For Silicon Valley, the headline was sweet nectar: Google DeepMind, the world’s hottest artificial intelligence lab, embraces the blockchain, the endlessly fascinating idea at the heart of the bitcoin digital currency.
But the buzzwords bely the reality. The lab’s re-imagining of the blockchain has very little to do with AI—or the blockchain, for that matter.
WikiLeaks this week published a trove of documents that appears to detail how the Central Intelligence Agency successfully hacked a wide variety of tech products, including iPhones, Android devices, Wi-Fi routers and Samsung televisions.
AWS operations explains that it was tougher to restart its S3 index system this time than the last time they tried to restart it.
The Feb. 28 outage of Amazon’s Simple Storage Service says one thing loudly and clearly: Amazon Web Services is growing so fast that it must rely on its automated systems to keep operating. Sometimes things need to go awry in only a minor way, and the sheer scale involved puts those systems at risk of disabling it.
Something strange happens when you look into a crystal ball.
For some, it becomes easier to imagine roadblocks that don’t actually exist or that are not really insurmountable. Maybe it’s a way to create more hype by painting a dire picture or to build up a taller mountain to scale as a way to raise even more investment money. Who knows? It’s a problem I’ve seen many times in tech, where the naysayers get most of the attention.
Farming is getting smarter every day. From large commercial operations to local organic growers, technology is at the forefront of reducing cost, improving yield and guaranteeing optimal delivery to market. The key ingredient in smart agriculture is data.
The technology’s implications for interoperability, privacy, claims processing and more are intriguing. But many challenges must be addressed before wider applications become possible.
“Everybody and their mother is out to create their own specialized voice-activated devices,” IBM fellow and CTO for its Watson project Rob High told me during an interview at MWC. IBM, of course, doesn’t offer a direct competitor to Siri, Google Assistant or Alexa, but the company hopes that developers will choose Watson, in all its various guises, to power their AI apps, smart chatbots and similar services.
Even as fanatic customers can be counted on to line up outside the Apple store for the latest iPhone, there are still millions of Americans who don’t use a smartphone at all. For that matter, there are still plenty of happy owners of tube televisions, rotary dial telephones, film cameras, fax machines, typewriters and cassette tape players.
Viewed from afar these days, it might be easy to conclude that life in Washington, D.C., has become a reality show gone awry.
Cabinet-level nominees stepping down amid claims of wrongdoing; a president seemingly at war with the press and members of his own team; an intelligence community at odds with the source of its authority; and a bureaucratic “swamp” that refuses to be drained.
Not to be overlooked, however, are the real issues facing Congress, the White House and the nation as the hard work of governing marches on.
Called the “largest interconnected machine,” the U.S. electricity grid is a complex digital and physical system crucial to life and commerce in this country. Today, it is made up of more than 7,000 power plants, 55,000 substations, 160,000 miles of high-voltage transmission lines and millions of miles of low-voltage distribution lines. This web of generators, substations and power lines is organized into three major interconnections, operated by 66 balancing authorities and 3,000 different utilities. That’s a lot of power, and many possible vulnerabilities.