Collaborating Authors

Artificial intelligence: Not the job-killer you fear


Recently I posted an article by Jeff Selingo to my LinkedIn feed entitled "What happens when millions of jobs are lost to automation." Predictably, those who actually read the article decided it was about education -- specifically, how a lot of people are being educated to do things that no one will be doing after a few years. Meanwhile, people who read only the title commented that even more jobs will be created in our hyperautomated future. The issue is more complicated. When we defund education and fail to address long-standing social issues, we simply don't prepare future generations (or even much of the current one) for this future.

Canada-EU counter-terror data exchange is illegal, says top EU judge


An agreement to send Canadian authorities passenger name record (PNR) data for flights from the European Union cannot be entered into in its current form, a top European Union judge has said. That's because parts of the draft agreement are incompatible with EU citizens' fundamental privacy rights, according to Paolo Mengozzi, Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the EU, in a legal opinion issued Thursday. His opinion, on a case brought by the European Parliament, is only advisory, and it still remains for the CJEU to make a final ruling on the matter. But if the court follows his advice, it could disrupt the European Commission's plans for a new directive on the sharing of PNR data among EU member states and with other countries. The agreement, which the EU and Canada began negotiating in 2010, concerns the transfer of PNR data to Canadian authorities for the purpose of combatting terrorism and other serious transnational crime.

What Should We Do if Aliens Try to Contact Us?


In Contact, Sagan also explores the fracturing of the human race in the aftermath of the discovery that humans aren't alone. International politics become a free-for-all, as astronomers from around the world work to harness and decode the signals amid fears that countries with tepid relationships with the U.S. might withhold or alter data. America and Russia compete to build the spacecraft depicted in the transmitted blueprints. International debate rages over who will comprise the five-person crew, and countries trade seats for other privileges. The heightened tensions culminate in the bombing of the first craft and crew, for which dozens of international political, religious, and military organizations take credit.

Wandering Pathways, Scrabbling Claws


But Peterson does not only refuse--almost jocularly--the anti-scientific hubris of surrealists and theme parks: He also pokes a "finger-needle" at the hubris of some popular science. Wilson famously argued for a close fit between genes and behavior, and a close fit between the natural sciences and other branches of human knowledge. He touted the discipline of sociobiology (which claimed that genes and natural selection could explain much of human behavior) along with the notion of "consilience," which meant that one unified mode of explanation (presumably mathematical and empirical) would eventually tell us all we wanted to know about everything from photons to philanthropists. Wilson's intellectual opponents at Harvard, Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin, were no less committed to Darwinian evolution, but Lewontin and Gould stressed instead the unpredictability of still-evolving organisms and systems, the fact that one set of genes could produce many outcomes, and the truth that (so far) modes of explanation suited to the "plain facts" about one sort of object (photons, say) were not enough to help us explain another. Biology could not be reduced to physics, nor could philately or philology.

The Virtual Assistant Powering Amazon's Echo is Coming to Tablets

TIME - Tech

Amazon's Alexa is present in millions of living rooms by way of the Echo speaker and the Fire TV. Now, Amazon's virtual assistant is coming to tablets with new 89.99 Fire HD 8, the company announced Thursday. Amazon is also pushing Alexa to last year's Fire HD 8 tablet as well as the 49.99 Fire and 229.99 Fire 10 through a free software update over the coming months. The new Fire HD 8 will be up for pre-order starting Thursday in 16GB or 32GB storage options.

