jm + technology   25

The world's first cyber-attack, on the Chappe telegraph system, in Bordeaux in 1834

The Blanc brothers traded government bonds at the exchange in the city of Bordeaux, where information about market movements took several days to arrive from Paris by mail coach. Accordingly, traders who could get the information more quickly could make money by anticipating these movements. Some tried using messengers and carrier pigeons, but the Blanc brothers found a way to use the telegraph line instead. They bribed the telegraph operator in the city of Tours to introduce deliberate errors into routine government messages being sent over the network.
The telegraph’s encoding system included a “backspace” symbol that instructed the transcriber to ignore the previous character. The addition of a spurious character indicating the direction of the previous day’s market movement, followed by a backspace, meant the text of the message being sent was unaffected when it was written out for delivery at the end of the line. But this extra character could be seen by another accomplice: a former telegraph operator who observed the telegraph tower outside Bordeaux with a telescope, and then passed on the news to the Blancs. The scam was only uncovered in 1836, when the crooked operator in Tours fell ill and revealed all to a friend, who he hoped would take his place. The Blanc brothers were put on trial, though they could not be convicted because there was no law against misuse of data networks. But the Blancs’ pioneering misuse of the French network qualifies as the world’s first cyber-attack.
bordeaux  hacking  history  security  technology  cyber-attacks  telegraph  telegraphes-chappe 
16 days ago by jm
Quividi - Leader in Attention Analytics
more "Anonymous Video Analytics" which is currently deployed in Dublin on-street billboards by a company called Orb with cameras pointing into public spaces. I am very curious whether this is legal under Irish DPA law given that sensitive personal data (your face) is being, while not _stored_ per se, _processed_ by this system without any provision for opt-in/opt-out.
advertising  privacy  technology  tracking  opt-in  quividi  orb 
may 2017 by jm
Rule by Nobody
'Algorithms update bureaucracy’s long-standing strategy for evasion.'
The need to optimize yourself for a network of opaque algorithms induces a sort of existential torture. In The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy, anthropologist David Graeber suggests a fundamental law of power dynamics: “Those on the bottom of the heap have to spend a great deal of imaginative energy trying to understand the social dynamics that surround them — including having to imagine the perspectives of those on top — while the latter can wander about largely oblivious to much of what is going on around them. That is, the powerless not only end up doing most of the actual, physical labor required to keep society running, they also do most of the interpretive labor as well.” This dynamic, Graeber argues, is built into all bureaucratic structures. He describes bureaucracies as “ways of organizing stupidity” — that is, of managing and reproducing these “extremely unequal structures of imagination” in which the powerful can disregard the perspectives of those beneath them in various social and economic hierarchies. Employees need to anticipate the needs of bosses; bosses need not reciprocate. People of color are forced to learn to accommodate and anticipate the ignorance and hostility of white people. Women need to be acutely aware of men’s intentions and feelings. And so on. Even benevolent-seeming bureaucracies, in Graeber’s view, have the effect of reinforcing “the highly schematized, minimal, blinkered perspectives typical of the powerful” and their privileges of ignorance and indifference toward those positioned as below them.
algorithms  bureaucracy  democracy  life  society  via:raycorrigan  technology  power 
may 2017 by jm
Ethics - Lyrebird
'Lyrebird is the first company to offer a technology to reproduce the voice of someone as accurately and with as little recorded audio. [..] Voice recordings are currently considered as strong pieces of evidence in our societies and in particular in jurisdictions of many countries. Our technology questions the validity of such evidence as it allows to easily manipulate audio recordings. This could potentially have dangerous consequences such as misleading diplomats, fraud and more generally any other problem caused by stealing the identity of someone else.

By releasing our technology publicly and making it available to anyone, we want to ensure that there will be no such risks. We hope that everyone will soon be aware that such technology exists and that copying the voice of someone else is possible. More generally, we want to raise attention about the lack of evidence that audio recordings may represent in the near future.'
lyrebird  audio  technology  scary  ethics 
april 2017 by jm
Zeynep Tufekci: Machine intelligence makes human morals more important | TED Talk | TED.com
Machine intelligence is here, and we're already using it to make subjective decisions. But the complex way AI grows and improves makes it hard to understand and even harder to control. In this cautionary talk, techno-sociologist Zeynep Tufekci explains how intelligent machines can fail in ways that don't fit human error patterns — and in ways we won't expect or be prepared for. "We cannot outsource our responsibilities to machines," she says. "We must hold on ever tighter to human values and human ethics."


