Big Questions. Internet is not the Answer. A. Keen. 2.

This week, the UK government announced that sales of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned from 2030 – just one signal among many around the world that a major shift to low-carbon motoring is under way. [https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-55016147]

In practice, that means millions of people are going to have to be persuaded to choose an electric car – and on this week’s Tech Tent we explore how improvements in battery technology can make that happen.

The last decade has seen major advances in battery-powered motoring, with Elon Musk’s Tesla leading the way in showing that electric cars don’t have to be ugly – and they don’t have to stop every 20 miles to recharge.

But anxiety over the cars’ range, charging availability and initial cost are still issues for potential buyers.

Colin Herron, an automotive engineer who worked for Nissan for many years and is now a consultant on low-carbon vehicle technology, tells Tech Tent there are reasons to be cheerful about future advances in batteries. Lithium-ion batteries are the first target.

“We will be tampering with this battery over the next four or five years, and putting more additives in will get about another 20% boost in performance,” he explains.

But he says the big leap forward will come with solid state batteries, which will appear first in mobile phones and laptops before they progress to cars. They promise to be a safer and lighter option, and researchers believe they can offer much faster charging.

“They’re all targeting 10 to 12 minutes. That’s what they think is the ‘stop time’, the convenient time to check your email for people who are moving on.”

Herron believes, however, that we will all need to change the way we think about motoring in the electric era: using trains for longer journeys, and keeping the car for shorter local trips where stopping to charge will not be necessary.

And he cautions that we also need to realise that describing electric motoring as “zero carbon” may be wide of the mark: “It’s emission-free motoring, but the car has to be built, the battery has to be built, and the electricity does come from somewhere.”

On that theme, we also hear how one African country is making progress towards a zero-carbon future. Wangari Muchiri, a renewable energy engineer based in Kenya, tells us the country’s electricity grid is almost entirely dependent on renewable energy.

“The biggest private sector investment in Kenyan history has actually been in wind energy,” she says. “And we’re now seeing that, slowly, as people become more confident, investors become more confident with the Kenyan landscape.”

The problem is that around half the population, particularly in rural areas, is not connected to the grid, and more than 80% of Kenyans depend on burning wood and other biomass materials for cooking and heating.

Muchiri is involved in a number of projects to build a series of mini-grids, using wind and solar energy to bring less-polluting electricity to rural Kenya.

Also on this week’s programme

  1. Tech Tent: Who needs 5G?

When much of the world went into lockdown back in the spring, technology proved a vital tool for young people, whether to continue their education or to communicate with friends and family. The Cambridge University psychologist Dr Amy Orben, who researches the impact of technology on mental health, tells us the pandemic has changed how we think about this issue.

She says politicians and the public had often assumed that time spent using technology was time not doing something better. “Lockdown really challenged that idea, and it needed to be challenged,” she says.

“For example, for certain disadvantaged groups, it might be a really important way of getting information and getting in contact with people like you, if – for instance – you’re an LGBTQ teen in a very small town.”

This week also saw a study from the Oxford Internet Institute, which found that video games aren’t necessarily bad for your mental health, and can contribute to your sense of wellbeing.

From the spread of misinformation to online bullying, we’ve heard plenty about the negative aspects of technology this year – but the pandemic has also shown us what a positive force it can be.

Is Facebook fixable? (see below!)

Can Facebook do anything to stem the flow of disinformation which its critics say is a threat to democracy?

If Mark Zuckerberg hoped the spotlight on his company’s role in spreading misinformation would move away once the US election was over he must have been sorely disappointed.

Last week, as President Trump and his followers have angrily claimed – without evidence – that the election has been stolen from him, complaints about Facebook’s role in amplifying that message have grown louder.

Mr Zuckerberg will worry that some of the harshest criticism has come from the camp of President-elect Joe Biden. Former Obama speechwriter Ben Rhodes tweeted: “It will take a generation to undo the damage that Facebook has done to American democracy.”

The social media giant has been completely ineffective in dealing with the barrage of misinformation, according to Siva Vaidhyanathan, professor of Media Studies at the University of Virginia and author of Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy.

“Facebook was basically caught flat-footed, even though anybody who studies American politics would have known that one of our two political parties would do everything it could to delegitimise the process,” he told Tech Tent.

He speculates that Facebook may have been afraid of offending the Republicans – but goes on to suggest that the nature of the platform itself makes it impossible to stop misinformation spreading.

“Facebook is designed to amplify any content that generates strong emotion, and what generates strong emotion greater than that your country is being destroyed from the inside? That’s a powerful message that generates incredible reaction.”

Facebook gave us a statement stressing the measures brought in to combat misinformation before the election and saying that effort was continuing.

“We changed our products to ensure fewer people see false information and are made aware of it when they do, and highlighted reliable election information where nearly everyone on Facebook and Instagram saw authoritative information at the top of their feeds,” it said.

The company also posted a blog this week saying most of what users were seeing on the platform was not about politics – suggesting Facebook is really all about photos of babies, not election conspiracy theories.

And Siva Vaidhyanathan accepts that, for its individual users sharing family news, there isn’t a problem.

“Facebook is good for me, it’s good for you, it’s good for almost all of those 2.7 billion people individually or they never would have signed up and they would have resigned long ago. The problem is that collectively Facebook is a disaster for us.”

He compares it to car ownership – great for individuals, but hugely damaging for the planet. But getting people to give up Facebook may be even harder than persuading them to abandon their cars.

The main Scientific Breakthrough in 40-50 years. Machine Learning give us understanding of Life, and real chances to improve health services (cancer, viruses, heart, brain problems) quickly.

Friston’s Free Energy Principle Explained (part 1)
Part 1 – Introducing and Deriving Free Energy
Aug 8, 2020 • 5 min read

