airiefairie: (Default)
[personal profile] airiefairie

Suppose you live in the world of Game of Thrones, and you had to incorporate a technology from the modern world.

Which one would it be, and why? =)

(By the way, here is an attempt to analyse why Westeros still hasn't had an Industrial Revolution).
mahnmut: (WTF-E?)
[personal profile] mahnmut
...They go around and kill themselves.

Elon Musk may've become the umpteenth high-profile hi-tech celebrity futurist who has cried doom and gloom about the potential threat from AIs taking over the world and eradicating humankind on a whim...

...But apparently we're still a long way from there, as shown by the fate of this poor little R2D2 who somehow decided he had had enough, and plunged himself to a swift electrocution death in a water fountain in DC the other day.

Caution, the footage can be disturbing for the more robo-love inclined... )
luzribeiro: (Default)
[personal profile] luzribeiro
This is pretty disturbing (and not just the picture)...

Scientists Have A Dark Warning For You About Sex Robots

Scientists from the Foundation For Responsible Robotics have released a report asking society to consider a possible future where humans have sex with robots, and have outlined some things that society needs to do to prepare for that future. ...

Westworld/Humans, anyone?
fridi: (Default)
[personal profile] fridi
The world has gone crazy about electric cars these days, it seems. At least the wealthier part of the world. They promise to provide a more technologically advanced future, and they're widely perceived to be much more eco-friendly than any other means of transportation.

Of course, electric cars do have some issues of their own, too. These are several. The biggest one is the long time it takes to re-charge the batteries, given the current level of technologies. Then, the relatively short distance a car could run with one charging. This would eventually be solved by improving the capacity of the batteries. But, because producing the batteries takes energy, it's important to do it in an energy-efficient way, and drastically reduce the use of fossil fuels in the process. Because it's not like producing batteries for electric cars does not leave a significant carbon imprint.

This is where the above study comes, which attempts to give a broader and more detailed picture of the whole process. It was done by IVL, a Swedish institute of ecology research, by the behest of the Swedish transportation administration.

Read more... )
[identity profile]
Sorry for the offtopic, but I thought this could be important.

Somewhere in UK, the other day...

Race to decrypt computers in 104 countries hit by 'unprecedented mass cyber attack'

"Cyber extortionists tricked victims into opening malicious malware attachments to spam emails that appeared to contain invoices, job offers, security warnings and other legitimate files overnight. The ransomware encrypted data on the computers, demanding payments of $US300 to $US600 to restore access. Security researchers say they observed some victims paying via the digital currency bitcoin, though they did not know how many had given in to the extortionists. Researchers with security software maker Avast say they had observed 57,000 infections in 99 countries with Russia, Ukraine and Taiwan the top targets. The most disruptive attacks were reported in Britain, where hospitals and clinics were forced to turn away patients after losing access to computers."

Read more... )
[identity profile]
WikiLeaks says it releases files on CIA cyber spying tools

"Anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks on Tuesday published what it said were thousands of pages of internal CIA discussions about hacking techniques used over several years, renewing concerns about the security of consumer electronics and embarrassing yet another U.S. intelligence agency.

The discussion transcripts showed that CIA hackers could get into Apple Inc iPhones, Google Inc Android devices and other gadgets in order to capture text and voice messages before they were encrypted with sophisticated software.

Friendly note to all of my fellow e-communications users:

ANY device with a camera or microphone can be used to record/transmit images or sounds. This is especially true with surveillance devices and with “open mic” devices that perpetually have their microphones active to receive commands, such as information providers like Apple’s “Siri”, Android’s “Okay Google”, Amazon’s “Alexa”, your SmartTV, etc.

If you elect to use these “convenience” services, then you have effectively forfeited your privacy, and anything you say within the listening area of these devices is no longer confidential. Should you inadvertently say your social security number, banking information, passwords, address, telephone numbers, etc. in casual conversation, chances are that it has been transmitted and recorded without your knowledge. If you imagine that current laws protect your privacy rights — well, good luck with that.

We are in a Brave New World of “networking”, “social media” and “information sharing”. The benefits are truly enormous in terms of connectivity and knowledge access, but they come at a price — the question we all need to ask ourselves is: is that price too steep?
[identity profile]
A very ingenious invention that would possibly prevent lots of traffic accidents involving pedestrians immersed in their own parallel words, a.k.a. smartphone activities:

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Really tells a lot about our modern culture, doesn't it? Some'd argue the general gene pool just too a major hit LOL.

Next up: they'll make an app that would make the signal color appear on the phones themselves. Or a signal sent to the smartphone that turns it off.

Or maybe a Pokemon-shaped traffic warden giving directions amidst heavy traffic. Perhaps that would attract the attention of everybody on the road.

