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ProLinks #65 - North Korea, Cryptocurrencies, Propaganda and more

Tech The Incredible Rise of North Korea’s Hacking Army He was right. As the newspapers soon reported, more than sixteen million dollars was withdrawn from roughly seventeen hundred 7-Eleven A.T.M.s across Japan that morning, using data stolen from South Africa’s Standard Bank. The newspapers surmised that 7-Elevens had been targeted because they were the only convenience stores in Japan whose cash terminals all accepted foreign cards. Soon after the raids, the withdrawal limit for many A.T.M.s in the country was reduced to fifty thousand yen Why Cryptocurrency Is A Giant Fraud ❧ Current Affairs Schweikert is partly right: “selling it as a revolution” is a hugely important part of why cryptocurrency is succeeding. But as is generally the case when someone is trying to sell you something, the whole thing should seem extremely fishy. In fact, much of the cryptocurrency pitch is worse than fishy. It’s downright fraudulent, promising people benefits that they will not get and trying

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ProLinks #64 - Cookies, How to Survive Apocalypse, Fall of Rome and more

Tech Ubuntu 21.04 is here Ubuntu machines can join an Active Directory (AD) domain at installation for central configuration. AD administrators can now manage Ubuntu workstations, which simplifies compliance with company policies. Data Brokers Are a Threat to Democracy The Arkansas firm claims to have data on 2.5 billion people around the world. And in the US, if someone’s interested in that information, there are virtually no restrictions on their ability to buy and then use it. How to fight back against Google FLoC Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) proposes a new way for businesses to reach people with relevant content and ads by clustering large groups of people with similar interests. This approach effectively hides individuals “in the crowd” and uses on-device processing to keep a person’s web history private on the browser. How Live TV Works Do Neural Networks Think Like Our Brain? OpenAI Answers! 🧠 koush Difficult to quantify what an ecological disaster Bitcoin

ProLinks #63 - Machine Learning, Hyperinflation, Red Bull and more

Tech Machine Learning: The Great Stagnation Any fundamental discovery involves a significant degree of risk. If an idea is guaranteed to work then it moves from the realm of research to engineering. Unfortunately, this also means that most research careers will invariably be failures at least if failures are measured via “objective” metrics like citations. Welcoming Our New Robot Overlords Primal terror of mechanical menace has given way to fear of angry primates posting. Ironically, the roles have reversed. The robots are now humanity’s saviors, suppressing bad human mass behavior online with increasingly sophisticated filtering algorithms. We once obsessed about how to restrain machines we could not predict or control — now we worry about how to use machines to restrain humans we cannot predict or control. But the old problem hasn’t gone away: How do we know whether the machines will do as we wish? The Woke Meritocracy In almost every instance, my students come to study

ProLinks #62 - AI, Statistics, Tarkovsky and more

Tech Are Deep Neural Networks Dramatically Overfitted? The fundamental idea in MDL is to view learning as data compression. By compressing the data, we need to discover regularity or patterns in the data with the high potentiality to generalize to unseen samples. Information bottleneck theory believes that a deep neural network is trained first to represent the data by minimizing the generalization error and then learn to compress this representation by trimming noise. The Therapy-App Fantasy “It would clearly be naïve for psychotherapists to turn a blind eye to science, or to be ‘against’ scientific methodology,” he wrote. “But the attempt to present psychotherapy as a hard science is merely an attempt to make it a convincing competitor in the marketplace. It is a sign, in other words, of a misguided wish to make psychotherapy both respectable and servile to the very consumerism it is supposed to help people deal with.” (Psychotherapy, he points out, emerges historically just as “t

ProLinks #61 - Brains, data, hackers and more

Tech What Happens When Our Faces Are Tracked Everywhere We Go? Clearview has now raised $17 million and, according to PitchBook, is valued at nearly $109 million. As of January 2020, it had been used by at least 600 law-enforcement agencies; the company says it is now up to 3,100. The Army and the Air Force are customers. ICE signed a $224,000 deal in August; Erin Burke, of the Child Exploitation Investigations Unit, said she now supervises the deployment of Clearview AI for a variety of criminal investigations at H.S.I., not just child-exploitation cases. “It has revolutionized how we are able to identify and rescue children,” Burke told me. “It’s only going to get better, the more images that Clearview is able to scrape.” What Data Can’t Do Whenever you try to force the real world to do something that can be counted, unintended consequences abound.  The Empty Brain Our shoddy thinking about the brain has deep historical roots, but the invention of computers in the 1940s

ProLinks #60 - Trust, Exercise, Constitution and more

Tech 5 peculiar cases of identity theft and how they could have been prevented Andorrie Sachs, a mother of four children, had left her wallet in a car which was later broken into, and her wallet stolen. The thief turned out to be a pregnant woman who was, on top of all else, a regular meth user. Having Sachs’ driver’s licence and other papers enabled her to steal Sachs’ medical identity, and she delivered her baby in Sachs’ name, abandoned her child at the hospital and left Sachs with a $10,000 hospital bill. Afterwards, the local authorities then mistakenly reported Sachs as an unfit mother and threatened to take her four children away. The dispassionate developer by Mark Seemann For reasons that are complicated and that I don't fully understand, the software development community in the eighties and nineties developed a culture of anti-capitalism and liberal values that put technology on a pedestal for its own sake. Open source good; commercial software bad. Free so

ProLinks #59 - Terrible men, Facebook and SOCOM

Tech You’re Doing It Wrong: Notes on Criticism and Technology Hype What is less obvious is why Shoshana Zuboff, an emerita professor of Harvard Business School, so uncritically repeats the digital industry’s marketing materials, nor why she never points to or assesses evidence that goes against her argument. Yet her writings are full of hyperbole that sounds like she took press releases from Facebook’s and Google’s PR departments and rewrote them to be alarming, How Facebook got addicted to spreading misinformation Zuckerberg’s obsession with getting the whole world to use Facebook had found a powerful new weapon. Teams had previously used design tactics, like experimenting with the content and frequency of notifications, to try to hook users more effectively. Their goal, among other things, was to increase a metric called L6/7, the fraction of people who logged in to Facebook six of the previous seven days. L6/7 is just one of myriad ways in which Facebook has measured “e

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