Tuesday, May 06, 2014
Hawking does movie reviews? (No surprise he is a SciFi fan.) Will we even know when some level of AI is incorporated into the “things” on the Internet of Things?
Stephen Hawking: 'Transcendence looks at the implications of artificial intelligence - but are we taking AI seriously enough?'
… Artificial-intelligence (AI) research is now progressing rapidly. Recent landmarks such as self-driving cars, a computer winning at Jeopardy! and the digital personal assistants Siri, Google Now and Cortana are merely symptoms of an IT arms race fuelled by unprecedented investments and building on an increasingly mature theoretical foundation.
… Success in creating AI would be the biggest event in human history.
Unfortunately, it might also be the last, unless we learn how to avoid the risks. In the near term, world militaries are considering autonomous-weapon systems that can choose and eliminate targets; the UN and Human Rights Watch have advocated a treaty banning such weapons. In the medium term, as emphasised by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee in The Second Machine Age, AI may transform our economy to bring both great wealth and great dislocation.
… Although we are facing potentially the best or worst thing to happen to humanity in history, little serious research is devoted to these issues outside non-profit institutes such as the Cambridge Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, the Future of Humanity Institute, the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, and the Future of Life Institute.
More specifically, the Internet of Things is...
The ABCs of the Internet of Things
There is no agreed-upon definition, but there is a test for determining whether something is part of the IoT: Does one vendor's product work with another's? Does a door lock by one vendor communicate with a light switch by another vendor, and do you want the thermostat to be part of the conversation?
Here's the scenario: As you approach the front door of your house, a remote control built into your key unlocks the door. The door's wireless radio messages the network, which prompts the hall light to turn on. The house thermostat, which was lowered after you left for work, returns to a comfort zone. Everything is acting in concert, which brings us to the elegant definition of IoT by Paul Williamson, director of low power wireless for semiconductor maker CSR: "A true Internet of Things is coordination between multiple devices."
(Related) If your house resets your thermostat, what ensures it sets it to 72 rather than “Hotter?”
IoT security requirements will reshape over half of global enterprise IT security programs by 2020: Gartner
The power of objects in the Internet of Things (IoT) to change the state of environments — in addition to generating information — will cause chief information security officers (CISOs) to redefine the scope of their security efforts beyond present responsibilities, according to Gartner.
… "This is an inflection point for security. CISOs will need to deconstruct current principles of IT security in the enterprise by re-evaluating practices and processes in light of the IoT impact," said Perkins. "Real-time, event-driven applications and nonstandard protocols will require changes to application testing, vulnerability, identity and access management (IAM) — the list goes on. Handling network scale, data transfer methods and memory usage differences will also require changes. Governance, management and operations of security functions will need to change to accommodate expanded responsibilities, similar to the ways that bring your own device (BYOD), mobile and cloud computing delivery have required changes — but on a much larger scale and in greater breadth."
(Related) An example of a “Thing” (collision avoidance computers) overreacting?
U-2 Caused Widespread Shutdown of US Flights Out of LAX
"Reuters reports that last week's computer glitch at a California air traffic control center that led officials to halt takeoffs at Los Angeles International Airport was caused by a U-2 spy plane still in use by the US military, passing through air space monitored by the Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center that appears to have overloaded ERAM, a computer system at the center. According to NBC News, computers at the center began operations to prevent the U-2 from colliding with other aircraft, even though the U-2 was flying at an altitude of 60,000 feet and other airplanes passing through the region's air space were miles below. FAA technical specialists resolved the specific issue that triggered the problem on Wednesday, and the FAA has put in place mitigation measures as engineers complete development of software changes," said the agency in a statement. "The FAA will fully analyze the event to resolve any underlying issues that contributed to the incident and prevent a reoccurrence."
