Archive for the ‘Cool Technology’ Category

I find it interesting that in Snow Crash the (near) future has gotten completely out of hand, while in Anathem a world is depicted that develops more or less cyclically for thousands of years: after the high point of technology (roughly, today’s age) things stay more or less the same, society and prosperity going down and up cyclically without much news being added. Stephenson’s explanation for this is that most people prefer to deal with technology they can understand and tinker with, like internal combustion engines, rather than the more advanced space-age stuff that most Sci-Fi authors (including Stephenson, see Snow Crash) love to make up. Although nobody seems to object to the ubiquity of cell phones connected to the Internet — they are apparently too useful (for society, or for the plot) to ban.

Source: Neopythonic: Thoughts after reading Neal Stephenson’s Anathem

Ross, “the world’s first artificially intelligent attorney” built on IBM’s cognitive computer Watson, was designed to read and understand language, postulate hypotheses when asked questions, research, and then generate responses (along with references and citations) to back up its conclusions. Ross also learns from experience, gaining speed and knowledge the more you interact with it.

Source: Artificially Intelligent Lawyer “Ross” Has Been Hired By Its First Official Law Firm

The underlying presumption of the Clinton email scandal is that the Secretary of State, who had a secure government server guarded by the full resources of the federal government, nonetheless chose to use a unsecured private email server in her home. In doing so, she breached security and put the nation at risk.

Hillary Clinton Benghazi Hearing

That presumption is wrong. The truth is that a government server is not necessarily more secure—and possibly less so—than a private email server, especially one that’s located in a home guarded by the Secret Service. In fact, government servers are breached on a fairly regular basis. To understand why, it’s helpful to know how hackers actually invade computer systems.

Source: The Technology Behind Hillary Clinton’s Email Scandal, Explained | Digital Tonto

“Introductory Bayesian texts usually assume a level of training in mathematical statistics that most researchers simply don’t have time (or otherwise don’t need) to learn. There are actually a lot of accessible Bayesian resources out there that don’t require much math stat background at all, but it just so happens that they are not consolidated anywhere so people don’t necessarily know about them.” (Excerpt)

Video captioning is a a big target for artificial intelligence researchers and has already been pursued for years. Now a team from Baidu and Perdue University have created a new system that has achieved superior results using baseline datasets.

Source: Deep Learning Researchers Create System that Annotates Video in Paragraph Form | 33rd Square

Jim Lunsford makes games other people don’t. He designs training games for the U.S. military. That’s unusual enough. But he also makes games on subjects that don’t seem very game-like.

Source: Training Games: The Military Way | Training Magazine

“Rather than placing tech leaders on a pedestal, we should put their successes in context, acknowledging the role of government not only as a supporter of basic science but as a partner for new ventures. Otherwise, it is all too easy to denigrate public-sector investment, eroding support for government agencies and training programs and ultimately putting future innovation at risk. As Mazzucato puts it, “It’s precisely because we admire Musk and think his contributions are important that we need to get real about where his success actually comes from.” (excerpt)

via Putting Elon Musk and Steve Jobs on a Pedestal Misrepresents How Innovation Happens | MIT Technology Review.

” it is absurd to boil our national well being down to a single metric, especially one conceived of in the 1930’s for a much different economy.  As I’ve pointed out before, numbers can lie.  While there is support building for alternatives to GDP, such as happiness indices, we are still largely confusing metrics for meaning.  We can do better.


“And in the past, we have.  Eisenhower’s vision created the Interstate Highway System, Kennedy inspired us to go to the moon, Johnson’s Great Society programs pulled millions out of desperate poverty.  More recently, we decoded the human genome and are now embarked on a similar quest to replicate the human brain, but nothing on a truly national scale.” (excerpt)

via The Clothesline Paradox | Digital Tonto.