Author Archives: SmellsLikeLavender

Software is eating the world, or at least our world

In class recently we have spent a lot of time discussing the singularity and this idea that technology will advance to the point it could overrun humanity as the dominate life form on earth. But this assumes technology develops into greater than human intellect, while its not hard to be smarter than some humans (see jackass ripoffs on YouTube, not the actual jackass people since they are all rich and thus not dumb), for a computer to be smarter than the average child that would be quite difficult and it could take a long time. I’m more worried about computers ruining my future than technology killing my grand kids after the singularity.

By ruining my future I mean ruining my future job opportunities, or the economy of my country. In this article it is pointed out that software has been harming the job market for years. Not everyone can be a doctor, lawyer or engineer thus more common jobs like secretaries, factory workers, and even house maids (Roomba!!!) are being replaced by technology. Soon the vast majority of middle to lower class jobs will be replaced by software or robots. An entire team of construction workers will be replaced by one guy who can run multiple machines on a computer who will then be replaced by a piece of smart software that can manage the machines for him. Bars will be filled with alcoholic drink machines instead of bartenders. Software could replace all repetitive or “easier” jobs long before it goes terminator on the human race.

If every thing goes to plan in my life and in the lives of most of the people in this course who will read this, we wont be construction workers or bartenders. We all will hopefully be the ones creating this software. But the problems it could cause others raises a very difficult question: should we look to replace jobs and tasks with software?

Creating this software would probably make this individual very rich, but it would also cost hundreds or even tens of thousands of jobs. Under any utilitarian view, the unhappiness of hundreds or thousands of unemployed people would outweigh the couple dozen programmers. But even if you evaluated it from a greedy standpoint, if thousands lose jobs the economy suffers. If the economy suffers then it would effect everyone including the now rich programmer. There is a different level of loss for the programmer compared to the now unemployed construction worker but no one truly wins.

Others would argue that it would cause people to become better educated so they don’t need construction jobs and can be engineers, doctors, or businessmen  There can only be so many people doing certain jobs and still be successful. There is a supply and demand effect in the job market too.

So what does everyone think? do we create smart software that could replace workers like bartenders or construction workers? Or is it better to restrict the creation of software to save jobs and not replace people?

Bionic people?

This is just a small post about something awesome i found. the first BIONIC EYEBALL. How awesome is that? Apparently it has a small camera on a set of glasses that records video, then sends those images to a small chip implanted in the blind eye that sends electronic signals into your brain. Since I’m blind in my right eye, this seems as cool as it gets when it comes to the medical field and computers. Is anyone else excited for bionic people? I personally want giant metal arms like Jax from mortal combat Annihilation.

An answer to software patent trolls?

We all know the internet is full of bad things and bad people that were created in some awful dark corner of the planet. This being a school blog, I wont bring those up here. But its odd that this class has introduced me to a completely new kind of low and pathetic. By low and pathetic I of course mean patent trolls. From what I have learned so far, patent trolls are a premium example of how to get rich by doing nothing. I hate the idea of a patent troll, someone who buys the right to others work and gets money from what they did while doing nothing themselves. It seems to go against how I was raised. Being from a small farm town I have a more blue color view of the world than some I guess. But that is why i was very happy to find this article which could be an answer to the trolls.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation or EFF has proposed a way to stop or at least slow down the trolls. By forcing them to submit code with there patents and if the patent is granted then it should just be limited to the invention claimed. At the very least making patents have code attached would force trolls to do a little more work. But at its best, this idea could stop trolls from just suing everyone. As described in the article directly from EFF, if you make them attach a solution to the patent, they cant sue anyone under the sun for coming up with a similar solution that is created in a different way. EFF does a better job than describing this than I do so I hope you read there article also.

Does anyone see a positive of a patent troll? Or how they are useful to society? Or do you see flaws in the EFF’s proposal?

