Digital Dystopia

By Simon Whitehead | Dark reflections on our addiction to technology. medium.com/digital-dystopia

Alexa, Siri, Cortana: The Problem With All-Female Digital Assistants

Over on Greek Row is the Delta Phi AI sorority. They don’t sip boxed wine or throw carwash fundraisers; instead they learn responses to every single question humankind throws at them, from weather reports to a calculation of pi to the 65th digit.<p>Notable members include Siri, Cortana, Google …

Automation

How Does the Story of 'Killer Robots' End?

In the next episode of the dystopic sci-fi soap that’s become global current events, killer robots will be fighting our wars, choosing targets as …

War

Uber, Fitbit, OKCupid information exposed by wide-reaching flaw

Bug affecting 3,400 websites leaked data, including usernames, passwords and messages sent by end-users.<p>Usernames and passwords leaked onto the open internet earlier this month due to a security bug that affected 3,400 websites, including popular services like Uber, Fitbit and OKCupid, according to …

Data Breach

Artificial synapse bridges the gap to brainier computers

The human brain is nature's most powerful processor, so it's not surprising that developing computers that mimic it has been a long-term goal. Neural …

Artificial Intelligence

Why Nothing Works Anymore

Technology has its own purposes.<p>“No… it’s a magic potty,” my daughter used to lament, age three or so, before refusing to use a public restroom stall with an automatic-flush toilet. As a small person, she was accustomed to the infrared sensor detecting erratic motion at the top of her head and …

Dystopia

Amazon Argues Alexa Speech Protected By First Amendment In Murder Trial Fight

Amazon is sticking to its guns in the fight to protect customer data. The tech titan has filed a motion to quash the search warrant for recordings from an Amazon Echo in the trial of James Andrew Bates, accused of murdering friend Victor Collins in Bentonville, Arkansas in November 2015. And it’s …

Amazon Echo

The Facebook Algorithm Is Watching You

Here’s one way to confuse it.<p>You can tell a lot about a person from how they react to something.<p>That’s why Facebook’s various “Like” buttons are so powerful. Clicking a reaction icon isn’t just a way to register an emotional response, it’s also a way for Facebook to refine its sense of who you are. …

Facebook

How social media is ruining your life, one post at a time

We’re all now accustomed to being super-confessional online and sharing our deepest darkest secrets. But is the way we use social media messing up …

Social Media

https://t.co/nGhZ8s9XLp

Kenya may soon be tapping the phones of its citizens

Kenyan authorities may soon be monitoring the phone calls, text messages, and mobile money transactions of millions of its citizens. Regulators are ordering mobile phone operators including Safaricom, Airtel, and Orange to allow access, according to the Nation, a Kenyan paper that has obtained a …

Kenya

Google gives everyone machine learning superpowers with TensorFlow 1.0

It wasn’t that long ago that building and training neural networks was strictly for seasoned computer scientists and grad students. That began to …

Machine Learning

For Generation Z, 'Live Chilling' Replaces Hanging Out in Person

Almost every day when they get home from school, Gracie, age 16, and Sarah, age 14, open the app Houseparty, where they can video chat with to up to seven of their friends at once. The sisters, who live in Danville, Calif., use it to socialize and collaborate on homework, for 15 minutes to an hour. …

Social Media

Elon Musk reveals the “dangerous situation” the world now faces with artificial intelligence

If you have no job: “Do you have meaning? Are you useless?”<p>These are the words billionaire Elon Musk asked an audience of 4000 people at the World …

Elon Musk

Man Gets Three Years In Prison for Selling 3D-Printed Gun Parts

'Dr. Death' gets a three year prison sentence for selling 3D-printed parts for an AR-15 assault rifle.<p>A California man has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison for unlawfully manufacturing and dealing in 3D-printed firearms and possession of an unregistered machine gun.<p>Daniel …

