The web is decentralized and fluid by design, but all that chaos and ephemerality can make it difficult to keep a site up and online without interruption. That's what has made the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine feature so invaluable over the years, maintaining a history of long-forgotten pages. Now its deep memory will help make sure the sites you visit never go down, through a partnership with the internet infrastructure company Cloudflare. Since 2010, Cloudflare has offered a feature called Always On, which caches a static version of sites that it can serve to visitors in case of downtime. Always On was one of CloudFlare's original offerings; John Graham-Cumming, the company's chief technology officer, says the infrastructure powering it was due to be rearchitected.
Nolan Bushnell, the tall, brash, young engineer from Alcorn's work-study days at Ampex, had shown up at Alcorn's Sunnyvale office. Bushnell was driving a new blue station wagon. "It's a company car," he said with feigned nonchalance. He offered to drive Alcorn, recently hired as an associate engineer at Ampex, to see the "game on a TV screen" that Bushnell and Ted Dabney had developed at their new startup company. The two men drove to an office in Mountain View, near the highway. The space was large, about 10,000 square feet, and looked like a cross between an electronics lab and an assembly warehouse. Oscilloscopes and lab benches filled one area. Half-built cabinets and screen with wires protruding from them sat in another. Bushnell walked with Alcorn to a sinuous, six-foot-tall fiberglass cabinet with a screen at eye level. Bushnell was proud of what he called its "spacey-looking" shape.
Al Alcorn knew he was being wooed. Nolan Bushnell, the tall, brash, young engineer from Alcorn's work-study days at Ampex, had shown up at Alcorn's Sunnyvale office. Bushnell was driving a new blue station wagon. "It's a company car," he said with feigned nonchalance. He offered to drive Alcorn, recently hired as an associate engineer at Ampex, to see the "game on a TV screen" that Bushnell and Ted Dabney had developed at their new startup company.
An autonomous idea-creation system that already has invented patentable concepts has itself now been patented. The U.S. Patent and Trade Office has awarded a patent to Stephen L. Thaler, president and CEO of Imagination Engines Inc., for his Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience (DABUS). Formally, the patent is titled "Electro‐Optical Device and Method for Identifying and Inducing Topological States Formed Among Interconnecting Neural Modules," which Thaler says constitutes a "successor to deep learning and the future of artificial general intelligence." With DABUS, "vast swarms of neural nets join to form chains that encode concepts gleaned from their environment," Thaler said in a press release. "It also teaches the noise‐stimulation of such neural chaining systems to generate derivative concepts from their accumulated experience (i.e., idea formation)."
Since the onset of the pandemic, the Technology and Social Change Research Project at Harvard Kennedy's Shorenstein Center, where I am the director, has been investigating how misinformation, scams, and conspiracies about covid-19 circulate online. If fraudsters are now using the virus to dupe unsuspecting individuals, we thought, then our research on misinformation should focus on understanding the new tactics of these media manipulators. What we found was a disconcerting explosion in "zombie content." In April, Amelia Acker, assistant professor of information studies at UT Austin, brought our attention to a popular link containing conspiratorial propaganda suggesting that China is hiding important information about covid-19. The original post was from a generic-looking site called News NT, alleging that 21 million people had died from covid-19 in China.