(full text, with equations, is 5 times bigger and 125 times more complicate, see: https://jaredtumiel.github.io/blog/2020/08/08/free-energy1.html#fn:2
The goal of this series of posts is to provide a friendly but rigorous guide to some of the key ideas underlying Karl Friston’s Free Energy Principle (henceforth: FEP). I will provide as much background as possible, and sprinkle in the intuition-pumps I find most helpful. I want this to be a technical guide, so we won’t shy away from any math1. Your reward for making it to the end will be a deep understanding of the core pieces of the Free Energy principle, the ability to explain it to an interested friend in plain english, and the ability to implement a simulation of Active Inference under the Free Energy Principle in Python! But before we get to the Python, we need to lay the groundwork…
By the end of this post you will understand:
Bayesian inference
‘Phenotype’ as a set of viable states
Entropy and expected surprise
Kullback-Liebler Divergence
Recognition- and Generative-densities
The derivation of the ‘free energy’ term
Introduction
Karl Friston’s Free Energy Principle has fascinated and baffled me since I first heard about it in a SlateStarCodex blog post2. Ever since, I’ve spent a good chunk of my spare time trying to understand the ideas and context that underpin the theory. Friston’s work is notoriously difficult to understand, something which Friston himself (and definitely the people who read his work) acknowledge with a wry shrug3. This comes down to a few things:
the maths itself is fairly daunting and Friston’s notation can be opaque until you get used to it. But, I’ll show you in this article that it’s not impenetrable and is well worth understanding!
the fields that Friston draws on to derive the FEP are diverse and any given person is unlikely to have studied them all4. I happen to think this is what’s most exciting about the FEP, because it provides an excuse to learn more about:
Statistical Mechanics, especially non-equilibrium stat-mech
Reinforcement Learning
Neuroscience and Predictive Coding
Dynamic systems and (stochastic) differential equations
Information theory
Variational inference methods
Path-integral formulations and the Principle of Least Action
Embodied cognition
Bayesian inference, action under uncertainty
Clinical psychiatry and computational corelates of pyschopathology
For this post, don’t worry about that list, as I’ll introduce concepts as we need them!
To begin, let’s look at some motivating ideas, which we’ll keep coming back to, with more and more formalism to back them up.
You: a thing in the world
You are a thing (fully enlightened Buddhists with no sense-of-self don’t @me yet please, it’s just a starting point) and you live in a world which you do not fully understand (or at-least, it should feel that way, if you’re paying any attention to how crazy things are right now).
You get a constant stream of new information through your senses, and your brain somehow needs to use this information-deluge to do things like make exceptional scrambled eggs, renew your driver’s licence, floss your teeth, and other crucial survival-skills.
Eye on the (causal) prize
Our first big insight into the FEP is that if you want to keep doing the survival thing, you should care not about the sense data itself, but about the stuff out there that causes it – you need to keep your eye on the causal prize! The sense data is just receptors firing more or less often. What matters is that you have receptors that reliably fire in a pattern that tells you useful things like:
there’s a tiger there and she looks pissed
it smells like chocolate cookies have just come out the oven, so you might get fed soon
the molten chocolate cookie you just inhaled is scalding your oesophagus and causing long-term scarring
So your sense-data isn’t random – it has external causes – but it’s not perfectly reliable either. It’s a noisy connection, and ambiguity abounds:
is that a burglar standing in the corner of your dark room, or did someone leave a coat hanging on your hatstand?
is that the rustling of the wind in the leaves, or another, even scarier tiger stalking you?
is the pressure of your ‘deep-tissue sports-massage’ a welcome relief from stiffness, or categorical proof that your masseuse is a sadist?

Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000168 EndHTML:0000003026 StartFragment:0000000558 EndFragment:0000003009

The Google UK’s head of child safety, Claire Lilley, told the British Parliament’s committee recently that the company had “hundreds of thousands of reports of inappropriate content every day” [sun.co.uk]. She was “unable to provide more specific figures” [guardian], but this clearly means hundreds of millions of reports a year (including here the similar adult victims, at least their really severe cases), or a billion in next 5-6 years, taking into account that this metastatic growth will accelerate. So it have to be stopped definitely and quickly, if we do not want to be involved in a real World War III, more murderous, than all the previous wars. [[[The so called Islamic terrorism is not a biggest real threat in itself; it is the Google-net with all its co-owners and co-disruptors, who organize the global abuse, danger and degradation. ]]]

In order to understand this, let us consider some examples of the backgrounds of these reports, which highly confidential information Google UK’s head of child safety Ms. Lilley had to hand over to the British Parliament. All of them were basically ignored by Google up to 2011-2014; 99.99 % are ignored now. What is in the 0.01 %, which could not be completely ignored and become known already? [theGuardian.co.uk]

Big Questions. Internet is not the Answer. A. Keen

THE QUESTION.

The Internet, we’ve been promised by its many evangelists, is the answer. It democratizes the good and disrupts the bad, they say, thereby creating a more open and egalitarian world. The more people who join the Internet, or so these evangelists, including Silicon Valley billionaires, social media marketers, and network idealists, tell us, the more value it brings to both society and its users.

They thus present the Internet as a magically virtuous circle, an infinitely positive loop, an economic and cultural win-win for its billions of users.

But today, as the Internet expands to connect almost everyone and everything on the planet, it’s becoming self-evident that this is a false promise.

The evangelists are presenting us with what in Silicon Valley is called a “reality distortion field”—a vision that is anything but truthful. Instead of a win-win, the Internet is, in fact, more akin to a negative feedback loop in which we network users are its victims rather than beneficiaries.

Rather than the answer, the Internet is actually the central question about our connected twenty-first-century world. The more we use the contemporary digital network, the less economic value it is bringing to us. Rather than promoting economic fairness, it is a central reason for the growing gulf between rich and poor and the hollowing out of the middle class. Rather than making us wealthier, the distributed capitalism of the new networked economy is making most of us poorer.

Rather than generating more jobs, this digital disruption is a principal cause of our structural unemployment crisis. Rather than creating more competition, it has created immensely powerful new monopolists like Google and Amazon. Its cultural ramifications are equally chilling. Rather than creating transparency and openness, the Internet is creating a panopticon of information-gathering and surveillance services in which we, the users of big data networks like Facebook, have been packaged as their all-too-transparent product. Rather than creating more democracy, it is empowering the rule of the mob. Rather than encouraging tolerance, it has unleashed such a distasteful war on women that many no longer feel welcome on the network. Rather than fostering a renaissance, it has created a selfie-centered culture of voyeurism and narcissism. Rather than establishing more diversity, it is massively enriching a tiny group of young white men in black limousines. Rather than making us happy, it’s compounding our rage. No, the Internet is not the answer. Not yet, anyway. This book explains why.

p.s.

Version:1.0 StartHTML:0000000168 EndHTML:0000003026 StartFragment:0000000558 EndFragment:0000003009

The Google UK’s head of child safety, Claire Lilley, told the British Parliament’s committee recently that the company had “hundreds of thousands of reports of inappropriate content every day” [sun.co.uk]. She was “unable to provide more specific figures” [guardian], but this clearly means hundreds of millions of reports a year (including here the similar adult victims, at least their really severe cases), or a billion in next 5-6 years, taking into account that this metastatic growth will accelerate. So it have to be stopped definitely and quickly, if we do not want to be involved in a real World War III, more murderous, than all the previous wars. [[[The so called Islamic terrorism is not a biggest real threat in itself; it is the Google-net with all its co-owners and co-disruptors, who organize the global abuse, danger and degradation. ]]]

In order to understand this, let us consider some examples of the backgrounds of these reports, which highly confidential information Google UK’s head of child safety Ms. Lilley had to hand over to the British Parliament. All of them were basically ignored by Google up to 2011-2014; 99.99 % are ignored now. What is in the 0.01 %, which could not be completely ignored and become known already? [theGuardian.co.uk]

Forecast for 2021.

