Rehash #10

  • Steve Rambam talks at HOPE 2010 that privacy is dead, get over it [3h]

  • Noam Chomsky talks [1h] at Google. Quote:

    • “And when you come back to the power of the internet, I think it comes back to us. We don’t use it. We don’t use the resource for the purposes for which it could be used– to break through the silence, oppression, domination, terror, violence, and bring the reality of the world to people. So the internet, potentially, is a wonderful tool, but only if you decide to use it. If you decide to leave it in the hands of private power, of power systems whether state or private, sure– it’ll be used as a way to oppress, undermine and dominate. But that’s a choice.”

  • Good news! European Parliament passes strong net neutrality law

  • Three Expensive Milliseconds – how shaving of 3ms for high-frequency trading is more valuable than a rail tunnel

  • The choke point – monetization in Facebook, LinkedIn, Google and co.

    • “Again and again, we see that if you’re not the customer, you’re the product. “Free” usually means, “you’re not in charge.””

  • Children born today will never have to drive a car includes this video [4min]

  • Why Software Sucks

    • “Computer science is taught with a construction mentality. [...] Aspects of design are covered, but at an internal level, [...] not at the level of what happens when the technology meets the world or the people in it [...]”

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  • Here is how we take back the internet [35min] – Edward Snowden talks about his revelations, and how we do not need to trade liberty for security (transcript). My favorite part:

    • Q: You might think if you haven’t done anything wrong then it doesn’t really matter. Why should we care about all this surveillance?

    • A: The first thing is you’re giving up your rights. “I don’t think I’m going to need them so I’ll get rid of them, it doesn’t really matter, these guys will do the right thing.”  But your rights matter because you never know when you’ll need them. In democratic societies around the world, people should be able to pick up the phone, call family, send text messages to loved one, travel by train, buy an airline ticket — without wondering how those events will look to an agent of government, possibly not even your government but one years in the future. How might this be misinterpreted? We have a right to privacy. We require warrants to be based on probable causes. Trusting any government authority with the entirety of human communications without any oversight is too great a temptation to be ignored.

  • Tim Berners-Lee’s AMA on reddit – here are some of my favorite questions and answers:

    • Q: You talked recently about having a “Magna Carta” of sorts for the web. How do you envision that sort of system working?
      A: Well, what do you think? Crowdsource a bill of rights at the very high level — values level — globally, non-nationally, in the first half of this year, and then in the second half of the year in each country make a list of the changes to the national system which will be necessary to implement it? That is plan A I think. See

    • Q: An Internet Bill of Rights feels like a nice concept, but even with the right intentions, it also feels like it centralizes power. And the goal of the Web today is to decentralize power. Can you explain how the two might balance?
      A: Funny – I don’t see how a bill of rights (like the right to connect with whoever you want to) centralizes power. I think is lays the basis for steering laws, and governments are rather centralized things, but rights constrain governments for the benefit of individuals.

    • Q: Where do you think the web will end up in the next 25 years?
      A: It is up to us. It is an artificial creation, as are our laws, and our constitutions … we can chose how they work. We can make new ones. Our choice.

    • Q: Do you think in the (not too distant) future we’ll look back and think ourselves lucky to have witnessed a neutral, free, and uncensored world wide web?
      A: I think it is up to us. I’m not guessing, I’m hoping. Yes, I can imagine that all to easily. If ordinary web users are not sufficiently aware of threats and get involved and if necessary take to the streets like for SOPA and PIPA and ACTA. On balance? I am optimistic.

    • Q: How do you feel about the supposed dark side of the internet, such as the black markets? (Silk Road etc.)
      A: Complicated question. I am not a great expert on them. Simple answers include of course that illegal things are crimes on or off the web. But anonymity is tricky. We have a right to be anonymous as a whistle-blower or under an oppressive regime but not when we are bullying someone? How can we build technical/social/judicial systems for determining which right is more important in any given case? Relates to tor…

    • Q: Did you ever think that the internet would get this big?
      A: Yes, I more or less had it nailed down when it comes to the growth curve. I didn’t get it completely right — 25 years ago I was predicting Id be asked to do an AMA on reddit next wek, but it turned out to be this week. Well, we all make mistakes. (no of course not)

  • Vernor Vinge’s landmark 1993 paper about The Coming Technological Singularity. Highly recommended. My favorite part is the following, since in my opinion this is already happening, and very few people are realizing it:

    • “Computer networks and human-computer interfaces seem more mundane than AI, and yet they could lead to the Singularity. I call this contrasting approach Intelligence Amplification (IA). IA is something that is proceeding very naturally, in most cases not even recognized by its developers for what it is. But every time our ability to access information and to communicate it to others is improved, in some sense we have achieved an increase over natural intelligence.”

  • Bill Gate’s rebuttal to the article I linked to last week: “Sure, half of the companies are silly, and you know two-thirds of them are going to go bankrupt, but the dozen or so ideas that emerge out of that are going to be really important”

  • Ladar Levison talks about dark mail at SXSW 2014

  • Is civilisation as we know it headed towards collapse?

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  • If the moon was only 1 pixel. Just beautifully done. (Also check out the scale of the universe requires flash unfortunately).

  • Ben Goertzel talks about the technology, AI, the singularity, and how Everything Will Be Alright [33min] – if you are interested in his stuff check out Singularity Or Bust [47min], a documentary featuring Ben Goertzel.

  • Related to the above, an article on Machine Consciousness: Fact Or Fiction?
    “Notable progress in developing conscious machines was achieved both before and after this seminal conference. One of the oldest and best-known MC systems is the Intelligent Distribution Agent (IDA) designed in the late 1990s by cognitive scientist Stan Franklin to replace human advisors assigning jobs to U.S. Navy sailors. Traditionally, a sailor would get in touch with a living agent to discuss preferences and the available range of jobs, eventually agreeing on a future posting. IDA completely replaced this human agent with an artificial intelligence that communicated with sailors over email. [...] Users reported that the IDA system appeared to be conscious of the sailors’ needs and intentions, much the way a caring and interested human would be.”

  • Thanks to Michael for pointing me to Exponential Economist Meets Finite Physicist
    “At that 2.3% growth rate, we would be using energy at a rate corresponding to the total solar input striking Earth in a little over 400 years. We would consume something comparable to the entire sun in 1400 years from now. By 2500 years, we would use energy at the rate of the entire Milky Way galaxy—100 billion stars! I think you can see the absurdity of continued energy growth. 2500 years is not that long, from a historical perspective. We know what we were doing 2500 years ago. I think I know what we’re not going to be doing 2500 years hence.”

  • Neil Gaiman on Copyright Piracy and the Web [4min] Quote: “Everybody who discovered their favorite author by being lent a book, put up your hands.”

  • Paul Eremenko on Project ARA, a modular smartphone [23min]. Seems like Phonebloks [2min] is getting real after all. (If you want to know more about it, check out this very detailed article).

  • Obama announced that the US is building something like IronMan

  • Mike on how TwitchPlaysPokemon finished the game and what it means [10 min]

  • Bertrand Russell’s 1932 essay In Praise of Idleness

  • Stephen Wolfram introduces the Wolfram Language [13min], the formal language powering Wolfram|Alpha and other things

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I want to dedicate a part of my time to collecting and sharing interesting articles, videos and other content I find on the Internet. Find below the fruits of my endeavor, and enjoy.