an empty carton of milk. You conclude that one of your house-mates got up at night to make him- or herself a midnight snack and was too tired to clear the table. This, you think, best explains the scene you are facing. To be sure, it might be that someone burgled the house and took the time to have a bite while on the job, or a house-mate might have arranged the things on the table without having a midnight snack but just to make you believe that someone had a midnight snack. But these hypotheses strike you as providing much more contrived explanations of the data than the one you infer to. Walking along the beach, you see what looks like a picture of Winston Churchill in the sand. It could be that, as in the opening pages of Hilary Putnam's (1981), what you see is actually the trace of an ant crawling on the beach. The much simpler, and therefore (you think) much better, explanation is that someone intentionally drew a picture of Churchill in the sand. That, in any case, is what you come away believing. In these examples, the conclusions do not follow logically from the premises.


Consumer Reports pulls recommendations of Surface laptops

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Microsoft is doubling down on its Surface devices business, unveiling a new laptop Tuesday alongside an updated tablet. NEW YORK-- Consumer Reports has removed its coveted "recommendation" designation for four Microsoft Surface laptops it had previously blessed with such status. At issue, the publication says, is the "predicted reliability" of the Microsoft machines compared to most other brands, which Consumer Reports said was worse by a "statistically significant margin." Consumer Reports based its decision off the results of an annual subscriber survey about the products such people own and use. It estimates Microsoft's laptops and tablets will experience breakage rates of 25% within two years of ownership, loosely defined as any issue that comes up that prevents the computer from working as the owner expects.


Consumer Reports pulls recommendation from Surface PCs

Engadget

While Consumer Reports has previously given Microsoft Surface products good reviews for lab performance measures like battery life, speed and display quality, it's now pulling its "recommended" rating from four Microsoft laptops due to reliability issues. Through surveys conducted on over 90,000 tablets and laptops that Consumer Reports subscribers purchased between 2014 and early 2017, the company estimates that 25 percent of Microsoft laptop and tablet owners will experience problems like freezing, unexpected shutdowns and unresponsive touch screens by the end of the second year of ownership. The four laptops losing their ranking are the 128GB and 256GB versions of the Microsoft Surface Laptop and the 128GB and 512GB versions of the Microsoft Surface Book. Consumer Reports also said that it couldn't recommend any other Microsoft laptops or tablets because of the predicted reliability problems. In its report, the company said, "Microsoft's estimated breakage rate for its laptops and tablets was higher than most other brands'."


Tesla Model 3 loses Consumer Reports recommendation

Engadget

The long-simmering tussle between Tesla and Consumer Reports over car reviews took a fresh turn Thursday, after the publication said it could no longer recommend the Model 3. Tesla had finally claimed the distinction last May after it was able to reduce the car's braking distance. Previously, Consumer Reports declined to recommend the car due to that issue, along with "stiff" ride quality and a "distracting" touchscreen. The Model 3 is one of six cars to lose the recommendation, along with the Chrysler 300, Dodge Charger, Acura RDX, BMW 5 Series and Volkswagen Tiguan. A dip in reliability caused each car's overall score to drop below the threshold for a recommendation. On the flip side, the BMW X3, Genesis G90 and Lincoln Nautilus (formerly the MKX) claimed recommendations after owners suggested reliability had improved.


Even the best AI for spotting fake news is still terrible

MIT Technology Review

When Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg promised Congress that AI would help solve the problem of fake news, he revealed little in the way of how. New research brings us one step closer to figuring that out. In an extensive study that will be presented at a conference later this month, researchers from MIT, Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), and Sofia University in Bulgaria tested over 900 possible variables for predicting a media outlet's trustworthiness--probably the largest set ever proposed. The researchers then trained a machine-learning model on different combinations of the variables to see which would produce the most accurate results. The best model accurately labeled news outlets with "low," "medium," or "high" factuality just 65% of the time.