A new informal alliance is emerging in Southeastern Europe, and it is being led by Turkey.

Azerbaijan’s victory on the battlefield against Armenia and the recovery of seven occupied districts surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh and the southern part of this enclave centred on the important cultural centre of Shusha (Shushi) would not have been possible without Turkish diplomatic and military assistance. Turkey invested in training Azerbaijan’s armed forces according to NATO standards and supplied drones, other forms of military technology and its Syrian proxy forces fighting along the Turkish–Syrian border, copying Russia’s longstanding use of proxy forces in Ukraine and Eurasia. Speaking in Baku on 12 November, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said that his country would continue to give its support to Baku for any further steps it would decide to take towards Nagorno-Karabakh. 

TURKEY AS A NEW REGIONAL POWER

Turkey’s new and for the moment putative geopolitical alliance is built on longstanding ties between pro-Western or Western-leaning states in the former USSR who had created the GUAM group in the late 1990s, bringing together Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Moldova. GUAM stagnated after the election of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych in Ukraine in 2010 and Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili leaving office three years later. Renamed the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, it revived its operations after Ukraine’s 2013–14 Euromaidan Revolution. Ironically, Azerbaijan chaired GUAM in the year it took back much of its occupied territory.

One would have been forgiven for thinking that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was ‘pro-Russian’ because of his authoritarianism and criticism of the EU, NATO and US. But this is not the case. Erdoğan is more of a pan-Turkish nationalist than his predecessors who lay allegiance to Atatürk, the founder of modern Turkey, providing greater support to Turkic-speaking Crimean Tatars and Turkic-speaking Azeris. 

Turkey shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 fighter plane over Turkish airspace in November 2015 which led to a Russian boycott of Turkish trade and tourism. Although both countries patched up their strained relations, Turkey and Russia have supported opposing sides in Syria, Yemen and Libya.  

In Syria and the South Caucasus, Israel and Turkey, who have had strained relations in the past, are geopolitical allies. In Syria, they both oppose the alliance of the Bashar Al-Assad regime with Iran and Russia. Assad’s murderous campaign against Sunni Muslims and acquiescence to Kurdish autonomy are additional factors motivating Erdoğan’s intervention in Syria.  

In the South Caucasus, Israel sees Azerbaijan as a counterweight to Iran, which backs Armenia and Russia. Israel has supplied weapons and training to Azerbaijan and Georgia. Israel and Azerbaijan jointly manufacture drones which played an important and decisive role in its defeat of Armenia. The closeness of their security cooperation was evident in August 2019 when an Israeli team infiltrated Iran from Azerbaijan to assassinate Al-Qa’ida’s second-in-command in Tehran. Azerbaijan has now taken back control of all of its border with Iran. Turkey has purchased Israel’s Barak-8 long-range surface-to-air and Iron Dome systems and Azerbaijan has bought Israel’s LORA tactical ballistic missile system.

TURKISH–AZERBAIJANI STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP

Azerbaijan has been an undervalued ally of the West for decades despite being an energy giant and located in a geo-strategic region of the greater Middle East and Eurasia. Azerbaijan is an important and emerging energy supplier for Turkey, Israel and Europe and therefore a US ally in reducing Russia’s monopolisation of energy supplies to the EU. Azerbaijan is also an important country for the US as a supply corridor to its forces in Afghanistan, although the country has also diverged from the West when it comes to respect of human rights obligations. 

In contrast, Armenia has been an ally of Russia since 1994 when it was a founding member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), an attempt by Russia to establish a NATO-type structure of former Soviet states. Armenia withdrew from the EU’s Eastern Partnership Association Agreement in 2013 and joined the CIS Customs Union, becoming the Eurasian Economic Union two years later. 

In this year’s 44-day Azerbaijani–Armenian war, the CSTO showed itself to be a paper tiger. An important reason for Armenia’s arrogance towards Azerbaijan and Yerevan’s threats to annex Nagorno-Karabakh had been the false assumption that Russia or the Russian-led CSTO would come to its rescue in the event of war. This would not have been the case; Russian President Vladimir Putin made plain that neither his own national forces nor the CSTO would be activated in the (unlikely) event of Azerbaijan attacking Armenian sovereign territory. This ruled out the CSTO assisting Armenia in its defence of occupied Azerbaijani territories.

Geopolitical interests have trumped the fact that Turkey and Azerbaijan are from two often antagonistic branches of Islam, Sunni and Shiite respectively. Turkey and Azerbaijan are linked by ethnic and linguistic ties, described as ‘Two States, One Nation’ (İki Dövlət, Bir Millət) in a manner similar to those Turkey has with Crimean Tatars. The Crimean Khanate existed as an autonomous entity within the Ottoman Empire for six centuries before Russia’s occupation of the peninsula in 1783. In the 19th and 20th centuries, millions of Crimean Tatars fled from Russian and Soviet persecution to the Ottoman Empire and Turkey. Half of the remaining Tatars living in Crimea died after they were ethnically cleansed by Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin in 1944. Since Russia’s occupation of Crimea in 2014, at least 20,000 Crimean Tatars have fled to Ukraine and hundreds have been imprisoned.

In Turkey, where there are an estimated six million Crimean Tatars, they are often called ‘Crimean Turks’ because of the closeness of their languages, culture and history. This sizeable Crimean Tatar minority is vocal, active and influential in Turkey and now has a Turkish president who backs up his words with deeds, although it remains to be seen whether Turkey’s position on Crimea’s future fully coincides with that of Ukraine.  

TURKISH–AZERBAIJANI ENERGY ALLIANCE 

Turkey has agreed to Azerbaijan becoming its main gas supplier, taking over from Russia. This step has major geopolitical ramifications for the entire South Caucasus, Black Sea and Southwestern European region. It is probably not coincidental that Azerbaijan became Turkey’s sole gas supplier only five months before the outbreak of the Azerbaijani–Armenian war. 

Turkey is a vital regional hub for the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas Pipeline, one of three pipelines in the Southern Gas Corridor connecting Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to the European market. The Turkish–Azerbaijani strategic alliance cements the former as a regional energy hub largely independent of Russia while enabling the latter to become a major gas exporter to Europe for the first time. In addition, 40% of the oil that Israel imports is from Azerbaijan. 

TURKISH–UKRAINIAN AXIS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky paid two strategic visits to NATO members Poland and Turkey, which stand at polar ends of a new strategic realignment that includes Ukraine and Azerbaijan. Ukraine and Azerbaijan are longstanding pro-NATO and pro-Western former Soviet states in a contested region which Russia demands the West recognises as its exclusive sphere of influence.  

At a joint press conference with Zelensky, Erdoğan said ‘Turkey sees Ukraine as a key country for ensuring stability, peace and prosperity in our region. Within this framework we have always supported and will continue to support Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, including over Crimea’. He added, ‘Turkey has not recognised and does not recognise the annexation of Crimea’. Erdoğan re-affirmed Turkey’s non-recognition of Russia’s annexation of Crimea three weeks after Azerbaijan launched its military operations against Armenia. 

