Blog

Archive for the ‘internet’ category

Jan 17, 2018

Philip K. Dick and the Fake Humans

Posted by in categories: finance, information science, internet, robotics/AI

Standard utopias and standard dystopias are each perfect after their own particular fashion. We live somewhere queasier—a world in which technology is developing in ways that make it increasingly hard to distinguish human beings from artificial things. The world that the Internet and social media have created is less a system than an ecology, a proliferation of unexpected niches, and entities created and adapted to exploit them in deceptive ways. Vast commercial architectures are being colonized by quasi-autonomous parasites. Scammers have built algorithms to write fake books from scratch to sell on Amazon, compiling and modifying text from other books and online sources such as Wikipedia, to fool buyers or to take advantage of loopholes in Amazon’s compensation structure. Much of the world’s financial system is made out of bots—automated systems designed to continually probe markets for fleeting arbitrage opportunities. Less sophisticated programs plague online commerce systems such as eBay and Amazon, occasionally with extraordinary consequences, as when two warring bots bid the price of a biology book up to $23,698,655.93 (plus $3.99 shipping).

In other words, we live in Philip K. Dick’s future, not George Orwell’s or Aldous Huxley’s. Dick was no better a prophet of technology than any science fiction writer, and was arguably worse than most. His imagined worlds jam together odd bits of fifties’ and sixties’ California with rocket ships, drugs, and social speculation. Dick usually wrote in a hurry and for money, and sometimes under the influence of drugs or a recent and urgent personal religious revelation.

Still, what he captured with genius was the ontological unease of a world in which the human and the abhuman, the real and the fake, blur together. As Dick described his work (in the opening essay to his 1985 collection, I Hope I Shall Arrive Soon):

Continue reading “Philip K. Dick and the Fake Humans” »

Jan 12, 2018

Could decentralized systems replace Google?

Posted by in category: internet

The internet is ruled by a small number of massive corporations. Roger McNamee, Co-founder of Elevation Partners on CNBC, says, Google, Facebook, Amazon are increasingly just super-monopolies, especially Google … The share of the markets they operate in is literally on the same scale that Standard Oil had … more than 100 years ago—with the …

Read more

Jan 11, 2018

Tougher WiFi security will keep you safe at the coffee shop

Posted by in categories: encryption, habitats, internet, security, wearables

WiFi security hasn’t changed much since WPA2 came to be in 2004, and that’s becoming increasingly apparent when public hotspots are frequently risky and glaring exploits are all too common. It’s about to get a long-due upgrade, though: the Wi-Fi Alliance plans to roll out a WPA3 standard that addresses a number of weak points. For many, the highlight will be individualized data encryption. Even if you’re on an open public network, you won’t have to worry quite so much about someone snooping on your data.

You’ll also see safeguards even when people have terrible passwords, and a simplified security process for devices that have either a tiny display or none at all (say, wearable devices or smart home gadgets). And companies or governments that need stricter security will have access to a 192-bit security suite.

WPA3 should arrive sometime in 2018, and comes on the back of other improvements like more thorough testing to catch potential vulnerabilities before they require emergency patches. These initiatives aren’t going to guarantee airtight security when you’re at the coffee shop, but they could at least eliminate some of WiFi’s more worrying flaws.

Continue reading “Tougher WiFi security will keep you safe at the coffee shop” »

Jan 11, 2018

Consumer Electronics Show chock full of gadgets to make our lives easier, but do we need them?

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, habitats, internet, robotics/AI

Today’s vision of a smart home has more to do with what’s technologically possible than what people really need.

Thus the endless parade of internet-connected wine openers, water bottles, meat thermometers and refrigerators, and a dearth of automation that would clean and fold our laundry, pick up things around the house or assist aging people as their physical strength wanes.

Not that some tinkerers aren’t trying to come up with life-changing tools. The annual Consumer Electronics Show, which opened in Las Vegas on Tuesday, is a showcase of the latest innovations from big corporations and tiny startups. Some of these inventions could soon be useful to consumers. Others look outlandishly impractical — or maybe it’s too soon to tell.

Continue reading “Consumer Electronics Show chock full of gadgets to make our lives easier, but do we need them?” »

Jan 9, 2018

How ‘China’s Steve Jobs’ bit off more than he could chew and saw his tech empire collapse

Posted by in categories: internet, robotics/AI

His ultimate quest, though, was the automobile. The integration of the internet and self-driving, emission-free vehicles, he once said, would not only clean up the country’s polluted cities, it would free up millions of people to consume more of LeEco’s services on their commutes.


