According to the Securities and Exchange Commission, unauthorized disclosures of confidential information, whether from unsecured devices, leaky apps or poor cloud security, must be announced publicly if the information could affect a company's stock price.
No matter, because the rewards are going to be tremendous. Big data is on the cusp of becoming a "significant corporate asset", so much so that it may even help the west to win back manufacturing advantage from the developing world. Soon, they claim airily, it "may be able to tell whether we're falling in love".
Most of all, we have to know what we want to achieve and what we want big data to do. Otherwise, like the previous iterations of internet futurism, big data will remain a showy buzzword - full of sound and fury, signifying very little.
As we acquire more data, we have the ability to find many, many more statistically significant correlations. Most of these correlations are spurious and deceive us when we're trying to understand a situation. Falsity grows exponentially the more data we collect. The haystack gets bigger, but the needle we are looking for is still buried deep inside.
It may seem like SOPA is the end game in a long fight over copyright, and the Internet, and it may seem like if we defeat SOPA, we'll be well on our way to securing the freedom of PCs and networks. But this isn't about copyright, because the copyright wars are just the 0.9 beta version of the long coming war on computation. The entertainment industry were just the first belligerents in this coming century-long conflict.
The grievances that arose from unauthorized copying are trivial, when compared to the calls for action that our new computer-embroidered reality will create.
We have been fighting the mini-boss, and that means that great challenges are yet to come, but like all good level designers, fate has sent us a soft target to train ourselves on ... we may yet win the battle, and secure the ammunition we'll need for the war.
On the Information Superhighway, Destination Unknown
7:05 am EST, Dec 7, 2011
When you look at the keyboard, all the notes are there already. But if you mean a note enough, it will sound different. You got to pick the notes you really mean!
The screen saver is comfort food for thought the way pop chaos theory is: it lets us believe we are more linked by the serendipities of a butterfly's wings than by finance capitalism. As tasks await amid cascading windows or avalanching paper, the screen saver's immersive depths unfurl the cosmic picture that keeps the job in perspective, outsourcing gripes to karma, converting tedium into trance. It acknowledges, and briefly gratifies, one's drowsy desire for not-work.
Theodor Holm Nelson, still pining for Xanadu:
Now all of us can create our own cattle pens!
We are in a world nobody designed or expected, driving full tilt toward -- a wall? a cliff? a new dawn? We must choose wisely, as if we could.
On the one hand, we are getting bread and circuses, vast freebies unimaginable scant years ago -- free e-mail, phone calls and maps, acres of picture space. On the other hand, somebody or something is reading your mail, and that same somebody or something is looking for new ways to control your future.
Some things are more and more fabulous, some things are more threatening and oppressive, except we don't all agree on which is which. Are Facebook and Google marvelous ways of communicating, or a threat to our privacy? Yes!
Add revenue. Reduce costs. Those are your only goals.
I suppose we need not go mourning the buffaloes. In the nature of things they had to give place to better cattle, though the change might have been made without barbarous wickedness. Likewise many of nature's five hundred kinds of wild trees had to make way for orchards and cornfields. In the settlement and civilization of the country, bread more than timber or beauty was wanted; and in the blindness of hunger, the early settlers, claiming Heaven as their guide, regarded God's trees as only a larger kind of pernicious weeds, extremely hard to get rid of. Accordingly, with no eye to the future, these pious destroyers waged interminable forest wars; chips flew thick and fast; trees in their beauty fell crashing by millions, sma... [ Read More (0.2k in body) ]
A perfectly balanced mechanism of shouts and echoes pretending to be wheels and cogs, a dreamclock chiming beneath a mystery-glass we call life
3:43 pm EST, Nov 29, 2011
Can you figure out which way history wants to head (since no politician can really fight the current) and suggest how we might surf that wave?
Here's my answer: we're moving, if we're lucky, from the world of few and big to the world of small and many. We'll either head there purposefully or we'll be dragged kicking, but we've reached one of those moments when tides reverse.
