Tag Archives: Arthur C. Clarke

News, fake news, or else?

Yup that is the statement that I am going for today. You see, at times we cannot tell one form the other, and the news is making it happen. OK, that seems rough but it is not, and in this particular case it is not an attack on the news or the media, as I see it they are suckered into this false sense of security, mainly because the tech hype creators are prat of the problem. As I personally see it, this came to light when I saw the BBC article ‘Facebook’s Instagram ‘failed self-harm responsibilities’’, the article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-55004693) was released 9 hours ago and my blinkers went red when I noticed “This warning preceded distressing images that Facebook’s AI tools did not catch”, you see, there is no AI, it is a hype, a ruse a figment of greedy industrialists and to give you more than merely my point of view, let me introduce you to ‘AI Doesn’t Actually Exist Yet’ (at https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/ai-doesnt-actually-exist-yet/). Here we see some parts written by Max Simkoff and Andy Mahdavi. Here we see “They highlight a problem facing any discussion about AI: Few people agree on what it is. Working in this space, we believe all such discussions are premature. In fact, artificial intelligence for business doesn’t really exist yet”, they also go with a paraphrased version of Mark Twain “reports of AI’s birth have been greatly exaggerated, I gave my version in a few blogs before, the need for shallow circuits, the need for a powerful quantum computer, IBM have a few in development and they are far, but they are not there yet and that is merely the top of the cream, the icing on the cake. Yet these two give the goods in a more eloquent way than I ever did “Organisations are using processes that have existed for decades but have been carried out by people in longhand (such as entering information into books) or in spreadsheets. Now these same processes are being translated into code for machines to do. The machines are like player pianos, mindlessly executing actions they don’t understand”, and that is the crux, understanding and comprehension, it is required in an AI, that level of computing will not now exist, not for at least a decade. Then they give us “Some businesses today are using machine learning, though just a few. It involves a set of computational techniques that have come of age since the 2000s. With these tools, machines figure out how to improve their own results over time”, it is part of the AI, but merely part, and it seems that the wielders of the AI term are unwilling to learn, possibly because they can charge more, a setting we have never seen before, right? And after that we get “AI determines an optimal solution to a problem by using intelligence similar to that of a human being. In addition to looking for trends in data, it also takes in and combines information from other sources to come up with a logical answer”, which as I see is not wrong, but not entirely correct either (from my personal point of view), I see “an AI has the ability to correctly analyse, combine and weigh information, coming up with a logical or pragmatic solution towards the question asked”, this is important, the question asked is the larger problem, the human mind has this auto assumption mode, a computer does not, there is the old joke that an AI cannot weigh data as he does not own a scale. You think it is funny and it is, but it is the foundation of the issue. The fun part is that we saw this application by Stanley Kubrick in his version of Arthur C Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. It is the conflicting part that HAL-9000 had received, the crew was unaware of a larger stage of the process and when the stage of “resolve a conflict between his general mission to relay information accurately and orders specific to the mission requiring that he withhold from Bowman and Poole the true purpose of the mission”, which has the unfortunate part that Astronaut Poole goes the way of the Dodo. It matters because there are levels of data that we have yet to categorise and in this the AI becomes as useful as a shovel at sea. This coincides with my hero the Cheshire Cat ‘When is a billy club like a mallet?’, the AI cannot fathom it because he does not know the Cheshire Cat, the thoughts of Lewis Carrol and the less said to the AI about Alice Kingsleigh the better, yet that also gives us the part we need to see, dimensionality, weighing data from different sources and knowing the multi usage of a specific tool.

