technology

‘There are many people today who see that modern society is heading toward disaster in one form or another, and who moreover recognize technology as the common thread linking the principal dangers that hang over us.’ –Theodore Kaczynski

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if you want to build a global taxi service that people can hail from a smartphone app, one way to do it is to coordinate with the taxi commissions of hundreds of cities to get regulatory approvals and make sure that you comply with local requirements, and another way to do it is to completely ignore those regulations and just launch your app everywhere. The second approach might expose you to ruinous fines or shutdown orders or bad publicity or prison, but it also might work; you might end up so popular in so many places that the local regulators can’t ban you and will have to accept your proposed terms. […]

If you want to build self-driving cars, you will need to test them. […] [a] way to test them is to just send out a bunch of cars to drive themselves everywhere, without asking for permission, and see what happens. […]

Federal agencies say he’s breaking the rules and endangering people. Mr. Musk says they’re holding back progress. […] When asked to comment on the specifics of this article, Mr. Musk replied with a “poop” emoji.

{ Matt Levine/Bloomberg | Continue reading }

previously:

Driverify [cryptocurrency]: Developed by Tesla’s self-driving-car division. Cars mine Driverify with spare computing power while idling, and spend it bidding against each other for right-of-way if they arrive at a four-way stop sign at the same time (users can preprogram how aggressively their cars bid in these auctions). […]

Banned [by the SEC] because: in the Phoenix suburb where the system was being tested, a pedestrian and Driverify-equipped car reached an intersection at the same time. The car dutifully wired a bid, but the pedestrian failed to respond. The car interpreted this as a bid of zero and ran into her.

{ Astral Codex Ten | Continue reading }

related { NASA suspends SpaceX’s $2.9 billion moon lander contract after rivals protest }

This sentence is false

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Why AI is Harder Than We Think

The year 2020 was supposed to herald the arrival of self-driving cars. Five years earlier, a headline in The Guardian predicted that “From 2020 you will become a permanent backseat driver.” In 2016 Business Insider assured us that “10 million self-driving cars will be on the road by 2020.” Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk promised in 2019 that “A year from now, we’ll have over a million cars with full self-driving, software…everything” […]

none of these predictions has come true. […]

like all AI systems of the past, deep-learning systems can exhibit brittleness— unpredictable errors when facing situations that differ from the training data. This is because such systems are susceptible to shortcut learning: learning statistical associations in the training data that allow the machine to produce correct answers but sometimes for the wrong reasons. In other words, these machines don’t learn the concepts we are trying to teach them, but rather they learn shortcuts to correct answers on the training set—and such shortcuts will not lead to good generalizations. Indeed, deep learning systems often cannot learn the abstract concepts that would enable them to transfer what they have learned to new situations or tasks. Moreover, such systems are vulnerable to attack from “adversarial perturbations”—specially engineered changes to the input that are either imperceptible or irrelevant to humans, but that induce the system to make errors.

{ arXiv | Continue reading }

‘Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard. Just ask. I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS. People just submitted it. I don’t know why. They “trust me.” Dumb fucks.’ –Mark Zuckerberg

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Mr. Zuckerberg told his lieutenants that Facebook “needed to inflict pain” upon Apple and Mr. Cook, said a person with knowledge of the discussions. […]

In 2017, Facebook had expanded its work with Definers Public Affairs, a Washington firm that specialized in opposition research against its clients’ political foes. Definers employees distributed research about Apple’s compromises in China to reporters, and a website affiliated with Definers published articles criticizing Mr. Cook, according to documents and former Definers employees.

Definers also began an “astroturfing” campaign to draft Mr. Cook as a 2020 presidential candidate, presumably to put him in President Trump’s cross hairs, The New York Times reported in 2018. […]

(Definers’ work against Apple was also funded by Qualcomm, another Apple rival, according to a Definers employee. Facebook fired Definers after The Times reported on its activity.)

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

how should we make use of this life that we still have?

The most widespread use of augmented reality isn’t in gaming: it’s the face filters on social media. The result? A mass experiment on girls and young women.

{ Technology Rreview | Continue reading }

Sous le soleil de satan

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Facebook Says It’s Your Fault That Hackers Got Half a Billion User Phone Numbers

‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.’ –Shakespeare

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{ Facebook Is Building An Instagram For Kids Under The Age Of 13 }

art { Installation views of Jake or Dinos Chapman, White Cube, 2011 }

congratulations to drugs for winning the war on drugs

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{ if you or someone nearby are being brutalized by a police Spot robot and can get a hand or something underneath, grab this handle and yank it forward. This releases the battery, instantly disabling the robot. | sleep paralysis demon | Continue reading }

‘Blackmail is more effective than bribery.’ –John le Carré

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For 6 months of 2020, I’ve been working on […] a wormable radio-proximity exploit which allows me to gain complete control over any iPhone in my vicinity. View all the photos, read all the email, copy all the private messages and monitor everything which happens on there in real-time.

