Tag Archives: the Verge

Evidence? Why?

I ignored the news initially, as I saw it, it was nothing more than some bash piece on Saudi Arabia. Yet something hot me, it was just a thought and it was: ‘What if I illuminate parts and let common sense people decide‘ (which takes out many journalists and mostly all politicians). As for me? The issue is that the media is all about bashing any royal part of Saudi Arabia, all whilst ignoring evidence (and debatable evidence to a much greater degree, their pursuit of circulation and agreeing to the beat of shareholders and stakeholders has gone to the heads of too many editors and I get a real rush to illuminate this part.

I have never ignored evidence, yet just like with Huawei, it is seemingly all about the big bully shouting, whilst the deciding world for the most ignores evidence and I think that it is a weird situation. Not merely in this blog, but on a few matters, we will get to hold them to account in a few years, at that point these people will make hastily formulated excuses whilst running to their mummies to get breastfeeding (I reckon).

So, lets begin. In the first we have ‘How the UN unearthed a possible Saudi Arabian link to Jeff Bezos hack‘ (the Guardian at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/jan/22/how-the-un-unearthed-a-possible-saudi-arabian-link-to-jeff-bezos-hack) as well as ‘Did Saudi Arabia’s crown prince hack the Amazon king?’ (the Economist at https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2020/01/25/did-saudi-arabias-crown-prince-hack-the-amazon-king), a nice side effect is that the Economist, is viewed and acted on on the 24th of January, whilst the article states that it is the Jan 25th 2020 edition, but enough about that. Let’s start with the Guardian who tells us “The UN’s demand for law enforcement authorities to conduct a proper investigation into the alleged hacking of Jeff Bezos’s mobile phone came after it reviewed the findings of a cybersecurity firm, FTI“, we might not see anything here, yet the UN, who is underfunded and strained has time for this? Is this another US Essay like the one by some French girl on the killing of Jamal Khashoggi? And what about ‘after it reviewed the findings of a cybersecurity firm, FTI‘? This implies that the United Nations called for the inspection, notified a cyber security firm (FTI) and investigated the phone of some so called billionaire (postage and shipping required). So why exactly is this not with the police or an official investigative body like the FBI Cyber division?

Following this we get the real beef with “concluded with “medium to high confidence” that it had been compromised because of actions attributable to a WhatsApp account used by the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman“, first of all, if I want to investigate the corruption at an army base, I will not go in as the lawlordtobe, I would enter the situation as some poor schmuck who is from the city of Noonecares. It is almost like an assasination and the official in question uses his own service revolver instead of someone else’s. And what goes with ‘medium to high confidence‘, what evidence was uncovered? Then we get the part where is all falls to shambles. With “The UN was careful not to be definitive. Instead of pointing the finger, its statement said the apparent hack had been achieved using software “such as NSO Group’s Pegasus or, less likely, Hacking Team’s Galileo, that can hook into legitimate applications to bypass detection and obfuscate activity”“, just like the Khashoggi essay fiasco, the UN is all about being not definitive, as such we want to know how accusations can be made when you are not definitive. As such I would like to point the UN troll to a kids game called Clue, there in that games (for ages 8+) we are introduced to the concept of evidence, where you need to collect facts and state “I am accusing Colonel Mustard who killed Dr. Black (aka Mr. Boddy) in the Kitchen using the lead pipe” and then we look at the evidence and see if the claimant had his or her facts straight. None of that CIA BS where we see ‘medium to high confidence‘, I would offer that if the confidence is already medium, what was not looked at and what was discarded. The statement comes directly before “The NSO Group, an Israeli cyber-surveillance firm, strongly denied that its surveillance tools were responsible“, as such we are left with ‘less likely, Hacking Team’s Galileo‘. so there is a mountain of doubt on an article that throws the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in a bad light and there is seemingly an increasing lack of evidence. As we go on, we see the NSO giving the statement that offers direct opposition to some firm called FTI with “These types of abuses of surveillance systems blacken the eye of the cyber-intelligence community and put a strain on the ability to use legitimate tools to fight serious crime and terror. We expect that all actors in this arena put in place stringent procedures and technological controls, such as those that we have put in place, to assure that their systems are not used in an abusive manner“, as such there are larger questions not merely on the UN for setting the stage of something that is not on their plate, they apparently went to another small operation (who knows) and let them set up the stage of doubtful and debatable documentation, doubtful as we get one of the implied companies go directly into denial and setting a document based on evidence that is regarded as ‘medium to high confidence‘.

And then something beautiful happens. We see “The FTI report cited by the UN special rapporteurs, Agnes Callamard and David Kaye, noted that both NSO and Hacking Team, an Italian company, offered tools that could theoretically have performed the attack” where we are (again) introduced to that UN essay writer, the one that had given us the joke called some Khashoggi report (Agnes Callamard), as well hiding behind ‘tools that could theoretically have performed the attack‘, the idea that this joke from a building based at 760 United Nations Plaza, Manhattan, New York City, New York 10017 and hide behind the word ‘theoretically‘, as such pardon my French (oh, that was funny!) but how the fuck does she still have a job?

For several reasons I will not use the Economist (as I am not a subscriber), but the quotes in their magazine “which was soon used to steal large amounts of data—though the un did not say exactly what, or how it was used” as well as “It called for an “immediate investigation”. The Saudi embassy in Washington, dc, said the accusations were “absurd”.

As I see it, the UN is nothing more than an advertising paper tiger, adhering to the commands of some stakeholder (identity unknown), if this was a direct action by the UN, those people need to be investigated immediately, I feel decently certain I will get both China and Russia to sign off on this, as this has the distinct smell that comes from neither region, so they would score a win, in addition to that, the UN would have to submit data as to what exactly was taken and how it could be identified, which is also an issue that is unclear and optionally unclear to the UN people involved. 

The Verge had a lot more, they had (at https://www.theverge.com/2020/1/23/21078828/report-saudi-arabia-hack-jeff-bezos-phone-fti-consulting) the actual report, and there we see on page one we see the person we need to hackle for information, it is Anthony J. Ferrante who needs to give us the names of who this so called ‘Confidential Report’ was given to, because it seems that it was leaked. And there we see the originator (vice.com) giving us “The report, obtained by Motherboard, indicates that investigators set up a secure lab to examine the phone and its artifacts and spent two days poring over the device but were unable to find any malware on it. Instead, they only found a suspicious video file sent to Bezos on May 1, 2018 that “appears to be an Arabic language promotional film about telecommunications.”“, however, this is not the end. They also give us “Investigators determined the video or downloader were suspicious only because Bezos’ phone subsequently began transmitting large amounts of data. “[W]ithin hours of the encrypted downloader being received, a massive and unauthorized exfiltration of data from Bezos’ phone began, continuing and escalating for months thereafter,” the report states“. In this I state OK, let’s take an actual look.