More relevant now that nVidia are trialing ML-based self-driving cars in the US...
nvidia  ai  ml  machine-learning  scary  zeynep-tufekci  via:maciej  technology  ted-talks 
april 2017 by jm
Artificial intelligence is ripe for abuse, tech researcher warns: 'a fascist's dream' | Technology | The Guardian
“We should always be suspicious when machine learning systems are described as free from bias if it’s been trained on human-generated data,” Crawford said. “Our biases are built into that training data.”

In the Chinese research it turned out that the faces of criminals were more unusual than those of law-abiding citizens. “People who had dissimilar faces were more likely to be seen as untrustworthy by police and judges. That’s encoding bias,” Crawford said. “This would be a terrifying system for an autocrat to get his hand on.” [...]

With AI this type of discrimination can be masked in a black box of algorithms, as appears to be the case with a company called Faceception, for instance, a firm that promises to profile people’s personalities based on their faces. In its own marketing material, the company suggests that Middle Eastern-looking people with beards are “terrorists”, while white looking women with trendy haircuts are “brand promoters”.
bias  ai  racism  politics  big-data  technology  fascism  crime  algorithms  faceception  discrimination  computer-says-no 
march 2017 by jm
Chatbot that overturned 160,000 parking fines now helping refugees claim asylum | Technology | The Guardian
The original DoNotPay, created by Stanford student Joshua Browder, describes itself as “the world’s first robot lawyer”, giving free legal aid to users through a simple-to-use chat interface. The chatbot, using Facebook Messenger, can now help refugees fill in an immigration application in the US and Canada. For those in the UK, it helps them apply for asylum support.
government  technology  automation  bots  asylum  forms  facebook 
march 2017 by jm
Remarks at the SASE Panel On The Moral Economy of Tech
Excellent talk. I love this analogy for ML applied to real-world data which affects people:
Treating the world as software promotes fantasies of control. And the best kind of control is control without responsibility. Our unique position as authors of software used by millions gives us power, but we don't accept that this should make us accountable. We're programmers—who else is going to write the software that runs the world? To put it plainly, we are surprised that people seem to get mad at us for trying to help. Fortunately we are smart people and have found a way out of this predicament. Instead of relying on algorithms, which we can be accused of manipulating for our benefit, we have turned to machine learning, an ingenious way of disclaiming responsibility for anything. Machine learning is like money laundering for bias. It's a clean, mathematical apparatus that gives the status quo the aura of logical inevitability. The numbers don't lie.


Particularly apposite today given Y Combinator's revelation that they use an AI bot to help 'sift admission applications', and don't know what criteria it's using: https://twitter.com/aprjoy/status/783032128653107200
culture  ethics  privacy  technology  surveillance  ml  machine-learning  bias  algorithms  software  control 
october 2016 by jm
E-Voting in Estonia needs to be discontinued
After studying other e-voting systems around the world, the team was particularly alarmed by the Estonian I-voting system. It has serious design weaknesses that are exacerbated by weak operational management. It has been built on assumptions which are outdated and do not reflect the contemporary reality of state-level attacks and sophisticated cybercrime. These problems stem from fundamental architectural problems that cannot be resolved with quick fixes or interim steps. While we believe e-government has many promising uses, the Estonian I-voting system carries grave risks — elections could be stolen, disrupted, or cast into disrepute. In light of these problems, our urgent recommendation is that to maintain the integrity of the Estonian electoral process, use of the Estonian I-voting system should be immediately discontinued.
internet  technology  e-voting  voting  security  via:mattblaze  estonia  i-voting  russia  cybercrime 
june 2016 by jm
East of Palo Alto’s Eden
What if Silicon Valley had emerged from a racially integrated community?

Would the technology industry be different? 

Would we?

And what can the technology industry do now to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past?


