Time to change your passwords

A group of Russian criminals has collected 1.2 billion user names and passwords.  And since most people use the same password for everything–from travel sites to banking (how else to remember the things?)–that makes 1.2 billion people extremely vulnerable. [Read more…]

Putting “ethical governors” on killer robots

Drone warfare makes some people squirm for the ethical issues it raises, but right now drones are still controlled by human beings.  The upcoming technology, though, would make them autonomous, allowing them to make their own “decisions” about whether or not to kill.  To meet the moral objections in giving machines the option to kill human beings, some techies are proposing tacking on separate software they are calling  “ethical governors” that could automatically run the decisions through international law protocols before going lethal.

What do you think about this?  Can there be “artificial morality'” just as there is “artificial intelligence”?  (After the jump, a defense of killer robots that goes into these issues.) [Read more…]

Targeted political ads

As you will have noticed, internet advertisers are bombarding you with ads tailored just for you, based on your browsing history and the volumes of data that the marketers have put together about you.  That technology is finding its way to television.  Watch for its use in political advertising.  In his last election, Chris Christie’s campaign bought ads on Friday Night Wrestling after they found that its viewers don’t vote much, but could probably be persuaded to vote for Christie.  And if you have satellite TV, you may be getting ads that your neighbor watching the same program isn’t getting. [Read more…]

Foiling spies by going back to the typewriter

Some German officials have become so paranoid over revelations of NSA surveillance and CIA spying, that they are considering dropping computers for communications and going back to typewriters.  They are also playing classical music during meetings to thwart American bugging devices. [Read more…]

Are spies manipulating your Facebook polls?

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…]

Cyborg apocalypse in 2045

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…]