Archive for Technology - page 2

Who’s Smarter? You or Your TV?

Who’s Smarter?  You or Your TV?


Who’s smarter?  You or your TV?  You or your phone?  You or your (fill in the blank)?

We are on the verge of The Internet Of Things where more and more everyday devices we use become “smart” and collect data about us which they transmit to a central collection point somewhere all in the cause of creating for us a better “user experience” or a more convenient life.

So if you want to buy a  “Smart” TV because you need that extra convenience of being able to speak to it instead of wearing out your fingers on the remote, you’r in luck.    Such gadgets are available from major manufacturers including Samsung.  And if your able to speak to it, it’s going to have to be able to listen to you, right?  And in order to obey you, it’s going to have to understand you.  And in order to understand you, it’s going to have to learn about you.

So?  What could possibly go wrong?  I mean, as long as I gets to watch me some TeeVee, it’s all good.

Sure, it’s all good now.  As more and more data is collected the potential for it’s abuse grows.  One thing we know for sure is that if something can be abused, it will be abused.  That, my friends is a lead pipe cinch.  First comes prediction, then manipulation, then outright control.

So when your smart thermostat won’t let you turn the heat up, or your smart car won’t drive you to McDonald’s, or your smart bottle opener won’t open your beer (all for your own good), don’t come whining to me.  Of course, I suppose if a smart tv keeps just one person from watching Keeping Up With The Kardashians it will all be worth it.

Cross posted at Men Out Of Work Blog

I Told You So…Part Seven Or Eight…

I Told You So…Part Seven Or Eight…

…or I’ve lost count.  Sure, I’ve blathered on about the potential downsides of Artificial Intelligence.  I’ve also expressed my skepticism of the coming Internet of Things.  Certainly I may be paranoid, but even a blind squirrel will eventually find a nut.  No, I have not been found by a blind squirrel.  What I mean is that other less paranoid and more credible people are expressing some of the same misgivings, with actual evidence to back up their concerns.

In this article at, it is posited that the lax security built into comsumer devices, specifically home wireless routers, poses a real hazard to individuals and society in general.  And why is the security so lax in these devices?  Because we as consumers demand it.  We demand easy setup and our attention spans are too short to read more than a 3 step setup process.  So even as we are promised smarter and smarter home appliances and systems, the door is practically wide open for mischief or outright crime.  So when you wake up one morning and your toaster is holding a gun to your head, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Cross posted at Men Out of Work Blog

May I Make A Suggestion?

May I Make A Suggestion?

You may wish to patronize another blog I contribute to:

The Men Out Of Work Blog

There are a couple new things up over there today.  Plus, it’s an Amazon portal, so you can shop.


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

We can close the books on another year – I hope 2014 treated you all well enough.  For me it was not the best of times, nor was it the worst of times and so I can’t complain too loudly.  It’s not that I don’t like to whine, you’ve all heard it often enough.  I’ll try to save it for when it really counts.  So here’s to a hopeful look forward to 2015 – may it be a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous year for us all!


Stephen Hawking Expresses “concerns” about A.I.

Stephen Hawking Expresses “concerns” about A.I.

Hmmm…I sense a trend.  And the trend I’m sensing is that lately some very intelligent people – movers and shakers in the world of science and technology are expressing concerns over the development of Artificial Intelligence or AI.  Back in October I wrote about Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, voicing his concerns.  Then about the same time there was an article in Popular Mechanics titled “Elon Musk and Other Visionaries Are Worried About The Future of AI”.  And now today I read at BBC news that  none other than Stephen Hawking has concerns as well.  Hawking was being interviewed by the Beeb  and in discussing new computer software that Hawking uses to speak, the subject of AI came up.  While Hawking concedes that the primitive forms of AI that have already been developed are very useful, he fears the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans.

It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” …  “Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.” – Stephen Hawking

Pretty much the same sentiment has been expressed by Elon Musk and James Cameron who, though he is a film director, is a very smart guy and has invested a ton of money into science and research projects.

But don’t worry!  According the the Beeb,” others are less pessimistic”.  One of those others is Rollo Carpenter, creator of something call Cleverbot.  Cleverbot is learning software that is capable of carrying on a conversation so well that if can fool people into thinking they are conversing with another person.  Carpenter says “I believe that we will remain in charge of the technology for a decently long time and the potential of it to solve many of the worlds problems will be realized”.  Oh.  Alright then.  As long as we remain in charge of the technology for a “decently long time” everything will be fine.  But how long is a decently long time?  Long enough for Rollo Carpenter to make a lot of money on Cleverbot and be safely tucked in his grave before Skynet decides that the most logical way to solve all of the world’s problems at once is to eliminate mankind?  I’d rather listen to Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk and others’ advice.  Err on the side of caution.  Because the solution to all the world’s problems could turn out to be the world’s biggest problem.

