Apple Changes Longstanding Norm Amid Gun Violence

As of last week Apple made an announcement that would change one of its most polarizing and long standing divisive emoji’s.   What the dropped on the crowd at a press conference last week was that they would change their gun emoji which depicted a Smith and Wesson style 6 shooter revolver pointing to the left with a green water pistol gun with a clearly visible safety tip that is orange on the end. This is causing an uproar from gun nuts. A kind of first its the emoji then they are coming for our real gun kind of attitude is being felt. The move is being made to reflect Apple’s gun stance because gun violence is a very hot topic right now and Apple knows their base. The comply last year ted a fight to get the unicode consortium, to reject the rifle emoji.

This is interesting when we consider private industry and their role in affecting the sociopolitical sphere. What I mean to say is that Apples thinking is that the  emoji is a part of the parlance of our time and as a result it is a way we communicate and thus we are limited by the given symbols as a result of what people can and cannot see as a result of our behavior. Thus Apple plays a huge role in what people can and cannot say given their prescribed language. So to deliberately remove one emoji is in affect a way of limiting the language and dictating what can and cannot be said. Is this right ? I don’t know but what can be seen is that it is and will probably remain a very large part of the discussion for years to come in this country. Not to mention that to get rid of it does not really say that it is really doing anything other than what cannot already be done. That being said, it can also  be seen that there several reasons why we can look at this and say they have autonomy over the topic. Consider also the point that it is driving home that it is something that we should not talk about is the message. But simply not talking about it is not going to do anything in the way of curbing social and political sigmas and behaviors surrounding this topic. 

Some can see that this is just Apple trying to be politically correct, and who know maybe by taking this away from the vocabulary it would curb the reality or presence of it in our world today. Still it remains to be seen what or why anything is going to change their minds or if it would be apropriate to have it at all in the future. “It’s not surprising in this hypersensitive culture that we seem to have that something like an emoji would cause such concern.” said Jude. “its hard to hay if it’s worth discussing.” That being said, “I suspect the impact be slight.” he goes on to say and that seems to be the sentiments being felt by many these days.

Read More

What We Can Learn From the Largest Tech IPO of 2016

We all wonder when the tech bubble will burst and what it will look like. We often speculate that there will be some kind of grand dooms day scenario or something rad like from hackers or fight club, or even Die Hard 4: Live Free Die Hard. But the truth of the matter is that it won’t be anything cool at all, I know this because it actually reaching its breaking point in the form of the Japanese messaging companies IPO of their product Line which went public and was the largest IPO of a tech IPO of 2016. Why is this such a hand face moment you might ask, well because the app got a 7 billion valuation after the fact. So where is the problem you may be asking, well its just the fact that their entire business model is that they are a messaging service that basically just offers new gifs and stickers and have a pretty poor face tracking potential, kind of like snap chap but not as good. 7 billion dollars, that is more than the GDP of some small nations and for a product that does nothing. Some people say that you vote with your dollar, so in this regard we are seeing that what the people want is completely dumb and nowhere near what we are valuing things at the same level of stupidity we are valuing Donald Trump as a society. If anything this is a good sign of the time because it is high time we have a cleansing fire to sweep across the silicon valley and just get rid of crap products and services like this. If anything we can look at this as a day which will live in infamy as the dumbest day the stock market has ever had.

The shares of line started trading today at around $42 dollars on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LN, up 33 percent over the company’s initial public offering price of $32.84. That boost puts the company’s value at over $7 billion as I said before and the companies raised more than $1 billion thanks to their stock offering. The better-than-expected demand from the public market, is pretty surprising in an environment where there is extreme. “I myself am bearish on Line in the long run; Chat apps are commoditized. All serve the same use case and have very similar feature sets; I think Line will continue to be an Asia-only phenomenon. Europe and America are clearly dominated by Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Small markets, like South America and India are lost to Whats App, too.”.”

The world seems to be splitting at the seems where ever you turn your head there is a new environmental disaster or a terrorist attack or political blunder or dumb tech move. What remains to be seen is how this stock will do in the coming weeks but we can be fairly sure that it will flop and flop quick if it were to go down in this way it will be sooner rather than later.

Read More

The Unforeseen Toll on the Tech Economy

We have all seen how a booming tech economy can help us drive up our employment and the wages for upper and middle class incomes within the United States and around the world where ever it rears its head. This is great for them, but a lot of data is starting to suggest that the growth does virtually nothing for the country’s poorest individuals.

