Saturday, May 12, 2018

An interesting question!
Zack Whittaker reports:
A senator is demanding that the FCC investigate why a company, contracted to monitor calls of prison inmates, also allows police to track phones of anyone in the US without a warrant.
The bombshell story in The New York Times revealed Securus, a Texas-based prison technology company, could track any phone “within seconds” by obtaining data from cellular giants — including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon — typically reserved for marketers.
Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democratic senator from Oregon whose work often focuses on tech and privacy, sent a letter to the FCC this week demanding an investigation.
Read more on ZDNet.
[From the article:
Wyden also sent letters to the cell carriers demand answers. In the letters, the senator said the carriers "not sufficiently control access" to their customers' private information.




Should we require this for all AI? “Greetings. I am a Technodyne Model T-1000 and I’m here to kill you.”
Duplex is Google’s new AI, and a massive step-up from the likes of Siri and Alexa. Duplex is capable of making calls for you, meaning you’ll never have to book a hair appointment or table at a restaurant again. The problem is Duplex is a little too human for its own good.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai demoed Duplex on stage at I/O 2018, showing the next-level AI fooling two people into thinking it was a real-life human. And many people found that aspect troubling, especially as at no point did Duplex announce it wasn’t human.
It seems that Google was unaware what reaction Duplex was going to cause. And the company certainly didn’t foresee morality questions being asked. Google has now issued a statement regarding Duplex, telling The Verge:
“We understand and value the discussion around Google Duplex — as we’ve said from the beginning, transparency in the technology is important. We are designing this feature with disclosure built-in, and we’ll make sure the system is appropriately identified. What we showed at I/O was an early technology demo, and we look forward to incorporating feedback as we develop this into a product.”
Google has listened to the feedback and reacted accordingly. The problem is, if Duplex is going to announce itself as not being human, why does it need to sound so human? This is just the first of many moral dilemmas humanity is going to face when dealing with AI.




For my Software Architecture students. Start with the high-time, high-cost processes.
… the reality is that any major leap forward on cost and efficiency will no longer be possible through automation alone, since most of the tasks that can be automated in an automotive factory have already been tackled.
When a real Factory of the Future arrives, it will not look different because we have automated the processes we use today. It will look different because we will have invented entirely new processes and designs for building cars requiring entirely new manufacturing techniques.
Take the paint shop. Today, in most mature markets, it’s more than 90 percent automated, yet it is still one of the most expensive and space-intensive sections of the factory. Robots, instead of humans, perform most tasks—applying protective corrosion coats, sealant, primer, basecoat, and clear coat to achieve the highly polished finishes we like on our cars—but the process itself is not that different than what it was 30 years ago. For instance, in the BMW plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, processing a car through the paint shop is a 12-hour task, involving more than 100 robots, and requiring a vehicle in the paint assembly line to travel four miles within the factory before the process is complete.
Clearly, there has to be a better way to paint a car, but to make that operation more efficient and take cost out will require the development of a new process. Perhaps it will be the experimental approach of applying a single film over the car and then baking it on, like in a pottery kiln—currently being tested in automotive research labs. Or 3-D printing of the entire car body in the color a customer orders, completely eliminating the need for a traditional paint shop and body shop. Whatever it is, it will have to be more than adding a few more robots into the mix to make a significant difference in the cost of producing an auto.




An “explainer’ for my students.
So there’s a lot of great stuff out there on why Net Neutrality is important and we should fight/advocate for it, but the ACLU has outdone itself with this segment explaining why net neutrality is important. Have a laugh on them while you learn something.




Perspective.
Apple made more profit in three months than Amazon has generated during its lifetime
… The smartphone maker generated a $48.35 billion in profit during its fiscal 2017 and made $13.8 billion in net income during the March 2018 quarter.
In comparison, Amazon's total net income since inception is about $9.6 billion. The number was calculated by adding up all of Amazon's annual net income figures since its inception to the company's $1.6 billion profit in the March 2018 quarter.




A student introduced me to this “game.” Could be worth the $20 for any budding geek. Very impressive graphics and every indication that it will continue to get better.
PC Building Simulator
Build and grow your very own computer repair enterprise as you learn to diagnose, fix and build PCs. With real-world licensed components, realistic pricing plus comprehensive hardware and software simulation you can plan and bring your ultimate PC to life.


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