The Federal Aviation Administration plans to propose new rules for the use of small drones in January, a first step toward clearing the way for police departments, farmers and others to employ the technology.
Franklin was complaining of the choice facing the legislature between being able to make funds available for defense and maintaining its right of self-government -- and he was criticizing the governor for suggesting that it should be willing to give up the latter to ensure the former.
In short, Franklin was not describing a tension between government power and individual liberty. He was describing, rather, effective self-government in the service of security as the very liberty it would be contemptible to trade. Notwithstanding the way the quotation has come down to us, Franklin saw the liberty and security interests of Pennsylvanians as aligned.
For a moment everything was clear, and when that happens you see that the world is barely there at all. Don't we all secretly know this? It's a perfectly balanced mechanism of shouts and echoes pretending to be wheels and cogs, a dreamclock chiming beneath a mystery-glass we call life. ... A universe of horror and loss surrounding a single lighted stage where mortals dance in defiance of the dark.
In our industry, if you can imagine something, you can build it. Certain of our competitors' products and their rapid advancement & refinement of new usage scenarios have been quite noteworthy.
Our early and clear vision notwithstanding, their execution has surpassed our own in mobile experiences, in the seamless fusion of hardware & software & services, and in social networking & myriad new forms of internet-centric social interaction.
You get a billion people doing something, there's lots of ways to make money. Absolutely, trust me. We'll get lots of money for it.
When you're close to the money, you get the first cut. Oyster farmers eat lots of oysters, don't they?
We don't aspire to be like them. They're good at being like them. We want to be like us.
I don't see them catching up with us in the foreseeable future.
Jeff Bezos's grandfather:
One day you'll understand that it's harder to be kind than clever.
She wanted to understand how whole classes of people can get caught up in a shared worldview, to the point that they simply can't see.
What is that thing? What is that mental process where we invisibilize something that's present all the time?
You can understand the entire cosmos of a culture by looking at its definitions of dirty and clean, and acceptable versus unacceptable, the profane and the sacred. You can start with something as humble as dirt and read it out to an entire worldview.
One must assume that all garbage is monitored by the state. Anything less would be a pre-911 mentality.
That's not grime you're seeing, it's historical charm!
Many of Professor Nagle's insights come from exploring the social energy and meaning of an accelerated elimination process that, in the effort to make a city's garbage invisible, has created Fresh Kills, one of the only man-made structures massive enough to be visible from earth's orbit.
Focusing on offenses to the eyes, ears, noses, taste buds, and skin of inhabitants of England's pre-Industrial Revolution cities, Hubbub transports us to a world in which residents were scarred by smallpox, refuse rotted in the streets, pigs and dogs roamed free, and food hygiene consisted of little more than spit and polish. Through the stories of a large cast of characters from varied walks of life, the book compares what daily life was like in different cities across England from 1600 to 1770.
Moe: You gotta ... think hard, and come up with a slogan that appeals to all the lazy slobs out there. Homer: [moans] Can't someone else do it? Moe: "Can't someone else do it?", that's perfect!
There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship.
Those of us involved in communicating ideas need to re-think the Internet. Many of the people that desperately need to know, don't even know that they don't know.
It's a culture. Call it the algorithmic culture. To get it, you need to be part of it, you need to come out of it. Otherwise, you spend the rest of your life dancing to the tune of other people's code.
If this is the information age, what are we so well-informed about?
Instead of letting the Internet solve the easy problems, it's time we got it to solve the important ones.
Being an intellectual begins with thinking your way outside of your assumptions and the system that enforces them. But students who get into elite schools are precisely the ones who have best learned to work within the system, so it's almost impossible for them to see outside it, to see that it's even there.
I need idle time in equal proportion to planned time; leaving time for the unplanned, and making sure there's enough time for a bit of nothing. It's this space that makes the planned more worthwhile.
"Natural ideas", which account for the big leaps forward and often appear to come from nowhere, actually come from nature, solitude, and meditation. They're less concerned with how the world is, and more with how the world could and should be.