{ Ian Beer | Continue reading | Ars Technica }

Sometimes it feels like no one sees the good things you do. Like you’re just alone.

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U.S. government agencies from the military to law enforcement have been buying up mobile-phone data from the private sector to use in gathering intelligence, monitoring adversaries and apprehending criminals. Now, the U.S. Air Force is experimenting with the next step.

SignalFrame’s product can turn civilian smartphones into listening devices—also known as sniffers—that detect wireless signals from any device that happens to be nearby. The company, in its marketing materials, claims to be able to distinguish a Fitbit from a Tesla from a home-security device, recording when and where those devices appear in the physical world.

Using the SignalFrame technology, “one device can walk into a bar and see all other devices in that place,” said one person who heard a pitch for the SignalFrame product at a marketing industry event. […]

Data collection of this type works only on phones running the Android operating system made by Alphabet Inc.’s Google, according to Joel Reardon, a computer science professor at the University of Calgary. Apple Inc. doesn’t allow third parties to get similar access on its iPhone line.

{ Wall Street Journal | Continue reading }

photo { William Eggleston, Untitled (Greenwood, Mississippi), 2001 }

‘The sea has neither meaning nor pity.’ –Chekhov

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…an agreement to feature Google’s search engine as the preselected choice on Apple’s iPhone and other devices. […] Apple had arranged the deal to require periodic renegotiations, according to a former senior executive, and each time, it extracted more money from Google. […]

Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder, once promised “thermonuclear war” on his Silicon Valley neighbor when he learned it was working on a rival to the iPhone. […] “I’m going to destroy Android,” Mr. Jobs told his biographer. […] A year later, Apple introduced Siri. Instead of Google underpinning the virtual assistant, it was Microsoft’s Bing. […] Around 2017, the deal was up for renewal. Google was facing a squeeze, with clicks on its mobile ads not growing fast enough. Apple was not satisfied with Bing’s performance for Siri. And Mr. Cook had just announced that Apple aimed to double its services revenue to $50 billion by 2020, an ambitious goal that would be possible only with Google’s payments. […] By the fall of 2017, Apple announced that Google was now helping Siri answer questions, and Google disclosed that its payments for search traffic had jumped. […]

Nearly half of Google’s search traffic now comes from Apple devices, according to the Justice Department, and the prospect of losing the Apple deal has been described as a “code red” scenario inside the company. When iPhone users search on Google, they see the search ads that drive Google’s business. They can also find their way to other Google products, like YouTube.

A former Google executive, who asked not to be identified because he was not permitted to talk about the deal, said the prospect of losing Apple’s traffic was “terrifying” to the company. […]

Apple now receives an estimated $8 billion to $12 billion in annual payments — up from $1 billion a year in 2014 — in exchange for building Google’s search engine into its products. It is probably the single biggest payment that Google makes to anyone and accounts for 14 to 21 percent of Apple’s annual profits. That’s not money Apple would be eager to walk away from.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

‘The world wants to be deceived.’ –Petronius

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Google has been getting worse. On too many queries, Google is more interested in making search lucrative than a better product for us. […] Today, 88 percent of all searches happen on Google. […] Believe it or not, Google also thinks we don’t mind the ads — and that they’re actually useful. […]

Google says people make more than 20 million contributions per day to its Maps reviews. I left one last year after my dentist’s office begged me to do so, in the hopes it would finally show up in Google search.

{ Washington Post | Continue reading }

And she lit up and fireland was ablaze

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A range of methods have been applied for user authentication on smartphones and smart watches, such as password, PIN and fingerprint. […] In this paper, a new biometric trait, finger snapping, is applied for person authentication.

Finger snapping is an act of making an impulsive sound with one’s fingers and palm. It is often done by connecting the thumb with another (middle, index or ring) finger, and then moving the other finger immediately downward to hit the palm. Such act of finger snapping involves physiological characteristics which refer to inherited traits that are related to human body, as the sound of finger snapping is differentiated by the size of palm and skin texture. In addition, it also involves behavioral characteristics which refer to learned pattern of a person, as it is the movement of the finger creates the sound.

A survey is carried out on 74 people about whether they can snap their fingers and accept the finger snapping authentication. Results show that 86.5 % of the respondents can snap fingers, of which 89.2 % would like to authenticate themselves using a simple finger snap. Besides, through our finger snapping collecting phase, we come to find out that people who could not snap their fingers can learn to do it after understanding the method of finger snapping.

{ Biometric Recognition | Continue reading }

previously { Silicon Valley Legends Launch Beyond Identity in Quest to Eliminate Passwords }

photo { Guen Fiore }