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A Frankenstein's Monster Lurks in the Dead of Night

Of Woman and Machine: Are Women and Technology at Odds?

A DailyWire host turns to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein for some insights

That’s what author and DailyWire host Andrew Klavan argues in his book The Truth and Beauty (2022). In perhaps the best chapter in a book analyzing the Romantic poets, Klavan turns to Mary Shelley (1797–1851), the teenage author of Frankenstein. Shelley was not a Romantic poet, Klavan admits, but she was married to a Romantic poet (Percy Shelley, ) and was greatly influenced by the Romantics of her era. The common conclusion is that Frankenstein is about man’s attempt to usurp God. Even Shelley herself stated that about her book. “But I don’t think this is what the novel is about at all,” Klavan posits. To me, the greatness of the story, the horror of the story, and the threat…

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Positive girl resting on the couch with robot

Turing Tests Are Terribly Misleading

Black box algorithms are now being trusted to approve loans, price insurance, screen job applicants, trade stocks, determine prison sentences, and much more. Is that wise?

In 1950 Alan Turing proposed that the question, “Can machines think?,” be replaced by a test of how well a computer plays the “imitation game.” A man and woman go into separate rooms and respond with typewritten answers to questions that are intended to identify the players, each of whom is trying to persuade the interrogators that they are the other person. Turing proposed that a computer take the part of one of the players and the experiment be deemed a success if the interrogators are no more likely to make a correct identification. There are other versions of the game, some of which were suggested by Turing. The standard Turing test today involves a human and a computer and…

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Danger for the eye

Cybersecurity: Why a Poke in the Eye Does Not Work

The current system punishes small businesses for data breaches they could not have prevented

Veteran software developer David A. Kruger offered some thoughts on computer security recently at Expensivity and we appreciate the opportunity to republish them here as a series. Yesterday, we looked at how online human data collectors get free from legal responsibility. Today we look at how the current system punishes small businesses for data breaches that they could not have prevented. A Poke in the Eye Furthermore, in the domain of unintended consequences, deterrence polices are based on the technological symptomatic point solution fallacy. Businesses are assumed to be negligent if they have a data breach. That’s correct in some cases, but in others, businesses, particularly small and medium-sized businesses, suffer increased compliance costs or have been bankrupted by data breaches that they…

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Unicorn Landscape

How Far Will Unicorn Share Prices Fall?

Cumulative losses give us some insights

Most investors know that America’s Unicorns are losing money. What they don’t know is that most Unicorns have dug big holes for themselves and aren’t sure how to dig themselves out. What do I mean by holes? I mean massive cumulative losses that have been accumulated over many years of yearly losses. Because many of today’s Unicorn startups were founded at least 10 years ago, and are still unprofitable, they have a had a long time to create huge cumulative losses, some much more than the $3 billion that Amazon once had. The biggest losses are for Uber ($29.1 billion), WeWork ($12.2 billion), Snap ($8.7 billion), Lyft ($8.5 billion), Teledoc Health ($8.1 billion), and Airbnb ($6.4 billion), followed by four…

Stethoscope on computer with test results in Doctor consulting room background and report chart for medical costs in modern hospital on Laptop desk. Healthcare costs business and fees concept.

Would Health Care AI Mean Caregivers Spend More Time on Patients?

Chances are, it will just mean fewer and less qualified caregivers

Pat Baird, regulatory head of global software standards at Philips, recently wrote an article titled, “Can Artificial Intelligence ‘Rehumanize’ Healthcare?” His thesis is that “By lowering administrative burden, AI can increase caregivers’ time spent actually caring for patients.” I will argue that this vision for the contribution of AI to healthcare delivery will not happen due to some very observable forces. A place to begin the analysis is with the funding source for AI in healthcare. AI is bought or developed by healthcare delivery organizations. These organizations are following a business plan and if AI does not provide a business benefit, they will not pay for it. We can conclude that AI in healthcare will be designed and used to…

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Bottom view close-up of four white surveillance cameras

