Tuesday, June 29, 2010

French nagging law passed

I mentioned this before, but I doubted that such a kooky law would actually pass. Now it has. The NY Times reports:
PARIS — The French parliament gave final and unanimous approval on Tuesday to a law that makes “psychological violence” a criminal offense as part of a law intended to help victims of physical violence and abuse, especially in the home. ...

Those found guilty face up to three years in jail and a fine of 75,000 euros, or about $90,000. ...

The law defines mental violence as “repeated acts that could be constituted by words,” including insults or repeated text messages that “degrade one’s quality of life and cause a change to one’s mental or physical state.”

The law also authorizes a three-year experiment with an electronic ankle bracelet designed to keep an abuser away from a victim.
The same paper also reports:
The artificial intelligence technology that has moved furthest into the mainstream is computer understanding of what humans are saying. People increasingly talk to their cellphones to find things, instead of typing. Both Google’s and Microsoft’s search services now respond to voice commands. More drivers are asking their cars to do things like find directions or play music. ...

“It’s unbelievably better than it was five years ago,” said Dr. Michael A. Lee, a pediatrician in Norwood, Mass., who now routinely uses transcription software.
In a couple of more years, we will have the technology for men to wear ankle bracelets that deliver a painful electric shock if he makes any rude or insulting comments. That is where France is heading. You read it here first.

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