The old adage goes that rising tides raise all ships, but what we are actually seeing is that the rise is to great in one region that it actually comes down and drowns the others who cannot rise fast enough. “it is only when the definition of poverty considers those with incomes nearing double the poverty line that tech employment has a beneficial effect.”

Moreover, “these findings suggest that while tech employment has some rose in improving welfare for non degree educated workers, tech employment alone is not enough to reduce poverty.” The author compiled census data for 245 metro areas across the United States, and marked the poverty levels between 2005 and 2011. It’s worth consider that this window of study is really a study of the great recession and within this context any sector would look like a bad bet, but the reason is alarming. “in contrast to the expectation of the optimistic literature, it does not appear that increasing tech employment; hence while the effects of tech do not seem to reach those in poverty and particularity in extreme poverty, they do affect the wages of those with the lowest level of education.” 

Lets face it, we’ve been sold a bill of goods that turn out to not be so good. So now we can now begin to ask questions that are fundamental to the health of our economy and the survival of the those in the lower classes of the united states economy. a major consideration is that we need to wonder when will our labor laws catch up with the so called gig economy. Because as we know companies such as Uber and Task Rabbit will get regulated eventually, but whether that’s the best way to help on demand work force is still being up in the air. This is all considered within the context of future tech trends. 

If we are asked to put bluntly what defines the various industries that fall under the definition of sharing or gig or on demand economy, anyone would struggle to know what that really entails across all cases, if anything. Most of the companies today are still considered part of this new tech power house market place, but the non ownership economy is something vastly different than what we think it is. Part of the problem is that the limited binary system we see for labeling workers is either we say they are employees with legal protections that are assumed or not, or we put them on the other end of the spectrum as being the employing party themselves but as it stands now there is really no place for the gig economy employee as we understand them today.

Read More

Robots and Ethics

The advancement of robotic technology is becoming one of the most important tech trends of our era. As robots become increasingly complex and are entrusted with larger responsibilities, engineers are being forced to consider their own philosophies, and which should be programmed into the robots. This is an especially prevalent problem for robots that are meant to choose between dangerous and sometimes violent situations in which human lives are involved and even at stake. Autonomous cars, for example, must decide in the event of an unavoidable accident whether to rear end a car and potentially injure passengers inside or to swerve off the road and endanger its own passenger. Drones that understand that both targets and civilians are inside a building must decide whether to bomb it. These are ethical quarries worthy of debate among humans, so how do we program robots to cope with them?

robot ethics2Many engineers have tried to sidestep the problem and moral argument by requiring that any automated machine that puts human life in danger simply have an override button. That way the decision ends up being the responsibility of the human operator as opposed to the engineer. However, sometimes this may seem like too much power for human operators. If planes, for example, could not be taken out of autopilot, perhaps the threat of terrorists taking over planes and crashing them would be significantly reduced.

“There are multiple approaches to trying to develop ethical machines, and many challenges,” Gary Marcus explains. Marcus is a cognitive scientist at NYU and CEO and Founder of Geometric Intelligence. “We could try to pre-program everything in advance, but that’s not trivial- how for example do you program in a notion like ‘fairness’ or ‘harm’?”

That this insurmountable challenge somehow be sorted out is made even more imperative by the rapid development of robotic soldiers. Russia recently unveiled its creation of “Ivan the Terminator,” a humanoid robot that can drive cars and be operated remotely. While Ivan’s remote operation implies that autonomous ethics in a robot soldier are still not totally necessary, the robot shows potential for autonomy and is therefore seen as a major threat by western powers; can Russia be trusted to make an ethical soldier?

robot ethicsSome believe that the best approach to creating a robot than can reason through ethics is to program in it a way in which human beings build an ethical framework and learn to reflect on different moral rules in an effort to make sense of which ones fit together.

“We acquire an intuitive sense of what’s ethically acceptable by watching how others behave and reacting to situations,” explained Colin Allen. Allen is a professor of cognitive science and the philosophy of science at Indiana University, and co-author of the book Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong. 

“In other words, we learn what is and isn’t acceptable, ethically speaking, from others- with the danger that we may learn bad behaviors when presented with the wrong role models. Either machines will have to have similar learning capacities or they will have to have very tightly constrained spheres of action, remaining bolted to the factory floor, so to speak.”