People Don’t Need a “Reason” to Want Privacy

We naturally don’t want either government or Big Tech following us around

In 2014, award-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald presented a compelling case for privacy at a TED Conference, dismantling the idea that “only people who are doing something wrong have a reason to hide.” Why did Greenwald feel that message was important? Two years earlier, in 2012, American intelligence contractor Edward Snowmen reached out to Greenwald, offering top secret National Security Agencvy (NSA) documents that its secret mass surveillance network. In 2013, Greenwald’s stories at The Guardian sparked an international conversation on national security versus privacy. The opening sentence of his first article reads, “The National Security Agency is currently collecting the telephone records of millions of US customers of Verizon, one of America’s largest telecoms providers, under a top secret order…

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Close up of small caged colorful birds in pet store in morning sun

Can Elon Musk Really Stop Big Tech From Controlling Us?

We usually don’t realize how far it has already gone in efforts to control our thinking

Think it doesn’t control you? Andrew McDiarmid can offer you some examples of pervasive efforts to control our thinking: It appeared in Apple’s iPhone software update this year, when a “pregnant man” emoji was quietly added to keyboards. It’s seen in Google’s new (and currently stalled) “inclusive language” feature, which autocorrects gendered terms like “landlord,” “policeman” or “housewife.” Andrew McDiarmid, “Big Tech is subtly controlling our lives—and we need to fight back” at New York Post (May 7, 2022) Surely, almost nobody on the planet, apart from small pressure groups, had asked for a “pregnant man” emoji. The concept has nothing whatever to do with the serious problems many pregnant women face worldwide. Landlord? Again, many people worldwide face problems…

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Close up businesswoman collecting data information converting into statistics, planning strategy gathering resources creating visual graphical graphs using computer laptop and smart mobile device

How Online Human Data Collectors Get Free From Responsibility

Cybersecurity expert David A. Kruger talks about the Brave Old World in which you have much less power than Big Tech does

Veteran software developer David A. Kruger offered some thoughts on computer security recently at Expensivity and we appreciate the opportunity to republish them here as a series. Last week, we looked at how search engine results can be distorted. This week, we look at how HDCs (human data collectors) free themselves from any responsibility for outcomes. Brave Old World HDCs’ licensing strategy is designed to free them from any vestige of fiduciary duty. Fiduciary law traces its roots back to the Code of Hammurabi in 1790 BC, through the Roman Empire, early British law, and up to the present day. The purpose of fiduciary law is to compensate for two sad facts of human nature. In unequally powered business relationships, 1) businesses with more…

interconnected neurons
3D illustration of Interconnected neurons with electrical pulses.

The Mysterious White Matter of the Brain

It’s difficult to study but turns out to be very important

We all talk about “gray matter,” the cerebral cortex of the brain, thought to be the basis for learning, remembering, and reasoning. But what about “white matter”? Neurologist Christopher Filley has the story as to why we don’t know much about it: This lack of recognition largely stems from the difficulty in studying white matter. Because it’s located below the surface of the brain, even the most high-tech imaging can’t easily resolve its details. But recent findings, made possible by advancements in brain imaging and autopsy examinations, are beginning to show researchers how critical white matter is. White matter is comprised of many billions of axons, which are like long cables that carry electrical signals. Think of them as elongated…

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Canadian Mounties Circling

Canadians Forbidden To Murder in Space and Other ET Stories

Some astronomers are blasting out messages to aliens; others say it would take too long for them to respond

Alien watch: Canadians forbidden to murder in space and other stories The Canadian government buried it in other news re the federal budget: Buried deep within the legislation implementing Canada’s 2022 federal budget is a Criminal Code amendment that would explicitly extend Canadian criminal jurisdiction to the cosmos… “A Canadian crew member who, during a space flight, commits an act or omission outside Canada that if committed in Canada would constitute an indictable offence is deemed to have committed that act or omission in Canada,” reads the measure included in Bill C-19, the 443-page document implementing the provisions of the 2022 federal budget. Basically, the amendment means that if a Canadian commits a criminal offence while in space, they’ll be…

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The universe within. Silhouette of a man inside the universe, physical and mathematical formulas.. The concept on scientific and philosophical topics.  Elements of this image furnished by NASA.