Visionary or reckless risk-taker? Self-made internet entrepreneur Jia Yueting once ranked among China’s richest men, but overexpansion and a funding crunch have him scrambling to save his sprawling tech empire.

Read more

Jan 7, 2018

Revenue Neutral model reduces altcoin investment risk

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, finance, geopolitics, internet

Titles are chosen by editors and not journalists or experts. I fought my editor over the above title. Yes, I address the teaser—and I explain a solid altcoin investment model. But, that comes after the break. The first part of this article should be titled “Why would anyone quote cost or value in Bitcoin?”. The subjects are highly related, so bear with me…

Today, a reader asked this question:

Some financial sites discuss value in Bitcoin terms, rather
than dollars or Euros. Why would I calculate the value of a
new car, my rent or an investment in this way? It’s hard to
understand how much money I need!

Answer: Your right! It’s difficult to estimate the value of a car or your rent in terms of Bitcoin. You are paid in dollars or Euros—and your landlord quotes rent in the same currency.

Continue reading “Revenue Neutral model reduces altcoin investment risk” »

Jan 7, 2018

8 Trends of the Internet of Things in 2018

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, computing, internet

Internet of Things trends for 2018. Our expert Ahmed Banaf reviews how this tech trend will evolve this year: dat analytics, fog computing and blockchain.

Read more

Jan 4, 2018

Nanoscale cryptography method gains robustness from stiction

Posted by in categories: encryption, internet, nanotechnology, security

Most of the cryptographic methods that keep important data secure use complex encryption software, and as a result, consume large amounts of power. As more and more electronic devices are being connected to the internet, there is a growing need for alternative low-power security methods, and this is often done by basing the security on hardware rather than software.

One of the most promising approaches to hardware-based, low-power security is to derive cryptographic keys from the randomness that inherently and uncontrollably emerges during the of nanoscale devices. These methods, called “physical unclonable functions” (PUFs), convert the random variations in the physical devices into the binary states of “0” and “1” to create unique, random cryptographic keys. These keys can then be used to encrypt data into cipher text, as well as decrypt it back into plain text, in a process that remains secure as long as the key remains private.

However, one of the biggest challenges facing PUF technology is its vulnerability to harsh environments. Since the physical randomness that forms the basis of the key usually arises from variations in electrical characteristics, and electrical characteristics are affected by external factors such as high temperatures and radiation, these devices often do not preserve their states when exposed to such conditions.

Continue reading “Nanoscale cryptography method gains robustness from stiction” »

Jan 2, 2018

Why does anyone attribute value to Bitcoin?

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, internet

Oh, Cheez…We’re back to this question, again!

As a Bitcoin columnist, I get this question a lot. Today, an answer was requested at Quora.com, where I am the lead contributor on cryptocurrencies:

“Clearly, some people value Bitcoin. But How can
this be? There is nothing there to give it value!”

Many individuals, like the one who asked this question, suspect that Bitcoin was pulled out of thin air—and that it is not backed by gold, a government, or an authoritative redemption guaranty. After all, it is just open source code. What stops me from creating an ElleryCoin using the same code?!

Continue reading “Why does anyone attribute value to Bitcoin?” »

Jan 1, 2018

How does the Blockchain ‘know’ you have printed a paper wallet?

Posted by in categories: bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, economics, internet

Let’s say that you no longer trust your currency exchange to host your Bitcoin wallet and you don’t trust a Trezor or Nano hardware wallet. You don’t trust your memory and you don’t trust your kids. And you certainly know better than to keep your wealth in your PC or phone. That would be downright crazy—right? What can you do?!

A growing number of people are printing paper wallets. It is the ultimate form of security. Some individuals even delete their cloud wallet, leaving everything to a string of hex characters or a QR code printed onto a slip of paper. (NB. You had better be certain that you and a few trusted individuals know how to find that piece of paper!)

But here’s an interesting mystery. If you print the paper wallet off-line and delete your other wallets, then how can the blockchain ‘know’ that you have changed wallets? The short answer: It doesn’t and you haven’t!

Let’s explore a bit deeper…

Continue reading “How does the Blockchain ‘know’ you have printed a paper wallet?” »

Page 1 of 6912345678Last