Why not to go within 100 miles of the border

Normally I am ok with sacrificing things for the name of national security. For instance im completely ok with x-ray screening at the air port. Or some extra checks where they look through my luggage. Or even my employer having my Facebook or twitter password. I have nothing to hide, especially nothing illegal to hide, but the newest hindrance to our freedoms walks very close to even my line. Now the Department of homeland Security has the power to take any and all of your electronics if you are within 100 miles of the border. They need no reason or warrant, if they want to take your shit, they can and they will. This article outlines how they acquired this power and some of the problems it has already caused.  This is a new way to ignore our 4th amendment rights and it has me troubled. While I still have nothing to hide, I also like to be left the hell alone. I wouldn’t mind showing the DHS my things if i had all the time in the world, but in the case of the Canadian man talked about at the bottom of the article, he was held for 3 hours and didn’t get his laptop returned for 11 days. That is something I am far from OK with.

According to the DHS this is legal because of past legal precedent.  Does anyone else agree this is kinda bullshit? That just because I am within 100 yards of the border doesn’t mean I should lose my 4th amendment rights?

what I have found on Te’o and a connection to this class.

Ok, so this first paragraph will just be a summation of the Te’o story. For anyone who already knows the story go ahead and skip to the bottom paragraph to see how this pertains to our class. For those who don’t know, Manti Te’o was a linebacker for Notre Dame. He is from Samoan heritage, born in Hawaii, of Mormon faith and went to a catholic school for some reason. In the 2012 football season he lead Notre Dame to an undefeated regular season and a birth in the national title game where they got smacked around by Alabama. That game aside Te’o was the leader on the Notre Dame defense that was one of the best in the country. Te’o won almost every award a linebacker can win in college football and was second in the Hiesman trophy race. What made Te’o so compelling was his tragic story of loss. On September 12th, Te’o lost his grandmother to cancer. Then less than 24 hours later he lost his girlfriend Lenney Kekua to cancer as well. Everyone felt for Te’o back in September. The Notre Dame students cheered him for his strength at all Notre Dame pep rallies. ESPN and other news channels ate this story up. The media attention and Notre Dames winning season pushed Te’o into a national name and top choice for the Heisman. ESPN sports writer Skip Bayless passionatly pushed Te’o for the Hiesman in this article.  In the end, Notre Dame was outmatched in the title game and Te’o didnt get the Heisman, but the fame for his play and strength in the face of loss made it look like he would go in the top 10 in this years NFL draft.

On january 16th, broke the story that Te’os girlfriend Lenney Kekua wasn’t a real person. That she never existed. Then Te’o came under attack from all across the nation. Had he made this women up just to get his Heisman chances up? Did he lie just for the attention of the country? Te’o said he was lied to. That he was tricked into thinking the girl he had an internet relationship with for months was real and he didnt have any reason to think she was fake. So the line was drawn. in most peoples eyes, Te’o was either a schmuck who fell for an awful internet prank and was humiliated in front of the nation. Or he was a sociopath who created this lie to serve himself and help his brand name.

Now more parties involved in this story have come out. the man behind the hoax, who ran Kekua’s facebook and twitter accounts, the man who called Te’o for months using a cypher to cover his voice, is Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. I have yet to find a reason for Tuiasosopo to do any of these things but it is evident by the way he has acted since the story broke that he is very involved. It is really interesting to look at the tweets outlined  the has kept a running article with live updates of the Te’o situation. In there article the outline the entire Te’o story from every angle.

Finally Wednesday January 23rd, Te’o had his first live interview with anyone since the story broke. Here is a video and article of Te’o with Katie Couric. In it he tells his side of the story, why he lied, what his truth is.

His story and whether he was duped or is a lying sociopath is up for you to decide but since i eclipsed the 500 word mark awhile ago, here is my connection for this class. Does Deadspin have the right to publish something that could be very harmful to a persons credibility, character, and future when they dont have every fact of the story? Deadspin article does great damage to all those things involving Te’o, and they didnt have to entire truth at there disposal. They took what they knew, that his girlfriend didnt exist, and ran with it. If Te’o lied, then the public should know the absolute truth, but if he was tricked and had no evil intent, then dead spin just threw out this story for the country to laugh at. So does deadspin have the right to do this without knowing the full truth? Is it ok to just throw out what they know even if it invades Te’os privacy and turns him into a laughing stock when he could be an innocent victim?