“That robots, automation, and software can replace people might seem obvious to anyone who’s worked in automotive manufacturing or as a travel agent. But Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s claim is more troubling and controversial. They believe that rapid technological change has been destroying jobs faster than it is creating them, contributing to the stagnation of median income and the growth of inequality in the United States. And, they suspect, something similar is happening in other technologically advanced countries.” […]
“It is this onslaught of digital processes, says Arthur, that primarily explains how productivity has grown without a significant increase in human labor. And, he says, “digital versions of human intelligence” are increasingly replacing even those jobs once thought to require people. “It will change every profession in ways we have barely seen yet,” he warns.”
How Technology Is Destroying Jobs | MIT Technology Review
McDonalds app (via Twitter / hrtbps)
Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute is working on a new ebook DRM dubbed SiDiM that would prevent piracy by changing the actual text of a story, swapping out words to make individualized copies that could be tracked by the original owner of the ebook. […]
The idea behind SiDiM is similar to the way rights holders have been trying to protect music and video for some time. Instead of trying to lock down copies through technical measures that prevent copying, so-called fingerprinting measures simply add markers to a work that make it possible to identify the original purchaser. In theory, this prevents people from sharing their works for the fear of being caught.
However, in music files, these types of changes are a lot less notable than a machine rewriting a book, which is why it’s unlikely that authors and literature friends would embrace SiDiM. The system is currently in testing, and Fraunhofer secured some state funding to run these tests and even got a subsidiary of the German book publisher’s association to join. — New ebook DRM will change the text of a story to prevent piracy — paidContent, via Dan W.
How Google Will Use Balloons to Deliver Internet to the Hinterlands
“By early 2012, the experiment had gained status of a genuine Google X project. It also had a new leader. DeVaul, preferring to work on tech rather than management, helped hire a project leader, Mike Cassidy, a top search engineer who had started multiple companies before joining Google. Cassidy built up the team with network engineers, mapping specialists, energy experts, and ex-military operatives who were stunningly good at recovering downed payloads in wilderness terrain. (When balloons would go down, the payload would separate and glide earthward by parachute. Civilians stumbling on the scary-looking package would see a non-branded message reading HARMLESS SCIENCE EXPERIMENT, and a promise of a reward for those who called a number to return it.) When it became clear that Google needed many more balloons that its small team was able to hand-craft, Cassidy began a fruitful collaboration with Raven Aerostar, the company that makes weather balloons for NASA and created the monster bubble that took Felix Baumgartner into near space for his record leap earthward.”
Molly Dilworth - Paintings for Satellites
I have an inclination to work with materials that have had an obvious life before I use them; it’s a challenge and a pleasure to make something from nothing.
In the last year my practice has grown out of the studio in the form of large-scale rooftop paintings for Google Earth. This project uses materials from the waste stream (discarded house paint) to mark a physical presence in digital space.
My work is generally concerned with human perception of current conditions; the Paintings for Satellites are specifically concerned with the effects of the digital on our physical bodies.
In a landmark ruling, Sweden’s data protection authority (the Swedish Data Inspection Board) this week issued a decision that prohibits the nation’s public sector bodies from using the cloud service Google Apps.
The ruling – which bans Google cloud products such as calendar services, email and data processing functions – is based on inadequacies in the Google contract. A risk assessment by the Board determined that the contract gives Google too much covert discretion over how data can be used, and that public sector customers are unable to ensure that data protection rights are protected. — Sweden’s data protection Authority bans Google cloud services over privacy concerns » The Privacy Surgeon
Virtual Light A Tana Lawn, Liberty Art Fabrics
“Using the luminous fabric of pixels on a screen or digital projection, a screen grab was then taken to create this design. Although we pride ourselves on our main collection being primarily rotary and screen printed, it is very important not to ignore new technology and the ecology and versatility of digital printing. The most amazing designs can be created from photography, computer pixellation and high colour works of art. Our aim is to try and emulate the beauty and diversity of screen printed Liberty in a capsule collection of desirable digital prints.”
Facebook’s first data center ran into problems of a distinctly ironic nature when a literal cloud formed in the IT room and started to rain on servers.
Though Facebook has previously hinted at this via references to a “humidity event” within its first data center in Prineville, Oregon, the social network’s infrastructure king Jay Parikh told The Reg on Thursday that, for a few minutes in Summer, 2011, Facebook’s data center contained two clouds: one powered the social network, the other poured water on it.
“I got a call, ‘Jay, there’s a cloud in the data center’,” Parikh says. “‘What do you mean, outside?’. ‘No, inside’.”
There was panic.
“It was raining in the datacenter,” he explains. — Facebook’s first data center DRENCHED by ACTUAL CLOUD • The Register
BR: Kuwait is a crazy mix: a super-affluent country, yet basically a welfare state, though with a super neo-liberal consumer economy.
FQ: We consume vast amounts of everything. Instagram businesses are a big thing in Kuwait.
BR: What’s an Instagram business?
FQ: If you have an Instagram account, you can slap a price tag on anything, take a picture of it, and sell it. For instance, you could take this can of San Pellegrino, paint it pink, put a heart on it, call it yours, and declare it for sale. Even my grandmother has an Instagram business! She sells dried fruit. A friend’s cousin is selling weird potted plants that use Astroturf. People are creating, you know, hacked products. — magazine / issue / Fatima Al Qadiri & Lauren Boyle | MOUSSE CONTEMPORARY ART MAGAZINE
Firsthand experience with these systems, and horror at their capabilities, is what drove a career intelligence officer to provide PowerPoint slides about PRISM and supporting materials to The Washington Post in order to expose what he believes to be a gross intrusion on privacy. “They quite literally can watch your ideas form as you type,” the officer said. — U.S., British intelligence mining data from nine U.S. Internet companies in broad secret program - The Washington Post
“Police are searching for suspects’ photos on Instagram and Facebook, then running them through the NYPD’s new Facial Recognition Unit to put a face to a name, DNAinfo New York has learned. Detectives are now breaking cases across the city thanks to the futuristic technology that marries mug shots of known criminals with pictures gleaned from social media, surveillance cameras and anywhere else cops can find images.” High-Tech NYPD Unit Tracks Criminals Through Facebook and Instagram Photos - New York City - DNAinfo.com New York
My friends and I who are building websites — we’re kids! We’re kids playing around with tools given to us by adults. In decreasing order of adultness, and leaving out an awful lot, I’m talking about things such as: the Von Neumann stored program computing architecture; the transistor; high-throughput fibre-optic cables; the Unix operating system; the sci-fi-ish cloud computing platform; the web browser; the iPhone; the open source movement; Ruby on Rails; the Stack Overflow Q&A site for programmers; on and on, all the way down to the code that my slightly-more-adult co-workers write for my benefit. — James Somers – Web developer money
“Key insights into your dog”: Whistle