According to new revelations from Edward Snowden, a British spy agency is manipulating online polls, inflates YouTube numbers, directs online traffic, and manipulates the web in other ways for propaganda purposes. [Read more…]
Human beings are innately religious, so when they reject traditional religions they replace them with new ones. Often, they project their religious sensibilities onto other areas of life, such as politics or psychology or medicine, turning them into means of salvation or apocalypse.
Today, many people fear, love, and trust technology. I have heard of the “singularity”–that time when computers will allegedly attain consciousness–proclaimed as a means of finding eternal life, when we can all download out minds into our computers and live forever. Now a book is warning about a singularity apocalypse, when computers start to consider human beings–who will by then be cyborgs–to be the equivalent of dangerous insects. [Read more…]
Drones that can zap our enemies from above like Zeus throwing down thunderbolts would seem like a great anti-terrorism technology. But we probably won’t like them as much when other countries–and terrorists–use them to assassinate people on our soil.
But whatever you think of drone warfare, I was struck by a news story reporting on a bipartisan commission studying the issue in which one consequence is said to be a state of “never-ending war.” [Read more…]
The Obama administration and the state of California argued that law enforcement officials should be able to go through the information on a person’s cell phone, which they argued was no different from asking someone to turn out his pockets. But the Supreme Court, striking a blow for privacy in 21st century technology, ruled–unanimously, no less–that cell phone data (which includes not just call records but with your calendar and appointments a record of nearly all of your activities) is private and cannot be accessed by authorities without a warrant. [Read more…]
Alexandra Petri discusses the decline in people checking their voicemails, the demise of landlines, and how texting is replacing live conversations. Read the whole essay. A sample:
A phone is not for making calls.
Phones are actually devices that you use to avoid talking to people, and anyone who thinks otherwise is surely older than 30. [Read more…]
The media reported that a supercomputer passed the Turing Test, a measure of artificial intelligence in which a computer can pass as a human being. But it turns out that this is just one of the many examples tracked on this blog (as some of you commenters have pointed out) of incompetent reporting on science and technology. Here is a link to the big story. Then, after the jump, a link to a tech site debunking the claim, along with some specific points that the article got wrong. [Read more…]