Following the November 2018 Russian naval piracy in the Azov Sea, Turkey and Ukraine have developed common interests in Black Sea security. Turkey is, alongside the US and UK, backing the rebuilding of Ukraine’s navy. Following Pakistan, Ukraine has purchased T MILGEM-class corvettes from Turkey. 

Turkey’s refusal to recognise Armenia’s occupation of Nagorno-Karabakh since 1992 is longstanding. In language reminiscent of support for Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity, a joint statement issued by Erdoğan and Zelensky in Ankara said that Turkey would continue to support steps towards the ‘de-occupation’ of Crimea and Russian-controlled Donbas. The joint statement raised the plight of Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian prisoners held by Russia and joint protection of human rights in Crimea. 

In what Russia has long been vehemently opposed to, Erdoğan gave his support for Ukraine’s membership of NATO. Turkish–Ukrainian security cooperation would be expanded through the Crimean Platform and Quadriga ‘2+2’ formula of foreign and defence ministers. Ukraine and Turkey are cooperating on the building of a range of military products; for example, Turkey’s Akinci (Raider) unmanned aerial system (UAS) drone and Akinci unmanned aircraft systems are powered by Ukrainian Ivchenko-Progress turboprop engines. Ukraine has bought 12 (with plans to purchase a total of 48) Bayraktar TB-2 UAS drones which Turkey used with high rates of success in Syria and Nagorno-Karabakh; some of these will be based in the Donbas war zone of eastern Ukraine.

It is noteworthy that Zelensky also held a meeting with Bartholomew I of Constantinople. In 2018–19, Turkey – behind the scenes – backed the Patriarch of the Orthodox Church granting a Tomos (autocephaly) to the Orthodox Church of Ukraine after declaring Russian Orthodox Church (ROC) control over Ukraine to have been ‘uncanonical’. The loss of 40% of the ROC’s parishes in Ukraine was a major geopolitical and soft power defeat for Putin and he called an emergency session of the Russian Security Council. The ROC is no longer the biggest of 14 Orthodox Churches and with a much reduced 16,000 parishes is now similar in size to the Romanian Orthodox Church.

Through a combination of US President Donald Trump’s isolationism and pre-occupation with the election cycle and the EU’s lack of foreign policy gravitas, Turkey has upended the geopolitical picture in the South Caucasus and muscled into what Russia demands the outside world sees as its exclusive sphere of influence. Turkey’s all-round support to Azerbaijan was decisive in its defeat of Armenia and showing the CSTO to be an empty vessel and the EU to be a paper tiger. 

Turkey’s geopolitical ambitions, building on the GUAM regional group, will further challenge Russia in delivering Azerbaijani energy to Europe and in supporting Ukraine, which also has regions under Russian occupation. While the Azerbaijani–Turkish alliance has passed an important test of endurance, Turkey’s development of a new strategic alliance with Ukraine is in its embryonic days.

Following his visit to Ukraine on Aug. 18, Britain’s Defense Secretary Ben Wallace announced that the U.K. will lead a multinational Maritime Training Initiative for the Ukrainian navy in order to boost Ukraine’s ability to combat threats in the Black Sea.

The initiative will share expert knowledge of U.K.’s Royal Navy and provide a coordinated training package to the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

According to the British Ministry of Defence, the training consists of courses from the Royal Navy and naval personnel from Sweden, Canada and Denmark in areas such as “navigation, operational planning, military diving, sea surveillance, fire-fighting and damage control.” The U.K. expects more nations to join the initiative in the near future.

Both sides also agreed to resume Operation Orbital, U.K.’s training mission to Ukraine, following its temporary suspension due to the coronavirus pandemic. In effect since 2015 and extended by Wallace until 2023, Operation Orbital has trained over 18,000 members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

“We have already assisted thousands of Ukrainian personnel in a plethora of skills ranging from basic first aid to operational planning, all of which defends their territorial integrity from Russian-backed separatists,” said Wallace.

Britain has been a vital partner in protecting Ukraine’s integrity in the Black Sea region since Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. Four years later, tensions appeared to only increase as Russia had seized three Ukrainian navy boats and arrested 24 Ukrainian sailors in the Sea of Azov. The International Tribunal for the Law and the Sea in Hamburg ruled in Ukraine’s favor, signaling the international community to pay closer attention to Russia’s naval bullying and dominance in what Russia considers its “backyard”.

On Jun. 12, Ukraine became an Enhanced Opportunities Program member of NATO, deepening its cooperation with the North Atlantic Alliance.

“As part of NATO’s Enhanced Opportunities Partner (EOP) we hope to intensify our common efforts to ensure security in the Black Sea region and to work closely together to overcome hybrid threats,” stated Olha Stefanishyna, the vice prime minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration of Ukraine, on Aug. 11.

Stefanishyna further thanked the U.K. government for the increase of technical assistance to counter Russian aggression.

Wallace asserts that the Maritime Training initiative will help Ukraine fully benefit from its enhanced collaboration with NATO, as well as build on Ukraine’s newfound status within the alliance.

The UK will lead a multinational Maritime Training Initiative for the Ukrainian Navy, boosting their ability to combat threats in the Black Sea, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has confirmed.

Visiting Ukrainian partners in Kyiv, Mr Wallace also announced that the UK will send Royal Navy ships to visit the region later in the Autumn, where they will train alongside the Ukrainian Navy.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said:

It’s great to be in Ukraine for my second time since becoming Defence Secretary. The Maritime Training Initiative is another step forward for the UK’s defence relationship with Ukraine.

We have already assisted thousands of Ukrainian personnel in a plethora of skills ranging from basic first aid to operational planning, all of which defends their territorial integrity from Russian-backed separatists.

Now, the Maritime Training Initiative will enable even closer collaboration with the NATO Alliance and Armed Forces around the world, and allows us to build on Ukraine’s new NATO Enhanced Opportunities Partner status.

Mr Wallace discussed issues of regional security and areas of mutual interest and cooperation in meetings with defence minister Andriy Taran and Ukrainian commander-in-chief Colonel General Ruslan Khomchak. Beyond the bilateral talks, the Defence Secretary paid tribute to members of the Armed Forces of Ukraine who have died in combat since the start of the conflict in East Ukraine in 2014, laying a wreath at the Hall for the Defenders of Ukraine.

In support of that effort, the Ministry of Defence is increasing its support to the Armed Forces of Ukraine (AFU) by coordinating an international maritime training package that will share the expert knowledge of the Royal Navy and partners from next month.

Courses will be delivered by the Royal Navy and naval personnel from Sweden, Canada and Denmark in areas such as navigation, operational planning, military diving, sea surveillance, fire-fighting and damage control. More nations are expected to join in the near future.