Read More

The Next Step in 3D printing

When we think about the future of manufacturing our minds are usually eager to go to 3D printing. Then reality sets in and we are frustrated by the feasibility both in time and cost for what it would take to exist on a large scale and we go on to the next thought. But what if there was a solution to the cost index paradox. What if we could 3D print at a fraction of the time. As we know the saying goes “time is money” and when it comes to the operation of a 3D printer and paying the operators there is no exception. We may have found the solution by not going after overhauling the machine and mechanism itself, but by re-imagining what material it used in production. The speeds are truly astonishing, and can print 10 times faster than traditional methods.

This is coming from HP and the firm refers to the method as “multi jet fusion.” One of the team member see that the innovation has the potential to complete change our production and re-imagine how one can have in divergent building practices. One of the grips is that it only prints in one color. To that I say wow. That is such an inconsequential side effect to a break through technology that I cannot comprehend who is pushing this complaint. Other than this non-problem the skeptics remain largely silence because frankly for anyone who understands and appreciates this technology there is little to complain about. And for those who have followed and cared about 3D printing since its beginnings this is a dream come true worthy of celebration. HP has just raised the bar. 

“HP printers can produce really high resolution parts that at a cost and a speed that bows the competition out of the water.” said Joe Kempton

He goes on to note that, “what its competitors have, at the moment, is a wider range of materials and the ability to print in multi color, but in the long term HP should be able to close that gap.” again with the colors.

What makes this unique is that unlike other 3D printers it does not reply on lasers to administer its print material. Instead, it puts down a tiny layer of powered before using a thermal inkjet array to introduce an added chemical agent that can fuse the material together.

This is repeated layer by layer until the thing is complete and you have the freedom to do some very exciting things with this technology. Such as moving parts, and separation modal points. This is because the standard array as it stands now it capable of targeting 340 million points in a volunteerism pix-elation system what refreshes every second.

The kicker is that this baby is going to run you about $130,000 and that is before transportation installation maintenance and calibration costs, that could easily double the cost in a matter of 1 or two years. But as it goes with machine tech investments the rule of thumb is that you wait a year or two for the price point to fall.

Read More

Most Important Tech Trends According To Google CEO

Eric Schmidt, is the executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and has spend career predicting how technology can and will shape our world. When he was traveling the globe this last year he acted as a kind of tech ambassador to the companies he went to and attempted to outline what he saw as being the next biggest and game changing technologies, or moonshots if you will. They will improve important parts of our society he believes and are  just around the corner. jkljlkjkjl

Last Monday Thousands of investors and business elite filled the Milken Institutes Global Conference room in Los Angeles to hear what he had to say.

He began by outlining that there needs to be a revolution in using plants to replace meats, and a synthetic meat industry in general. In order to replace livestock with growing and harvesting plants can reduce green house emissions and combat climate change. The meat and cattle producers in particular emit a huge amount of green house gases both in the processing and transport but in the sheer fact that there are so many cattle who discharge huge amounts of methane rectally. This is similar to an initiative Google did last year in their support of the EPA.

In order to develop a plant protein that communities can use in order to replace the mean they consume has to be very cheap and accessible to developing countries if it is going to have as globally significant of an effect. In order to produce a single pound of meat to the store (raising, slaughtering, and shipping) is a very ineffective and expensive ordeal when compared to the creation of plate based proteins of comparable nutrition.

dgdsfgsdfgSchmidt has been as bold as to say that the world is now ready to replace synthetic food with the help of computers and their ability to crunch data. Tech will allow us to researcher the best plants and combinations of them to create the tastes and nutritional expectations we have for our foods.

He then went out to point out his plans for 3D printing and building. He believes that the way we do construction building, both in terms of residential and commercial building is way to time consuming, energy intensive, and costly. However, he thinks that 3D printing technology, which has been spurred by the last, computing and software, which can create building that are less expensive and time intensive. These 3D printed buildings he believes can be created in our industrial and customization way we are all wanting in the millennial generation with out all the cost of hiring an architect.

Well next he thinks that all of this is a fairly mute point if we do not fundamentally change our education system and rethink what we are trying to do with our task of educating our citizenry. Everyone knows that students learn differently and it is becoming more so the case that we know how to reach these marginal cases better than ever before. He thinks that we are still very much in a dark age of education in regards to tech and that we need to fundamentally demystify the computer and allow kids to know how they work.

