[Note: This item comes from reader Randall Head. DLH] Smart machines and the future of jobs Jeffrey D. Sachs, *The Boston Globe*, 10 Oct 2016 http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2016/10/10/smart-machines-and-future-jobs/tPxRJvLpgw0W3SPrifpxTN/story.html Since the early 1800s, several waves of technological change have transformed how we work and live. Each new technological marvel—the steam engine, railroad, ocean steamship, telegraph, harvester, automobile, radio, airplane, TV, computer, satellite, mobile phone, and now the Internet—has changed our home lives, communities, workplaces, schools, and leisure time. For two centuries we've asked whether ever-more-powerful machines would free us from drudgery or would instead enslave us. The question is becoming urgent. IBM's Deep Blue and other chess-playing computers now routinely beat the world's chess champions. Google's DeepMind defeated the European Go champion late last year. IBM's Watson has gone from becoming the world's *Jeopardy* champion to becoming an expert medical diagnostician. Self-driving cars on the streets of Pittsburgh are on the verge of displacing Uber drivers. And Baxter, the industrial robot, is carrying out an expanding range of assembly-line and warehouse operations. Will the coming generations of smart machines deliver us leisure and well-being or joblessness and falling wages? The answer to this question is not simple. There is neither a consensus nor deep understanding of the future of jobs in an economy increasingly built on smart machines. The machines have gotten much smarter so fast that their implications for the future of work, home life, schooling, and leisure are a matter of open speculation. We need to pursue policies so that the coming generation of smart machines works for us, and our well-being, rather than humanity working for the machines and the few who control their operating systems. In a way, the economic effects of smarter machines are akin to the economic effects of international trade. Trade expands the nation's economic pie but also changes how the pie is divided. Smart machines do the same. In the past, smarter machines have expanded the economic pie and shifted jobs and earnings away from low-skilled workers to high-skilled workers. In the future, robots and artificial intelligence are likely to shift national income from all types of workers toward capitalists and from the young to the old. Consider England's Industrial Revolution in the first part of the 19th century, when James Watt's steam engine, the mechanization of textile production, and the railroad created the first industrial society. No doubt the economic pie expanded remarkably. England's national income roughly doubled from 1820 to 1860. Yet traditional weavers were thrown out of their jobs; the Luddites, an early movement of English workers, tried to smash the machines that were impoverishing them; and poet William Blake wrote of the `dark Satanic mills' of the new industrial society. An enlarging economic pie, yes; a new prosperity shared by all, decidedly not. Looking back at two centuries of more and more powerful machines (and the accompanying technologies and systems to operate them), we can see one overarching truth: Technological advances made the society much richer but also continually reshuffled the winners and losers. Similarly, one overarching pattern was repeatedly replayed. The march of technology has favored those with more education and training. Smart machines require well-trained specialists to operate them. An expanded economic pie favors those with managerial and professional skills who can navigate the complexities of finance, administration, management, and technological systems. Overall, better machines caused national income to soar and the man-hours spent in hard physical labor to decline markedly. Seventy-hour workweeks in 1870 have become 35-hour workweeks today. An average of around six years of schooling has become an average of 17 years. With increasing longevity, most workers can now look forward to a decade or more of retirement years, an idea simply unimaginable in the late 19th century. It's amazing to reflect that for Americans 15 years and over, the average time at work each day is now just 3 hours 11 minutes. Those at work average 7 hours and 34 minutes, but only 42.1 percent of Americans 15 and over are at work on an average day. The rest of the time, other than sleep and personal care, is taken up with schooling, retirement, caring for children, leisure and sports, shopping, and household activities.
The Dutch police decided it was a good idea to make a database allowing them to connect to thousands of private surveillance cameras in order to be able to better solve crimes. http://cyberwarzone.com/dutch-government-connects-private-company-cameras-dutch-police-real-time-camera-monitoring-station/ What could possibly go wrong?
http://www.adsbexchange.com/2015/10/20/thoughts-on-security/ "Currently, our feeds are unfiltered. Please note that this information is transmitted from each aircraft, in clear text, unencrypted over the air, and participants are merely receiving it. Any concern that "bad guys" might use this information needs to be tempered with the fact that anyone can easily build their own basic receiver that can grab this information for less than $100, and deploy it themselves without any help whatsoever. The folks over at OpenBARR also know this. This is by far not the only way to get "unfiltered" aircraft data over the Internet. It is the most user-friendly, however. Implementing filters would merely be "security theater" at this point. Such "security theater" is very popular these days, however."
