Page 2 – News Debris For The Week of May 7th
Getting Very Creeped Out
• We’ve seen the robot called Atlas from Boston Dynamics before. But what I’m pondering this week is the confluence of these two videos. First, hold this new video in your mind.
and then view this video, demoing Google Duplex.
These two videos together suggest that the eventual marriage of these two technologies will make for some, um, interesting changes to our lives in the future.
Speaking of Google Duplex, there has been some strong feedback after that demo by Google CEO Sundar Pichai at the I/O 2018 conference. Are we in for a lifetime of evil deception by this kind of AI agent? See: “Google’s AI sounds like a human on the phone — should we be worried?”
More questions to ask: Is Google Duplex another Google Glass, doomed from the start by social forces? Next, why is it Google and not Apple or Microsoft making this splash? And finally, is Google seizing the AI high ground or is it blinded by an improper vision that will eventually surrender to calmer, smarter vision from Apple? If something can be done, should it always be done? Is this just normal technical progress with new processes and social behavior to be sorted out later? If you know the answers, chime in with comments below.
• The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has a note on a new, bipartisan bill. “The Secure Data Act Would Stop Backdoors.”
The bipartisan Secure Data Act would stop any government agency or court order from forcing a company to build backdoors into encrypted devices and communications.
The EFF likes this bill. You should too.
• Why do humans have emotions? This next article posits that emotions are necessary for survival. Okay, then, should robots/androids have emotions? See: “How Long Until a Robot Cries?” If not, should they be, at least, engineered to read and respond to human emotions? Here’s an excerpt.
But if our emotional states are indeed mechanical, they can be detected and measured, which is what scientists in the field of affective computing are working on. They’re hoping to enable machines to read a person’s affect the same way we display and detect our feelings—by capturing clues from our voices, our faces, even the way we walk. Computer scientists and psychologists are training machines to recognize and respond to human emotion.
• Above, I’ve looked at some technologies from Apple’s competitors, always, to put what Apple does in perpective. After all, Apple is the most valuable company, in terms of market cap, in the world. The story of its succes is never ending. So it is appropriate to close here with a deep look article over at Hodinkee Magazine. “Apple, Influence, And Ive.”
Early in the article, Jonny Ive explains:
I don’t look at watches for their relationship to popular culture, which I know is so much of the fun – but rather as somehow the distillation of craft, ingenuity, miniaturization, and of the art of making.
Herein are keen insights into the thinking that went into the Apple Watch, and it’s very good stuff.
The contrast between the craft of the Apple Watch, as described above, and special projects at Google that always seem to creep us out is fascinating to watch.
Particle Debris is a generally a mix of John Martellaro’s observations and opinions about a standout event or article of the week (preamble on page one) followed on page two by a discussion of articles that didn’t make the TMO headlines, the technical news debris. The column is published most every Friday except for holiday weeks.