Veterans who worked in U.S. drone program support legal fight by Yemeni relative of drone victims

Los Angeles Times

Three military veterans once involved in the U.S. drone program have thrown their support behind a Yemeni man's legal fight to obtain details about why his family members were killed in a 2012 strike. The former soldiers' unusual decision to publicly endorse the lawsuit against President Obama and other U.S. officials adds another twist to Faisal bin Ali Jaber's four-year quest for accountability in the deaths of his brother-in-law and nephew, who he believes needlessly fell victim to one of the most lethal covert programs in U.S. history. The former enlisted service members told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in a recent filing that they believe the 2012 drone strike serves as a case study of how mistakes frequently occur in the nation's targeted-killing program, where life-or-death decisions are based upon top-secret evidence. The veterans say they "witnessed a secret, global system without regard for borders, conducting widespread surveillance with the ability to conduct deadly targeted killing operations." Though the veterans did not disclose any personal knowledge of the strike that is alleged to have killed Jaber's relatives, they claim the military frequently labels the deaths of unknown victims as "enemy kills."

This is why Apple got rid of the headphone jack on the iPhone 7

New Scientist

Welcome to your hearable future. At the launch of the iPhone 7 yesterday, Apple announced that it was ditching the white headphone wires that have been an icon of the brand since 2003. Instead, listeners will use AirPods, a pair of wireless earbuds that connect to the phone over Bluetooth. Ditching the headphone jack allows the iPhone 7 to shrink even slimmer, and losing a hole makes the phone more water resistant. But this is also the latest case of Apple using its flagship product to bring a tech trend to the masses – get ready for "hearables" doing battle for the ownership of your ears.

EU Decision Isn't Endgame for Apple, Ireland WSJD - Technology

BRUSSELS--For Apple Inc. AAPL -2.05 % and Ireland, the European Commission's decision ordering Dublin to collect billions of euros from Apple in unpaid taxes isn't the end of the story. They have a chance to turn the tables on the commission at the bloc's highest courts, where they are preparing to appeal. The European Commission, the bloc's antitrust regulator, has ordered Ireland to recoup about 13 billion, or roughly 14.6 billion, in taxes that the commission has estimated Apple avoided paying in Europe for more than a decade. There is a strong record of the European Union's top court ruling in favor of the European Commission's decisions. But lawyers say there is one area where that trend isn't as clear-cut: state-aid cases dealing with tax matters.

Understanding the Bias-Variance Tradeoff: An Overview


A few years ago, Scott Fortmann-Roe wrote a great essay titled "Understanding the Bias-Variance Tradeoff." As data science morphs into an accepted profession with its own set of tools, procedures, workflows, etc., there often seems to be less of a focus on statistical processes in favor of the more exciting aspects (see here and here for a pair of example discussions). While this will serve as an overview of Scott's essay, which you can read for further detail and mathematical insights, we will start by with Fortmann-Roe's verbatim definitions which are central to the piece: Error due to Bias: The error due to bias is taken as the difference between the expected (or average) prediction of our model and the correct value which we are trying to predict. Of course you only have one model so talking about expected or average prediction values might seem a little strange. However, imagine you could repeat the whole model building process more than once: each time you gather new data and run a new analysis creating a new model.

SYSPRO ERP Releasing New World-Class IT Features, Capabilities to Give Manufacturers/Distributors a Competitive Edge - Press Release - Digital Journal


SYSPRO is unveiling the new capabilities to 24 leading enterprise software analysts from 12 different global firms during a two week roadshow. It has labeled its tour, "Going for the Gold in Best of Class ERP" and is showcasing sophisticated leading-edge technology advances, such as bots, predictive search, and product integrations to the Internet of Things (IoT), plus a host of powerful new, role-based data access for users. Industry analysts have been predicting for the last 12 months or more that such technologies will erase some of the key competitive barriers that might otherwise impede newer or mid-sized manufacturing firms from competing as effectively as they'd like. "To compete effectively today in a global market, manufacturers and distributors of all sizes need to leverage state-of-the-art technologies that can optimize profit margins while delivering a better customer experience," said Predrag Jakovlevic, Principal Analyst, Enterprise Applications, for Technology Evaluation Centers. "While giant ERP companies often dominate the news, companies like SYSPRO are now announcing delivery of some of the hottest new IT capabilities embedded within their software, like bots and predictive search, and have made commitments to bringing machine learning, artificial intelligence and IoT to market in 2017.