3D Printing

Uber is not the only tech company that mishandles sexual harassment claims

On Sunday, a former female Uber engineer detailed her experiences of sexual harassment during her one-year stint at the multibillion-dollar company.<p>The engineer, Susan Fowler, said she experienced sexual harassment and had reported it to Uber’s human resources department but to no avail. Uber CEO …

Sexism

The Cybersecurity Dilemma: The Prevalence and Dangers of Defensive Hacking - Motherboard

<i>The Greek historian Thucydides warned of the dangers of conflict caused by misperception. As one nation defends itself, even if it harbors no ill will towards others, it sometimes appears to be a threat. Other nations perceive this threat and take steps to respond, which leads to an escalatory and</i> …

Cybersecurity

This company's productivity soared after replacing 90% of employees with robots

It’s hard to argue against automation when statistics are clearly illustrating its potential. The latest evidence comes out of a Chinese factory in Dongguan City.<p>The factory recently replaced 90 percent of its human workforce with machines, and it led to a staggering 250 percent increase in …

Robots

AI can predict autism through babies' brain scans

Scientists know that the first signs of autism can appear in early childhood, but reliably predicting that at very young ages is difficult. A behavior questionnaire is a crapshoot at 12 months. However, artificial intelligence might just be the key to making an accurate call. University of North …

Autism

World’s first rideable hoverbike looks cool as hell but will probably kill you

Or at least amputate your legs<p>Hoversurf, a Russian company that builds drones, posted a video last week showing off its latest prototype: the Scorpion-3, a single-seat, electric-powered hoverbike that looks cool as hell but probably won’t be ready for the X Games anytime soon.<p>The manufacturers say …

Drones

Uber’s review of sexism allegations will be run by Eric Holder and some Uber employees

Holder has worked on behalf of Uber before<p>Uber is moving fast to try and quell backlash from a damning blog post that alleged the company suffers from rampant sexism and failed at every turn to solve the issue. According to an internal email sent to Uber employees this afternoon, CEO Travis …

Uber

Hackers who took control of PC microphones siphon >600 GB from 70 targets

Critical infrastructure, media, and scientists targeted by suspected nation state.<p>Researchers have uncovered an advanced malware-based operation that …

Cybersecurity

The Post-Human World

A conversation about the end of work, individualism, and the human species with the historian Yuval Harari<p>Famine, plague, and war. These have been the three scourges of human history. But today, people in most countries are more likely to die from eating too much rather than too little, more likely …

Dystopia

Robots Will Soon Do Your Taxes. Bye-Bye, Accounting Jobs

Tax season has arrived, as the Super Bowl recently reminded us: In the first half alone, two commercials encouraged viewers to trust computers to do …

Robots

Outsource your boring back office paperwork to AI

There seems to be no end to what artificial intelligence can do. After thrashing humans at sophisticated games like chess and go, AI’s next conquest appears to be the workplace. Many already hold jobs at forward-looking companies across industries. Some work as customer service reps, translators, …

Automation

Scientists erase painful memories in trials

Scientists believe they have found a way to erase painful memories from the mind - helping addicts cope with drug abuse and enabling soldiers to …

Neurology

Increasingly impressed with anyone who manages to write near-future SF under these conditions https://t.co/pGWT69EeZB

San Francisco loves tech and fancy coffee. So of course it has barista robots

As Katy Franco waited for her morning coffee, passersby pulled out their phones and snapped photos and video of her barista.<p>A man in his 20s did a double take, recorded the scene on his iPhone and posted it to Instagram. Another woman drifted toward the barista and asked no one in particular: …

San Francisco

The Mark Zuckerberg Manifesto Is a Blueprint for Destroying Journalism

Lip service to the crucial function of the Fourth Estate is not enough to sustain it.<p>It’s not that Mark Zuckerberg set out to dismantle the news business when he founded Facebook 13 years ago. Yet news organizations are perhaps the biggest casualty of the world Zuckerberg built.<p>There’s reason to …

Journalism

Subject knew story was coming because reporter visited their website

This is the first documented case that I am aware of where the subject of an investigation was tipped off because they saw a news organization's IP …

New York Times