Amazing article -- this is the best thing I've ever read on TechCrunch: the political history of race in Silicon Valley and East Palo Alto.
racism  politics  history  race  silicon-valley  palo-alto  technology  us-politics  via:burritojustice 
january 2015 by jm
How “Computer Geeks” replaced “Computer Girls"
As historian Nathan Ensmenger explained to a Stanford audience, as late as the 1960s many people perceived computer programming as a natural career choice for savvy young women. Even the trend-spotters at Cosmopolitan Magazine urged their fashionable female readership to consider careers in programming. In an article titled “The Computer Girls,” the magazine described the field as offering better job opportunities for women than many other professional careers. As computer scientist Dr. Grace Hopper told a reporter, programming was “just like planning a dinner. You have to plan ahead and schedule everything so that it’s ready when you need it…. Women are ‘naturals’ at computer programming.” James Adams, the director of education for the Association for Computing Machinery, agreed: “I don’t know of any other field, outside of teaching, where there’s as much opportunity for a woman.”
history  programming  sexism  technology  women  feminism  coding 
november 2014 by jm
Yes, Isis exploits technology. But that’s no reason to compromise our privacy | Technology | The Observer
From the very beginning, Isis fanatics have been up to speed on [social media]. Which raises an interesting question: how come that GCHQ and the other intelligence agencies failed to notice the rise of the Isis menace until it was upon us? Were they so busy hoovering metadata and tapping submarine cables and “mastering the internet” (as the code name of one of their projects puts it) that they didn’t have time to see what every impressionable Muslim 14-year-old in the world with an internet connection could see?
gchq  guardian  encryption  nsa  isis  technology  social-media  snooping  surveillance 
november 2014 by jm
Prototype
Prototype is a brand new festival of play and interaction. This is your chance to experience the world from a new perspective with removable camera eyes, to jostle and joust to a Bach soundtrack whilst trying to disarm an opponent, to throw shapes as you figure out who got an invite to the silent disco, to duel with foam pool noodles, and play chase in the dark with flashlights. A unique festival that incites new types of social interaction, involving technology and the city, Prototype is a series of performances, workshops, talks, and games that spill across the city, alongside an adult playground in the heart of Temple Bar.


Project Arts Centre, 17-18 October. looks nifty
prototype  festivals  dublin  technology  make  vr  gaming 
september 2014 by jm
Screen time: Steve Jobs was a low tech parent
“This is rule No. 1: There are no screens in the bedroom. Period. Ever.”
screen-time  kids  children  tv  mobile  technology  life  rules  parenting 
september 2014 by jm
Paul Graham and the Manic Pixie Dream Hacker
Under Graham’s influence, Mark [Zuckerberg], like many in Silicon Valley, subscribes to the Manic Pixie Dream Hacker ideal, making self-started teenage hackers Facebook’s most desired recruiting targets, not even so much for their coding ability as their ability to serve as the faces of hacking culture. “Culture fit”, in this sense, is one’s ability to conform to the Valley’s boyish hacker fantasy, which is easier, obviously, the closer you are to a teenage boy.

Like the Manic Pixie Dream Girl’s role of existing to serve the male film protagonist’s personal growth, the Manic Pixie Dream Hacker’s job is to embody the dream hacker role while growing the VC’s portfolio. This is why the dream hacker never ages, never visibly develops interests beyond hardware and code, and doesn’t question why nearly all the other people receiving funding look like him. Like the actress playing the pixie dream girl, the pixie dream boy isn’t being paid to question the role for which he has been cast.

In this way, for all his supposed “disruptiveness”, the hacker pixie actually does exactly what he is told: to embody, while he can, the ideal hacker, until he is no longer young, mono-focused, and boyish-seeming enough to qualify for the role (at that point, vested equity may allow him to retire). And like in Hollywood, VCs will have already recruited newer, younger ones to play him.
hackers  manic-pixie-dream-girl  culture-fit  silicon-valley  mark-zuckerberg  paul-graham  y-combinator  vc  work  investment  technology  recruitment  facebook  ageism  equality  sexism 
january 2014 by jm
We're sending out the wrong signals in bid to lure the big data bucks - Independent.ie
Simon McGarr on Ireland's looming data-protection train-crash.
Last week, during the debate of his proposals to increase fees for making a Freedom of Information request, Brendan Howlin was asked how one of his amendments would affect citizens looking for data from the State's electronic databases. His reply was to cheerfully admit he didn't even understand the question. "I have no idea what an SQL code is. Does anyone know what an SQL code is?"

Unlike the minister, it probably isn't your job to know that SQL is the computer language that underpins the data industry. The amendment he had originally proposed would have effectively allowed civil servants to pretend that their computer files were made of paper when deciding whether a request was reasonable. His answer showed how the Government could have proposed such an absurd idea in the first place.