A Purpose Must Underlie the Universe If Intelligent Beings Exist

Theoretical physicist Marcelo Gleiser argues that intelligent life is extremely rare in the universe

Dartmouth College theoretical physicist Marcelo Gleiser offers to explain why intelligence is rare in the universe: We are the only humans in this universe. And if we consider what we have learned from the history of life on Earth, chances are that intelligent life is extremely rare. While intelligence is clearly an asset in the struggle for survival among species, it is not a purpose of evolution; evolution has no purpose. Until it becomes intelligent, life is happy just replicating. With intelligence, it will be unhappy just replicating. This, in a nutshell, is the essence of the human condition. Putting all this together, we propose that we are indeed chemically connected to the rest of the cosmos, and that we…

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Window Rain Water Drops Stormy Weather

Firefly Episode 13: If You Are Stuck at Home in a Rainstorm…

Otherwise, you may just want to skip this one. But let me explain why

You may remember the classic Western, Unforgiven (1992) directed by and starring Clint Eastwood. It’s the sad tale of a lonely farmer who had recently lost his wife. He was, at one point, a cold-hearted gunman. He decides to take one final job, adopting his dark earlier persona for the last time so he can provide a better life for his kids. His job is to kill a local sheriff who has been harassing prostitutes in a small Western town. It’s a story with no real good guys that leaves us with the infamous line, “We all have it coming.” I think this episode of Firefly tried to emulate the Western. But it does a terrible job. Before discussing the…

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Girl in orange shirt standing near house robot

Is the World Running Out of Humans? Are Robots the Answer?

But then why have we “run out of human beings,” as some claim?

So some claim: The pandemic and the U.S. labor shortage are starting to change the conversation about robotics and automation from threat to opportunity — from putting jobs at risk to filling critical gaps in the workforce. “The biggest shift that has happened from 2018 to now is that we’ve literally run out of human beings to do the things that we need to do,” said roboticist Siddhartha “Sidd” Srinivasa, a professor at the University of Washington’s Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering in Seattle who founded Carnegie Mellon University’s Personal Robotics Lab during his 18-year tenure in Pittsburgh. That shift is giving a new spark to robotics engineers and entrepreneurs who have long aspired to change the world…

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baseball players hitting

Why Giving the Second Best Guy a Chance Is a Smart Move

Business prof Gary Smith explains…

Gary Smith, author of The AI Delusion, has some interesting advice for those who think that a star athlete wins only on performance: It doesn’t quite work that way: A study by two business school professors, Cade Massey and Richard Thaler, found that the chances that a drafted player will turn out to be better than the next player drafted in his position (for example, the first quarterback drafted compared to the second quarterback drafted) is only 52%, barely better than a coin flip.Yet, teams pay much more for early draft picks than for later picks. Even leaving salary aside, teams that trade down (for example giving up the first pick in the draft for the 14th and 15th pick)…

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Facial Recognition Technology Can Now Detect “Facecrime”

Some claim it will help teachers interact with students better

At one time, this was science fiction: In George Orwell’s dystopian classic, 1984, citizens are monitored 24/7 through the use of “telescreens” that are stationed in every home and throughout every workplace, monitoring for facecrime. It was terribly dangerous to let your thoughts wander when you were in any public place or within range of a telescreen. The smallest thing could give you away. A nervous tic, an unconscious look of anxiety, a habit of muttering to yourself – anything that carried with it the suggestion of abnormality, of having something to hide. In any case, to wear an improper expression on your face (to look incredulous when a victory was announced, for example) was itself a punishable offense. 1984.…

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Inflation, dollar hyperinflation with black background. One dollar bill is sprayed in the hand of a man on a black background. The concept of decreasing purchasing power, inflation.