Ukraine lost much of its Navy capability during Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and Ukraine has since continued to face a rising number of threats in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov. In response, Ukraine has been rebuilding its Navy to protect its economic interests and its right to freedom of navigation. The Maritime Training Initiative will boost that effort, enabling them to uphold the rules based international order and European security in the region on which the UK’s own security depends.

As well as bringing skills, knowledge and expertise to the Ukrainian Navy, the Maritime Training Initiative will empower the Ukrainian Navy to work even more closely alongside international partners in defence of the Black Sea region. This will be in evidence later this year when Royal Navy ships visit the region.

Operation Orbital

The new initiative will follow the resumption of Operation Orbital, the UK’s training mission to Ukraine, after a COVID-19-enforced suspension. Since the training mission began in 2015, British troops have trained over 18,000 members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF). Their efforts have made a real difference and saved lives as Ukraine faces down Russian aggression and threats to its sovereignty. Last year the Defence Secretary extended Operation Orbital until 2023.

The UK’s Operation Orbital and Maritime Training Initiative will be complemented by US security assistance support. This will further enhance Ukraine’s capabilities and situational awareness in the maritime domain to more effectively defend itself against Russian aggression. The UK continues to urge all allies and partners to enhance their support for Ukraine.

Ukraine defence reform

The strengthening UK-Ukraine defence relationship has seen the UK support Ukraine in its process of conducting vital defence and security sector reform. A Special Defence Advisor has been deployed to Ukraine to assist in this process, which has also been aided by UK representation on the country’s Defence Reform Advisory Board (DRAB), General Sir Gordon Messenger.

Taras Kuzio is a Professor at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy.

Why MIT lost to Silicon Valley? Chapter 1. $ 1.1. Introduction.

In a small Western Massachusetts town, Dr. Carolyn Ryan and her sculptor husband Ben live with their two children Jacob and Judith. Their world is shattered when Sheriff Fran Conklin tells them that Martha Taverner has been killed and witnesses saw Jacob with her just before she died. When he asks to speak with Jacob, the family realizes that he’s not in his room as they thought. Conklin asks to look at Jacob’s car, but Ben refuses. When Conklin asks Judith where Jacob is, Ben demands the sheriff get a warrant.

When Conklin leaves, Ben inspects Jacob’s car, finding clothes and a car jack with blood on them. He burns the clothes and cleans the jack before the police return. When he tells Carolyn what he has done, she is afraid that Ben may have destroyed evidence that could help them find Jacob, as she is fearful that a maniac may have killed both Martha and her son. The Ryans plaster the town with signs trying to find Jacob, but the town ostracizes them, assuming Jacob is a murderer.

Postcards start to arrive from Jacob. Over the course of five weeks, he sends postcards from all over the country. Carolyn is convinced that he’s been kidnapped and wants to alert the police. Ben remains wary of disclosing anything, insisting they must keep the postcards a secret. Eventually Jacob is caught and brought back home to stand trial. For the first several days, he is catatonic, only speaking aloud to enter his plea at the arraignment.

He speaks to Judith in their treehouse when she asks him if he really traveled all over the country. He explained that he would take the train to the Boston airport once a week and press the postcards on people who were headed to the cities on the cards. He would explain that he had just returned from a vacation there but forgotten to mail the postcards to his parents, and he did not want them to think he’d forgotten them. The travelers would mail the cards for him when they arrived at their destination.

The family receives a harassing phone call from one of the townspeople. Ben bitterly mocks the caller, but offers an impassioned defense of his son. Touched by his father’s sincerity, Jacob opens up and explains what happened.

He had been fighting with Martha when she revealed that she was pregnant, in addition to the fact that she had been sleeping with several other boys. They made up, but while they made love in Jacob’s car, they got snowed in. Unable to free the car through a variety of methods, they decided to try to jack one end of the car up while they packed snow under the other end. Their fight reignited and got violent. Martha swung a crowbar at Jacob and missed him by an inch. He charged at her, knocking her to the ground. She landed face first on the jack and was killed. Ben decides that it is best to not reveal the truth. He coaches Jacob on a different version of the story, which they tell to their lawyer, but the plan goes awry when Ben is deposed by the grand jury and realizes that there is no father-son privilege which exempts him from testifying. When Carolyn is called to testify, she reveals the truth. Jacob’s lawyer is incensed, but he explains that he will simply treat Carolyn as a hostile witness and her testimony will amount to hearsay, since it conflicts with Jacob’s account of the events.

When Ben discovers what Carolyn has done, he is furious. A family argument ensues and in the morning, Jacob is missing again. He turns up at the police station, where he has given a full confession. As a minor, he needs his parents to sign his confession. Ben refuses, explaining that he could never sign anything that took Jacob away from him.

Jacob is sentenced to five years for involuntary manslaughter, but is released after only 2 years with probation, and Ben is sentenced to almost one year for his cover up. The family relocates to Miami.

Censorship news: declared + hidden?

Three of the largest social networks have said they will join forces with fact-checkers, governments and researchers to try to come up with a new way of tackling misinformation.

Vaccine misinformation has been rife on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, with many questioning their efficacy.

At the same time, countries are preparing to roll out coronavirus vaccines in a bid to end the pandemic.

It is unclear how the initiative will improve the fight against fake news.

Fact-checking charity Full Fact will co-ordinate the collaboration.

Taking part in the effort alongside Facebook, Google-owned YouTube and Twitter are the UK’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport; the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism; Africa Check; Canada’s Privacy Council Office; and five other international fact-checking organisations.

With funding from Facebook, an initial framework will launch in January, setting out new standards for tackling misinformation, as well as a set of aims on the best way to respond to such information.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-55005385

Advertising

Censorship

New World, New Internet, New Education

Our email: college.arts.technology@interia.eu,

2020 like 1940s. World is changing very fast. Europe is going down. Russia, US and UK are in very unstable situation. Other English-speaking countries, including India, have the good chances to grow. Same as on 1988-1994, greatly unnoticed war in Caucasus, is turning on the biggest global changes.

Drones became new weapon. Driverless is developing, using same technology (computer vision, machine learning, whole Internet and surveillance technologies) and money. Medical progress, promised by rich and powerful, is still waiting, although all technologies are here, as we will see in our later posts.

Please, put your “likes”, that we can see, on which subjects to concentrate! Questions, ideas (write on college.art.technology@interia.eu) are appreciated as well.

p.s. here is one example from [ https://physics.aps.org/articles/v13/179 ]:

Becoming a physicist was not Maria Schuld’s life goal. As an undergrad, she started out studying political science, taking physics in parallel. Her plan was to work for a nonprofit organization in a capacity that had a very clear benefit to society. For her, a career as a physicist didn’t offer that possibility. But then, she says, “life happened”—jobs fell through and other opportunities opened up—and she found herself with a career in quantum machine learning.