And they do give us more, quotes like “The digital forensic results, combined with a larger investigation, interviews, research, and expert intelligence information, led the investigators “to assess Bezos’ phone was compromised via tools procured by Saud al Qahtani,” the report states“, as well as “A mobile forensic expert told Motherboard that the investigation as depicted in the report is significantly incomplete and would only have provided the investigators with about 50 percent of what they needed, especially if this is a nation-state attack“, ““They would need to use a tool like Graykey or Cellebrite Premium or do a jailbreak to get a look at the full file system. That’s where that state-sponsored malware is going to be found. Good state-sponsored malware should never show up in a backup,” said Sarah Edwards, an author and teacher of mobile forensics for the SANS Institute“, and “The investigators do note on the last page of their report that they need to jailbreak Bezos’s phone to examine the root file system. Edwards said this would indeed get them everything they would need to search for persistent spyware like the kind created and sold by the NSO Group. But the report doesn’t indicate if that did get done.“, which is as I personally see it the shallow political BS that some people go for. As such we see in the report “The following investigative steps are currently pending“, and more profound, on page 4 we see: “On May 1st, 2018, Bezos received a text from the WhatsApp account used by MBS“, my issue here is that this might have been the infected one, yet if I did that, I would use an originator that was real. And there we have it, the Dailymail gave us ‘New bug allows hackers to send fake messages pretending to be you – and there’s nothing you can do to stop them‘ (at https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6039533/WhatsApp-users-beware-Hackers-send-fake-messages-pretending-you.html) with the additional text: “First discovered by Israeli cybersecurity group CheckPoint Research, the flaw is incredibly complex and involves a gap within the app’s encryption algorithms. Writing on their website, the team said the vulnerability could make it possible for a hacker ‘to intercept and manipulate messages sent by those in a group or private conversation’ as well as ‘create and spread misinformation’. Hackers could use the bug to alter the text sent in someone else’s reply to a group chat, essentially ‘putting words in their mouth’, the group said.

It took me 5 minutes and Google search to find this. I am not stating that this is true and that the Daily Mail is the source to use (they often are not), yet this is a larger failing, I expected this from the very beginning, the origins of the setting was not properly investigated. Then Vice.com gave us “the report is significantly incomplete and would only have provided the investigators with about 50 percent of what they needed“, which is what I expected before I read one word of the accusation, and with US Essay writer Callamard involved (yes again it is her) we see what this is, another mindless attack on a nation and one person. They did not even bother getting him properly smeared, and no one is asking questions, I reckon that the involved stakeholders are likely to go for the, if we create enough barbeques, someone will shout fire: ‘I ran’ for office! Anyone?

what is the most irritating part is that the UN is again used as the cheap tool that they are. In this there is also the involvement of the FTI and more interesting that a Cyber Security firm did not look past the simplest trappings, as as we consider the optional involvement of Anthony J. Ferrante we need to consider sending quota to all 49 of the Global 100 companies that are FTI clients. Even if it was merely to make a few people sweat. When a non Cyber adapt like me can see through this part they have a clear problem and whether Anony Mouse Bezos was part of this or not will not matter. There is one other part in the report that should be considered. On page 2 we see “More significantly. al Qahtani is known to have played a key and senior role in the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi.” In the first, he was acquitted (in a Saudi trial) and there has been no other trials, as such the statement should be read as false, no clear evidence was ever presented. In the second, as this is part of the executive summary, it seems that this was a way to blatantly strike out against one individual and the evidence is not corroborating any of this, too many questions are left unanswered and the media is not asking them either, as such I wonder what is to be believed, especially in light of the Daily Mail ‘revelation’ last August, which implies long in advance of this report. The fact that this (optional) fact is ignored gives out a much larger issue, the work in incomplete, debatable and political, not factual, as such sending serious cyber letters to the 49 of the Global 100 companies that are FTI clients, as I personally see it, these players are all about facts and when their provider and be painted as open for considerations, we should entertain all kinds of questions. 

I would also look at the footnotes and take a larger look at that descriptive part, I wonder what is left once I have had the chance to take a red pencil through this report. Now, I am not stating that Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud is innocent, I am merely considering that his evidence is so shallow, that I would never accuse him of anything, not before a lot more work was done (and a lot more footnotes were properly weighed), in this consider on page 3 footnote 8. When we go there, we see that the article is Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai a member of Motherboard (so why is there no Motherboard article that is the source), we see “An investor from Saudi  Arabia is apparently behind a company that bought a stake in the controversial spyware vendor” where ‘apparently‘ is the operative word. It is also where we see: “Hacking Team was thoroughly owned, with its once-secret list of customers, internal emails, and spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see“, were all these customers on a secret list investigated? There is also ‘spyware source code leaked online for anyone to see‘, a small fact that is apparently not investigated, additional players all optionally ready to give someone called Bezos the time of his on-line life. Then we get “this apparent recovery is in part thanks to the new investor, who appears to be from Saudi Arabia“, a line ruled by, you guessed it ‘apparent‘ and ‘who appears‘, so much filtering and doubt, and in this FTI used that as a footnote source? A program co-owned for 80% by none other then David Vincenzetti. That does NOT make HIM a guilty party and neither is there any convincing evidence of any kind towards the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammad Bin Salman Al Saud.

When I see all this I wonder if the UN (or FTI) has any clue how much we should regard them as tools. I cannot tell at present what kind of tools they are, but my personal view is that if this is the debatable level of evidence that some employ, we all are in so much more trouble then we ever thought.

 

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The time is now

Yesterday, an article in the BBC made me aware of a few items. Now, I was aware to a larger degree of most items, yet I kept it in the second drawer of the third desk of my brain, it was something I took for accepted and then shrug it off, so what changed? Nothing actually changed, but the article seems good enough to take a few items on view.

The article (at https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-51115315) gives us “Google has announced a timeline for implementing new privacy standards that will limit third-party use of a digital tool known as cookies“, now this is nothing new, it was always going to happen, yet we also see: “analysts say the move gives Google more control over the digital ad market where it is already a major player.  To make advertising more personal web browsers collect small bits of information that allow them to create a profile of the users likes and online habits“, the question becomes, is that actually true? And when we see “This presents a core problem from a competition perspective. It is yet another example of Google diminishing ad rivals’ access to data for the stated purpose of protecting users’ privacy“, a quote from Dina Srinivasan, a lawyer focused on competition issues is not really that truthful, is it? Apple made a similar move in 2017 and when we go back in time, we see Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, Microsoft Edge, and Opera. Most will have forgotten Netscape who became defunct in 2003, and basically stopped making a blip 2 years before that. We seemingly forgot about the exploitative market that Microsoft had in those days with Internet Explorer and all the crap it added to our HTML files (as did Word when we saved as an HTML file), in those days data in files was still an issue because there was a limit to what we could safe when we were not rich. Chrome was the first to keep our files clean, or at least lacking a lot of rubbish. Netscape was however on a different route, an employee of Netscape Communications, which was developing an e-commerce application for MCI. MCI did not want its servers to have to retain partial transaction states which was a killer for storage, as such they asked the people at Netscape to find a way to store partial options and methods of transactions where it mattered the most, at the side of the buyer, Cookies provided a solution to the problem of reliably implementing a virtual shopping cart, Google found a new way of using that idea and used cookies in the far reaching solution it currently has, they innovated, others merely took on board someone else’s solution and not they are all crying foul. Perhaps when these people had taken the time to innovate, they would have the choice, and the option of two years seems decent, so when I read “advertisers had hoped to have more time before it was implemented” is as I personally see a larger BS issue on timeframes and exploitation, if advertisers are in the now, they would be all about advanced implementation, yet they like their bonus and they seemingly do not like to spend money on investments to counter the timeline (an assumption from my side). 

Google’s director of Chrome engineering, Justin Schuh gives us “Users are demanding greater privacy – including transparency, choice and control over how their data is used – and it’s clear the web ecosystem needs to evolve to meet these increasing demands“, which seems slightly too political to my liking, but there we have it. Business Day gives us “But GDPR also made life harder for a cohort of second-tier adtech players trying to compete with the likes of Google and Facebook. The regulation’s provision to prevent data being shared wantonly with third parties seemed to give the tech giants an opportunity to tighten their control over user data” where we see that this was one of the foundations that led to the end of SizMek, some state that it was DSP Rocket Fuel that ended the heartbeat of SizMek, yet everyone ignores a simple truth, ‘an overcrowded ad tech market with independent vendors with an inability to face serious cost pressures to their pricing structures‘, they all arrogantly believed that THEIR solution was the real one and they all basically read cookies like the ones Google had distributed. You can all claim to have the magic potion that Asterix drinks, but when the truth comes out that he drinks Darjeeling tea from India, the playing field gets overcrowded and when the customer figures out what they get priced for the end is pretty much around the corner of the next door you face.