Not that this innovation tackles the real problem in any way, namely bad drivers. Or conversely, idiot pedestrians.
[identity profile]
Let's take a wee break from the usual depressing Trump-related stuff, and look into the latest developments in the world of technology. You know, the one that will largely shape up the future.

Starting with the Czechs. Nearly 3 decades after the fall of the Iron Curtain, the Czech Republic is at the cutting edge of technology like it once was at the time it was the industrial hub of Central Europe. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, an innovative company has signed a memorandum with the Czech government, and is planning to build a super-futuristic high-speed train between Brno and Bratislava. It'll be only 13 km long, but a subsequent expansion will also include Prague (another 220 km away).

Read more... )
[identity profile]
Hey, my beloved procrastinators! It's been a while since we had our last installment of ridiculously over-simplified and unbearably polarized hypothetical situations, inspired by the NationStates online game - you know, that place where you're the benevolent ruler of your own fictional state, which you're completely free to shape as you please, based on the stupid choices you make in situations like the below presented. Last time when we delved into the depths of True Democracy(tm), we ended up in a tie between Ms Lovegood, the Education Minister of Insert Country Name, who argued that mandatory parenting classes for the populace were the solution - and Chloe, your incredibly mature teenage niece who just wanted some assistance from babysitters programs. Well, now the issue we're about to discuss is a bit different - it's related to technology and trade.

The Issue

Biotech firm McShanto LLC has developed a new genetically engineered corn, with 200% more “butter” flavor and a guarantee to be free of those stringy bits that get stuck in your teeth. They've also engineered every mature kernel to be sterile, while marketing a special starter seed at premium prices. Angry supporters of small farms are demanding you lend an ear.

The debate & a poll )
[identity profile]
Hey, my beloved procrastinators! It's time for our new installment of ridiculously over-simplified and unbearably polarized hypothetical situations, inspired by the NationStates online game - you know, that place where you're the benevolent ruler of your own fictional state, which you're completely free to shape as you please, based on the extreme choices you make in situations like the below presented. Last time when we delved into the depths of True Democracy(tm), the bulk of you guys sided with Sven Yeltsin, the political strategist who argued that negative campaign ads should be left alone. Now the issue is somewhat in line with our monthly topic, women empowerment. Plus something more...

The Issue

Robotics giant Robot4U Inc. has caused an uproar in Insert Country Name for its new product – Mindy The Robot Wife. Budding ‘AI rights’ activists and feminist groups have demanded the sale of such units be outlawed.

The debate & a poll )
[identity profile]
"Clinton is candidate for president, they're airing Tarzan in the theatres, and everyone's playing Pokemon. Welcome to 2001". That's the caption below a cartoon that's been circulating the webs lately. And all three of these statements are still valid today, in 2016. Just like 15 years ago, the Pokemons are again the latest fad - this time through Pokemon Go.

Most of us must have noticed by now that some folks tend to wander around, looking into their cellphones while they walk. Not all of them are texting or Facebooking (sic?) Many are actually hunting for pokemons. You know, those fabled creatures - water, fire, electric little thingies that look like foxes, turtles, kittens, little dwaggins or just weird-shaped clouds. They came to life back in the 90s, but the new smartphone version is now re-conquering the world once more. Last month Pokemon Go beat the previous record with 21 million active subscribers daily, and it was installed on 5% of all Android devices in the US just within the first 2 days of its existence. Fierce ink-spilling and spittle-spewing ensue on the matter. The debates are still raging in places as far away apart as Oz, NZ, Asia and the Euros. After this terrific start though, the question arises, is this going to be another huge success, or the umpteenth balloon that is sure to go bust pretty soon?

Pokemon here, pokemon there... )
[identity profile]
...Without chasing imaginary digital... kittens? Teddy bears? Furries? Angry birds? Trolly-like... thingies?

Searching for Pokemon in Real Life - Pokemon GO is Nintendo's Latest Attempt to Get Us Active

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It was about time someone figured they could bring the selfie-, Facebook-, smartphone-obsessed folks of the new generation out of their stupor and on the street, and actually make them... you know, walk.
[identity profile]
...Here's a scenario presenting two extreme choices, emerging from what is obviously perceived by many as the current direction of where things are going, but in this case, brought to an extreme. I'm talking of technology gone awry, and global social structures starting to crumble. You (hypothetically) stand at a choice between plan A or plan B. There might be a third option, but let's leave it aside for the time being (more about that, later).

Option A. Do nothing about anything. Leave capitalism run its course while corporations steadily phase out human labor in favor of cheaper, more accurate machine labor. The elite takes full control, becomes the sole remnant of humanity eventually, then consumes itself, as there's nothing else left. Chaos ensue.