Today Schuld, who works for the Canadian quantum computing company Xanadu from her home in South Africa, says that she has matured in what she thinks it means for a person to benefit society. She says that all people can take actions to benefit others, regardless of their field. For example, any startup company can build a supportive culture with happy employees or a ruthless one that makes everyone miserable. In an interview with Physics, Schuld spoke about why she loves quantum machine learning, what she sees as the important unsolved problems in the field, and how she approaches career decisions.

What is a quantum machine-learning model?

That’s a question with no one answer. For me, a quantum machine-learning model is one where the thing that’s used to solve the task is a quantum computation. These computations don’t have clear recipes to follow, like Shor’s algorithm—a quantum algorithm for integer factorization. Rather, they are more an abstract skeleton that the model uses to train itself.

What quantum machine-learning models are you interested in?

I absolutely love models that use so-called kernel methods. Classical kernel methods are a class of algorithm used for pattern analysis, and they were very popular in the 1990s. The mathematics of quantum computing looks very similar to classical kernel methods. This similarity allows us to apply results from classical methods to quantum computing. I find this similarity really interesting. Mathematically, something cool is happening.

Why use a quantum machine-learning algorithm over a classical one?

That’s another question with many answers. Speedup is one goal—you probably wouldn’t use a quantum algorithm if it wasn’t faster. But I’m more interested in whether a model will perform better if we replace it with a generic quantum computation. How to answer that question is much less clear because we don’t have a good sense of how to define “better.”

The holy grail of machine learning is generalization power—the ability to apply the same model to different situations. For example, you might want to train a model to play a specific game and then use the same model to play a completely different game. Knowing if a quantum machine-learning algorithm generalizes is a really hard problem, as we don’t have the theoretical tools we need to solve that problem.

Classical models do already generalize pretty well, right?

Yes. That is what machine-learning models, such as neural networks, do super well. Today you can train a neural network on a million images, and then give it a million unseen images, and the model will correctly tell you what is in every image.

What we still don’t know about classical models is the ideal size. Initially, researchers thought that a model that was neither super small nor super big in terms of the number of parameters would be the best choice to optimize learning. And there are lots of theories that explain why that should be the case. But then they tried making the models super big and found that the learning ability just got better and better.

Do quantum machine-learning models show the same improvement?

We don’t know yet. We don’t yet have the hardware and simulation abilities to test that question, and the theory on that problem is very thin. That is why everyone has been more focused on studying speedup—that is something we can do.

What is next for the field?

For me, it’s better theory. We are very far from being able to do meaningful experiments. To recognize a typical image today would require millions of quantum gates, yet the best experiments have just a handful of gates. With theory, we can build models to answer how quantum machine-learning algorithms might work and what improvements they might show. Then, when the machines are ready, we can start testing the answers.

What advice would you give someone starting out in their career either in physics or in any other field?

Make career decisions based on what makes you happy. Early on, I was listening too much to other people’s opinions when making big life decisions. And I can see that many of the young scientists that I mentor do the same. They make decisions based on what others think they should do, and these decisions can be bad for their mental health and bad for their futures. I turned down jobs in the US and in Europe that others would consider prestigious, because they didn’t allow me to work from South Africa. I would give up physics before I give up living in a place I love.

Apple’s new Processor

Write your questions, ideas, everything on: college.arts.technology@interia.eu

SourceURL:https://www.wired.com/story/own-chips-apple-aims-define-future-pcs/ With Its Own Chips, Apple Aims to Define the Future of PCs | WIRED

Apple has long been the lone wolf of the personal computer industry in maintaining its own operating system instead of licensing Microsoft’s Windows as rivals do. Tuesday it struck out further from the pack by launching its first laptops and desktops built on processors designed wholly in house.

The silicon shift gives Apple new control over its own destiny—and perhaps the future of the personal computer.

The change was long expected. Apple already crafts both the chips and software that power its mobile devices. Tuesday the company unveiled the first Macs built on a processor, the M1, designed by Apple’s own chip engineers, abandoning the industry’s dominant supplier, Intel.

The M1 is similar to Apple’s iPhone and iPad processors, allowing mobile apps to run on its new PCs and bringing improved power efficiency. “This was Apple separating itself even more from the rest of the PC industry,” says Kevin Krewell, principal analyst at Tirias Research, which tracks the chip business. “The PC becomes more like the smartphone.”

Making its own mobile processors has helped Apple innovate with such features as facial recognition and augmented reality on the iPhone. Designing its own chips for devices like the MacBooks and Mac Mini announced Tuesday should also allow Apple to be more creative with PCs.

When chip, device, and software engineers work closely together they can squeeze more performance out of a device than is possible with an off-the-shelf chip. In Tuesday’s event, Apple software chief Craig Federighi boasted that the new MacBook Air can wake up from sleep mode more or less instantly, similarly to a smartphone or tablet. The company also touted impressive battery lives for its new M1-based MacBooks, up to 20 hours of video playback on a single charge.

Apple’s new design freedom could prove to be influential on other PC makers, just as the iPhone has shaped the smartphone market.

new macbook pro, air and mini

Everything Apple Announced, From New Macs to New Chips

The company showed off three new Mac computers Tuesday, all powered by its newly designed M1 chip.

Smartphones started out as smaller, less powerful accessories to PCs. With its new chip strategy, Apple is reversing the dynamic, blurring the boundaries between PC and smartphone. Competitors that don’t also produce industry leading smartphones could find it difficult to keep up. Krewell says Apple could also use its iPhone experience to integrate cellular connectivity to its Apple laptops, giving users another way to get online.

Apple’s event Tuesday also suggested it will steer its software engineers—and those at other software companies—to work more with artificial intelligence on laptops and desktops. Like Apple’s recent iPhone chips, the M1 has a dedicated “neural engine” to run machine learning code more efficiently. Apple said Tuesday that helps make photo and video editing packages snappier; dedicated AI support could also help gaming or new categories of desktop software.

Taking control of processors is the latest and largest step in Apple’s long campaign of vertical integration. The company has spent more than a decade building a pool of chip design talent and has designed the processors at the heart of its mobile devices since 2010. Last year, the company spent $1 billion to acquire the unit of Intel that made cellular and Wi-Fi modems. Now it designs the silicon at the heart of Macs, too.

Apple’s chip change has been in the works for years but appears well-timed, because it could help the company deal with two major challenges in the computer business.

“This was Apple separating itself even more from the rest of the PC industry.”

