Here are a few notes that crossed my desk. You may find them interesting.
Cryptocurrency being hacked
So you think cryptocurrency isn’t hackable. Think again. Turns out “hackers have stolen nearly $2 billion in cryptocurrency since the start of 2017, with sophisticated cybercrime organizations increasingly getting in on the act.” says MIT’s Tech Review Magazine.
Privately funded spaceship to moon
The first privately funded spacecraft is set to go to the moon. (Feb 21,2019) I’ll watch for announcements of results and post those here as well. Click here to read the announcement
A quick reminder that if you’ve purchased an ebook of mine go to the retailer (likely Amazon) and update it. When you do that, you’ll see a link at the end of the book. Follow that link for even more stories!
Smart Cities Without Infrastructure
This is a bit dense, and small print but it’s interesting how some cities are starting to sort out what they need to do in the future. For example, as most people adopt cell phones, the need for cabling/poles etc disappears. You can read the entire article -and more like it – here
Thanks for reading – this is a taste of a few of the things in my feed reading over the last few months. Yeah, I have eclectic tastes but when you’re a writer, you just never know what’s going to spark your world.
Legal Rules For Space
With all the major powers looking to space exploration and “harvesting” of raw materials, we are pretty much in a wild west kind of legal limbo. There are agreements in place but not much in the way of enforcement. Here is a reasoned discussion of this future need.
The year is 2087. Thanks to a series of serendipitous technological breakthroughs a few decades earlier, the creation of large-scale, self-sustainable human habitats beyond Earth has become feasible. There are already close to half a million people living on Mars, many of them native Martians. You can read the entire article here.
Every now and then I try to share a few of the many articles that pass my desk about future tech. It’s fascinating stuff indeed and I could spend days reading about what different countries and researchers are doing.
Having said that, I’m not at all sure I want too much more tech in my life. I don’t know about you but the more I have, the more complicated life tends to get. And I find myself deleting apps, simplifying my daily routines and deleting the many news feeds I really don’t read.
Mind you, I also got a VR headset for Christmas so…..Yeah, the kid in me can’t resist something bright, new and shiny. I’ll get back to you with how much I really wind up using it.
Alexa, What Are You Doing with My Family’s Personal Info?
I don’t have any smart devices in our home because I’m still not convinced I want/need them in any reasonable way.My only experience with them was over dinner in a friend’s home, one of them started talking. It was responding to something said in the conversation even though it hadn’t been aimed at it.“Always listening” just creeps me out and here’s another take on this from Scientific American.
This Neural NetThis This Neural Network Built by Japanese Researchers Can ‘Read Minds’
Now, this is a bit creepy too.“The new technique, dubbed “deep image reconstruction,” moves beyond binary pixels, giving researchers the ability to decode images that have multiple layers of color and structure.”
I have not read this book but I did watch the videos on this page and they were enough for me.The age of em is basically the theory by some computer AI people that the first really smart robots will be human brain emulations or “ems.”Fascinating thoughts.
Maybe Sex Robots Will Make Men, Not Women, Obsolete
And finally, you may recall a note about sex robots and AI from a few months ago where you might marry a robot.Well…. Here’s another look at sex robots that might make men obsolete.Me? I know better than to get into this debate but you…
Poe’s famous line of “Believe only half of what you see and nothing that you hear,” may have had a point at the time but it’s now time to rethink his original position.
In short, “don’t believe a damn thing unless you were there and even then, be suspicious of your memory.”
What a way to live!
Let’s examine the current state of the art. This isn’t science fiction or fantasy, it’s here now and being unleashed.
And no matter what “Fake News” is being bandied about in American politics, we’ve just scratched the surface.
Faking A Voice
Well, yes but how can they really fake somebody’s voice? You can tell the difference between fake and real. Right? OK then, here’s a company that’s about to prove you wrong. Understand this is at the demo level and hasn’t yet hit the market or perfection.
But how far out can it be?
Faking An Image Of Somebody Talking
You mean you haven’t seen a cgi (computer generated imagery) movie yet? Seriously, with a decent skill level and software anybody can be seen to say anything.
It’s Now Simple
Combine the fake voice-sound and the cgi-video and you have…
That’s the world we’re headed towards at the speed of technological intrusion.
And if I can think about it, there’s a backroom political operative that’s planning on doing it.
But Here Come The White Hats
When it comes to voice recognition, there are white hats among us. One group at M.I.T. is working with technology to assist those with social recognition skill issues. Those are good people.
And then there are these folks who’ve already recognized the negative issues around fake voices and fake news and are working on a system that will help you identify fake voices.
This Is Your Very Real Future
I’ve been working on some new stories and somehow my ideas and thoughts carelessly wandered down this rabbit hole of voice recognition.
Given accurate voice synthesis such as Lyrebird, how do you tell the real from the fake moving forward?
How do you make decisions about future policies and political leadership when this technology exists and is likely to be used by the opposition.
Not only are we in a “he-said, she-said” kind of info-war, we’re in a technological battle to identify or at the very least, label your opponent as having used “fake” data.
I can hear you saying, “This is terrible but it really doesn’t apply to me in my personal life.”
This is clearly a problem for anybody in a leadership position at the moment but it doesn’t take much imagination to ask what would happen if somebody mimicked your voice in a conversation with a banker or spouse.
Now that I have your attention. This is me speaking to you and not some robot.
Before you talk about not being able to pry your phone only out of your cold, dead, steely hands, let me offer a few thoughts.
My first mobile phone was the size of a shoebox. It sat on the middle car console, plugged into a cigarette lighter and had spotty coverage. The battery for the darn thing occupied most of that space.
My current phone is an iPhone. The battery size is something out of another world when compared to that big old shoebox.