Will Higher Prices Disarm Russia? It’s Complicated…

The effects of hyperinflation are subtle, but very real

The annual rate of consumer price inflation in Russia was 9% in February and 17% in March. For producer prices, the March number was 27%. Is Russia headed for hyperinflation, with prices increasing at triple-digit rates or more? I don’t know, but it is worth remembering what happens during hyperinflations. Many people believe that higher prices make everyone worse off. This is not true. Buyers pay more, but sellers receive more. One person’s higher price is another’s higher income. If all prices and incomes were to increase by the same amount — say 10 percent — everyone’s real, inflation-adjusted income would be unchanged. The true costs of inflation are more subtle. In practice, within every inflation, some prices increase more…

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Cloud in woman hands on blue sky

Arm in the Cloud?: Lower Cost and Higher Performance

A quick tutorial on why Arm technology has 90% of the cell phone market

Central processing units (CPUs) are usually classified according to their architecture. Historically, desktop computers (especially non-Apple computers) were almost entirely based on Intel’s x86 32-bit architecture, with more recent ones supporting AMD’s 64-bit extensions for more modern computers. The x86 architecture has never ruled because it was a great architecture for the future, but merely because of compatibility — essentially, if you write software to one architecture, it won’t run on another one. The one company that pushed more aggressively for new architectures was Apple, which switched its Macintosh operating system through four major CPU architectures: Motorola 68k, PowerPC, Intel x86, and now Arm. Not only that, their earlier Apple II series ran yet another CPU architecture—the 6502. Because Apple…

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eurpean siblings brother and sister quarelling

Why AI Can’t Save Us From Ourselves — If Evolution Is Any Guide

Famous evolutionary theorist E. O. Wilson’s reflections help us understand

The late E. O. Wilson (1929–2021) received more than one hundred awards for his research and writing, including two Pulitzer Prizes. As a professor at Harvard University, Wilson influenced generations with his ideas about human evolution and ethics. In his 2012 New York Times essay “Evolution and Our Inner Conflict,” Wilson asked two key question regarding the problem of evil in our world: Are human beings intrinsically good but corruptible by the forces of evil, or the reverse, innately sinful yet redeemable by the forces of good? Are we built to pledge our lives to a group, even to the risk of death, or the opposite, built to place ourselves and our families above all else? Wilson believed that humans…

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abstract illustration of Indian celebrating mathematics day Jayanti or Ramanujan Srinivasa holiday

A Brilliant Mathematician’s Last Letter Continues To Matter

Sadly, Ramanujan’s life was cut short by various health issues

One of the most remarkable mathematicians in history was Srinivasa Ramanujan (1887–1920) whose life was cut short by tuberculosis. In an interesting essay, psychiatrist Ashwin Sharma asks us to look at ways that his last letter helps us understand our universe better: A cryptic letter addressed to G.H. Hardy on January 12th, 1920, will be remembered as one of the most important letters in Scientific history. Written by Srinivasa Ramanujan, a self-taught mathematical genius who, laying on his deathbed, left hints of a new and incredible mathematical discovery. Unfortunately, the letter was to be his last, dying three months later at 32. Ramanujan’s discovery took over 80 years to solve, and with it came answers to some of the most…

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Deep space. High definition star field background . Starry outer space background texture . Colorful Starry Night Sky Outer Space background

Firefly Episode 12: Kaylee Falls For a Recently Undead Man

Further thoughts on the strange developments regarding the organ harvester

Last time, we reflected on the fact that the crew of the Firefly was given a body in the mail. It turned out the man in the coffin had faked his own death. When he woke up, Kaylee, who was having another spat with Simon, decided to fall in love with the recently undead man. This was infuriating and confusing but the show doesn’t give us much time to dwell the implications. While the organ smuggler is telling his tale, the writers suddenly remember that the bad guys have been shooting at the ship this entire time. So, after some superficial shaking on the part of Serenity, the plot trudges on before the viewer can ask any questions. Meanwhile, Serenity…