This is a quick 'n' dirty placeholder for a personal homepage, which syndicates the most recent posts from my Google+ feed Posterous blog and shared articles from Google Reader. Real homepage coming when I get around to it.


Sun, 02 Aug 2015 07:19:08 +0200

Etherium aims to replace servers (and perhaps workstations?) as we know them with a completely distributed computing platform that relies on a secure blockchain similar to Bitcoin.

Fascinating concept, and it makes me wonder what comes next. Hypothetically, if all digital devices join together into one unified-yet-distributed uber-cloud, how will that affect how people interact with technology?

#tech #futurism #etherium #cloudcomputing  

Sat, 01 Aug 2015 17:00:27 +0200

Well, this is fucked up.

#gamergate #sadpuppies #hugoawards #sf #regressives  

Sat, 01 Aug 2015 04:12:45 +0200

Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:40:53 +0200

Once again, here is a manual quote of the post I want to re-share because +Google+'s retarded fucking half-assed excuse for re-sharing won't let me re-share the post I actually want to (just because it happened to be a re-share itself).From +Kevin C.'s re-share of the post below (which I actually don't particularly care about, but is the only thing +Google+ will allow me to re-share): Ok, I've seen this going around without a link to the actual open letter, so starting out with that:'s too lateThe letter starts out by defining its topic as "Autonomous weapons select and engage targets without human intervention." Guess what? This letter is 4 decades too late, as back then Raytheon was already developing anti-missile defenses that have modes where they autonomously select and engage targets without human intervention. Perhaps they really mean "human targets", rather than missiles, planes, or school buses... but I think if it is automatically deciding that the target is a missile and not a human, it has already crossed the threshold.Why would this trigger an arms race?A big concern of the letter seems to be that this is a "third revolution in warfare" and an arms race for military AI. I think they are overestimating the military benefits of making an autonomous target decision vs. a remote control target decision like yesterday's drones. The military already routinely makes decisions to kill people from halfway around the planet. I don't think localizing that decision is going to be seen as a threshold that triggers a new arms race - either that arms race is already going due to drones, or this won't trigger it.Autonomous weapons could also be safer+richard brooks made a very good point in a comment. "_Which humans under what conditions are allowed to give a lethal level order to a Robot?_If a machine is programmed to kill within specific rules, that severely limits its activity, you have to have specific programming skills to override its control. if it is programmed to accept a kill order from authorised chain of command, all you have to do is pass [or hack] validation and you have your own working gun!"Given that remote control drones that kill people are already a fact of life, I'd actually rather they had the Geneva Conventions embedded in their programming and refused to fire on non-combatants regardless of whether the order was from a hacker or a misguided military enlisted person.I suspect the military might have issues purchasing a weapon that can refuse to fire when ordered, but maybe not, it might be seen as no different than the safety interlocks on nuclear weapons.

Original Post from Jim Lai:

A call to ban autonomous combat drones.
All AI isn't the enemy, but an arms race in autonomous, weaponized drones.

Quote: Over 1,000 high-profile artificial intelligence experts and leading researchers have signed an open letter warning of a “military artificial intelligence arms race” and calling for a ban on “offensive autonomous weapons”.

Wed, 29 Jul 2015 16:31:50 +0200

I don't think the writers for Wayward Pines could possibly have come up with an ending that would leave me with any less interest in another season.

#tv #waywardpines #shyamalan  

Tue, 28 Jul 2015 23:29:22 +0200

The New Wordfence Logo

Popular WordPress security plugin Wordfence updated their logo today. The old logo was a bright yellow shield. Not particularly attractive and kind of 90's, so I understand why they wanted to update it. But at least you could tell what the old logo was, and the shield shape made a clear reference to what they stood for.

Not any more. Their new logo features a wrought-iron fence that relies on fine detail, and cuts off the bottom of the shield shape. On their homepage, where a huge logo fills a chunk of the screen, the effects works okay, but shrunk down to a more moderate size, as it appears in their header, it loses definition: The cut-off shield becomes an indistinct wavy-topped shape, while the fence looks like some kind of pointy thing with lines on either side – The Golden Gate Bridge, maybe? Once it gets down to icon size, you can't even discern that much. In the WordPress Admin menu, the most important place a WordPress plugin's icon appears, it looks like a blue blob.