Like it or not – fair or not – these are not the signals a country that wanted to build a long-term data industry would choose to send out. They are the sort of signals that Ireland used to send out about Financial Regulation. I think it's agreed, that approach didn't work out so well.
foi  ireland  brendan-howlin  technology  illiteracy  sql  civil-service  government  data-protection  privacy  regulation  dpa 
december 2013 by jm
Eight Real Tales of Learning Computer Science as a High School Girl
'All students at Stuyvesant High School are required to take a year of computer science. As it turns out, the advanced computer science classes skew mostly male anyway. But for a year, boys and girls get exposed to computer programming together. We asked Mike Zamansky, the head of the computer science program, to share some stories from his female students. They did us one better. Eight students sent in first-hand accounts of what it’s like to learn computer programming as a teenage girl.' Some interesting comments here. This topic is weighing on my mind now that I have two girls...
schools  learning  education  computer-science  technology  nyc  girls  teenage 
june 2012 by jm
First Music Contact - Music3.0
'We talk a lot about what the world of music and artists will look like five or ten years from now. But for changes to happen then, the conversations need to happen now. We believe that the next big thing in music is not going to ever appear on a stage. After the record industry (music 1.0) and the live music industry (music 2.0), it's time to pay more attention to innovation (music 3.0) and what can come from constructively disrupting how the music industry operates.

It's time to open up the shop. It's time for unvested interests to see if they can use existing data and ecosystems to make a better music business. For far too long, music has been a conservative sector which views the influence of outside forces with abject suspicion and rank horror. Chalk this down to some bad experiences over the last 15 years due to misunderstandings with and ignorance of the tech and telecoms worlds. Chalk this down to rampant music industry egos which lead folks to believe no-one else can sell music bar music players. Chalk it down to fear of disruption.

So, it's time for change. You can't keep doing the same things in the same way and hope you won't make the same mistakes again. It's time to listen to and learn from smart people in other areas. It's time for people who have innovative ideas or even just the stirrings of innovative ideas to take stock from people who operate in other areas and who deal with ideas, technology and the valuable currency of innovation every single working day. It's time for some different talking which is going to lead to some very different make-and-do experiences.'

Looks excellent. (via Jim Carroll)
music  future  technology  internet  disruption  music-industry  ireland  via:jimcarroll 
april 2012 by jm
"A Rough Justice"
The poem, written by Sir Robert Watson-Watt, inventor of radar, on being pulled over for speeding by a radar-gun-wielding policeman. "Watson-Watt received a speeding ticket in Canada when he was 64 years old. In his autobiography, _The Pulse of Radar_, he describes the experience. His wife is in the car, and she tries to pull the "don't you know who you're giving a ticket to?" trick on the policeman. Of course he doesn't know Watson-Watt, nor, it turns out, does he even know what radar is (he only knows what his "electronic speedometer" reads out), and Watson-Watt receives a $12.50 (Canadian) dollar fine." (via Rob Manuel)
via:robmanuel  radar  technology  irony  robert-watson-watt  poetry  history 
march 2012 by jm
Syria Bars Text Messages With Irish-Made Gear - Bloomberg
Anti-spam/AV filtering technology turned to a different purpose: political repression. 'The next day, 225 instructed Syriatel to block messages containing the word “massacres.”'
antispam  ireland  repression  technology  syria  politics  cellusys  adaptivemobile 
february 2012 by jm
ALT/1977: WE ARE NOT TIME TRAVELERS on the Behance Network
'What would you do if you could travel back in time? Assassinate Marilyn Monroe? Go on a date with Hitler? Obviously. But here's what I'd do after that: grab all the modern technology I could find, take it to the late 70's, superficially redesign it all to blend in, start a consumer electronics company to unleash it upon the world, then sit back as I rake in billions, trillions, or even millions of dollars.' Beautifully done
ads  1970s  retro  technology  funny  via:fp  from delicious
june 2010 by jm
Spinvox in trouble after BBC investigation
'A UK firm that turns mobile messages into text faces questions over its privacy standards, technology and finances following a BBC investigation' .. 'claims to the BBC suggest that the majority of messages have been heard and transcribed by call centre staff in South Africa and the Philippines.' 'The fact that messages appear to have been read by workers outside of the European Union raises questions about the firm's data protection policy.'
data-protection  privacy  facebook  bbc  technology  mobile  transcription  spinvox  security  south-africa  offshoring 
july 2009 by jm
Thinkism
great Singularity contemplation from Kevin Kelly: 'to be useful, artificial intelligences have to be embodied in the world, and that world will often set their pace of innovations. Thinkism is not enough. Without conducting experiments, building prototypes, having failures, and engaging in reality, an intelligence can have thoughts but not results. It cannot think its way to solving the world's problems. There won't be instant discoveries the minute, hour, day or year a smarter-than-human AI appears. The rate of discovery will hopefully be significantly accelerated. Even better, a super AI will ask questions no human would ask. But, to take one example, it will require many generations of experiments on living organisms, not even to mention humans, before such a difficult achievement as immortality is gained.'
ai  singularity  ray-kurzweil  kevin-kelly  science  progress  technology  future  philosophy  intelligence  knowledge  thinkism 
july 2009 by jm

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