skip to main content

Posts tagged “tech”, page 3

  1. The History of Video
    youtube.com

    Veritasium:

    This is a video I’ve long wanted to make, about what makes video look like video and, up until 10 years ago or so, not as appealing as film. I grew up with the two technologies (film and video) in parallel and to me they always seemed like two ways of achieving the same ends: recording and replaying moving images. But their histories are quite distinct. Film was always a way to capture moving images for later replaying. Video started out as a way to transfer images from one place to another instantaneously.

  2. What the Theranos Documentary Misses
    newrepublic.com

    Avi Asher-Schapiro makes some good points about The Inventor that I failed to consider:

    Missing from the film, however, is any sustained effort to understand how Theranos interacted with the larger economic and social forces that nurtured it. In the hands of Gibney, the rise and fall of Theranos is reduced to a sort of personality puzzle, driven by the banal questions like: What was Elizabeth Holmes thinking? Is she a liar? How could seemingly competent investors be so misled?

    That’s a shame, because the story of Theranos is so much more than that. At its root, it’s a parable that cuts to the central dysfunctions in the American economic and political order, one that should dismantle our notions of meritocracy and put a strict limit on our forbearance for elites. It illuminates how the rich and well connected occupy different strata of life, enjoy a completely different set of opportunities from the rest of us, experience a different kind of justice, and are so often immune from consequences. Though the film gives some glimpses of these dynamics, they are always in the background, shadowed by other far less compelling narrative impulses.

  3. Dev perception
    adactio.com

    Jeremy Keith:

    It’s relatively easy to write and speak about new technologies. You’re excited about them, and there’s probably an eager audience who can learn from what you have to say.

    It’s trickier to write something insightful about a tried and trusted (perhaps even boring) technology that’s been around for a while. You could maybe write little tips and tricks, but I bet your inner critic would tell you that nobody’s interested in hearing about that old tech. It’s boring.

    The result is that what’s being written about is not a reflection of what’s being widely used.

  4. Grifters Gone Wild
    nytimes.com

    More on scammers, by Maureen Dowd:

    As Maria Konnikova wrote in her book, “The Confidence Game,” “The whirlwind advance of technology heralds a new golden age of the grift. Cons thrive in times of transition and fast change” when we are losing the old ways and open to the unexpected.

    We are easy marks for faux Nigerian princes now, when chaos rules, the American identity wobbles, and technology is transforming our lives in awe-inspiring and awful ways.

    See also, on Wired: Nigerian Email Scammers Are More Effective Than Ever.

  5. Scammers: They’re Just Like Us
    buzzfeednews.com

    Prompted by the college admissions bribery scandal in the US, the hosts of Do By Friday had an interesting discussion about grifting on a recent episode of the podcast. This article by Tom Gara was mentioned by Max Temkin and caught my attention:

    We are living in a golden age of grifting. For an ambitious scammer in 2018, this is like being a sculptor in 1500s Florence — every major force at play in our world is like a wind at your back. In politics, a team of all-star grifters now runs the United States, and their fake-it-till-you-make-it ethos bleeds into everything it touches and elevates aspirational young con artists into national figures. Technology now allows you to create and maintain an entirely constructed identity, giving you not just the tools to manipulate your image and massage the truth of your everyday life, but also an audience hungry to consume that image and believe in it.

  6. Astronauts arriving on Mars won’t be able to walk. VR may save them
    wired.co.uk

    Katia Moskvitch:

    Astronauts returning to Earth after a long stint in space are so badly disorientated that they usually can’t walk properly for 24 hours or longer. Turns out human brains function differently in space and when an astronaut gets back, it takes his or her brain some time to re-train itself. Now Marissa Rosenberg, a neuroscientist at Nasa, plans to use virtual reality headsets as a tool to short-cut the training.

  7. Once hailed as unhackable, blockchains are now getting hacked
    technologyreview.com

    Mike Orcutt:

    A miner who somehow gains control of a majority of the network’s mining power can defraud other users by sending them payments and then creating an alternative version of the blockchain in which the payments never happened. This new version is called a fork. The attacker, who controls most of the mining power, can make the fork the authoritative version of the chain and proceed to spend the same cryptocurrency again.

    This sounds less like a hack and more like a consequence of “it’ll never happen” dismissal of possible abuses of the system as it’s designed.

  8. How Much of the Internet Is Fake?
    nymag.com

    Max Read:

    Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,” a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake. They called this hypothetical event “the Inversion.”

  9. Every little bit helps
    m.signalvnoise.com

    David Heinemeier Hansson:

    We don’t all need to quit Facebook outright, foreswear Uber entirely, and never shop at Amazon again to have an impact. All of these companies are already walking a precarious tightrope of towering expectations. They don’t need to miss a quarter by more than a few percent before it’s a calamity that’ll get everyone’s attention.

    So here’s what you can do: A little bit. It helps. Really.

  10. T-Mobile, Sprint, and AT&T Are Selling Customers’ Real-Time Location Data, And It’s Falling Into the Wrong Hands
    motherboard.vice.com

    Joseph Cox, for Motherboard:

    In the case of the phone we tracked, six different entities had potential access to the phone’s data. T-Mobile shares location data with an aggregator called Zumigo, which shares information with Microbilt. Microbilt shared that data with a customer using its mobile phone tracking product. The bounty hunter then shared this information with a bail industry source, who shared it with Motherboard.

    This is crazy. Zeynep Tufekci said it best: we are building a dystopia just to make people click on ads.

    Follow-up: Hundreds of Bounty Hunters Had Access to AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint Customer Location Data for Years

  11. This clever AI hid data from its creators to cheat at its appointed task
    techcrunch.com

    Devin Coldewey:

    A machine learning agent intended to transform aerial images into street maps and back was found to be cheating by hiding information it would need later in “a nearly imperceptible, high-frequency signal.” Clever girl!

    But in fact this occurrence, far from illustrating some kind of malign intelligence inherent to AI, simply reveals a problem with computers that has existed since they were invented: they do exactly what you tell them to do.