As if that wasn't embarrassing enough already, that blue color is an issue in itself: the new icon that is supposed to "bring Wordfence into 2015" according to the CEO's announcement, hasn't even been brought up to date with the monochrome vector icon style the WordPress Admin has been using since the end of 2013. So, at best, the big update brings Wordfence into... 2012. Ouch.

Wordfence needs to scrap this "updated" logo and hire actual professionals with experience designing icons; special considerations go into designing something intended to be shown at a very small size, and it's obvious whoever designed this logo didn't take that into account. They should bring back the full shield shape, which was much clearer at small sizes, and ditch the wrought-iron fence, which just isn't. If they want to incorporate a fence (for Wordfence) into their icon, it needs to be in a style that allows a dramatically simpler design – a classic picket fence might work, for example. Finally, and most importantly, they need to get in line with the WordPress Admin re-design of 2013. Next to the subtle grays of the rest of the admin, colorful icons like theirs are distracting and obnoxious, suggesting a company that cares more about being seen than they do about the user experience.

#wordpress #tech #wordfence #graphicdesign  

Mon, 27 Jul 2015 18:28:59 +0200

So, who thinks the titular character of Mr. Robot, played by Christian Slater, actually exists outside Elliot's head?

#mrrobot #tv   #unreliablenarrator #tylerdurden  

Sun, 26 Jul 2015 01:21:29 +0200

The Washington Post wants tech innovators to build insecure encryption that isn't insecure... And don't seem to understand the problem with that request.

#encryption #privacy

Sat, 25 Jul 2015 19:30:52 +0200

Fascinating. Ready for AI's to watch and judge your every move? It may be coming to a workplace near you...(Eventually.) #ai #videogames #weliveinthefuture  

Original Post from Gideon Rosenblatt:

Human Behavior, as Guided by Artificial Intelligence

This was a fascinating piece to write. It's about neuroscientist Jeffrey Lin, who is dramatically reducing people’s toxic behavior in online gaming at Riot Games - by using artificial intelligence. This isn't some future vision. They flipped the switch a few months ago and it's working. 

What Riot has built is an artificial intelligence system that automates responses to toxic behavior in its flagship game, League of Legends. Think of it as an artificial immune response system.
Though I'm not personally a gamer, I felt compelled to understand how this system came to be. I wanted to understand how it worked and what its implications might be for influencing human behavior in other contexts. 

There are so many interesting facets to this story. I find it frightening in some ways, and very inspiring in others. 

Riot is clearly out front in applying artificial intelligence in gaming. I predict the next large-scale applications of crowdsourced artificial intelligence will be in social networks. Facebook and Google have snapped up the leaders of a particularly promising type of machine learning called Deep Learning, and Twitter is ramping up its artificial intelligence investments too. Demis Hassabis, CEO of Google’s DeepMind acquisition, recently noted that “In six months to a year’s time we’ll start seeing some aspects of what we’re doing embedded in Google Plus, natural language and maybe some recommendation systems.”

Hassabis made that comment about artificial intelligence here in Google+ just about six months ago. What do you think he was hinting at? Will it be used to better understand and match people's interests here? Also, Google+ is pretty tame on the toxic behavior bar when compared to sites like YouTube, reddit, 4chan, and online gaming, but could something like this be applied here too? Do we need it? Would we want it?

I will probably end up diving back into this story again soon. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.

#humanbehavior   #ai   #artificialintelligence   #leagueoflegends   

Fri, 24 Jul 2015 05:11:13 +0200

Checked out the first 3 episodes of Scream: The TV Series. It's from the same creative team as the movies, and they seem to have done a good job of adapting the spirit of the films to a serial format; in other words, if you liked the movies, you'll probably like the series (if you can get past them intermittently spewing random strings of social media websites, that is).

I'll be shocked if Audrey and Emma, the two ex-best-friend female leads, don't turn out to be half-sisters.

#tv #scream