Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Machine learning is all around us: it informs everything fromour Facebook feed ...

If every tiny flower, or every tiny blog like the MEdia Dragon, wanted to be a rose, spring would lose its loveliness.
— Thérèse of Lisieux, born in 1871 who believed that the losers were the real winners ;-)

On the Human Mind - The Catholic Thing:
P.G. Wodehouse’s novel Uncle Dynamite concerns the exploits of Frederick Altamont Cornwallis, the fifth Earl of Ickenham. After a dispiriting session with his erratic Uncle, Lord Ickenham (alias Uncle Dynamite), Reginald “Pongo” Twistleton-Twistleton gloomily reflected on the nature of the human mind: “But the human mind is capable of strange feats. You never know where you are with it.”

Tax Law Offers a Carrot to Gig Workers. But It May Have Costs. NYT“ is a newly launched site [by attorneys Dave and Susan Berson] that lives up to its name. It provides a repository where US citizens can access a wealth of resources pertaining to digital currencies. If you’ve ever wondered how anti-money laundering laws affect bitcoin ATMS, or how bitcoin fits into estate planning, you’ll find the answer here. The site doesn’t purport to offer ironclad legal advice, and its information should be taken as guidance rather than gospel. As an introduction to US law and how it affects you as a cryptocurrency user, however, it’s just the ticket.” [h/t Pete Weiss]

World Economic Forum: “…Machine learning is all around us: it informs everything fromour Facebook feed, our suggested traffic routes in Google Maps, our autopilot email spam filters, and even the security of our banking information. But current day iterations of machine learning have r adically evolved since the 1600s. Today, machines can learn with only minimal human intervention. Through machine learning, technologists have mimicked the way the human brain works by producing sophisticated systems called neural networks. In turn, neural networks enable deep learning, an outcome that has produced computer systems superseding human intelligence…”

ABA Journal: ” Every week brings news of major new cyberattacks—the stealing of personal information from Equifax and the federal Office of Personnel Management, the Petya and WannaCry ransomware worms, the Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee’s emails, to name a few. Indeed, the cyberthreat from criminals, hacktivists and state actors is growing. The costs associated with these malicious activities are staggering: Last year, the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property estimated that the annual cost of IP theft in three major categories may be as high as $600 billion and that the low-end total exceeds $225 billion, or 1.25 percent of the U.S. economy. Law firms have not been immune. In fact, they have been a ripe target…The nature of their work and the resulting sensitive data make law firms enticing targets. Law firms conduct due diligence and internal investigations, negotiate settlements, provide advice on regulatory issues, and handle important contractual negotiations and litigations. In the course of their representations, they often have access to a wide range of confidential client information, including trade secrets and other intellectual property, financial data, business strategies and national security information. All of this can be valuable to criminals seeking monetary gain, to businesses seeking a competitive edge or to foreign intelligence services…”

“Moments after President Donald Trump took the oath of office last January, nearly all references to climate change disappeared from the White House official website. A page detailing former President Barack Obama’s plans to build a clean energy economy, address climate change, and protect the environment became a broken link (archived here). Instead, “An America First Energy Plan” appeared, which touted Trump’s commitment to eliminating “harmful and unnecessary policies,” such as the Climate Action Plan that proposed a reduction in carbon emissions. Now, the web address leads to a collection of energy and environment fact sheets, White House news, and remarks by the president. Whenever a new administration takes charge, government websites are often revised. But during the Trump administration’s first year in office, a striking number of references to science, climate, energy, and the environment have all but disappeared from various governmental websites….But even though website changes range from negligible to rebranding, in some cases they reach the level of what critics assert is outrightcensorship. “Each one represents a slow chipping away at science communication from the government,” said Gretchen Goldman, the research director for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists…”