So as we are told “third-party ad sellers will need to go through Google to get information about internet users. But critics say that is an advantage that makes the market less fair and safe“, in my view my question becomes: ‘Which critics, names please!‘, the problem is that third party ad sellers have no rights, none at all, the rights should be with the owner of the computer, Google (Apple also) are setting (not by their own accord) that stage, Microsoft is using their Azure Cloud to counter the Cookie option on PC and Microsoft Console, but the hard sight is already there, the people who are unable, unwilling and cannot afford to set the stage still want their freebee and they are now starting to complain as they are made aware that their time has ended, even though this was the direction we saw in US politics and EU politics well over three years ago. The EU had their General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and everyone shrugged their shoulders stating that it would not happen that fast, yet that was three years ago and now the time has been set back to merely two years to go and the ad sellers are feeling the pinch of the cost they will actually face. Moreover, they are seeing the red lights of career ends. The Verge gave us “an industry that’s used to collecting and sharing data with little to no restriction, that means rewriting the rules of how ads are targeted online“, they gave us that on May 25th 2018, so 1.5 years ago, why is this now a problem? The people wanted this, ad soon it will be here, Google has not been sitting still updating their systems accordingly, and as such we see that the flaccid and non-concerned rest is now looking at a deadline a mere two years away. When we look to the larger field we see Criteo, LiveRamp, Trade Desk, Rubicon, and Telaria, all losing value as ad-tech providers, yet the opposite could also be true when they offer to the customer a value, a value where most ad-tech companies never bothered going. Yet the power of any ad-tech was never the cookie, that was for the most merely the revenue. They had 5 years to consider the power of ad-tech and they didn’t. The power of this is basically engagement. Facebook showed this year after year and now it is out on the larger field, those who engage will survive, the rest will end up on a dog eat dog football field and a few will survive but only as long as they push to the next hurdle and make it, if not they will end up on the obituary page (just like Netscape, however Netscape ended there for other reasons). 

I wonder if that is why Google is so adamant about its stadia? It would get a massive tier of small time developers creating engagement content to be released on mobiles. That i me merely speculating. 

Still the words of Dina Srinivasan are not entirely without merit, she gives the Facebook issue (at https://www.wsj.com/articles/yale-law-grads-hipster-antitrust-argument-against-facebook-findsmainstream-support-11575987274), and she makes a good case, yet the history of certain players need to be taken into account. Even as she was her own misgivings about the evolution of the digital advertising market, history had been clear, some of them basically did not bother, they wanted it handed to them for free and in the beginning they got away with it. And she made a point with “How could a company with Facebook Inc.’s checkered privacy record have obtained so much of its users’ personal data?“, yet equally we need to weigh this with the words of U.S. Attorney General William Barr. He gives us “he is “open to that argument” that consumer harm can exist through the use of personal data, even if a service is free. “I am inclined to think there is no free lunch. Something that is free is actually getting paid for one way or the other”“, which is what I have been saying on my blog for around 4 years, so happy to see people wake up in January 2020. So when I see “Ms. Srinivasan would prefer that Facebook be forced to change certain business practices, including how it tracks users when they are off the company’s platforms“, I wonder when they give account to the small truth that Facebook is a free service for a reason and they are no longer alone in this, you are going after the large players when they are in the largest danger by losing slices of that revenue pie to contenders elsewhere in the world (EU and China). 

Whatever you want to do is fine, but realise that it will put a large group of people in the streets without a job, I am not against them losing their job, but that revenue and that data will also flow in other directions and that is the one part that all players (with political support) are trying to counter as much as possible. I wonder if they will succeed. The weird part is that if this group had been properly taxed 3 out of the 5 major issues would also fall away and in that view a workable solution could be pivoted to.

 

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Twenty twenty is visual

Yes, we are in the new year, yet this year (according to Forbes at https://www.forbes.com/sites/zakdoffman/2020/12/29/us-and-china-technology-conflict-heres-why-2020-is-so-critical/amp/) will be a lot more critical than anyone thinks. Yes it is about Huawei, however not in the same lame way that the US administration brings it. Here we see: “Huawei has 42% of the huge Chinese market and more than 25% of the Russian market to get it started. Then on December 28, China’s state media announced that its “Beidou” alternative to America’s GPS satellite navigation system will be completed“, now this is a different kettle of fish. It is not about government intel (in a way it is), it is about who gets the data and the lies that seemingly originated at the oval office are now no longer about ‘the chinese government connections’ it is more about how the US government is not getting the free data that they have had for so long, moreover as we take notice of “But Beidou—“Big Dipper” in Chinese—will not stop at China. It will focus on converting markets in South East Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe, price- and investment-sensitive markets” we see a much larger concern for the yanks, they are at risk of gaining access to a little over 50% of all given data by the end of 2020, that is something to notice, and in my view they had it coming. They make one accusation after another and never show any data to support it. Even now (yesterday) as we see the number of links of TikTok and data, I was able to find well over a dozen US sites where the advertisement of the TikTok app continues, one is called seemingly hypocritical national security (I actually do not know the Tik Tok situation), the other is money and money trumps Trump.

I am baffled why the US would think that this free reaping would continue, I am actually amazed that Russia did not have its own version of software ready. We even see “Russian President Putin described the U.S. campaign against Chinese technology as “the first technological war of the coming digital era.” His point was that this is the start of something much greater and more significant“, he is right in more than one way. Do you think that I would offer my IP to the US when I know that I am getting lied to? I wonder how large the failing list is actually hitting Google and Facebook, the fact that people are intentionally getting misinformed should show up in their numbers as well. For those who have no real affiliation to Social media, China is becoming more and more interesting, the moment that it has a real Facebook equivalent, we will see a much larger jump. For Google the mess is not that big, YouTube is an engine that people cannot live without (pretty much the medical condition is ‘acute VideoitisfromYoutube failure‘) so as we cannot get treated on that, we will continue in the YouTube realm. I personally believe that if the news was a year ago that China was launching its own services the news would have been accepted differently, the entire ‘China is all about spying through Huawei‘ got us on the wrong foot, just like Iraq, just like two other events afterwards the US have been handling billions of free voices and the free voices are through with a lying party like America.

So whilst we take notice of “For China, it will increase its independence and influence. For the U.S., its grip on key standards will loosen and for some of its key players there are risks they could loose material market share“, that is the ballgame, the ‘loose material market share‘, until the beginning of the internet, the US has never had an equal in this fight and in the economic place they are now they are scared. Consider the interest on $23,000,000,000,000 all whilst they are facing a technology user setback of 10%-25% in the first year, and as Asia, Russia and Europe start folding away from the US solutions the interest is impacted and can no longer be paid, for example try the Apple solution for $1749 (down from $2365) and as things ‘suddenly’ become affordable for the people, think of how the population reacts to the coin grab of 2010-2019 when they were trying to make ends meet. This technology wave will follow an anger wave that the US is unable to stop, and beyond that, Huawei has a much larger base soon enough. In Saudi Arabia Huawei was able to set the stage of a strategic memorandum of understanding, healthcare is only the first step and as it shows the progress it will entice Egypt and India, at that point Huawei will achieve two paths that the US only hinted at and sneered (their version of enticement) for well over 10 years whilst never delivering. The people who decide things saw no eager listing to pursue, now that the numbers are getting called in 2020 and 2021 the game changes and there have been too many lies (oops, I meant ‘intentional misrepresentation’) coming from the US players.