You see a tradie knows that a monkey wrench is optionally also useful as a hammer, an AI will not comprehend this, because the data is unlikely to be there, the AI programmer is lacking knowledge and skills and the optional metrics and size of the monkey wrench are missing. All elements that a true AI can adapt to, it can weight data, it can surmise additional data and it can aggregate and dimensionalise data, automation cannot and when you see this little side quest you start to consider “I don’t think the social media companies set up their platforms to be purveyors of dangerous, harmful content but we know that they are and so there’s a responsibility at that level for the tech companies to do what they can to make sure their platforms are as safe as is possible”, as I see it, this is only part of the problem, the larger issue is that there are no actions against the poster of the materials, that is where politics fall short. This is not about freedom of speech and freedom of expression. This is a stage where (optionally with intent) people are placed in danger and the law is falling short (and has been falling short for well over a decade), until that is resolved people like Molly Russell will just have to die. If that offends you? Good! Perhaps that makes you ready to start holding the right transgressors to account. Places like Facebook might not be innocent, yet they are not the real guilty parties here, are they? Tech companies can only do so such and that failing has been seen by plenty for a long time, so why is Molly Russel dead? Yet finding the posters of this material and making sure that they are publicly put to shame is a larger need, their mommy and daddy can cry ‘foul play’ all they like, but the other parents are still left with the grief of losing Molly. I think it is time we do something actual about it and stop wasting time blaming automation for something it is not. It is not an AI, automation is a useful tool, no one denies this, but it is not some life altering reality, it really is not.

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And that was a hard sell?

OK, we all have these moments where we think ‘I can do that’, in my mind I can be an NHL goalie, becoming the wall in a goal that no one can pass (Wayne Gretzky eat your heart out). I can be as delusional as I want to be thinking that I could be the goalie of the Edmonton Oilers, the San Jose Sharks, or perhaps the Vancouver Canucks. Yup, nothing wrong with my capacity to dream, but what happens when we truly believe that? When we create something bigger than ourselves? I have created the IP of 5G, of videotapes that have not yet released and the other day I came up with the concept of a new TV series, based on an all time classic. Yet what happens when we add our own spice to the equation? In my case it is a space station, it is about 500 meters, roughly vibe shaped and when the 8 people wake up, they realise that they are no longer home, but they do not know where they are. It is that setting that I used to create a new series. So far 8 episodes per season. 

As I started, I got to (avoiding spoilers as much as possible)

Introduction, backstory

Here we start the introduction of the 8 people, it seems a little familiar, because that is how introductions tend to be. We see it from the first person, then the second person, all are confused and all are a little scared, both the males and females alike. The 16 represent different people, the pragmatic lady where we see flash backs where she is a bag lady in Chicago, now cleaned and like the others in some kind of a white overall, the African American who is on the flashback a hedge fund manager, cold and calculating, a mechanic from Paris Texas, looking at the rooms around him, having his own thought. The story continues and as we see the rooms who are all spic and span, we end the episode where they see a large window with fish, corals and no light in sight. The fish are according to one of the man, really deep sea fish.

Where are we? (+ continuance backstory)

The story continues, but more focussed on the where they are, with here and there a small back story recall. We see the icons on the doors, the coloured icons on the wall, the 3d maps and icon based settings of the rooms, as they are setting in their new environment, three groups form, two groups of 5 and one of 6. At that the groups start to focus on the icons on their overalls, speculating on the icons of gender and trying to work out the meaning of colour.

Symbols, iconography, Rosetta Stone (+ continuance where are we?)

One of the 5 groups finds a stone, The icons that are around them and on them and the stone gives three other versions of the symbol, the gender, the setting mechanical, financial, medical, logistical, and many more, they all reflect on what is on the station in one way or another. It is the that another group finds a tablet, and group three finds another display tool. When they unite they compare notes and they united in the rosetta stone room to share the knowledge they have found and what they think things are.

First breakthrough, water

They are still in the setting that thy do not know just how deep they are, there is nothing to set the stage of how deep they are, the entire setting is a little unnerving. Yet they start to identify icons and when they see the icon for water, they all rejoice, their first stage of survival is found, they now have water, thirst and the need for a bathroom.

That was a bidet. second breakthrough food, first 24 hours passed

As they approach the first 24 hours in their new environment, they find the food stash, the C-Rations give light to them being in a military experiment. 