Kevin Krewell, principal analyst, Tirias Research

Intel still dominates the market for PC and server chips but has struggled to launch its two most recent generations of chip-making technology on time. Using its own chips, designed in-house and manufactured by Taiwan’s TSMC, frees Apple from Intel’s troubles. Losing Apple isn’t a huge blow to Intel in terms of sales, because Apple is a small player in PCs, but it adds to the perception that Intel has lost its mojo. It’s a reputation boost for ARM, the UK-based company that licenses ARM chip technology to Apple and many others and is set to be acquired by graphics chips company Nvidia.Advertisement

Meanwhile, the computing industry faces an uncertain future in which chips advance more slowly. The conventional strategy of making more powerful chips by making transistors smaller is becoming more difficult to sustain, because the devices are already measured in nanometers.

Switching Macs to TSMC-built processors of Apple’s own design vaults its PCs onto the smallest, best chip manufacturing technology, says Aakash Jani, a senior analyst at the Linley Group. That offers both performance gains and cash savings, because smaller processors are more cost efficient, he says. Apple should also be able to extract more performance from its chips by tightly integrating them with its software and adding special features like its neural engine, Jani says. “It’s a big shift, but it was the right time for Apple because it allows them greater liberties in design than they had with Intel,” he says.

Apple’s chip-and-PC show on Tuesday left some questions unanswered. The company said the M1 would appear in lower-end Macs: the MacBook Air, smallest MacBook Pro, and the Mac Mini desktop. The company likely has a second chip for its higher-end PCs, the Mac Pro and iMac, which are commonly used for computational heavy lifting, such as designing special effects or large-scale video editing.

It’s also unclear whether the transition from Intel to Apple chips will be as buttery smooth as Tuesday’s presentation promised. Software developers generally need to make different versions of their packages to properly work on a different architecture.

Some big developers are already reworking their apps for Apple’s new chips. Adobe’s Lightroom photo organizer and editor will be available in a new version next month, Apple said, and a new version of Photoshop is due early next year. Apple has also created emulation software called Rosetta that translates apps to work on ARM on the fly.

An earlier version of Rosetta was deployed in 2006 when Apple switched from the PowerPC chips it had used for more than a decade to Intel processors, with disappointing results for some customers. Jani says emulation has improved since, but how smoothly software switches to Apple-chip-powered Macs won’t be clear until lots have been bought and pressed into service.https://playlist.megaphonefm/?e=CAD4091710125


you’re battling giant, venomous hornets

The hair-raising, record-setting race to 331 mph

Do everything faster with these keyboard tricks

The science that spans #MeToo, memes, and Covid-19

🎮 WIRED Games: Get the latest tips, reviews, and more

Tom Simonite is a senior writer for WIRED in San Francisco covering artificial intelligence and its effects on the world. He was previously the San Francisco bureau chief at MIT Technology Review, and wrote and edited technology coverage at New Scientist magazine in London. Simonite received a bachelor’s degree from… Read moreSenior Writer

WIRED

User Agreement (updated 1/1/20) and Privacy Policy and Cookie Statement (updated 1/1/20) and Your California Privacy Rights. Wired may earn a portion of sales from products that are purchased through our site as part of our Affiliate Partnerships with retailers. The material on this site may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, cached or otherwise used, except with the prior written permission of Condé Nast. Ad Choices https://news.google.com/swg/_/ui/v1/serviceiframe?_=446013

We Care About Your Privacy

We and our partners store and/or access information on a device, such as unique IDs in cookies to process personal data. You may accept or manage your choices by clicking below or at any time in the privacy policy page. These choices will be signaled to our partners and will not affect browsing data.

We and our partners process data to provide:

If you accept, we may do the following:
Use precise geolocation data ; Actively scan device characteristics for identification. This is done to Store and/or access information on a device and to provide Personalised ads and content, ad and content measurement, audience insights and product development. List of Partners (vendors)

Energy Revolution

Bill Joy, cofounder of Sun Microsystems, agrees with Kurzweil’s timeline of future progress, but thinks that technologies such as AI, nanotechnology and advanced biotechnology will create a dystopian world.[ 78 ] Mitch Kapor, the founder of Lotus Development Corporation, has called the notion of a technological singularity “intelligent design for the IQ 140 people…This proposition that we’re heading to this point at which everything is going to be just unimaginably different—it’s fundamentally, in my view, driven by a religious impulse.” Some critics have argued more strongly against Kurzweil and his ideas. Cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter has said of Kurzweil’s and Hans Moravec’s books: “It’s an intimate mixture of rubbish and good ideas, and it’s very hard to disentangle the two, because these are smart people; they’re not stupid.”[ 79 ] Biologist P. Z. Myers has criticized Kurzweil’s predictions as being based on “New Age spiritualism” rather than science and says that Kurzweil does not understand basic biology.[ 80 ] HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Kurzweil#cite_note-Singularitarianism-81” [ 81 ] VR pioneer Jaron Lanier has even described Kurzweil’s ideas as “cybernetic totalism” and has outlined his views on the culture surrounding Kurzweil’s predictions in an essay for Edge.org entitled One Half of a Manifesto.[ 47 ] HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Kurzweil#cite_note-82” [ 82 ] British philosopher John Gray argues that contemporary science is what magic was for ancient civilizations. It gives a sense of hope for those who are willing to do almost anything in order to achieve eternal life. He quotes Kurzweil’s Singularity as another example of a trend which has almost always been present in the history of mankind.[ 83 ] The Brain Makers, a history of artificial intelligence written in 1994 by HP Newquist, noted that “Born with the same gift for self-promotion that was a character trait of people like P.T. Barnum and Ed HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Feigenbaum” Feigenbaum, Kurzweil had no problems talking up his technical prowess . . . Ray Kurzweil was not noted for his understatement.”[ 84 ] In a 2015 paper, William D. Nordhaus of Yale University, takes an economic look at the impacts of an impending technological singularity. He comments: “There is remarkably little writing on Singularity in the modern macroeconomic literature.” [ 85 ] Nordhaus supposes that the Singularity could arise from either the demand or supply side of a market economy, but for information technology to proceed at the kind of pace Kurzweil suggests, there would have to be significant productivity trade-offs. Namely, in order to devote more resources to producing super computers we must decrease our production of non-information technology goods. Using a variety of econometric methods, Nordhaus runs six supply side tests and one demand side test to track the macroeconomic viability of such steep rises in information technology output. Of the seven tests only two indicated that a Singularity was economically possible and both of those two predicted, at minimum, 100 years before it would occur.

Unless we cope with the energy problem, we can not cope with anything else. There were many years in which no one wanted to spent too much on energy: on new rigs, new platforms, new drilling equipment, new tankers, etc. The last refinery in USA was built in 1976 , the best engineers moved then from the oil to other companies.