Option B. Back to communism (possibly through violent upheaval). Giving benefits to the general population whether they earn or not, even if the scheme is financially unsustainable in the long run. Maintain some form of capitalism for those who can still earn, watching the burden get ever heavier on them. The number of voluntarily unemployed grows, some of them still being able to buy basic necessities while most jobs go away, then the whole structure collapses under its own unsustainability. Chaos ensue.

Choose now.

Okay, time for Option C )
[identity profile]
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If I was submitted to this sort of torture 24/7 I'd go insane in a heartbeat.

On the other hand, Neo of the Matrix would've loved to be part of this augmented reality! He'd certainly thrive there. Imagine Neo as SuperMario, collecting, well... let's say magic mushrooms. Oh the beauty!

That would've made for a way better version of the Matrix trilogy.
[identity profile]
Mickey Mouse style apparatus to detect where enemy fire is coming from:

[identity profile]
FBI Drops iPhone Case Against Apple After Outside Hack Succeeds

"A mysterious method suggested by a third party appears to have allowed the FBI to hack into the iPhone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the attackers in last year’s shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., prompting the agency to withdraw its legal case against Apple."

LOL. Witnessing the whole debate unravel about how they "broke in", I couldn't help but smirk. Makes you wonder how come some of the biggest smartheads in the industry could've missed the whole point of this exercise.

Do bear with me, as I delve into this conspiracy! )
[identity profile]

Well, well, well. This is what happens when you feed info from the social networks into a self-teaching AI. Seems like Microsoft's experiment with the creation of hasn't worked that well, after all. Why? Because they figured she'd be best if she modeled her own behavior based on real human interactions around the Webz, so they allowed actual random people to input all sorts of feedback into her "mind", thus hoping she'd learn humans' ways.

It all started so well and cosy. But in the end, found herself spewing all sorts of stinky obscenities, crazy conspiracy theories, and talking points that even the most shameless bigot would've blushed from.

My personal favorite? "F*** MY ROBOT P**** DADDY I'm SUCH A NAUGHTY ROBOT!"
[identity profile]
In further developments likely to not improve overmuch one's faith in the human race as a collective bunch of mangy talking apes, this is a potential ticking time bomb that I don't see many leaders having the wit or the ability to address before it goes up in everyone's face:

^Each of these articles covers a crucial element in the growth of robotics. Anywhere from 50% to greater unemployment when complete mechanization obliterates the need for humans to do those jobs. It's not like new jobs can be created as when Cadmus sowed dragon's teeth, and it's not like this is going to go away. Nor is the solution here some Butlerian Jihad to destroy the thinking machines so humanity can exist in a neo-feudal hydraulic despotism controlled by highly rationed technology and genetically engineered supermen as poor substitutes for same.

Technological change and progress is always a two-edged sword. Growth is not infinite, nor is economics. So if robotics ends up causing mass unemployment in this sense, what if anything can be done about it? Like I said, I personally expect people to coast along knowing the problem's had warnings for as long as 30 years and not really getting it until "Wait, robots have caused permanent 50% unemployment? Who knew? Nobody warned us! Thou shalt not make a machine in the likeness of the human mind!"

But I admit to being a cynic who accentuates the negative and expects the worst from people a lot of the time. 
[identity profile]
Apple likely to invoke free-speech rights in encryption fight
NYC police: Criminals say Apple encryption a ‘gift from God’

It's the eternal fight, isn't it. Civil rights like personal privacy and free speech against public concerns like national security.

The bottom-line is elsewhere, though. Apple would certainly help the government open a terrorist's encrypted cellphone, or do anything it pleases really, if the government allows Apple to repatriate the billions in profits it now holds overseas.

It's because Apple's bottom-line is the same as that of any other corporation: it cares about money first and foremost. It's highly doubtful that what they are truly concerned about is high-minded ideals like liberty, freedom and privacy. These are only tangentially related to their business, as long as it's what the majority of their customers espouse.

That said, once the government finally gets the de-encryption tools, who's to say how they might proceed using it.

Of course, there's then the fact that Jihadist terrorism is more of a nuisance rather than an existential threat to national welfare - if we look at the stats, that is. We've talked about this before. More people are killed in school shootings per week than in Jihadist terrorist attacks per decade. But yeah - nuance and perspective, who cares about them?

If I were this Apple guy, I'd reject the notion of designing software to beat my own encryption tools. I mean, once Teh Gubmint gets their paws on the de-encryption tool, what would be its worth for iPhones and the like? My bet would be on zilch.

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Talk Politics.
A place to discuss politics without egomaniacal mods


Divisive Rhetoric


"Favoring multiculturalism is something Westerners give a lot of lovely lip service to until they have to actually do it."

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