This is my dumping ground for quotes and other stuff relating to the wonderful world of digital & communications.
The larger debate is about what companies can do to their users without asking them first or telling them about it after. I asked Facebook yesterday what the review process was for conducting the study in January 2012, and its response reads a bit tone deaf. The focus is on whether the data use was appropriate rather than on the ethics of emotionally manipulating users to have a crappy day for science.
global high broadband adoption (speeds above 10 Mbps) passed 20 percent for the first time ever this quarter
robots together with competition from imports and off-shoring—moving plants into other countries—all have together worked to enormously reduce the number of manufacturing jobs in the US, down maybe 8m over the last 15 years. And I expect that will continue.
While robots will continue to replace human jobs in manufacturing, there are ever-fewer jobs to be replaced. I have described this whole process as “robots and manufacturing present a beautiful ballet performed on a shrinking stage.”
we must arrive at a less hysterical approach to the robots business. Technological change is not new. It can, as Ernest Hemingway said of bankruptcy, appear gradually then suddenly. But this is no excuse for neo-Luddism or for fatalism. Our culture should be one that embraces technological change and remembers that it is an exclusively human ability to make moral decisions
Three “general purpose technologies”—rare innovations that transform not only one industry but the entire economy—were developed within a few months of each other in 1879. Thomas Edison invented the first properly working light bulb, Karl Benz built the first reliable internal combustion engine and, two decades before Marconi, David Edward Hughes sent a wireless signal. … The second industrial revolution was “multidimensional.” The internal combustion engine meant cars and thus motorways, which led to wholesale distribution networks. Electricity meant light, air-conditioned offices and the service economy. US productivity grew by an average of 2.36 per cent a year from 1891 to 1972.
In contrast, Gordon says, the computer revolution of the past 40 years has been “one-dimensional,”
“Moravec’s paradox”, devised by the scientist Hans Moravec, states that higher-level human activities are easier to mimic than basic functions. It is easier, for example, to create an algorithm that performs thousands of advanced mathematical calculations in a few seconds than one that can make up a simple story
A few years ago, robotics, artificial intelligence (AI) and data analysis were “laughably bad.” Then they “suddenly got very good.” The main argument of The Second Machine Age is that technology is at an “inflection point.” We are about to see its profound consequences
Far better computers, on board and in the cloud; good, cheap sensors; maturing industrial-academic clusters; a broadening and speeding up of the field’s research base; expanding markets; exciting hardware; and a newly encouraging investment outlook: all of these have helped stimulate interest in robotics. … Mr Pratt traces the genesis of the DRC to the day after a tsunami hit Fukushima, when it became clear that the robots needed for such emergencies, widely believed to exist already, were nowhere to be found. Mr Inaba at Tokyo University suggests that some day emergency robots will become mandatory at big industrial installations
Robot Operating System (ROS)… now looked after by ..the Open Source Robotics Foundation (OSRF), is free to use and easily customised… Robotics used to be hard to do because to make even a poor robot you had to be good at a whole lot of different things: artificial intelligence, building manipulators, engineering joints and wheels, electronics and so on. … Now a small team with a fresh insight in a single area—making hands, say, or machine-learning—can use ROS and reasonably cheap hardware to put together a robotic system on which to try out its ideas
Humans can come together to do things they cannot do alone; in future they will increasingly come together with robots to do things they cannot otherwise do so easily, or in some cases at all.
Robotic extensions will come in a variety of forms. But just as the need to work at a range of tasks in the human world can force robots into a humanoid shape, so the need to work with humans in that world means that many of them will become, to some extent, socially humanoid. The most useful robots will be those that are best suited to working with people
Asimov’s robots were also the product of a particular sensibility, background and set of concerns—those of a child of hard-working and hard-pressed Russian parents in 1930s Brooklyn. Always content to do what they are told; always consigned to work on the “dull, dirty, dangerous” jobs; often uneasily aware that they are superior in some ways to their masters; endlessly at risk of pogrom because of their masters’ resentment and fear of them: his robot stories, and those of his successors, were immigrant stories. Except that the robots are immigrants not from abroad but from the future
one of the main aims of current robotic research: learning how to operate flexibly in an environment designed for humans, not robots
aspiring Cassandras have regularly proclaimed that new waves of technological innovation would render huge numbers of workers idle…
As early as 1589, Queen Elizabeth I refused a patent on a knitting machine for fear it would put “my poor subjects” out of work.
In the 1930s, the great John Maynard Keynes predicted widespread job losses “due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses
robots are always part of the future. Little bits of that future break off and become part of the present, but when that happens, those bits cease to be “robots.” In 1945, a modern dishwasher would have been a miracle, as exotic as the space-age appliances in The Jetsons. But now, it’s just a dishwasher