Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Must There Be a Facebook?

 

It’s a real “… and the problem is what exactly?” sort of headline. This from Axios: “Facebook’s new cash-for-data debacle.”

If you’ve been paying any attention at all to data privacy issues — involving Facebook and other technology companies — then you might be aware some activists and academics have suggested users be paid for their personal data. They criticize the current system as “a massive transfer of wealth from ordinary people to the tech titans.”

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Future Is Now

 

I was promised flying cars. A robot butler. Vacations on the moon. Living in the 21st century, I do have access to all kinds of technology I never would have dreamed of as a kid. Still, one of my most common interactions with robots is waving my hands back and forth hoping that the machine will grant me access to a piece of paper towel so I can dry my hands. And it could get worse…

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Alexandra DeSanctis of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America unload on the media for running with the Buzzfeed story on the Mueller investigation that the Mueller team itself has now debunked, and for piling on a group of high school students over the incident at the Lincoln Memorial before almost any of the […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Why I Don’t Have a Smart Phone: Five True Stories

 

1. I was carpooling with some people on a six-hour trip (to Urbana), but before we could start, we had to get on the highway. Our GPS navigator took us right past the highway on-ramp we all knew, down some other road, then on a crazy four- or five-mile detour through other neighborhoods and odd side streets, finally coming full circle, back to the same on-ramp where we had started, which, this time, we took.

2.  For the next six hours, an extroverted older guy (maybe in his sixties) sat next to a younger guy (early twenties) and tried to make polite conversation. Even though they didn’t know each other previously, the older guy was friendly and full of energy, and it was clear that he really valued human interaction. The younger guy sometimes engaged, but his talking and even his listening eventually trailed off, as he lost interest in the conversation and paid more and more attention to reading whatever was on his phone. Perhaps unintentionally, the younger guy’s visible boredom sent the message loud and clear that he wasn’t interested in talking to the older guy. I ended up feeling bad for the older guy, and spending a lot of the trip engaging with him, even though we were sitting in different rows and had to crane some to make it work.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Imagine Googling Your Name and Finding Your Entire Childhood Online

 

There’s a certain breed of mommy bloggers that really, really get under my skin. It’s one thing to write about your experiences using your own frame of reference, but there are a number of women out there who write using their kids’ hardships and travails as fodder, exposing their personal lives (with pictures and names) to the world without their consent. One of the latter groups of mommy bloggers just wrote an exceptionally awful piece at the Washington Post that I wanted to highlight:

The day after Christmas, she hunkered down to explore her laptop. First stop: an Internet-wide search on my name. Second stop: a furious march to my room, where she thrust the shiny new device in my face.

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In 1950 Alan Turing devised the Turing Test. A test of a machine’s ability to exhibit intelligent behavior equivalent to, or indistinguishable from, that of a human. In 2017 a neural network machine learning program developed by Google called CycleGAN may have arguably passed the Turing Test with flying colours. The program’s purpose was to […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. It’s 2019: What Did Blade Runner Get Right and Wrong?

 

Three well-known science fiction films all take place in this new year of 2019: “Blade Runner” (1983), “The Running Man” (1987), and “Akira” (1988). “Blade Runner,” although released longest ago, may be freshest of mind thanks to the excellent 2017 sequel, “Blade Runner 2049.” And when that follow-up hit the big screen, there were plenty of news stories comparing the technological predictions of the two films to the tech gear we actually have today. For instance: The two movies show or suggest far more advanced AI, robotics, biotechnology, and space travel (lots of theorizing that the “Blade Runner” and “Alien” franchises kinda-sorta exist in the same universe), as well as the famous physics-defying flying cars or “spinners.”

On the other hand, the real 2019 has far better communication tech thanks to the internet and smartphones. And since the original “Blade Runner” missed that information revolution, it also of course missed the accompanying business disruption. It featured companies such as Atari, Bell Telephone, and RCA as important tech sector players. It’s a theme that “Blade Runner 2049” continued as creators chose to show a world where Atari is a tech colossus rather than Apple or Microsoft, which both existed when “Blade Runner” was released. The films depict a reality where there’s not a lot of obvious Schumpeterian creative destruction. Yet one would think there would need to be plenty of entrepreneurial and technological churn to arrive at a place where advances such as off-world colonies and replicants exist.

