The Extrapolate-Evolution Edition Monday, May 15, 2017

The iPad Mystery, by Jean-Louis Gassée, Monday Note

If we extrapolate the iPad evolution — a risky exercise in derivative thinking — we’re led to assume that the iPad Pro will usurp more MacBook functionality. One can imagine a version of iOS that offers multiple resizable windows, more file management features…

Follow this line of thinking and you’re led to a quasi-MacBook that has a detachable keyboard, a touch screen, a Pencil 2.0 with a magnet, a somewhat simpler — but not too simple — user interface… To me, this is an uncomfortable contemplation; it could lead to a Swiss Army knife. Gone would be the respective simplicities of the original iPad and the well-honed MacBook.


How Do Self-taught Developers Actually Get Jobs?, by Brian Knapp

Well, the thing that really makes a self taught programmer is that they build things. Lots of things. To become a great programmer with very marketable skills, you have to build things and write code.


The Need For Urgent Collective Action To Keep People Safe Online: Lessons From Last Week’s Cyberattack, by Brad Smith, Microsoft

Finally, this attack provides yet another example of why the stockpiling of vulnerabilities by governments is such a problem. This is an emerging pattern in 2017. We have seen vulnerabilities stored by the CIA show up on WikiLeaks, and now this vulnerability stolen from the NSA has affected customers around the world. Repeatedly, exploits in the hands of governments have leaked into the public domain and caused widespread damage. An equivalent scenario with conventional weapons would be the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen. And this most recent attack represents a completely unintended but disconcerting link between the two most serious forms of cybersecurity threats in the world today – nation-state action and organized criminal action.

The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call. They need to take a different approach and adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world. We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits.

Teaching Robots Right From Wrong, by Simon Parkin, 1843 Magazine

In a futuristic office complex on the meandering Vltava river, near where the rabbi sculpted his Golem, an orderly bank of computers hums. They make for unlikely teachers, but they are as dedicated as any human to the noble task of education. Their students don’t sit in front of each computer’s screen, but rather on their hard drives. This virtual school, which goes by the name of GoodAI , specialises in educating artificial intelligences (AIs): teaching them to think, reason and act. GoodAI’s overarching vision is to train artificial intelligences in the art of ethics. “This does not mean pre-programming AI to follow a prescribed set of rules where we tell them what to do and what not to do in every possible situation,” says Marek Rosa, a successful Slovak video-game designer and GoodAI’s founder, who has invested $10m in the company. “Rather, the idea is to train them to apply their knowledge to situations they’ve never previously encountered.”

Experts agree that Rosa’s approach is sensible. “Trying to pre-program every situation an ethical machine may encounter is not trivial,” explains Gary Marcus, a cognitive scientist at NYU and CEO and founder of Geometric Intelligence. “How, for example, do you program in a notion like ‘fairness’ or ‘harm’?” Neither, he points out, does this hard-coding approach account for shifts in beliefs and attitudes. “Imagine if the US founders had frozen their values, allowing slavery, fewer rights for women, and so forth? Ultimately, we want a machine able to learn for itself.”

Bottom of the Page

The iPad has to be the future of general computing, as envisioned by Apple. It doesn't make sense, to me anyway, that Apple has two different visions, an iOS flavor, and an macOS flavor.


Thanks for reading.