Cross Posted at Men Out of Work Blog

Explanation (Excuse?) for Light (Non-Existent?) Blogging

Explanation (Excuse?) for Light (Non-Existent?) Blogging

I owe my legions of faithful readers an explanation for my long absence from the keyboard *eyeroll*.  I have recently become un-involutarily retired.  In other words, I found a job.  So yay.  And the Blogs have taken the back burner.  In fact they’ve been in the freezer.  I’m going to do my best to keep them going, but I’m still trying to find time to schedule all the things that filled my life during my long involuntary retirement.  Don’t Worry!  I’ll work it out!  Things may  lighten up after the Holidays.  Please be patient.

Are You Worried about the vicissitudes of life?

Are You Worried about the vicissitudes of life?

You know…vicissitudes… the changes or variations occurring in the course of life.  Well are you?  I’m not.  But if you are, maybe you’d like to consider a virtual presence device.  Like this:

Don’t laugh.  I mean, yes, laugh becasue that’s supposed to be funny.  But don’t laugh at this – apparently this is becoming a thing – see this article at  They don’t do an article about it at unless it’s becoming a thing.  The geeks are the ones who decide what becomes a thing and what doesn’t.  And the Geeks are telling us  This Will Be a Thing!   Meh.  Might not be so bad.  Harder to catch Ebola, I suppose.  But it will probably lead to something like this:

robot cat

Now can you tell me just how in the heck that thing is supposed to get in and out of the litter box?

Life in the Fast Lane….

Life in the Fast Lane….

…surely make you lose your mind.

In this instance I use the term “fast lane” to refer to an advanced high speed internet connection – a connection fifty to one hundred times faster than today’s fastest connections.  We are told in this article at Yahoo! News that not only are ultra fast broadband connections looming on the horizon, but once they do arrive they will transform the way we live by making possible new kinds of communication like telepresence and virtual reality.  At least in the opinion of “experts” in the field who responded to a poll conducted by Pew Research and Elon University.

Apparently speeds in this range are possible and are already in limted use by tech companies, though here has been some questioning as to how useful these connections really are.  But that will change when the connections become more widespread and common, because a “killer app” will emerge to take advantage of the bandwidth.  To wit:

“As gigabit bandwidth becomes widespread later this decade, applications will emerge which exploit the combination of big data, GPS location, weather, personal-health monitoring devices, industrial production, and much more,” said William Schrader, co-founder of PSINet Inc.

“Gigabit bandwidth is one of the few real ‘build it and they will come’ moments for new killer apps. The fact that no one had imagined the other killer apps prior to seeing them grow rapidly implies that no one can imagine these new ones — including me.”

This makes some sense in light of how technology evolved that we take for granted today.  No one imagined smartphone apps before smartphones (really I-phones) were invented.  Furthermore:

David Weinberger, a researcher at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, said that with these connections, “There will be full, always-on, 360-degree environmental awareness, a semantic overlay on the real world, and full-presence massive open online courses. Plus Skype won’t break up nearly as much.”

Waitwaitwaitwait…did he say full, always-on 360 degree environmental awareness?  OK, now it’s getting scary.  Not to mention:

Marti Hearst, a professor at the University of California-Berkeley, said the new connections means people will “play sports and music virtually, distributed, across the globe” and that some can have “virtual Thanksgiving dinner with the other side of the family.”

Well at least Skype won’t break up as much.  And virtual Thanksgiving dinners are way less likely to devolve into a foodfight/wrestling match in the front yard.  Unless teleportation is somehow involved…lemme scan this article again…no, they said “telepresence”.  No mention of teleportation.  Though the “always-on” part has me a little concerned.

When I hear experts talk about these things, I alway here them say how the technology will help bring people together.  I think it does just the opposite.  It enables people to avoid coming together and instead talk to a screen, or apparently in the future a hologram of some kind.  Certainly there would be some advantages to business, by eliminating the cost of people traveling for meetings.  I get that.  I also understand the benefit for families that can’t afford to travel being able to spend holidays together at least in some way.  But when we approach the always-on 360 degree virtual reality stage, I think we’re getting into “no need to get out of your chair for anything” territory.  Talk about your “killer app”.