Students turned to such subjects like programming, big data, genetics, global warming and renewable fuel sources. Not only did the sudden collapse of oil prices such as at the end of 1985 and the beginning of 1986 destroy incentives in the years following to spend big money on exploration and drilling for new reserves and for developing fields in areas which both remote and dangerous, at the same time investment in up to date refinery capacity ceased altogether. Today that price, too, is being paid in outdated refineries, power stations, etc. But the other trouble (or “trouble”) is that bigness no longer equates with power, that is the central consequence and lesson of the information age. The age of information working in microchips has changed everything. It has dispersed power massively – away from the North American giants with the well known oil barons as the leaders and presidents and into the hands of the smallest unites. This illustrates again the lack of democracy in the world’s macro-, meso-, and micro- levels. [[[No one perhaps puts this better than [[[Thomas Friedman in his book „The World is Flat”]]] ]]]. He reminds also that the world has moved from a primary vertical (command and control) hierarchical system to an increasingly horizontal (connect and collaborate) model. Influence and power have been dispersed by the information revolution. Sources of energy (including energy storage) may and should become “ personal ” [1. selling solar. 2. see calculations, Mackay] as a result of the present revolution, similar to computers and internet, which became the personal sources of information in last 20 years. But these sources of energy (including energy storage) will be really the sources of infoenergy, because we consider energy in the terms of costs, of health (calculating every day, when necessary, flows of calories in our organism), in terms of comfort in building, in terms of our purposes, etc. Infoenergy allow to introduce the scientific foundations of the present revolutionary ‘transition’ in economy and technology.

Immor(t)ality.

Although the idea of a technological singularity is a popular concept in science fiction, some authors such as Neal Stephenson HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Kurzweil#cite_note-70” [ 70 ] and Bruce Sterling have voiced skepticism about its real-world plausibility. Sterling expressed his views on the singularity scenario in a talk at the Long Now Foundation entitled The Singularity: Your Future as a Black Hole . [ 71 ] HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Kurzweil#cite_note-72” [ 72 ] Other prominent AI thinkers and computer scientists such as Daniel Dennett , [ 73 ] Rodney Brooks , [ 74 ] David Gelernter HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Kurzweil#cite_note-75” [ 75 ] and Paul Allen HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Kurzweil#cite_note-76” [ 76 ] also criticized Kurzweil’s projections. In the cover article of the December 2010 issue of IEEE Spectrum, John Rennie criticizes Kurzweil for several predictions that failed to become manifest by the originally predicted date. “Therein lie the frustrations of Kurzweil’s brand of tech punditry. On close examination, his clearest and most successful
predictions often lack originality or profundity. And most of his predictions come with so many loopholes that they border on the unfalsifiable.”[ 77 ] Bill Joy, cofounder of Sun Microsystems, agrees with Kurzweil’s timeline of future progress, but thinks that technologies such as AI, nanotechnology and advanced biotechnology will create a dystopian world.[ 78 ] Mitch Kapor, the founder of Lotus Development Corporation, has called the notion of a technological singularity “intelligent design for the IQ 140 people…This proposition that we’re heading to this point at which everything is going to be just unimaginably different—it’s fundamentally, in my view, driven by a religious impulse. And all of the frantic arm-waving can’t obscure that fact for me.”[ 26 ] Some critics have argued more strongly against Kurzweil and his ideas. Cognitive scientist Douglas Hofstadter has said of Kurzweil’s and Hans Moravec’s books: “It’s an intimate mixture of rubbish and good ideas, and it’s very hard to disentangle the two, because these are smart people; they’re not stupid.”[ 79 ] Biologist P. Z. Myers has criticized Kurzweil’s predictions as being based on “New Age spiritualism” rather than science and says that Kurzweil does not understand basic biology.[ 80 ] HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Kurzweil#cite_note-Singularitarianism-81” [ 81 ] VR pioneer Jaron Lanier has even described Kurzweil’s ideas as “cybernetic totalism” and has outlined his views on the culture surrounding Kurzweil’s predictions in an essay for Edge.org entitled One Half of a Manifesto.[ 47 ] HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Kurzweil#cite_note-82” [ 82 ] British philosopher John Gray argues that contemporary science is what magic was for ancient civilizations. It gives a sense of hope for those who are willing to do almost anything in order to achieve eternal life. He quotes Kurzweil’s Singularity as another example of a trend which has almost always been present in the history of mankind.[ 83 ] The Brain Makers, a history of artificial intelligence written in 1994 by HP Newquist, noted that “Born with the same gift for self-promotion that was a character trait of people like P.T. Barnum and Ed HYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Feigenbaum” Feigenbaum, Kurzweil had no problems talking up his technical prowess . . . Ray Kurzweil was not noted for his understatement.”[ 84 ] In a 2015 paper, William D. Nordhaus of Yale University, takes an economic look at the impacts of an impending technological singularity. He comments: “There is remarkably little writing on Singularity in the modern macroeconomic literature.” [ 85 ] Nordhaus supposes that the Singularity could arise from either the demand or supply side of a market economy, but for information technology to proceed at the kind of pace Kurzweil suggests, there would have to be significant productivity trade-offs. Namely, in order to devote more resources to producing super computers we must decrease our production of non-information technology goods. Using a variety of econometric methods, Nordhaus runs six supply side tests and one demand side test to track the macroeconomic viability of such steep rises in information technology output. Of the seven tests only two indicated that a Singularity was economically possible and both of those two predicted, at minimum, 100 years before it would occur.

Unless we cope with the energy problem, we can not cope with anything else. There were many years in which no one wanted to spent too much on energy: on new rigs, new platforms, new drilling equipment, new tankers, etc. The last refinery in USA was built in 1976 , the best engineers moved then from the oil to other companies.

Students turned to such subjects like programming, big data, genetics, global warming and renewable fuel sources. Not only did the sudden collapse of oil prices such as at the end of 1985 and the beginning of 1986 destroy incentives in the years following to spend big money on exploration and drilling for new reserves and for developing fields in areas which both remote and dangerous, at the same time investment in up to date refinery capacity ceased altogether. Today that price, too, is being paid in outdated refineries, power stations, etc. But the other trouble (or “trouble”) is that bigness no longer equates with power, that is the central consequence and lesson of the information age. The age of information working in microchips has changed everything. It has dispersed power massively – away from the North American giants with the well known oil barons as the leaders and presidents and into the hands of the smallest unites. This illustrates again the lack of democracy in the world’s macro-, meso-, and micro- levels. [[[No one perhaps puts this better than [[[Thomas Friedman in his book „The World is Flat”]]] ]]]. He reminds also that the world has moved from a primary vertical (command and control) hierarchical system to an increasingly horizontal (connect and collaborate) model. Influence and power have been dispersed by the information revolution. Sources of energy (including energy storage) may and should become “ personal ” [1. selling solar. 2. see calculations, Mackay] as a result of the present revolution, similar to computers and internet, which became the personal sources of information in last 20 years. But these sources of energy (including energy storage) will be really the sources of infoenergy, because we consider energy in the terms of costs, of health (calculating every day, when necessary, flows of calories in our organism), in terms of comfort in building, in terms of our purposes, etc. Infoenergy allow to introduce the scientific foundations of the present revolutionary ‘transition’ in economy and technology.