The map room, memories, the last hour of some

In this episode they find a map room, giving them status, giving them a view of the size of the station, and we see the last moments of some of the members, their abductions are in a stage where they were in a bad place.

Coffee corner with coffee, the map room continuance, more water

As they are outside to the map room, the corner there is a place where they relax a little. The setting is one where they discuss what some of the systems are, and as they are somewhere deep in the ocean, they are not willing to test the devices that much, fear sets in, but everything looks OK, they sit together translating the icons as much as they can. It leads to a different water symbol, one that turns out to be the showers, they have found a place where they can clean up.

Almost 48 hours, the view of a lifetime, where are we? and what is that?

This starts in the so called coffee corner, there is a button that was out of sight, one of the women finds it and presses it, the wall moves up and they get to see the vast blackness of the ocean, or so they think. So as the stare t the blackness, they see the light come from the side, it is bright light, and as the view becomes more in sight, they all realise that they are staring at the sombrero galaxy, almost a dozen times bigger than the Hubble telescope can project. Then one of the men realises something and they run through the corridor to the other end of the corridor, where a similar wall is, they press the button and they get to see the spiral galaxy, it is absolutely huge, they are not in the ocean, they are in space and they are far from earth, the view ends season 1. So far I got most of season 2 designed with a rather spooky cliff hanger towards Season 3 and I got to be a little eager beaver when I set up the cliffhanger to season 4, but left the rest of season 3 alone.

Yup, that was my creativity, and I reflected on the Rendez-Vouz with Rama, a book by Arthur C. Clarke, a book he wrote in 1973. My introduction to the book was a video game produced in 1996 by Sierra On-Line. It was my introduction to the story, it is what drove me to make my version of it whilst trying to embody the thoughts of Arthur C. Clarke (based on 2001). 

So when will you design something unique to you? I got my creativity with me, the list is long and distinguished. And I do not care where this ends, I have a plan with my 5G IP and it will more than set me right for life. The direct way to deal with greed is to make the other thoughts public domain, so that no one can claim them and they are basically free to use, that too is an option in IP, only the greed driven forget about that part of the equation. Should you deny that part, then have a little look at the HSBC bank and the FINCEN document leak, look at that level of greed and consider where we are. When we see the facilitation to crime to this degree and we realise that governments are basically doing nothing, you know where you are and I bet you haven’t even realised that you are without a paddle. I think that Arthur C. Clarke got it right when he named the vessel the Rama. He got it right 47 years ago, so how wrong have we been for the last few decades?

Just a thought to consider.

 

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Cody Wilson, 003½ with a plastic gun

It is not often we see innovation in a new light. We have seen innovations over time as people found something that was new, that was nice, and then they changed the world, they sometimes change it twice.

Some might have seen it, some might not. There is a ‘new’ novelty printer. This printer is different. It has the ability to print in 3D. It does so by printing plastic. As it prints layer by layer, it creates a 3D plastic model. I saw it in a novelty science store called ‘Professor Plums’ in Crows Nest (Sydney, Australia). As such I have seen small vases, holders and other small trinkets that seem simple, yet, when you consider that these are ‘printed’ objects, you would look again and think ‘How amazing!’.

A law student in Texas took that design to new level. Perhaps this man saw John Malkovic in the movie ‘in the line of fire‘, he put one and one together  and ended up with 15 ‘printed’ parts and that is how he made a plastic gun. You might think what nonsense it was; however, consider the second part of that equation as he added one part that was not printed. The bullet! Then he did what others stated was ‘Science Fiction’ and he fired the gun, making it a working success. The article is at “http://news.sky.com/story/1087396/controversial-3d-printed-gun-fires-test-shots”.

Innovation, an idea to break open the law and the most dangerous item you could ever consider, a gun that does not show up on metal detectors. No matter what he thinks in this regard, I am not attacking him for his convictions. Like him I believe that guns do not kill people. People kill people. The part he might or might not have considered is that the American Arms industry currently represents roughly $11B in 2012. This represents guns and ammo as far as I know, but now that revenue is in some serious peril. No matter how criminals get their guns, they do pay for it. Now, someone needs one 3D printer, plastic toner and the schematics. The result will be a collection of guns without serial numbers, without set bullet striations. I reckon that forensic evidence will never be the same again once these guns hit the streets in numbers. Consider in addition that plastic melts. Dump the used gun in an open fire and the option ‘Beyond reasonable doubt’ will now happily take a gander into never never land.

