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WTF?

Monday, 3 July, 2017 0 Comments

That’s the question Tim O’Reilly asks in his new book, which will be on shelves in October. WTF? What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us comes at a time when we’re being told that 47 percent of human tasks, including many white collar jobs, could be eliminated by automation within the next 20 years. And we’ve all heard those stories about how self driving cars and trucks will put millions of middle-class men out of work. Tim O’Reilly does not shy away from these scenarios, which have the potential to wreck societies and economies, but he’s positive about the future. Sure, we could let the machines put us out of work, but that will only happen because of a failure of human imagination and a lack of will to make a better future. As a tech-optimist, who breathes the enthusiasm of Silicon Valley, Tim O’Reilly believes that what’s impossible today will become possible with the help of the technology we now fear.

The tech thing we’re most afraid of has a name. AI.

AI, Tim O’Reilly claims, has the potential to turbocharge the productivity of all industries. Already it’s being used to analyze millions of radiology scans at a level of resolution and precision impossible for humans. It’s also helping doctors to keep up with the tsunami of medical research in ways that can’t be managed by human practitioners.

Consider another of our coming challenges: cybersecurity. The purpose of the DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge was to encourage the development of AI to find and automatically patch software vulnerabilities that corporate IT teams cannot to keep up with. Given that an increasing number of cyberattacks are being automated, we will need machines to fight machines and that’s where Machine Learning can protect us.

Tim O’Reilly is a hugely successful entrepreneur, but he’s also a Valley idealist and he wants a future in which AI is not controlled by a few corporations but belongs to the Commons of mankind. For this to happens, he says we must embed ethics and security in the curriculum of every Computer Science course and every data training program. The rest of his ideas will be available in October when WTF? goes on sale.

WTF

Note: Just to show that life need not be taken too seriously, this site enables you to create your own O’Reilly book cover.


How Blockchain Will Change Your Life

Thursday, 10 November, 2016 0 Comments

“Blockchain offers a way to track items or transactions using a shared digital ‘ledger.’ Blocks of new transactions are added at the end of the chain, and encryption ensures that it remains unbroken—tamper-proof and error-free. This is significantly more efficient than the current methods for logging and sharing such information.”

So writes Ginni Rometty, chairman, president and CEO of IBM, in today’s Wall Street Journal. She says IBM estimate that applying blockchain to global supply chains could generate more than $100 billion in annual efficiencies. “More than 80 leading finance and technology organizations, including IBM, have joined the Linux Foundation Hyperledger, a project aimed at creating an enterprise-grade blockchain framework. More than 600 additional firms have already applied to join the consortium,” she adds.

blockchain

Meanwhile, the World Economic Forum has created a new working group on blockchain co-chaired by the former president of Estonia, Toomas Hendrik Ilves. The goal is to explore how the blockhain “could impact industry, governments and society in the future, and design innovative governance models that ensure that their benefits are maximized and the associated risks kept under control.”

Blockchain resources:

Networking: The Blockchain Linkedin Tech Group
News: Blockchain Tech Report
Bitcoin: Coindesk