Samsung investigating third Note 7 that caught fire http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2016/10/09/samsung-investigating-third-note-7-fire-incident/91822726/ Replacement Samsung Galaxy Note 7 burns Minn. teen http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2016/10/08/replacement-samsung-galaxy-note-7-burns-minn-teen/91807068/
"Despite all the potential risks ahead, Eckhardt says, 'People should vote. The only way that your vote for sure doesn't get counted is you don't cast it.'" In reality there are at least three other ways that your vote for sure doesn't get counted: 1. The Electoral College vote does not follow the popular vote, as happened in 1876 and 1888, or if, as in 1824, neither candidate gets an Electoral College majority and the House of Representatives elects the President. 2. The Supreme Court steps in as it did in Bush v. Gore 2000 and stops the vote count. 3. One candidate concedes before all the votes have been counted, as then Presidential candidate John Kerry did in 2004. I've excluded the many ways that hacking electronic registration systems, voting machines, or central tabulators could ensure that votes aren't counted or are miscounted, as most RISKS readers are certainly aware of them. Elections should be a political process, not a religion. Trusting unverifiable systems is an act of faith, not an act of responsible citizenship. Computer professionals whose patriotism causes them to ignore systemic faults and defects, are themselves a risk to the public and to public policy. If I learn that a system vital to my survival cannot be trusted, I tend to stop using it until or unless it has been fixed. Therefore, once I understood that there was no way I could be certain that my vote would be counted, I stopped voting. Nobody, no matter how highly credentialed and respected, is going to convince me to have faith in an untrustworthy system. If you want to gamble, risk your own money, but please don't bet the whole country on it.
NNSquad http://boingboing.net/2016/10/07/yahoo-didnt-install-an-nsa-e.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+boingboing%2FiBag+%28Boing+Boing%29 The picture that's emerging is pretty bizarre. Some top Yahoo executive(s) gave the US government the go-ahead to install a rootkit on the mail-processing servers. The Yahoo security team were not consulted on this (Alex Stamos, former Yahoo CSO, quit the company to become Facebook's CSO around then, and the initial Reuters report by Joseph Menn says that he left over this issue). The security team discovered the software independently, raised the alarm, and were told not to meddle with it. The NSA (or FBI), and anyone who figured out how to exploit the rootkit, had potentially unlimited, undetectable access to all Yahoo users' data. True? False? Who the hell knows out here! What a mess.
Apologies for tabling a slightly annoying factoid, but the statement of those companies that they have no government scanning programs is misleading, irrelevant and in one particular case even disingenuous. Let's start with the misleading and irrelevant part: their statement omits the magic words "right now" or "that we are allowed to tell you about". What Yahoo disclosed was something that any provider can be legally compelled to, and not just in the US. Providers may fight any such demands, but the fact remains that what happened with and to Yahoo was perfectly legal. What makes this troublesome is not that law enforcement has the tools to fight crime, but the fact that in many countries it is possible to force surveillance on a company without much in the way of due process, transparency or protection of the rights of the people under surveillance (imagine, for instance, their messages getting into other hands, a staple of most government espionage programs). This makes their statements are pretty much irrelevant—you will never be able to tell otherwise. The disingenuous one in this lineup is Google, as that *does* have an email scanning program, just not a *government* one (that it can tell anyone about), see "Your content in our services" at http://google.com/accounts/tos <http://google.com/accounts/tos>. You'll the relevant bit of text right after the part where they changed "in perpetuity" to something less alarming but which has still the same meaning. I guess their hope is that people eventually forget this.
Sigh! There were a lot of mistakes made before the Deepwater Horizon's well blew out. There were even more errors during the months before the well was successfully capped. But most articles miss entirely the major failure both before and after the blowout. The Macondo Prospect contains perhaps the highest proportion of methane of any deep undersea well. As was discovered when the first "Top Hat" attempt was made to cap the well, some of this methane was in the form of methane clathrate. In other words, there was water in the Macondo formation, and as a result, what the well produced was a clathrate/oil slurry which changed from free flowing to molasses with a few degrees change in temperature--or with a change in pressure. About a month before the Macondo blowout, new metastable forms of methane clathrate [familiarly known as *hydrate* in the industry. PGN] were found to have significantly different densities, both above and below 1.0 (density of water). The result was that the wellhead crew had no clue as to what was below them, liquid, solid, or gas. And once some of the clathrate got warm enough to emit methane gas, the fate of the Deepwater Horizon was sealed. [*] If the BOP had successfully cut the downhole pipe, the amount of gas and oil spilled would have been much less. But once you have gas forming deep in the well string, there will be a blowout. And in this case, the blowout apparently occurred above the BOP. * The pressure in the top few thousand feet of pipe would drop. When it dropped below the pressure at which the clathrate in the pipe was stable, there would be an explosion. This is the significance of the new metastable clathrates. They could only form below 5000 feet, but one is metastable up to about 10 atmospheres (100 meters). [This may seem a little less "computer-related" than usual for RISKS, but it is still highly relevant to the total-system "what went wrong" scenarios, as discussed in extraordinary detail by Boebert and Blossom. There is also apparently some dispute in the industry as to the dynamics of hydrate capture and release as described here by Robert, but such details are rather out of scope for RISKS. PGN]
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