And as the EU gives us: ‘European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen voiced skepticism Friday over involving Chinese tech giant Huawei in the rollout of Europe’s 5G networks amid concerns its equipment could be used for spying by Beijing‘, we see that optionally the career of Ursula von der Leyen will be cut short too. She might be the President of the European Commission for a month now, but I am certain that her history lessons included the time when we hung those who hid behind ‘befehl ist befehl‘ and even now, as we traverse that time, the US will not have any dimes to sit on, those spreading the US message without evidence could be demanded to be called on, even now as Germany (and India) are moving against the warnings of the US, warning that have never seen any real evidence since the beginning, will now have a coin marker, people like Ursula von der Leyen will see that as other European nations demand evidence, their place in the hierarchie will seem unholdable, held together by US promises that they will fall back on and fold on when the moment is nigh. That is the ball game for the US and the Europeans will not have alternatives, especially as Nokia is showing several cracks in their veneer, as their 5G outlook changes and as the backlash of bribery scandals, the US will find themself in a stage that is not holdable, and they are not alone, Ericsson is right there next to Nokia when it comes to scandals and the US was not ready for that. The impact will be larger than they expect and that part will bite too. When the EC members will look towards alternatives and there is only Huawei, they will shift gears and give the boot to whomever supported the US and stopped them to get their bonus, people are easy to anticipate in that regard.

If only there was direct evidence of the US claims. There was a reason why I used the Colin Powell and silver briefcase example in the past, there was no way around it, the game that was being played was short for whomever was counting the cards and too many were out in the open, the US had two plays left and they chose the wrong one. That becomes more and more clear when we look at the actions of Sony last October, that setting changed the anger levels of Third Point to some degree, and as I cannot tell who was right, the fact that Daniel Loeb lost out against the Sony view ”no concrete proposals to improve the business“, who is eagerly spending a billion to get on the market is a larger issue than you can imagine, the Japanese government has a larger stake in all this then even I can surmise. Japan will have to take on a few players and they are behind (really behind), yet they are all in it to win it and their ego’s will collide, the US will have to find new areas to push against and as we see that this is being fought, we also see the American dream is under pressure of failing and that is one concrete version why the american corporate views are not what they are surmised to be, it will be a stronger difference as the year progresses, but I reckon that half way, when that American super villain Taxman has to give documentation as to the values it holds dear (numbers on a spreadsheet) we will see additional cracks, there is only so much that people will live for and the US has no reserves, it lost those a little over three years ago as the debt kept rising. In this as we saw one month ago that “Dan Loeb sharply boosted its net long position in equities,’‘ we will see managed bad news over the next 6 months that will reduce that position (as I personally see and anticipate), that will be the first (of many) cracks in all this and China is not merely a crack in their armor, it is a flaming hole the size of the Grand Canyon. And still my IP is outlasting theirs as they have no idea what they should have been looking at, it is becoming more than a spreadsheet user versus a visionary, the US status is becoming a spreadsheet user to someone who does not comprehend a cross tabulation, and that is not a situation that the US can hold up. 

In this all these solutions give China an advantage, because as we see more and more dubious statements from people who caress the limelight, we also see that the chinks in their armour are lighting up and that is where Russia and China only have to ask: ‘what is that?‘ (pointing at the chinks) and those people will not have the setting to answer. 

It is a stage we have not seen before and will not see again any day soon, but in 2020 it will matter, it will drive the global population away from any American solution. They will only have themselves to blame soon enough, they vied for it but will do anything to make anyone else pay and the people are taking notice, they are no longer willing to take the idiocy and the current American administration made it happen, at least that part has no push towards previous administrations. When that happens, the loss of revenue will increase faster and faster and all others are ready to step in wherever they can, I am happy I have no stake in any of the American hedges, their national product is about to lose value and a lot, I merely wonder how long it will take, as we saw in several situations in 2008, the $1.1B bill to Moody’s was paid without hesitation, I wonder what and who will delay the news this time around and those who got out late, will they have any recourse? I reckon not, at some point we will see certain academics make a statement that the technology sector was too complex and too covariant to clearly see any pattern emerge, at that point whatever rating existed will be thrown out and as we see that, the people will run to any technology that has proven themselves and at present that is Huawei (and Huawei only), that is the part the US is unwilling to see, even as we see the Verge (only three weeks ago) give us both “T-Mobile has been saying it’s got a smarter, sounder 5G strategy than both Verizon and AT&T” and “They also won’t support 5G on other networks, so if you switch carriers, you’re hosed” implying that there is no real 5G standard in the US and they are all merely marketing 5G whilst not having any real 5G (my personal view) and the Verge supports that view I have (at https://www.theverge.com/2019/12/16/20997594/tmobile-5g-600mhz-low-band-speed-tests-oneplus-samsung) when we see “you’ll never get the speed thrill of downloading an entire movie from Netflix or Prime Video in seconds“, all whilst the 5G advertisement is about that part alone, we see the hose job in the making and in 2020 that will not be tolerated by the people, in the US there is no alternative, yet Europe, Africa and Asia have other options which enables Huawei and that is the short play that the US is not ready for and the EU people are about to get a dose of reality soon enough, when the MoU that Huawei has signed show actual progress, Europe will run towards whatever shelter they can whilst ignoring the pleas from the USA, it will be that simple, people like Ursula von der Leyen will run towards what pays them and what keeps them safe, warm and dry, they will soon see that ‘befehl ist befehl‘ fell short the second time around too and at that point they will enable whomever has the technology and America is about three years late.  

It is the biting reality that 2020 brings, whilst the vision of twenty twenty is negated at every turn whenever possible and it is the ‘whenever possible’ part that will fall short soon enough (sooner rather than later).

 

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Lying through Hypes

I was thinking on a Huawei claim that I saw (in the image), the headline ‘AI’s growing influence on the economy’ sounds nice, yet AI does not exist at present,not True AI, or perhaps better stated Real AI. At the very least two elements of AI are missing so that whatever it is, it is not AI. is that an indication on just how bad the economy is? Well, that is up for debate, but what is more adamant is what the industry is proclaiming is AI and cashing in on something that is not AI at all.

Yet when we look at the media, we are almost literally thrown to death with AI statements. So what is going on? Am I wrong?

No! 

Or at least that is my take on the matter, I believe that we are getting close to near AI, but what the hype and what marketing proclaim is AI, is not AI. You see, if there was real AI we would not see articles like ‘This AI is a perpetual loser at Othello, and players love it‘, we are handed “The free game, aptly called “The weakest AI Othello,” was released four months ago and has faced off against more than 400,000 humans, racking up a paltry 4,000 wins and staggering 1.29 million losses as of late November” this is weird, as we look at SAS (a data firm) we see: “Artificial intelligence (AI) makes it possible for machines to learn from experience, adjust to new inputs and perform human-like tasks“, which is an actual part of an actual AI, so why do we see the earlier mentioned 400,000 players with 1.29 million wins whilst the system merely won 4,000 times shows that it is not learning, as such is cannot be an AI. A slightly altered SAS statement would be “Most AI examples rely heavily on deep learning and natural language processing. Using these technologies, computers can be trained to accomplish specific tasks by processing large amounts of data and recognizing patterns in the data” The SAS page (at https://www.sas.com/en_au/insights/analytics/what-is-artificial-intelligence.html) also gives us the image where they state that today AI is seen as ‘Deep Learning’, which is not the same.

