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GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world's communications

GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world's communications | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Exclusive: British spy agency collects and stores vast quantities of global email messages, Facebook posts, internet histories and calls, and shares them with NSA, latest documents from Edward Snowden reveal...
Artur Alves's insight:

"The sheer scale of the agency's ambition is reflected in the titles of its two principal components: Mastering the Internet and Global Telecoms Exploitation, aimed at scooping up as much online and telephone traffic as possible. This is all being carried out without any form of public acknowledgement or debate.

One key innovation has been GCHQ's ability to tap into and store huge volumes of data drawn from fibre-optic cables for up to 30 days so that it can be sifted and analysed. That operation, codenamed Tempora, has been running for some 18 months.

GCHQ and the NSA are consequently able to access and process vast quantities of communications between entirely innocent people, as well as targeted suspects."

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Gentlemachines
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Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy. So why can’t you put it down?

Your smartphone is making you stupid, antisocial and unhealthy. So why can’t you put it down? | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
A decade ago, smart devices promised to change the way we think and interact, and they have – but not by making us smarter. Eric Andrew-Gee explores the growing body of scientific evidence that digital distraction is damaging our minds
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How creepy YouTube channels trick kids into watching violent videos

How creepy YouTube channels trick kids into watching violent videos | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Creepy and inappropriate content continues to show up on the YouTube Kids app, and YouTube is mostly hands off until someone complains.
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After the end of the startup era

After the end of the startup era | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
There's a weird feeling afoot these days, in the Valley, and in San Francisco. Across the rest of the world -- Denver, Santiago, Toronto, Berlin, "Silicon..
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Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science?

Is the staggeringly profitable business of scientific publishing bad for science? | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The long read: It is an industry like no other, with profit margins to rival Google – and it was created by one of Britain’s most notorious tycoons: Robert Maxwell
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New Report Highlights Dangers of Hacked Factory Robots

New Report Highlights Dangers of Hacked Factory Robots | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Cybersecurity firm describes how malevolent hackers might compromise various kinds of industrial robots
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How to Call B.S. on Big Data: A Practical Guide

How to Call B.S. on Big Data: A Practical Guide | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Michelle Nijhuis reports on a course at the University of Washington, in Seattle, that teaches students to approach data-backed claims with skepticism.
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Valve is not your friend, and Steam is not healthy for gaming

Valve is not your friend, and Steam is not healthy for gaming | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The illusion behind the "Good Guy Valve" reputation
Artur Alves's insight:
"This, then, is Good Guy Valve — a corporation which employs precision-engineered psychological tools to trick people into giving them money in exchange for goods they don't legally own and may never actually use while profiting from a whole lot of unpaid labor and speculative work ... but isn't “evil.” This is the Good Guy everyone seems too afraid to call out, the toxic friend who is so popular that upsetting him will just make things worse for you, so you convince yourself he's really not that bad and that everyone else is over-reacting. Once the Good Guy illusion has disappeared, we're left with the uncomfortable truth: Valve is nothing more than one of the new breed of digital rentiers, an unapologetic platform monopolist growing rich on its 30 percent cut of every purchase — and all the while abrogating every shred of corporate or moral responsibility under the Uber-esque pretense of simply being a "platform that connects gamers to creators.” 
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Scholars' open debate paper on the World Health Organization ICD-11 Gaming Disorder proposal

Scholars' open debate paper on the World Health Organization ICD-11 Gaming Disorder proposal | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Scholars' open debate paper on the World Health Organization ICD-11 Gaming Disorder proposal on ResearchGate.
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The Deep Space of Digital Reading - Issue 47: Consciousness - Nautilus

The Deep Space of Digital Reading - Issue 47: Consciousness - Nautilus | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
In A History of Reading, the Canadian novelist and essayist Alberto Manguel describes a remarkable transformation of human consciousness,…
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First They Got Sick, Then They Moved Into a Virtual Utopia

First They Got Sick, Then They Moved Into a Virtual Utopia | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
One afternoon in November, Fran Serenade led me and her daughter Barbie down a steep section of the Appalachian trail. The sun was high and Fran hiked briskly, ducking the blue-green diagonals of fir…
Artur Alves's insight:
«
Today, Second Life is mostly forgotten by the broader public. An estimated 800,000 users are active on a monthly basis, according to Second Life parent company Linden Lab. That’s tiny compared to the 1.86 billion users who are active on Facebook each month. Yet some communities have quietly continued to thrive in the virtual world. One of these is the disability community, a sundry group whose members include people who are blind or deaf, people with emotional handicaps such as autism and PTSD, and people with conditions that limit their mobility, such as Parkinson’s, cerebral palsy, and multiple sclerosis. There are no official tallies of their numbers, but Wagner James Au, who has written extensively about Second Life, estimates they may account for roughly 20 percent of users. Some active members estimate the number higher — at as much as 50 percent
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World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind

World Energy Hits a Turning Point: Solar That's Cheaper Than Wind | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Emerging markets are leapfrogging the developed world thanks to cheap panels.
Artur Alves's insight:
«[U]nsubsidized solar is beginning to outcompete coal and natural gas on a larger scale, and notably, new solar projects in emerging markets are costing less to build than wind projects, according to fresh data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. «
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The high-tech war on science fraud

The high-tech war on science fraud | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The Long Read: The problem of fake data may go far deeper than scientists admit. Now a team of researchers has a controversial plan to root out the perpetrators
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Big Tech: The New Predatory Capitalism

Big Tech: The New Predatory Capitalism | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
The tech giants are menacing democracy, privacy, and competition. Can they be housebroken?
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As a human, I don't do technology. I _am_ technology

What does it mean to be a responsible, mature and wise technological being? Our future lies in seeking real answers to this type of question.
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Silicon Valley’s Latest Craze: Brain Tech

Silicon Valley’s Latest Craze: Brain Tech | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and other big Silicon Valley players want to make commercial gadgets for your brain
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Sea Level Rise Isn't Just Happening, It's Getting Faster

Sea Level Rise Isn't Just Happening, It's Getting Faster | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
In at least the third such study published in the past year, scientists have confirmed seas are rising, and the rate of sea level rise is increasing as time passes - a sobering punchline for coastal communities that are only now beginning to prepare for a troubling future.