Read More

Tech Giants Supporting EPA In Legal Battle

Tech Companies Google, Microsoft, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon, all the big players on the block announced Friday that they are pledging their support for the Obama administrations  in a lawsuit facing its central plan to combat climate change. The sentiment being that we need bold comprehensive environmental policy reform, and we need it now (if not 50 years ago). The Tech industry uses a huge amount of energy itself and the companines filed a joint amicus brief to the federal Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in their total support for the Environmental Protection Agency as it defends its signature to propose a new clean flower plan which is revolutionary but is opposed by the entire current energy industry as well as the segment of the population that thinks the earth is 6,000 years old, so suffice to say this is going to be an uphill battle no doubt. But what it represents is a kind of futuristic and optimistic look at what could be. It will be interesting to see where the trajectory of these trends goes with the technology that is looming on the horizon. nkln

“The Clean Power Plan reflects reasonable and attainable assumptions about the increasing availability of renewable generation in the nation’s power sector,” they stated in a joint letter on their behalf considering this issue. The regulations is being put forward to lower our nations carbon emissions and significantly by 2030. to 32 percent below 2005 levels. In so doing they are going to offer monetary and other incentives to states to ween themselves of the burning of fossil fuels in hopes of getting them to implement new forms of renewable energy such as wind, solar, or tidal power. This is coming on the coattails of the climate talks that took place in Paris last December. This is the only way we are going to meet these goals we put on for ourselves. It is going to be interesting considering how we ourselves will be motivated to do this apart from saving the future of our species, considering how punishment or accountability can exist. The tech companies who participated in this all themselves rely heavily on renewable energy through power purchase deals of their own, which facilities to power their energy incentive.

wowkThe EPA put forth this week a 200 page briefing on the severity of the situation and the necessity to support this bill as well as the fact that carbon emissions pose a monumental threat to the health and welfare of the American people. Following Friday 44 current senators as well as 164 current and former house members from 38 states also filed supportive briefs. But if you think about it that really inst that much considering. Its less than half in each for each respective branch of government. Still what we see time and time again is that industry can influence policy and the behavior of the populous much quicker than government. Historically, this has been a bad thing, and usually pushed the nation to dark realities from leaded gas, to the creation of the last financial collapse. However, it seems like the biggest companies today may yet have a conscious.

Read More

Raising the VR Bar

This week Oculus week launched Oculus Social which is a social networking service offered by the samsung’s gear and VR viewer. The Business has not yet actually sent out any headsets or product to date, released two social games which encourage more friend gathering on Oculus Social. There are two Games Herobound: Gladiators and Social Trivia. We are likely to see this at CES next year. fdf

in the game Herobound: Gladiators, players are put into teams or legions to unify and fight against mythical creatures that include but are not limited to Demons, Goblins, and Chupacabras, in a kind of war against good and evil where in you are on a unified team and like other games that are popular such as Call of Duty or World of Warcraft where you are in a similar relationship to your teammates across the world the same is true of Herobound:Gladiators except with the addition of the VR aspect. Where as in Social Trivia the stakes are kind of less interesting and it merely gives know it all types who feel a need to assert their intellectual superiority so that someone, anyone knows can now be achieved in a VR setting. The VR doesn’t really seem like it will add much to the answering of triva questions so you can’t help but wonder what the thinking was behind this one. That being said, trivia games are popular so it makes sense.

Charles King who is a principal analyst for Pund-it said about this new development in the gaming world that “First, the company indicated that Oculus users will be able to share space in VR, interacting socially, chatting, watching films and competing in trivia games.” He goes on to say that,”Second, the company announced a multiplayer game service that appears to make use of some social features, though details on that appear sketchy.

fggfgs“Rather than consider it a hardware peripheral, we should be looking at it as a standalone hardware device just like TV or computers,” “This is the beginning of a completely new way to consume media — at least once adoption reaches critical mass.” another point to consider in raising teh VR bar is that, “Virtual reality technology has been around in one form or another for the better part of three decades, and much of what Facebook and Oculus are doing is derivative of those past efforts,” he said. “But multiplayer online gaming and immersive social experiences also have a lengthy history.”

Jeff Davidson who developed the hit game second life which follows this same platform wrote, “With Oculus Social, Facebook appears to be taking some pages from these past efforts and spinning them with a VR slant,” he said. “It’ll be interesting to see what the company comes up with that’s actually new, and whether it can avoid the pitfalls and mistakes that tripped up others.”

The gaming world is inevitably moving to VR, the only question is when and by who. Other big names aren’t totally in the game yet, but Oculus might lack the ability to make compelling games that people actually want.

Read More

What Software Engineers Want Computers to Do

Engineers are constantly coming up with new approaches to AI or artificial intelligence. Whether it’s machine learning, deep learning, or any other big data processing development that allows for machines to learn on their own, the process still falls considerably short of the thinking ability of the human brain.

ai broSo what is it that the human brain can do that machines are still struggling to accomplish? The human brain has the ability not only to learn patterns, but to learn how to learn patterns better. As Charlie Munger prescribed to the problems of the human race, it makes sense to aspire to “Go to bed smarter than when you woke up.”