It is fraught with a dangerous situation, the so called AI is depending on human programming and cannot really learn, merely adapt to programming. SAS itself actually acknowledges this with the statement “Quick, watch this video to understand the relationship between AI and machine learning. You’ll see how these two technologies work, with examples” they are optionally two sides of a coin, but not the same coin, if that makes sense, so in that view the statement of Huawei makes no sense at all, how can an option influence an economy when it does not exist? Well, we could hide behind the lack of growth because it does not exist. Yet that is also the stage that planes are finding themselves in as they are not equipped with advanced fusion drives, it comes down to the same problem (one element is most likely on Jupiter and the other one is not in our solar system). When we realise that we can seek advanced fusion as much as we want, but the elements requiring that are not in our grasp, just like AI, it is shy a few elements so whatever we call AI is merely something that is not really AI. It is cheap marketing for a generation that did not look beyond the term. 

The Verge (a https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/28/18197520/ai-artificial-intelligence-machine-learning-computational-science) had a nice summary, I particularly liked (slightly altered) “the Oral-B’s Genius X toothbrush that touted supposed “AI” abilities. But dig past the top line of the press release, and all this means is that it gives pretty simple feedback about whether you’re brushing your teeth for the right amount of time and in the right places. There are some clever sensors involved to work out where in your mouth the brush is, but calling it artificial intelligence is gibberish, nothing more“, we can see this as the misuse of the term AI, and we are handed thousands of terms every day that misuse AI, most of it via short messages on Social Media. and a few lines later we see the Verge giving us “It’s better, then, to talk about “machine learning” rather than AI” and it is followed by perhaps one of the most brilliant statements “Machine learning systems can’t explain their thinking“, it is perhaps the clearest night versus day issue that any AI system would face and all these AI systems that are dependable growing any economy aren’t and the world (more likely the greed driven entities) cannot grow any direction in this. they are all hindered what marketing states it needs to be whilst marketing is clueless on what they face, or perhaps they are hoping that the people remain clueless on what they present.

So as the verge ends with “In the here and now, artificial intelligence — machine learning — is still something new that often goes unexplained or under-examined” we see the nucleus of the matter, we are not asking questions and we are all accepting what the media and its connected marketing outlets are giving us, and when we make the noticeable jump that there is no AI and it is merely Machine learning and deeper learning, whilst we entertain the Verge examples “How clever is a book?” and “What expertise is encoded in a frying pan?

We need to think things through (the current proclaimed AI systems certainly won’t). We are back in the 90’s where concept sellers are trying to fill their pockets all whilst we all perfectly well know (through applied common sense) that what they are selling is a concept and no concept will fuel an economy that is a truth that came and stood up when a certain Barnum had its circus and hid behind well chosen marketing. So whenever you get some implementation of AI on LinkedIn of Facebook you are being lied to (basically you are marketed) or pushed into some direction that such articles attempt to push you in. 

That is merely my view on the matter and you are very welcome to get your own view on the matter as well, I merely hope that you will look at the right academic papers to show you what is real and what is the figment of someone’s imagination. 

 

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The Lie of AI

The UK home office has just announced plans to protect paedophiles for well over a decade and they are paying millions to make it happen. Are you offended yet? You should be. The article (at https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/sep/17/home-office-artificial-intelligence-ai-dark-web-child-sexual-exploitation) is giving you that, yet you do not realise that they are doing that. The first part is ‘Money will go towards testing tools including voice analysis on child abuse image database‘, the second part is “Artificial intelligence could be used to help catch paedophiles operating on the dark web, the Home Office has announced” these two are the guiding part in this, and you did not even know it. To be able to understand this there are two parts. The first is an excellent article in the Verge (at https://www.theverge.com/2019/1/28/18197520/ai-artificial-intelligence-machine-learning-computational-science), the second part is: ‘AI does not exist!

Important fact is that AI will become a reality at some point, in perhaps a decade, yet the two elements making AI essential have not been completed. The first is quantum computing, IBM is working on it, and they admit: “For problems above a certain size and complexity, we don’t have enough computational power on Earth to tackle them.” This is true enough and fair enough. They also give us: “it was only a few decades ago that quantum computing was a purely theoretical subject“. Two years ago (yes only two years ago) IBM gives us a new state, a new stage in quantum computing where we see a “necessary brick in the foundation of quantum computing. The formula stands apart because unlike Shor’s algorithm, it proves that a quantum computer can always solve certain problems in a fixed number of steps, no matter the increased input. While on a classical computer, these same problems would require an increased number of steps as the input increases” This is the first true step towards creating AI, as what you think is AI grows, the data alone creates an increased number of steps down the line, coherency and comprehension become floating and flexible terms, whilst comprehension is not flexible, comprehension is a set stage, without ‘Quantum Advantage with Shallow Circuits‘ it basically cannot exist. In addition, this year we get the IBM Q System One, the world’s first integrated quantum computing system for commercial use, we could state this is the first true innovative computer acceleration in decades and it has arrived in a first version, yet there is something missing and we get to stage two later.

Now we get to the Verge.

The State of AI in 2019‘ published in January this year gives us the goods, and it is an amazing article to read. The first truth is “the phrase “artificial intelligence” is unquestionably, undoubtedly misused, the technology is doing more than ever — for both good and bad“, the media is all about hype and the added stupidity given to us by politicians connected the worst of both worlds, they are clueless and they are trying being dumb and clueless on the worst group of people, the paedophiles and they are paying millions to do what is cannot accomplish at present.

Consider a computer or a terminator super smart, like in the movies and consider “a sci-vision of a conscious computer many times smarter than a human. Experts refer to this specific instance of AI as artificial general intelligence, and if we do ever create something like this, it’ll likely to be a long way in the future” and that is the direct situation, yet there is more.

The quote “Talk about “machine learning” rather than AI. This is a subfield of artificial intelligence, and one that encompasses pretty much all the methods having the biggest impact on the world right now (including what’s called deep learning)” is very much at the core of it all, and it exists and it is valid and it is the point of set happening, yet without quantum computing we are confronted with the earlier stage ‘on a classical computer, these same problems would require an increased number of steps as the input increases‘, so now all that data delays and delays and stops progress, this is the stage that is a direct issue, then we also need to consider “you want to create a program that can recognize cats. You could try and do this the old-fashioned way by programming in explicit rules like “cats have pointy ears” and “cats are furry.” But what would the program do when you show it a picture of a tiger? Programming in every rule needed would be time-consuming, and you’d have to define all sorts of difficult concepts along the way, like “furriness” and “pointiness.” Better to let the machine teach itself. So you give it a huge collection of cat photos, and it looks through those to find its own patterns in what it sees” This learning stage takes time, yet down the track it becomes awfully decent in recognising what a cat is and what is not a cat. That takes time, yet the difference is that we are seeking paedophiles, so that same algorithm is used not to find a cat, but to find a very specific cat. Yet we cannot tell it the colour of its pelt (because we do not know), we cannot tell the size, shape or age of that specific cat. Now you see the direct impact of how delusional the idea form the Home Office is. Indirectly we also get the larger flaw. Learning for computers comes in a direct version and an indirect version and we can both put it in the same book: Programming for Dummies! You see, we feed the computer facts, but as it is unable to distinguish true facts from false facts we see a larger failing, the computer might start to look in the wrong direction, pointing out the wrong cat, making the police chase and grab the wrong cat and when that happens, the real paedophile had already hidden itself again. Deep Learning can raise flags all over the place and it will do a lot of good, but in the end, a system like that will be horribly expensive and paying 100 police officers for 20 years to hunt paedophiles might cost the same and will yield better results.

All that is contained in the quote: “Machine learning systems can’t explain their thinking, and that means your algorithm could be performing well for the wrong reasons” more importantly it will be performing for the wrong reasons on wrong data making the learning process faulty and flawed to a larger degree.