Internet culture is a culture of nowness. As we learn more about now, we know less about then.
I like English history. I have volumes of it, but I never read anything but the first volume. Even at that, I only read the first three or four chapters. My purpose is to read Volume Zero, which has not been written.
Despite our wondrous technologies and scientific advances, we are nurturing a culture of diffusion, fragmentation, and detachment. In this new world, something crucial is missing -- attention.
Alain de Botton:
The need to diet, which we know so well in relation to food, and which runs so contrary to our natural impulse, is something we now have to relearn in relation to knowledge, people and ideas. We require periods of fast in the life of our minds no less than in that of our bodies.
Maybe we need some time ... because everything is amazing right now, and nobody's happy ...
MTV's Buzz: fantastically forward-thinking TV from 1990
6:43 pm EST, Nov 19, 2009
In 1990, MTV aired a groundbreaking TV documentary series called Buzz, a fantastic experiment in non-linearity and cut-up that drew heavily from -- and presented -- avant-garde art, underground cinema, early cyberpunk, industrial culture, appropriation/sampling, and postmodern literature.
Old and new make the warp and woof of every moment. There is no thread that is not a twist of these two strands. By necessity, by proclivity, and by delight, we all quote. Neurological study has lately shown that memory, imagination, and consciousness itself is stitched, quilted, pastiched. If we cut-and-paste our selves, might we not forgive it of our artworks?
Authenticity is a snark -- although someone will always go hunting for it.
It is not that life imitates art, but that it is all art, all fictional as much as documentary, and it is cinema once any lens -- in camera or eye -- notices it.
If you can cut it up into small enough pieces, you can get people to do almost anything.
By embracing "read-write culture," which allows its users to create art as readily as they consume it, we can ensure that creators get the support -- artistic, commercial, and ethical -- that they deserve and need.
The Cosmopolitan Tongue: The Universality of English
6:05 pm EST, Nov 8, 2009
John McWhorter, in World Affairs Journal:
Linguistic death is proceeding more rapidly even than species attrition. According to one estimate, a hundred years from now the 6,000 languages in use today will likely dwindle to 600. The question, though, is whether this is a problem.
Who argues that we must preserve each pod of whales because of the particular songs they happen to have developed?
The main loss when a language dies is not cultural but aesthetic. In many Amazonian languages, when you say something you have to specify, with a suffix, where you got the information.
Researchers have shown it takes about ten years to develop expertise in any of a wide variety of areas, including chess playing, music composition, painting, piano playing, swimming, tennis, and research in neuropsychology and topology. There appear to be no real shortcuts: even Mozart, who was a musical prodigy at age 4, took 13 more years before he began to produce world-class music.
If only there were a game, whose winning required a gift for the identification of missed opportunities and of things lost and irrecoverable, a knack for the belated recognition of truths, for the exploitation of chances in imagination after it is too late!
We are a lost generation, desperately clinging to anything that feels real, but too afraid to become it ourselves. We are a defeated generation, resigned to the hypocrisy of those before us, who once sang songs of rebellion and now sell them back to us. We are the last generation, a culmination of all previous things, destroyed by the vapidity that surrounds us.
We're going to be okay, aren't we Papa? Yes. We are. And nothing bad is going to happen to us. That's right. Because we're carrying the fire. Yes. Because we're carrying the fire.
Cormac McCarthy, "Blood Meridian":
At dusk they halted and built a fire and roasted the deer. The night was much enclosed about them and there were no stars. To the north they could see other fires that burned red and sullen along the invisible ridges. They ate and moved on, leaving the fire on the ground behind them, and as they rode up into the mountains this fire seemed to become altered of its location, now here, now there, drawing away, or shifting unaccountably along the flank of their movement. Like some ignis fatuus belated upon the road behind them which all could see and of which none spoke. For this will to deceive that is in things luminous may manifest itself likewise in retrospect and so by sleight of some fixed part of a journey already accomplished may also post men to fraudulent destinies.