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The New Horizons will flyby Ultima Thule in three days. NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft is set to fly by a distant “worldlet” 4 billion miles from the Sun in just six days, on New Year’s Day 2019. The target, officially designated 2014 MU69, was nicknamed “Ultima Thule,” a Latin phrase meaning “a place beyond the […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are back from celebrating Christmas with three more prestigious Three Martini Lunch Awards. Today they discuss the most significant scandals of 2018 and then sift through a ton of possibilities for the best and worst political theater of 2018. And maybe, just maybe, there […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America welcome a federal judge’s decision to strike down Obamacare now that Congress has repealed the individual mandate. They also cringe as President Trump’s digs his legal holes deeper and deeper with more impulsive, ranting tweets. And they react to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren admitting […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and and Greg Corombos of Radio America find themselves drowning in crazy martinis again today. They slap their foreheads as a new GOP congressman from Tennessee – who is also a doctor – appears to tell a constituent that he’s hesitant to accept the government’s denial that childhood vaccinations cause […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Media’s Becoming More Positive About AI, and It Probably Should

 

I would more readily label myself, if forced, as a technology optimist rather than pessimist. So I very much like this chart from the new AI Index report:

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It’s a very busy day on the Three Martini Lunch. We begin by thanking Townhall.com for highlighting our podcast and close by discussing the sentencing of former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen and the most popular Christmas movies in various states (three states get it right and Nevada, of course, is very wrong). In between, we […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. America Needs More Robots. But Are We ready for Them?

 

If Americans want their living standards to rise, then the US economy and its workers must become more productive. And technology is obviously a big part of that. So it’s a bit worrisome that a new analysis from the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation finds that the US “lags significantly behind” many other economies when it comes to robot adoption — that, particularly when you consider the US is a high-wage nation and thus one would expect it to employ lots of robots. The research finds that out of 27 nations, the US ranks 16th with adoption rates, 49 percent below expected.

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David French of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America pop some popcorn as Democrats will likely have to eliminate one of their members from the Senate Judiciary Committee and the one with the least seniority – California’s Kamala Harris – is furiously fighting to stay on the panel. Of course, all of this […]

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Twitter Slides Further into Irrelevancy

 

Twitter used to be interesting. I signed up a decade ago and quickly became addicted. You could meet smart people with similar interests, funny people with disturbing interests, and get breaking news a day before the cable nets got around to it.

A lot has changed in 10 years. Today, Twitter is mostly dumb people yelling at each other and self-appointed hall monitors trying to shut down accounts they don’t follow. On Saturday, feminist Meghan Murphy was permanently banned for stating that men aren’t women. Sunday, conservative commentator Jesse Kelly was permanently banned for … who knows? Twitter gave no explanation. In response, ur-blogger Instapundit deactivated his account and others are likely to follow.

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CERN Controversy continues Or What The Heck is CERN up to? This photo surfaced recently causing quite a stir, and this is what Oliver Girard at Swiss Institute of Particle Physics (CHIPP) had to say. ( Photographed near Haute Savoie, France ) The weird brightening and dimming portal reportedly stayed stationary for around 10 minutes […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Myth of Bitcoin Disintermediation

 

I’m going to explain why the hype about both Bitcoin and blockchain is overblown, and then, at no extra charge, tell you what the real Next Big Thing is going to be in the world of computing.

But let me start with an admission against interest: I have a spotty track record as a prognosticator. I played with the internet before it was born, when it was something called NSFnet, and didn’t think it was going to be a big deal. I scoffed at the introduction of color displays on early personal computers, and thought moving video on a PC was pointless. (Certainly, I never intended to have use for such frills.)

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Epik agrees to host gab.ai Rob Monster is in for a world of hurt, and will need to be covered by prayer warriors. I’m not sure he realizes what is about to be unleashed on him, the SJW hordes will descend and try to devour him. More

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One of the things I didn’t mention in the @richardeaston thread about early tech (because it isn’t strictly tech oriented) was what I see as a loss of company loyalty to the employee and the employee’s loyalty to the company. In the middle of my sophomore year, I transferred from a Physics major (at the university where […]

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