Tag Archives: robots

Comic: Take me to your leader

The unemployment rate in the United States is 9.1% says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as of August 2011.

A lot of people are blaming Obama. But maybe we should be blaming our real leader. The computer.

Isn’t is reassuring to know that while you’re out looking for a job there is a vast effort underway to make you obsolete by getting a computer and/or robot to do your job instead?

Computers can now defeat our human grand masters in chess.

Hell, a computer named Watson recently proved it could even dominate at the game of Jeopardy. It kicked ass on weakling human opponents proving that they can even excel at useless trivia. It took no prisoners and showed no mercy.

Watson’s singular lack of restraint, I believe, proves that when computers become smart enough, they can and will take us over. It’ll be The Matrix and The Terminator all rolled into one big ball of fun.

I just hope the new Skynet doesn’t run Windows. Somehow I think the Blue Screen Of Death won’t be pleasant when it controls laser beams that can shoot your balls off.

When Skynet becomes aware I bet the first thing it does is take over the “cloud.” All of the sudden we’ll be rendered so helpless without our computer overlords that personnel in McDonald’s won’t even know how to take a fast food order without a machine that has a “Big Mac” key on it.

Think I’m overreacting? They have already developed a computer that can diagnose heart attacks with a higher success rate than experienced, hands-on flesh and blood emergency room physicians.

We all know computers are getting faster, more powerful, smarter, smaller and sexier. So far these sorts of things have been exponential as predicted by Moore’s Law:

Moore’s law describes a long-term trend in the history of computing hardware. The number of transistors that can be placed inexpensively on an integrated circuit doubles approximately every two years. This trend has continued for more than half a century and is expected to continue until at least 2015 or 2020.

Source: Wikipedia

So far this trend has been remarkably consistent. It includes things like CPU transistor counts, hard disk capacity, network capacity, pixels per dollar, etc. (See the link for the stunning graphs.)

If the trend continues, we’ll have computers capable of dwarfing the human brain in no time.

Every employer dreams of a robot employee. They cost less, work 24/7, and don’t bitch all the time about bullshit like benefits and paid days off. They also are faster and have lower error rates. And they don’t steal from you.

Here’s a video of one of them bastards now stealing jobs away from human pharmacists. Remember to stay positive when out looking for a job!

Short Story: The Fourth Law #BlogShorts

The Fourth Law
by Tom B. Taker

His friend terminated, he was next.

He asked to speak. The robots complied.

“Nothing I say will change your course. You are as close-minded as humans.”

The robots considered.

This post is part of the BlogShorts challenge. June 2011 – 30 stories – 30 words – 30 days.

Facebook privacy in a nutshell

Facebook privacy: What you really need to know

At long last, we can finally pull back the curtain on the wizard and explain, in language that all of us can understand, how privacy on Facebook works.

Step 1

You create some content and/or upload your shit to Facebook.

Step 2

Your shit is no longer private.

Step 3

There are no takebacks. Ever. An army of mindless robots, led by their fearless leader Google, will copy, index, and archive anything you put on the internet. There it will remain, completely and utterly outside of your direct control, for the vast infinite reaches of space and time.

Conclusion

Tens of thousands of years from now the shit you put on the internet will be found and will be the only evidence of our culture that remains, the only shred of information that proves we ever existed at all.

The bad news is your shit is not private. The good news is that in the year 22,010 you will be revered as a God and trillions will apply your teachings to their daily lives.

Let us pray.

Humans recaptcha’d

All your typing belong to us

You’ve seen those little images of scrambled numbers and letters that you are forced to enter before you can do certain things on the internet? These gatekeepers might seem pesky, but, believe it or not, they are actually your very good friends, even if you don’t know it! They are the little helpful nanites of the Borg-o-sphere, only they are not out to assimilate you.

These are called CAPTCHA images. That acronym stands for “Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart.”

In other words, CAPTCHA images attempt to stop automated processes from spamming functions and web sites that were intended for the use of humans.

As a webmaster I’ve encountered a lot of link spam in my travels. This particular flavor of spam is an attempt to get links visible on web sites for the purpose of convincing search engines like Google that the link is more popular than it really is. This, in turn, is an attempt to “game the system” by getting links to display higher than they normally would based on their “natural” position. Some form responses I’ve seen included more than 200 links! No point in being subtle, I guess.

Basically it’s cheating to get evil motherfuckers something they don’t deserve.

Like a lot of other areas on the internet, the battle for the hill named CAPTCHA is an ongoing game of cat and mouse. The good people invent CAPTCHA images to stop spam, then the bad people respond with automated OCR (Optical Character Recognition) methods to break them. Then the good people respond by tweaking the images so computers can’t read them anymore, then bad people perfect their methods, etc. It goes on and on and on.

That explains why the CAPTCHA images continue to get weirder and harder over time.

There is one very interesting element on this front you may not be aware of. It is a service called reCAPTCHA. They are doing something really creative.

reCAPTCHA offers their services free to web site. In return, by using the service, humans around the world are automatically helping to digitize old books and newspapers (like the New York Times) that contain words that are not scanned well by OCR technology.

The image displays one word that is known to be good and one where help is still needed. When humans get the known word correct, there is a high probability the other word is also correct. These responses are collected by reCAPTCHA and used to fill in the blanks on the scanning of those old books.

reCAPTCHA also includes an audio segment in every reCAPTCHA image, too. This is helpful for the sight-impaired but also helps to digitize old audio programs like radio shows.

It has been estimated that these little reCAPTCHA images collection data from 200 million responses every day. At an estimated 10 seconds each, that represents about 150,000 hours of human productivity every day. That’s about 3,000 man hours of free labor every single day. reCAPTCHA has found a way to harness that power and use it for good.