The article ends with “In the here and now, artificial intelligence — machine learning — is still something new that often goes unexplained or under-examined” which is true and more important, it is not AI, the fact that we were not really informed about, there is not AI at present, not for some time to come and it makes us wonder on the Guardian headline ‘Home Office to fund use of AI to help catch dark web paedophiles‘, how much funds and the term ‘use of AI‘ requires it to exist, which it does not.

The second missing item.

You think that I was kidding, but I was not, even as the Quantum phase is seemingly here, its upgrade does not exist yet and that is where true AI becomes an optional futuristic reality. This stage is called the Majorana particle, it is a particle that is both matter and antimatter (the ability to be both positive and negative), and one of the leading scientists in this field is Dutch Physicist Leo Kouwenhoven. Once his particle becomes a reality in quantum computing, we get a new stage of shallow circuits, we get a stage where fake news, real news, positives and false positives are treated in the same breath and the AI can distinguish between them. That stage is decades away. At that point the paedophile can create whatever paper trail he likes; the AI will be worse than the most ferocious bloodhound imaginable and will see the fake trails faster than a paedophile can create it. It will merely get the little pervert caught faster.

The problem is that this is decades away, so someone should really get some clarification from the Home Office on how AI will help, because there is no way that it will actually do so before the government budget of 2030. What will we do in the meantime and what funds were spend to get nothing done? When we see: “pledged to spend more money on the child abuse image database, which since 2014 has allowed police and other law enforcement agencies to search seized computers and other devices for indecent images of children quickly, against a record of 14m images, to help identify victims“, in this we also get “used to trial aspects of AI including voice analysis and age estimation to see whether they would help track down child abusers“, so when we see ‘whether they would help‘, we see a shallow case, so shallow that the article in the Verge well over half a year ago should indicate that this is all water down the drain. And the amount (according to Sajid Javid) is set to “£30m would be set aside to tackle online child sexual exploitation“, I am all for the goal and the funds. Yet when we realise that AI is not getting us anywhere and Deep Learning only gets us so far, and we also now consider “trial aspects of AI including voice analysis and age estimation” we see a much larger failing. How can voice analyses help and how is this automated? and as for the term ‘trial aspects of AI‘, something that does not exist, I wonder who did the critical read on a paper allowing for £30 million to be spend on a stage that is not relevant. How about getting 150 detectives for 5 years to hunt down these bastards might be cheaper and in the end a lot more results driven.

In the end of the article we see the larger danger that is not part of AI, when we see: “A paper by the security think-tank Rusi, which focused on predictive crime mapping and individual risk assessment, found algorithms that are trained on police data may replicate – and in some cases amplify – the existing biases inherent in the dataset“, in this Rusi is right, it is about data and the data cannot be staged or set against anything, which makes for a flaw in deep learning as well. We can teach what a cat is by showing it 1,000 images, yet how are the false images recognised (panther, leopard, or possum)? That stage seems simple in cats, in criminals it is another matter, comprehension and looking past data (showing insight and wisdom) is a far stretch for AI (when it is there) and machine learning and deeper learning are not ready to this degree at present. We are nowhere near ready and the first commercial quantum computer was only released this year. I reckon that whenever a politician uses AI as a term, he is either stupid, uninformed or he wants you to look somewhere else (avoiding actual real issues).

For now the hypes we see are more often than not the lie of AI, something that will come, but unlikely to be seen before the PS7 is setting new sales records, which is still many years away.

 

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The shows on E3 (part two)

It was time for Microsoft to give us the goods and they started really well. The Outer Worlds (by the makers of Fallout New Vegas), Minecraft Dungeons, Blair witch, and a few others giving the intro towards 60 games, 14 by Microsoft Studio (implying 14 exclusives) and 30 gamepass titles. Then we got to see a new side to Cyberpunk 2077 and it looked amazing. That part ended with Johnny Silverhand, who looked a lot like Keanu Reeves, at that point Keanu Reeves walks on the stage and the roof came down, the crowd went insane and rightfully so. Eurogamer took a moment to highlight that (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W2qAUP1m_vE), see event two for that part, it is so worth it. We get to see that the flight Simulator is coming to Xbox One, which is pretty cool and a whole range of other news. At this point I rated the show at 97%, it was that good. There was plenty of stuff I did not really care for (like Gears 5), but there are plenty of fans of that franchise and it seems that they are upping the bar on that game so gears fans will go nuts soon enough. This is when they screw it up at the end on going towards Project Scarlett. As we hear ‘It is all about choices’, yet are there? The Verge also noticed something I picked up on, but I thought it was just me. the Verge gives us ‘Microsoft’s new Project Scarlett console is now a key part of xCloud‘ (at https://www.theverge.com/2019/6/10/18659448/microsoft-xcloud-game-streaming-e3-2019) and we get that, yet they also give us: “If Microsoft sticks with its Xbox One S hardware for xCloud, then it won’t be able to immediately compete with Stadia’s promise of 4K gaming at 60 fps. There are still far too many games that only run on an Xbox One S at 30 fps, and the console won’t even support most AAA games at native 4K.” I believe that Microsoft has the same premise to face as Google Stadia, but Google is playing the long game and they know what they are in for, something Microsoft did not grasp in time (or too often for that matter) and they are keeping quiet as a previous president loudly boasted ‘always online‘ and nearly sunk the entire Xbox One before it had been released. For me the giggle came when I got told ‘up to 120 fps‘, ‘8K capability‘, ‘the combination of SSD and Solid State Drive are really what is giving you a totally new experience‘ was the one that did it for me, was this not properly vetted, were these actors or engineers? The presentation just went down to 80% and that is where it stayed at, silly move Microsoft!

There was no reprise of two step in models (the low and high end as stated a year earlier and all these catchphrases are given by different people, so you can more likely than not forget about 8K and 120 fps, all hype giving comments but totally wasted on the people who want clarity beforehand. It is true that there is still a full year, but the Microsoft method of trying to create hype has backfired too often and now I hope it will do so again. Even as the console is not coming until holiday 2020, giving clear information on storage and several other parts would have been nice at this point. I personally believe that this will be a total push to XCloud and streaming your games, there will be some storage for older games and the fact that optical drive is there implies that there is still physical storage, as direct to cloud installation seems meaningless and it would be too cumbersome, but that is what it feels like, when I am clearly proven wrong I will give you all the goods. for now, the realisation that 5G becomes essential and the congestion issues that many will face between 2020 and 2022 will be a sight to watch, just you wait.

Bethesda

Bethesda was a solid 80% from beginning to end. there is more for the games with Fallout 76 (year two) added options, as well as a battle royale mode and additions to rage 2 we got the largest part, there will be two Wolfenstein games, but we knew that last year. The big parts were that the Wolfenstein games are coming to Switch too, which was nice as well as the fact that the mobile Game Blades was coming to Switch and just like Fallout shelter it was going to be free. The part that I like the most is that there is an option for micro transactions, yet I have never had to spend a dime on Fallout shelter to enjoy it, if Blades continues that, it will be an amazing ride. New is Ghostwire Tokyo which looks pretty good, but it was an intro movie only. Some new Commander Keen, Deathloop which is coming from Arkane, as well as a new streaming technology called Orion, optionally making bandwidth a lesser issue, and Doom Eternal was given a first light. Finally we got a little more Elder Scrolls Online, now with Elsweyr and that wrapped it up. I would have liked more actual gameplay which was missing too much as I personally see it and that is why Bethesda only gets 80% this time around, still a solid presentation.