In the Sky News article it stated New York congressman Steve Israel view “Security checkpoints, background checks, and gun regulations will do little good if criminals can print plastic firearms at home and bring those firearms through metal detectors with no one the wiser.

Congressman Israel is correct. This is a new day. When Jeff Maguire wrote his idea “In the line of fire” in 1993 he might never have considered that his idea could become a reality. Yesterday the news showed him that reality caught up with his imagination!

So should we blame Jeff Maguire? Seems hardly fair! Should we blame Cody Wilson? I think that his idea to put this on-line would be irresponsible, yet, proving that the idea worked was all it took. It now only takes a slightly clever person to re-engineer this concept. So perhaps we should consider that there is no blame. Perhaps in the US gun control the way they tried to pull off their political games in the last year is now clearly shown to be an utter mistake.

That is how I saw this then; this is how I see it now even more. The clarity remains that guns do not kill people, other people do that!

I am not turning this into a gun debate. This is the issue when technology and innovation catches up with us faster and faster. The fact that new and additional laws are needed gives us two issues.

1. More loopholes. Whatever changes or additions are made, once they introduce a new material, a new way to make 3D models, we will see more changes and more legal issues.

2. “Beyond reasonable doubt”. The plastic gun can too easily be transformed. How long until we buy a small glass container with an Isopropyl Bromide (or variant)? That would be one way to melt plastic. Soon thereafter the prosecution has nothing left. Nothing to work with and due process stops as the gun that was used no longer exists.

This means prosecution of another level. This is nothing compared to the countries where there is a ‘proper’ form of gun control. These nations now have the issue that a printer can get the people the firearms they never had to worry about. Unlike the Golden gun in the James bond film from 1974, these weapons are made from the cheap stuff and they do work.

So from the 60’s we had Star Trek and now we have the mobile phone (we’ve had that device a while), the 80’s we had Star Trek the Next Generation, and now we have the iPad. 1993 we got John Malkovic and his plastic gun, which is now a reality. What will we get next? More important, what laws will these innovations break (or not break as they are too innovative to cover)?

This brings me to the modern Jules Verne. Arthur C. Clarke had 3 laws of predictions. The third one was “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” He came up with that gem in 1962. Considering that into a legal frame I come to is “Any sufficiently advanced technology is not contained as illegal through law“.

This point has been proven in several cases.

Designer drugs. Often take too long to classify, giving the trendsetters an initial option to score large amounts of money, mCPP is a perfect example of this. (Criminal law)

Tying (product tying), in many cases, this practice is still (legally allowed) used widely in both Mobile and computer industries. Even though there is criticism against the existence of these laws you still see it used widely in getting a subscription with a provider and getting a ‘free’ phone. Also consider Microsoft and the merging of office software and the IE browser in the core of it all. (Competition law).

Digital piracy – Peer to peer sharing of movies and music (IP law)

– If we consider the events of LIBOR, Cyprus and the 2008 Bank crash, then we can safely say that banking laws are just not up to speed (especially as unregulated as they are now)

– Now printers that produce firearms.

Consider the next step, which is not that far away. In the movie ‘Ultraviolet’ we see a scene where a mobile phone is nothing more than a plastic mould, ‘distributed’ from a machine, just fold it and it is ready to use. How long until the plastic and electronic print board is just printed on any device. So jacking someone else’s phone is one step away. You will be paying for the ‘used by someone else’ costs. Not identity theft, but consumer technology theft.

From earlier and the last example we see that the law is not up to speed and a rewrite that allows for rules of evidence of another nature is becoming a more pressing matter then we realise, as we see that the law is increasingly running behind.

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