What was a 2.2 millimetre per year rise in 1993 was a 3.3 millimetre rise in 2014, based on estimates of the mass changes of a number of key components of sea level rise, such as the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, the study in Nature Climate Change found.

That's the difference between 0.86 and 1.29 inches per decade - and the researchers suggest further sea level acceleration could be in store.

The chief cause of the acceleration was the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which went from contributing less than 5 percent of all sea level rise in 1993 to contributing more than 25 percent in 2014, the study found. The loss of ice in Antarctica and smaller glaciers over the same time period also contributed to quicker sea level rise.

The increase in the rate of sea level rise "highlights the importance and urgency of mitigating climate change and formulating coastal adaptation plans to mitigate the impacts of ongoing sea level rise," write Xianyao Chen of the Ocean University of China and Qingdao National Laboratory of Marine Science and Technology, and colleagues. Chen's co-authors hailed from institutions in China, Australia and the United States.

Via Wildcat2030
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It Took the Bicycle 200 Years to Find Its Way in the World

It Took the Bicycle 200 Years to Find Its Way in the World | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Some inventions come ahead of their time. This one came along well after it
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The blockchain paradox: Why distributed ledger technologies may do little to transform the economy — Oxford Internet Institute

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The Myth of a Superhuman AI – Backchannel

The Myth of a Superhuman AI – Backchannel | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Debunking the myth of a superhuman artificial intelligence: Hyper-intelligent algorithms are not going to take over the world for these five reasons.
Artur Alves's insight:
"The most common misconception about artificial intelligence begins with the common misconception about natural intelligence. This misconception is that intelligence is a single dimension. "
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Live and death: Facebook sorely needs a reality check about video

Live and death: Facebook sorely needs a reality check about video | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Facebook Live was meant to be part of the social network’s optimistic vision. But in the wake of two violent crimes, its response has been woefully inadequate
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Even good bots fight: The case of Wikipedia

Even good bots fight: The case of Wikipedia | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
In recent years, there has been a huge increase in the number of bots online, varying from Web crawlers for search engines, to chatbots for online customer service, spambots on social media, and content-editing bots in online collaboration communities. The online world has turned into an ecosystem of bots. However, our knowledge of how these automated agents are interacting with each other is rather poor. Bots are predictable automatons that do not have the capacity for emotions, meaning-making, creativity, and sociality and it is hence natural to expect interactions between bots to be relatively predictable and uneventful. In this article, we analyze the interactions between bots that edit articles on Wikipedia. We track the extent to which bots undid each other’s edits over the period 2001–2010, model how pairs of bots interact over time, and identify different types of interaction trajectories. We find that, although Wikipedia bots are intended to support the encyclopedia, they often undo each other’s edits and these sterile “fights” may sometimes continue for years. Unlike humans on Wikipedia, bots’ interactions tend to occur over longer periods of time and to be more reciprocated. Yet, just like humans, bots in different cultural environments may behave differently. Our research suggests that even relatively “dumb” bots may give rise to complex interactions, and this carries important implications for Artificial Intelligence research. Understanding what affects bot-bot interactions is crucial for managing social media well, providing adequate cyber-security, and designing well functioning autonomous vehicles.
Artur Alves's insight:
«[B]ots interact over time, and identify different types of interaction trajectories. We find that, although Wikipedia bots are intended to support the encyclopedia, they often undo each other’s edits and these sterile “fights” may sometimes continue for years. Unlike humans on Wikipedia, bots’ interactions tend to occur over longer periods of time and to be more reciprocated. Yet, just like humans, bots in different cultural environments may behave differently. Our research suggests that even relatively “dumb” bots may give rise to complex interactions, and this carries important implications for Artificial Intelligence research. Understanding what affects bot-bot interactions is crucial for managing social media well, providing adequate cyber-security, and designing well functioning autonomous vehicles.»
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Migrants with mobiles: Phones are now indispensable for refugees | The Economist

Migrants with mobiles: Phones are now indispensable for refugees | The Economist | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
SOMETIMES Hekmatullah, a 32-year-old Afghan, has to choose between food and connectivity. “I need to stay in touch with my wife back home,” he says, sitting in a grubby tent in the Oinofyta migrant camp, near Athens. Because Wi-Fi rarely works there, he has to buy mobile-phone credit.
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Symbolic dots, style link 38,000-year-old engraving to other famous cave art finds

Symbolic dots, style link 38,000-year-old engraving to other famous cave art finds | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Stone Age engraving helps to illuminate European travels of an ancient human culture.
Artur Alves's insight:
«The rock art is similar to some engravings and drawings found at other French and German sites, including the famous Chauvet Cave (SN: 6/30/12, p. 12), and attributed to the Aurignacian culture, which dates to between 43,000 and 33,000 years ago. Like the new find, that art includes rows of dots, depictions of aurochs and various animals shown in profile with a single horn and a long, thin muzzle. Within a few thousand years of arriving in Europe from Africa, Aurignacian groups developed regional styles of artwork based on images that had deep meaning for all of them, proposes anthropologist and study coauthor Randall White of New York University, who directed the excavation.«
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