Ubisoft

We start off with the Assassins Creed Symphony. A decent start for the mere reason that the music of Assassins Creed has been pretty amazing from the second game onward and never stopped being inspiring and extremely amazing. Watchdogs Legion kicks off with actual gameplay and a display of Permadeath in action, so there is that. Plenty of sarcasm and a super granny (retired assassin) that makes any bull look like a calf with snow peas instead of actual balls. Stealth looked decent and that was the Ubisoft intro to the presentation, which gives me the consideration that Ubisoft has gone serious on Watchdogs and it is seemingly taking Legion to a higher place than Watchdogs two was.

After that the presentation starts and Mythic Quest is first, and that presentation needs to be seen to be believed (at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_9mRj_tzNH4) starting at 25:10. After that more Rainbow Six, Adventure in Time, Ghost Recon Breakpoint, at which point Jon Bernthal walked in (the Walking dead, Punisher) and gives us his intro to the game. He did well; he is a charismatic presence as he gives the talk on the game and challenged the gamers to take him on. At this point we had not seen a lot of games, but the intro’s, the views (legion) and new reveals on AI with solo play we see that the focal points were stronger. Then we get elite squad, a mobile game, and more of Just Dance (10 years), with a funny video. Just Dance 2020 is coming to all systems, after which For Honor took over and gave us a new addition named Shadows of the Hitokiri, and another Rainbow six option coming, this one called quarantine and the Division 2, Kenly college, and in the fall episode two, the pentagon (a big building in Washington DC with 5 sides), with a second raid which have 8 player action. More games and at the end a new game called Gods and Monsters.

I give the presentation 86%; I would have added 4%-5% if there would have been more actual gameplay shown. Still the first part showing us Legion was pretty overwhelming and it took that wow through most of the presentation.

Square Enix

They start with the Final Fantasy VII remake, I remember playing that puppy on the PlayStation, I was never a big fan, yet I was overwhelmed on those days on the depth of the story and the intuitive side of the game play. The part here iis that we are casually introduced that this game will be on 2 Blu-ray discs gives rise to the fact on just how huge this game will be. Here we get to see active and tactical play and just how evolved this game is. This might just call over all the players who never got into the game originally (me included). After that Life is Strange two makes an appearance and a new Chrystal chronicles, a game I loved on the GameCube, now on mobile phones, so there is the option to relive a few lovely moments. Some Octopath Traveler, a dash of the last Remnant remake which is available now for Nintendo Switch, a look at Dragon Quest builders 2, a PS4 game that seems to combine RPG co-op with elements of Minecraft, making it an interesting and optionally an addictive one straight off the bat. As the game is seemingly in game footage, we get to enjoy more playtime than expected. Then we get Luminary on Switch aka Dragon Quest XI; after which Square Enix focusses on indie developers. There were more intros and videos coming, Shadow bringers (FFXIV) and an extended intro to Dying Light 2, now with the launch date of spring 2020. It is clear that the entire Final Fantasy universe will get a lot more games on consoles soon enough.

Ending the presentation with the announcement of FFVIII remastered coming, we see that this year will be nearly all about the Final Fantasy universe and the remastering of the IP they had, and on all platforms, and as such the Switch is gaining even more momentum. Then the crowd goes wild, Marvel Avengers makes its entry showing us a little of what is to come, the game will have additional element over years (at no additional cost), the ‘no loot boxes ever’ statement made people go wild. The game will release in May 2020. Like Ubisoft it would have been nice to get a little more actual gameplay, yet overall the presentation rocked and it gets a solid 91% making it the best presentation of the show at present, now only Nintendo remains and that is for tomorrow.

 

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The stagnant life

What do you do when your life stagnates? What do you do when the next step is a smaller iteration of the previous one and the one that is coming is even less than that? Have you considered this part? It all started in the Guardian, which was soon transplanted to the Verge. Vlad Savov gave the notion with ‘What was good is still good; what was missing is still missing‘, it is about the OnePlus 6T mobile phone. Yet for the same setting it could have been our life, it could have been our career and it could have been our future. It is more of the same, yet for us it is interesting as it is cheaper, and as the Verge gives us: “starts at $549 for a sizable 128GB of storage and 6GB of RAM“, we see that it is affordable. Yet when we look deeper, what do we get?

The good gives us: ‘Strong battery life‘, which is actually important in this day and age. Yet the other side is: ‘Camera remains mediocre, lacks wireless charging, still not fully, waterproof, quiet loudspeaker‘. In this the two I care about is the camera and the quiet loudspeaker. The camera is handy to have and here we see the first part. We get a Rear camera: 16 MP + 20 MP, whilst the front camera is 16MP, which is a lot more than my three year old Huawei P7. In addition a few sources give us: “the OnePlus 6 starts at just £469 for the 64GB / 6GB model, which makes it significantly cheaper than the £869 starting price for the Pixel 3 XL“, is it about the money? For many it is. It is the loudspeaker that inhibits the phone when we see: “the loudspeaker, which sounds very nice on this phone, but is woefully inadequate in terms of volume. Even at max volume, it’s only really useful in a quiet environment“. It is an inhibitor as I have missed calls in the past because I did not hear it ring.

How does a phone set a stagnant life?

You see, the second part is seen when we see the new iPad pro and it has no ‘Home’ button. Is that what we have progressed to, a massive marketing target and the fact that we ‘wow’ the home buttons demise? So as the Guardian gave us: ‘The long-rumoured iPad Pro redesign will be the first significant change to Apple’s iOS-based tablet since the release of the 12.9in iPad Pro in 2015‘, we see the issue. That is the great progress since 2015? No home button? How stagnant are we, and how stagnant has our technology become?

For example, in 2003 I saw the first virtual keyboard. It was projection technology (see image). I saw the impact it could have, to instantly switch between Roman, Cyrillic, Hebrew, Hiragana, Katakana, perhaps even Kanji and Arabic, a true push forward for all notebooks, netbooks, laptops and even tablets. More important was the fact that it took away key logging as intrusion to a much larger extent and in addition to that, a person could start working in a truly international sphere, as well as the fact that pretty much any flat surface would do, so no keyboards to mess with. It was true innovation. So when the first iPad was launched and it had the ‘keyboard’ on screen, it was progress, as it came at the expense of the screen, which was not great, yet much better than we ever had before and now I had direct access to all the Scandinavian characters which was awesome. So in 15 years, we see Apple give us ‘no home button‘, how weird is that? And the virtual keyboard need is more of a reality; the batteries are a lot better than we had them in 2003, 15 years of battery development to work with. The laser would have been a lot better, but Apple has not gone that mile forward as an accessory (even as the smart keyboard for the iPad pro is sweet), you are restricted to ONE keyboard at that point. The union of the smart keyboard and virtual keyboard could have been so much more and in 15 years they never got there?

Is this iterative technology holding us back? Is this a lack of vision, or is it merely the need to exploit the people one keyboard per purchase? If this simple innovation is withheld, how much more are we not getting? I can state that question as the technology has been there for 15 years and I know that there are innovative people out there, brighter than me. So why is Apple trailing that curve and not heading it?

Even as I initially designed what would have been the iTome (or optionally the Google Tome) and we see no plans or patents in any stage where that solution (which could solve many NHS issues) is planned, will we need Huawei to solve it for us and when they do will the USA bitch like a little girl whilst not providing any level of evidence? So whilst we get exposed to another wave of anti-Huawei, in this case by Australian Signals’ Directorate chief Mike Burgess, and when we are given “a potential security threat anywhere in the network would threaten the entire system“, yet no evidence was added to this. So when I see: ‘Fairfax Media and the ABC reported on Tuesday‘, it personally merely reads along the lines of one working the shaft and the other one was it tickling the balls of Telstra (a slightly less diplomatic view on all this). The more irritating part is that we have seen this circus go on for months now and still no evidence was ever given, clear evidence of that risk. More important, the risk by some other players (Apple) was shown as they decreased the battery efficiency of the mobile phone. Apple got a €10 million fine and had an annual revenue of one hundred and twenty seven billion. How flaccid should we consider these governmental player fucks to be (pardon my French here)?