Commentary – This is what comes after search
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on May 5, 2014
Christopher Mims - Quartz: ”The average person with an Android smartphone is using it to search the web, from a browser, only 1.25 times per day, says Roi Carthy, head of special projects at Tel Aviv-based mobile startup Everything.Me. That isn’t just bad news for Google, which still relies on ads placed along search results for the bulk of its revenue—it also signals a gigantic, fundamental shift in how people interact with the web. It’s a shift upon which fortunes will be made and lost Carthy knows how often people use search on Android because once you install his company’s Everything.Me software, it replaces the home screen on an Android smartphone with one that is uniquely customized to you. And then Everything.Me collects data on how often you search, plus a whole lot else, including where you are, where you go, which apps you use, the contents of your calendar, etc. This kind of data collection is key to how Everything.Me works, and if Carthy and his investors, who have already sunk $37 million into his company are right, it’s the sort of thing many other companies will be doing on smartphones, all in the name of bringing people what comes after search. Carthy says that, in contrast to the paltry number of times users of Everything.Me are searching the web each day, they’re engaging in context-based interactions with their customized home screens dozens of times a day. In other words, in the old days, if you wanted to do something—navigate to the restaurant where you’ve got a dinner reservation—you might open a web browser and search for its address. But in the post-search world of context—in which our devices know so much about us that they can guess our intentions—your phone is already displaying a route to that restaurant, as well as traffic conditions, and how long it will take you to get there, the moment you pull your phone out of your pocket.”
Perspective. (and infographic)
Millennials more likely to use mobiles when shopping
… a new study of millennial shoppers by point of sale technology specialist Merchant Warehouse shows that this particular generation has higher expectations from the shopping experience and is more likely to use mobiles in the process.
Nearly three-quarters of millennials read reviews on their mobiles, and half of people in this demographic use their mobile device to check into stores in order to earn rewards. The rise of price matching websites has also led to them being more likely to check prices whilst out shopping.
Some 44 percent also say they scan QR codes in store to learn more about products and manufacturers.
Retailers though don't seem to be taking advantage of the opportunities this shift in habits offers.
Probably true for all professions, but is it true 5 years after graduation?
WSJ – Law School Job Data Shows Wide Gulf Between Elite and the Rest
by Sabrina I. Pacifici on May 5, 2014
“In an unforgiving job market, graduates of top-ranked law schools have had a far easier time landing full-time employment than their peers from the lower ranks. That much is obvious. But how much easier? A Law Blog analysis of the latest American Bar Association employment data paired with the most recent U.S. News & World Report rankings suggests the gulf between the top 50 schools and the rest of the bunch is huge. The unemployment rate for graduates from the top 50 is more than 60% lower than the unemployment rate for everybody else.”
A rare, “not free” App for my students.
WritePad for iOS & Android Turns Your Handwritten Notes to Digital Text
If you still use handwritten notes but like the idea of going paperless, your iPad can bridge the gap between handwritten notes and digital text.
We have reviewed the smart Wi-Fi pen, Livescribe which converts handwritten notes to digital text, using special paper and pen. We have also reviewed several iOS notebook apps that are great for handwriting and drawings – but PhatWare’s WritePad for iOS ($4.99 iPad, $1.99 iPhone) and Android ($4.99) is different.
It’s perhaps the only app of its kind that converts your handwriting notes to digital text as you write. This handwriting recognition software has gone from strength to strength over the years, and it’s definitely worth trying if you prefer to handwrite instead of type notes on a touchscreen.
… Even if, like me, you rarely handwrite anything anymore, WritePad is still a handy app to have for when you want to quickly take lecture notes, brainstorm ideas, and simply write without typing. It should work with any type of stylus, and I found it pretty accurate for text conversion, especially when using print handwriting.
Developers have produced downloable PDF documentation for each version of WritePad, available on PhatWare’s support website.
For my Statistics students.
Electronic Tolls Do a Lot More Than Speed You on Your Way
Electronic toll collection has such a powerful effect in cutting highway traffic congestion, and therefore vehicle emissions and air pollution, that it leads to reductions in premature births and low birth weights, say Janet Currie and Reed Walker of Columbia University. Introduction of the E-ZPass system in New Jersey reduced prematurity and low birth weight among mothers within 2 kilometers of a toll plaza by 10.8% and 11.8%, respectively, in comparison with births to mothers near traditional toll plazas. Carbon monoxide, an important component of engine exhaust, has been implicated in negative birth outcomes.
For my students.
How To Deal With Your Job Search In The Internet Age