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When seeing is no longer believing, what follows? We live in a digital era when picture and video manipulation becomes increasingly easy and accessible. Claire Berlinski once wrote about watching young men throw rocks and shout for Western TV news cameras while just off-screen other men sat quietly observing the scripted mob. Memes, making humor […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America recoil in horror as an avowed neo-Nazi opens fire in a Pittsburgh-area synagogue, killing eleven people and wounding others because he thought all Jews needed to die. They also discuss the liberal insistence that this is the year young voters really show up at […]

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The one night I ever spent in Belize, there was a scheduled loss of electricity – two hours, I think it was. Although I have heard of rolling blackouts here and there over the decades, I never experienced any until I went to Guinea-Bissau this year. At least I think they were scheduled; they were […]

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To cozy up to readers and also make myself sound almost human (the processes are usually separate), I sometimes throw in a “Does anybody remember…” Generally, few do, or will admit to. But here is something 99% of subscribers cannot have forgotten: the 1981 air traffic controllers’ strike that almost immediately resulted in their wholesale […]

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud the Justice Department for prosecuting a Treasury Department employee for giving sensitive information to the media. They’re also pleasantly surprised to see Mexico getting serious about screening the caravan of Hondurans hoping to reach the United States. And they slam Twitter for it’s […]

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This month, the gamer known as “Ninja” became the first “esports” “athlete” to grace the front cover of ESPN Magazine. As “esports”–i.e., playing video games in a professional competitive setting–grow in popularity, the Young Americans debate whether this portends ill for their cohort, and wonder if video games are taking over society as a whole. […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Artificial Intelligence and the Brilliant Idiot

 

My phone buzzed while my watch thumped my wrist. I was in a meeting and so made a surreptitious glance at my wrist. My wife was calling and I declined the call, knowing that if it was urgent she would either leave a message or send me a text. The text came through a few minutes later, asking if I wanted to join her for lunch. I waited until the meeting had ended, and until I had taken care of other business that had piled up, before finally messaging her back about when I would be free. We had our lunch date, but as we were leaving I pulled out my phone to check on my work emails, and there on the lock screen was a “Siri Suggestion” that I return my wife’s call from an hour and half before. Siri is a brilliant idiot. Brilliant enough to guess that I should probably call my wife back, then put that as a suggestion right on the lock screen, but idiotic enough to not know that the suggestion was unwelcome and unnecessary.

Over the last couple of iterations in Apple’s IOS (the operating system used in their mobile devices), Apple has layered in assorted habit-gathering machine-learning routines into Siri, its smooth-voiced “Digital Personal Assistant”. The latest iteration of IOS, version 12, has extended these habit-watching routines to the point where, by default, they constantly monitor what you do and where you do it, then attempt to build macros of commands to automate and guide those habits. The suggestion that I return the call to my wife was based on the phone having observed that I do usually return calls to my wife, but had not yet done so in this case.

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. How America Can Beat China in the AI Race

 

If you believe Kai-Fu Lee — the Beijing-based AI scientist, venture capitalist, and former Googler (he ran Google China) — China has the edge in AI, a case he makes in “AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order.” As Lee sees things, China’s internet economy generates lots of data with few restrictions on hoovering it up. China is also massively investing in the sector. In addition, he praises Chinese-style cutthroat entrepreneurship vs. the softer Silicon Valley version, at least as he see it. (This interview with McKinsey gives a good sense of Lee’s views.)

Whether or not Lee is correct in evaluating how the two nations stand in relation to each other, it makes sense for US policymakers to assume more could be done to reduce barriers to AI advancement and encourage the technology’s development. And to that, it’s certainly worth taking a look at “Reducing Entry Barriers in the Development and Application of AI” by Caleb Watney of the R Street Institute. The analysis finds that one goal of policy should be to increase the supply of AI talent and speed AI diffusion by importing more AI talent and allowing companies to better deduct the cost of training AI workers.

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. She’s Ba-aack! “Lucretia” on Cyber-Security

 

Between the incessant controversy about Russia hacking our elections, and the recent recommendation of several U.S. science academies that we return to paper ballots, we thought it was high time to devote an episode to cyber-security issues. And we have just the person for the topic: “Lucretia,” Power Line’s International Woman of Mystery. In addition to being an expert on the Constitution, “Lucretia” also runs a cyber-security program at a major university. In addition to talking about the national security angles of cyber-security, Lucretia also walks us through basic risks each of us face as regular uses of the internet. (Hint: You really may want to think about covering up your laptop camera!)

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Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America get a kick out of Missouri Rep. Billy Long drowning out a protester during a House committee hearing by drawing upon his old auctioneering skills. They also scratch their heads as an anonymous administration official writes an op-ed in the New York Times to […]

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Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Should Trump Fans Have Their Own Versions of Google and Facebook?

 

President Trump claims Facebook, Google, and Twitter treat him and his supporters unfairly. “They are really trying to silence a very large part of this country and those people don’t want to be silenced,” Trump said yesterday, following up on his anti-Google tweets. “You know what we want? Not regulation, we want fairness.” (I, on the other hand, have my doubts, as I write in The Week.)

But maybe they also want another choice. In an interview with Axios, Donald Trump Jr. said he would love if a pro-Trump tech entrepreneur built a pro-Trump social network, adding that he would then “help promote the platform and be all over that.”

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. The Return of Eugenics to the US

 

Recently, the Wall Street Journal had an essay in the Review section on new advancements in gene editing entitled: “Scientists Confront the Ghost of Eugenics: As new gene editing tools raise the prospect of engineering desired human traits, researchers are determined to educate the public.” About halfway through, one of the researchers revealed a telling anecdote:

Jennifer Doudna, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, is one of the inventors of the Crispr tool. She has recounted a nightmare she had about the technology. In the dream, a colleague told her that somebody wanted to talk to her about gene editing. When she entered the room, the person waiting to meet her was Adolf Hitler. Dr. Doudna and her colleagues hoped Crispr might ultimately save lives, she wrote. But the nightmare was a reminder of “all of the ways in which our hard work might be perverted.”

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Jim is back! Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America applaud North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer for his powerful ad slamming Sen. Heidi Heitkamp for supporting sanctuary cities and for doing so with the right tone. They also hammer Facebook for censoring numerous Prager U videos and labeling them “hate speech” […]

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Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. “Be Evil”

 

About two years ago, I posted a comment suggesting Google and its Obama-supporting workforce and management might have the power to redirect searches and control information in a way that favored one political point of view. My point was it does not take very much to influence an election outcome. The tools and temptation are there.

As many are aware, Google’s management and staff helped put together the indomitable Obama big data, drill down, finite, targeted social media, voter mobilization effort in 2012. I proffered that Facebook might do the same. My thoughts were dismissed very quickly by some knowledgeable people on Ricochet as impossible given that Google so carefully controls its search algorithm and no such hanky-panky would be tolerated. Who believes this is not possible today?

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Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Grocery Robots Are Coming!

 

It’s not that I’m lazy; I’ve merely chosen the contemplative life. One of the annoyances I most dread is peeling my fat derriere off the couch to buy a few more palettes of Funyuns and Coke Zero. Thankfully, Silicon Valley is working on a solution.

Kroger has joined the robotics company Nuro to launch a self-driving grocery delivery pilot program in Scottsdale, AZ. The service debuts today, serving the zip code around one Kroger store (known in Arizona as Fry’s Food Stores). A customer simply orders their groceries online via the Fry’s website or smartphone app and a Nuro robot drops off the food at their home. The delivery charge is $5.95.

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