It is even more fun to contemplate when we take Business Insider a mere 3 hours ago (at https://www.businessinsider.com.au/top-spy-explains-huawei-ban-2018-10) and we consider the following: ‘Australia’s super-secretive communications spy agency has explained why Huawei is seen as an infrastructure risk’ (actually the ASD is at Russell Dr, Russell ACT 2600. Source: Google search). So now we get the quote, and it is a good one: “One of Australia’s top spies said the electricity grid, water supplies and other critical infrastructure could not have been adequately protected if China’s Huawei or ZTE were allowed to build the country’s new 5G mobile networks“. This is a realistic setting and it is the job of the ASD to look at this. Yet the same risk would have been there with an American or even a Scandinavian system (Ericsson), even in 5G there would have been all kinds of layers and intrusion is a realistic fact in 4G and it should similarly be so in 5G. That is why you hire the proper experts to set a secure stage. So now we get to: “His warning coincided with a new report from The Australian Strategic Policy Institute, which revealed Australian universities were collaborating with Chinese military scientists at unprecedented levels and failing to mitigate national security risks“, so where is the evidence of that? We see that the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) is ‘overly’ advertised as independent. From my personal point of view, as I have seen some networking events. People like Michael Shoebridge and Peter Jennings would have ties with Telstra that are way too strong (merely the impact of networking). So is there a chance that they are driving Telstra opportunities? I have NO evidence of that, and I am not stating that this is happening, yet in that same regard I have seen NO evidence that Huawei is an actual risk, which is what others are stating; is that not the driving part here? Now we need to also consider the second part of Mr Burgess. He was also quoted: “Mr Burgess did not specifically mention Huawei or ZTE, but said it was no longer sufficient to confine “high-risk vendors” to the edges of a telecommunications network“. OK that is fair enough, yet I have an issue with ‘high-risk vendors‘. Not because of the vendor part, but the ‘high-risk’ setting. When exactly is a risk a high risk and is that a systemic situation, or is the lack of knowledge, a knowledge that was not pursued in time, as the foundation of evolution from risk to become ‘high-risks’?

I started to evangelise the need for true non-repudiation 5 years ago, I was confronted with the need 7 years ago and we are nowhere near that today. As the designers and greed chasers were all about facilitating for greed and maximised revenue, we saw the fall of reliability and security on a global level. Windows 10, Sony, Facebook are all events that show this. I see a lack of proper testing; a lack of proper assessing; an insatiable need to quickly patch so that revenue remains up. None of it was done with the need of protecting the consumer, merely to facilitate corporate greed.

So whilst that article ends with: “Fairfax Media is investigating cyber hacking incidents in corporate Australia. Tip off our team confidentially via this secure online system“, we are confronted with two parts, the first is that Fairfax is not the greatest channel to get stuff looked at, whoever does this could be prosecuted as a whistle-blower and more importantly that a lot of these issues would not have existed with proper non-repudiation in the first place. So whilst there is no true evidence that China is the bad individual here and that Huawei is not the great technological evil, we must not remain absent from proper scrutiny and that would have been fine, if there was only true scrutiny brought to the media and that has not been done. When you consider that part you should also give another consideration to: “a potential threat anywhere in the network will be a threat to the whole network“, exactly how badly designed does a network need to be when we see: “a threat to the whole network“?  How have corporations failed us when they have not properly instigated protection layers? And in that trend how flawed is authentication technology at present that this could happen to a governmental debilitating degree?

And it is not just Australia, with the lack of evidence in any direction; the US has been pushing for this in the UK, Australia and Canada. Merely an hour ago TechAU is giving a similar view with ‘still provides no evidence‘. There will be a point when not only will we see the demand for evidence, we will demand harsh consequences who force the people in much higher expenditure impacting their quality of life. When that happens, the tidal wave of complaints will be enough to topple any government.

In our lives we need to take leaps forward, no longer relaying on iterative solutions. If we want true new innovation that is the only path that will make sense and in all that, the old farts in 4G trying to keep their fat income in a 5G environment better get with the program faster. There is enough indication that the people are getting fed up with certain settings and the numbers given merely a day ago: “Telstra had a 7.7 per cent increase in complaints” give rise to a lot more nagging by millions soon enough. Some might think that it no longer makes sense to complain. However there is always the option to switch providers and even as most are equally unworthy of our coins, some do stand out and as some are giving us: “With a three year total loss of 31%, Telstra Corporation Limited would certainly have some dissatisfied shareholders“. For me it is different, I actually do not give a hoot about the shareholders (never did, never will). Telstra can only head this up by advancing now through frog leaped technology, to get ahead of the curve, not to follow it when it is economically terrific. It is a path that is over and done with. Huawei and Google are showing that this path will not work in the long run and the consumer will merely be reflecting this as they have to pay for an outdated solution that merely has one less button and perhaps a jack taken out of the equation. We want to see true progress where we can do what we need to do anything I need to do.

You see in 5G it will not be ‘whenever we want it‘, it will be about ‘where ever we are, whenever we ask‘, it is not the same setting and the telecom providers are just not ready. It is exactly that setting that I saw in the Neom plans of Saudi Arabia where I saw the option of solution being addressed. The new stage where we see change; not one that becomes an option to one person but a change giving availability for all. A mere information stage that might seem to start with the information pylon, it goes beyond that, these things can be seen by buildings, in elevators and on the road, a mere place where we can immediately be updated or request to be updated, on the go and on the fly (literally so) and in all that governments are not ready, they left it to people who maximised on their profits with no intent of investing, a stage now coming to fruition as Google and Huawei leaped forward (OK, Samsung too). The rest is merely staging progress through marketing like ‘the most powerful console in the world‘ whilst one game (Red Dead Redemption II) requires close to 12% of the entire console storage, merely one game! That is merely one facet of the short-sightedness that we face today and 5G will bring these issues to the surface on a much larger scale. Not on the phone, but on the total infrastructure and it gets to be worse. You see, in 5G your mobile phone is not your phone anymore. It will be your personal data server whether you like it or not. So when we see ‘high-risk vendors‘, we forgot one element. That is the element we call ‘high-risk governments‘, the players behind the players who left other to do the preparations and now that they are learning the hard way (as I personally see it) that they are not ready, we see all these delays and other 11th hour grasps regarding the definition ‘high-risk‘. So as we contemplate the excuse “a threat to the whole network“, whilst we see nothing in the air of how such threats are even possible to exist. Whilst we were shown the Sony intrusion, the Facebook screw-up (Cambridge Analytica), we see nothing in the air of ‘we are prepared‘? We saw that excuse that people were prepared often enough for many years and when we look back we see articles (Financial Times) where the discussion was already on in 2012, six years ago and in all that time the danger of “a threat to the whole network” and ‘high-risk‘ did not make the headlines in all this? Is that not weird too? I personally see it as a clear example of facilitation towards greed instead of enabling safety to a much larger degree, security and reliability on a network that should have the non-repudiation ability that 4G never had, that was the foundation of the NHS solution, a safer setting, not a faster setting (which was actually a nice bonus). This is the first part in showing the players as those who propagate a stagnant life through iteration.

This has become a stage where the next generation is worse of then the two generations before us. On the upside, no, there is no upside to any of that, it is merely the recognition of facilitation of greed driven people and have we not facilitated to them enough?

 

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