Surely make me lose my mind.  What about you?  You with me so far?


Welcome to the blogosphere. Ego Vero questions answered

Welcome to the blogosphere.  Ego Vero questions answered

I’d like to first welcome any new readers, then give some background and answer some questions about the blog.

*taps the microphone*  Is this thing on?

Ego Vero is my little corner of the internet where I can transform thoughts and ideas that are rattling around inside my head into a form of reality by comitting them to writing.  Ego Vero is Latin for “I seek truth”.  I have invited you along on my journey which may take us along strange paths.  This means I may write about any of several general topics that interest me and for whatever reason occupy my thoughts.  The articles (which are called “posts”) on the home page are in chronological order – newest at the top, older below – and not sorted by category.  As you scroll down you go back in time and see every post covering every subject.  If you don’t wish to see all the categories, you can narrow things down to one category at a time.  Here’s how.  You will see these categories listed on the right hand side of the page – clicking on one of those categories will show you only the posts on that subject.  Let’s say you are an aviation buff who only wants to read my aviation posts and avoid the rest of my blather about Empiricism, robots, music and so on – click on “Aviation” and voila!  You will see only the aviation posts – still in chronological order with the newest at the top.  Same goes for any of the categories.

The category with the most posts by far is “Life”.  Just FYI

You know – Life – as in Life One and Life Two (three? four?……)

Any red text you see within a post contains a link to additional information – an article I used for reference, perhaps another related post I wrote, or a wikipedia link, etc.  Clink on the red text and the link should open in a new tab.

My goal first and foremost is to get these ideas out of my head!  Read the “About” page for more background.  But I invite you, dear reader, in the hope that we may learn something together about ourselves and each other.  And that you may be at least somewhat entertained in the process.  I welcome your feedback via the comments.  To the left of each post title is a two colored box – the top half is red and indicates the date the post was created.  The bottom half is grey and says “comments”.  The number  – which is almost always zero, dammit – indicates how many comments readers have left about the post.  Click on that grey box and you can leave a comment about the post.  Please do!  Your e-mail adress will not be published, shared or used by me in any way.  And there is definitely a slim chance that I will not stalk you.

For more, read How to Read This Here Blog Thingy and For New Readers – Welcome!

So Welcome!  And enjoy.

The Robots are Coming…

The Robots are Coming…

The Robots are coming!  The Robots are coming! 

First they came for our jobs, and I said nothing because I was unemployed.  Is this how the robot revolution begins?

Perhaps my anxiety is uncalled for.  In fact as is the case with most of my anxiety, paranoia, general hysteria and impalpable ranting, I’m sure it is.  If history is our guide, then we can predict a shift in employment, but not an end to employment.  At the end of the nineteenth century, most American jobs were in agriculture.  When those jobs were taken over by machines, employment shifted to manufacturing.  Then those jobs were automated.  The employment shifted again to Tech and Services, the jobs that the ‘bots are eyeing now through their little red glowing IR sensor eyeballs…err…CMOS chips.  Is that the end of the line?  No.  Employment will shift to areas reliant on tasks that robots cannot perform – yet.  What those areas are I can’t say off the top of my head, but I’m sure they exist – or will exist.  And when the robots take over those jobs, humans will be employed in other industries possibly yet unheard of.  One hundred years ago the occupation of, say, software engineer had’t been imagined.  Today it is commonplace and often lucrative.  So I think it’s safe to say that there will be occupations that exist one hundred years from now that we cannot imagine today.

Technology is advancing at an exponential rate.  Consider that personal computers were only introduced about 30 years ago and were very expensive.  Now everyone carries a better more powerful computer around in their pocket.  One that probably didn’t cost much – it might have even been free.  When my father was my age, neither the PC nor the Smartphone had been invented.  What types of technology might there be when my sons reach my age?  I don’t know.  I literally do not know.  I only know that the trend seems to be toward artificial intelligence and robotics.  It is hard to imagine where that’s going to lead us.

robot unicorn attack

So perhaps the real question is, what (or who) is going to take over the jobs that robots are doing?  The next couple hundred years should be interesting;  let’s hope it doesn’t get weird.  OK, check that.  We know it’s gonna get weird.  Let’s just hope it doesn’t get too weird.

Cross posted at Men Out of Work Blog

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