Here’s some examples of ways that people can purposefully improve their perception and become more high-processing human beings.

Spend a lot more time reading. “You could hardly find a partnership in which two people settle one eating more hours of the day than in ours,” commented Charlie Munger on his own reading schedule. Carve out an hour of your day just for yourself and read intently during that hour.

Another way to get smarter is to constantly surround yourself with people who are not afraid to challenge your ideas. At the same time, you want to be able to probe the ideas of others to see if their contrary opinions hold up the big “Why?” question.

Another suggestion? Slow the heck down! Make sure you have time to think before you make a decision, even if you live in a fast-paced internet world where you get points for being immediate. The internet never forgets, so you’re likely to win in the long game if you take a while to answer.

By the way, while you’re probing, try probing yourself. See if you understand what you’re talking about or if you’re just regurgitating something you heard but didn’t have the context to fact check or truly understand. If you stop doing that you’re going to experience a clearer mind and a better life because you won’t be such a sheep. Also, if you refuse to try to understand the limits of what you know, you’re going to surely get yourself in trouble.

Finally, you can only learn how to think if you continuously learn. There’s something called a Latticework of Mental Models that can be helpful here. A mental model is a representation of an external reality inside your head. Mental models are concerned with understanding knowledge about the world. Your decisions are much more likely to be helpful and yield what you hoped when the ideas from multiple disciplines all point towards the same conclusion.

ai poCharles Munger says further:

“And the models have to come from multiple disciplines because all the wisdom of the world is not to be found in one little academic department. That’s why poetry professors, by and large, are so unwise in a worldly sense. They don’t have enough models in they heads. So you’ve got to have models across a fair array of disciplines.”

Whether you study physics or psychology, models tend to either help you simulate time and predict the future, i.e. better understand how the world works or help you better understand how our mental processes can lead us astray.

Read More

Hackers Attack Baby Cams

In the rush for espresso machines that can have a drink ready for right when your guests walk in the door and the garage door that can be opened from the other side of the planet, some of us have forgotten that there’s a lot to lose in this game of making everything automated be controllable through WiFi and from mobile devices.

As the FBI has stated, the Internet of Things is all fun and games until someone hacks into the system.

fbi“The FBI warns the new security risks come with the increased use of devices known as the Internet of Things,” said Mollie Halpern in a joint statement made by Halpern and Michael McKeown of the FBI.

“These devices send and/or receive data through the Internet. They include exercise trackers, smart TVs, and even baby monitors, pacemaker, and insulin dispensers,” continued Halpern. “Internet of Things devices such as security systems, if disabled, could lead to physical safety threats. The FBI recommends that consumers and businesses take safety precautions when using these devices.”

Mckoewn was quick to back up his colleague: “Unfortunately, cyber criminals can put malware on there, they could steal personally identifiable information… I always like to say, ‘Don’t just set it and forget it.’ Meaning, you took your Internet of Things device and put it in place and then you forgot about it- you didn’t put security updates on it. You want to decide, after a while, does it even need to be on my business of home network? If not, take it off. Make it less accessible to cyber criminals.”

These warnings came in October of last year, but were largely unheeded as the wave of IoT products hit the market. Exhibitions of self-tying shoes and mobile-device-activated security systems made a variety of headlines at Las Vegas’s Consumer Electronics Show, and the devices continue to proliferate from the medical field to the kitchen appliance market.

Unfortunately, just as the FBI warned, creepy things are starting to happen with hackers and IoT devices. There have been numerous reports by consumers that baby monitors have been hacked so that cybercriminals could verbally abuse children.

New York’s department of consumer affairs has launched an investigation into the security systems used by four baby monitor manufacturers.

ftcThe US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) also released a statement:

“Video monitors are intended to give parents peace of mind when they are away from their children, but the reality is quite terrifying – if they aren’t secure, they can provide easy access for predators to watch and even speak to our children,” announced DCA commissioner Julie Menin.

“Internet-connected devices like video monitors provide convenience- but without proper safeguards, they pose serious privacy risks. We encourage parents to take steps to make sure their devices are secure and call on manufacturers to make security a top priority.”

The FTC apparently examined five different popular baby monitor models and easily found ways to access the information of four of them.

In November 2014, a website was found that continued thousands of live feeds to baby monitors.

Read More