Quote of the Day

“There is no argument whatsoever that the proliferation of devices and information are empowering. It is categorically true, not to mention obvious, that technology is today far more democratically available than it was yesterday and less than it will be tomorrow . . . . This is perhaps our last fundamental tradeoff before the Singularity occurs: Do we, as a society, want the comfort and convenience of increasingly technologic, invisible digital integration enough to pay for those benefits with the liberties that must be given up to be protected from the downsides of that integration?

Ray Kurzweil is beyond all doubt correct; within the career lifetime of nearly everyone in this room, algorithms will be smarter than we are, and they will therefore be called upon to do what we cannot — to protect us from other algorithms, and to ask no permission in so doing. Do we, like Ulysses, lash ourselves to the mast or do we, as the some would say, relax and enjoy the inevitable? What would we have science do? What are the possible futures you will tolerate? What horses do you want not let out of the barn?”

Dan Geer, ISSA Chicago

See also: The Risks — and Benefits — of Letting Algorithms Judge Us – Bruce Schneier op-ed at CNN


Quote of the Day – on Online Commercial Surveillance:

From the ever interesting Maciej Ceglowski at his Idle Words:

“The proximate reasons for the culture of total surveillance are clear. Storage is cheap enough that we can keep everything. Computers are fast enough to examine this information, both in real time and retrospectively. Our daily activities are mediated with software that can easily be configured to record and report everything it sees upstream. But to fix surveillance, we have to address the underlying reasons that it exists. These are no mystery either. State surveillance is driven by fear. And corporate surveillance is driven by money.”

Read the whole thing, including details of his six, sensible, suggested fixes: (1) the right of users of an online site or service to download data (in usable format) that was provided to or collected by the online site or service; (2) the right at any time to delete one’s account (and all associated personal information) from an online service; (3) a ban on selling or sharing behavioral data, as well as relatively short limits on its storage (e.g., 90 days); (4) physical turn-internet-connectivity-off switches for IoT connected devices (which should be required to remain functioning in the off state); (5) a ban on third-party ad tracking (with sites only able to target ads based on page content itself and information the site has about the visitor), and (6) legally enforceable privacy promises with significant penalties that act as meaningful deterrents.

Also: Watch his presentation on “The Website Obesity Crisis” at Vimeo (53 minutes)

Quote of the Day

“For as long as the idea of the ‘mobile internet’ has been around, we’ve thought of it as a cut-down subset of the ‘real’ Internet. I’d suggest it’s time to invert that – to think about mobile as the real internet and the desktop as the limited, cut-down version.”

Benedict Evans, from his post: “Forget About the Mobile Internet“. Read the whole thing.


Quote of the Day

Dave Aitel on the OPM hack:

“But there’s a little silver lining in the OPM hack, and it is this: (1) Covert identities are dead anyways, because databases full of biometrics are everywhere, and you can read someone’s fingerprints off any beer glass faster than you can say ‘Your Cover Is Blown, Ethan Hunt’. That’s not even counting the DNA revolution of being able to map the entire human family tree out that nobody is talking about yet. Regardless, you cannot hide WHO you are in the modern age if for no other reason than Facebook exists. Deal with it. (2) The entire clearance system as a whole has been obliterated by modern information sciences.”

From the Dailydave Digest; subscribe here.


Quote of the Day:

“While most blogs weren’t deathless examples of great writing, there was the opportunity for individualism, and you don’t get that from . . . . a feed of things snipped and reblogged and pinned and shoveled into The Feed. The web turns into bushels of confetti shoveled into a jet engine, and while something does emerge out the other end, it’s usually made impressive by its velocity and volume, not the shape it makes.”

— James Lileks at The Bleat on why he does not include social sharing buttons on his website or cross-post to Facebook


Kevin Kelly: You Are Not Late

“Can you imagine how awesome it would have been to be an entrepreneur in 1985 when almost any dot com name you wanted was available? . . . The internet was a wide open frontier then . . . Looking back now it seems as if waves of settlers have since bulldozed and developed every possible venue, leaving only the most difficult and gnarly specks for today’s newcomers . . . But, but . . here is the thing. In terms of the internet, nothing has happened yet. The internet is still at the beginning of its beginning. If we could climb into a time machine and journey 30 years into the future, and from that vantage look back to today, we’d realize that most of the greatest products running the lives of citizens in 2044 were not invented until after 2014 . . . There has never been a better time [to start something on the internet] with more opportunities, more openings, lower barriers, higher benefit/risk ratios, better returns, greater upside, than now. Right now, this minute . . . It is the best time EVER in human history to begin. You are not late.”

Kevin Kelly at Medium. Read the whole thing.