We believe in freedom of speech in the US, except when people actually exercise it. Then we discover there are lots of people who should be seen but not heard – and a fair number that we wish we couldn’t see, either.
Governments, regulators and large tech companies are launching into a debate about content moderation that will be long, messy, and unsatisfying. […] continuedRead more
I’m trying to get my thoughts in order for a couple of long articles about how to think about privacy in our world of surveillance by giant tech companies. That’s not quite ready yet. Now, now, don’t be disappointed, get a grip on yourself – it won’t be long before you have a chance to read four or five thousand words about things that I’m poorly qualified to talk about, and won’t that be fun? […] continuedRead more
The Chinese government has put secret spy chips on US government servers. They’re stealing secrets from Apple and Amazon. And the US government is engaged in a massive effort to prevent us from learning anything about it, for unknown reasons.
How about this: the US government is mounting a full-court disinformation campaign, spreading lies through multiple sources to discredit China and gain an advantage in trade wars – and taking down a huge media entity as collateral damage. […] continuedRead more
A famous thought experiment shows how an AI could be designed with good intentions and without malice, and still wind up destroying humanity.
Imagine that an artificial intelligence is told to maximize production of paperclips. Through an oversight it is not given any instructions about also considering human values – life, learning, joy, and so on. […] continuedRead more
There is a difference between Russian hacking, on the one hand; and Russian meddling in American society and interfering with our election, on the other hand. The terms are used interchangeably and imprecisely in news coverage. Let’s try for clarity. Knowing the difference will help you sort out the claims flying back and forth in the headlines. […] continuedRead more
The Perfect Weapon by New York Times national security correspondent David Sanger, is the most important book you will read this year.
Before I describe the book, let me start with something essential to know about it: The Perfect Weapon reads like a thriller. It does not get technical or difficult. […] continuedRead more
Microsoft announced an internal reorganization last week and raised the profile of its cloud, artificial intelligence, and enterprise teams.
This would not normally be an important event for us. Microsoft frequently reshuffles its employees. This reorganization, though, has major repercussions for every computer user.
Microsoft no longer has a Windows division. […] continuedRead more
Previously: Tech Giants And World Domination
The repeal of Obama-era net neutrality rules by the Federal Communications Commission will take effect on April 23.Read more
A year ago I wrote this prediction: “The word of the year for 2017 is “chaos.” Write it down, seal it in an envelope, open it up a year from now and see if I got it right.”
I think I get full marks. (Although Dictionary.com chose “complicit” as the word of the year, which has a certain snarky charm.) […] continuedRead more
Ever since Richard Nixon, American presidential candidates have railed against China, promising to crack down on human rights abuses or trade policy or some other hot button issue. I’ve always assumed that very serious advisers sit down with each newly elected president and explain the facts of economic life to them about China, because invariably each new president immediately dials back the rhetoric and starts treating China as a valued if sometimes frustrating partner. […] continuedRead more
I registered the domain name bruceb.com on September 11, 1997, exactly four days before the name google.com was registered.
Some people believe Google has done more with its domain name than I have done with mine. They are tiny, bitter people. Pay them no heed.
Twenty years of Bruceb.com! Sure, you’re impressed. […] continuedRead more
Technology in 2017 is just a bit . . . dull. There’s not much going on. You hadn’t really thought about it but now that I mention it, you know it’s true, right?
Choose your metaphor. It’s a plateau. It’s the calm before the storm. We’re in a holding pattern. We’re almost – but not quite – at a couple of tipping points. […] continuedRead more
When you think about the future, you may start to suffer from “abyss gaze,” the depression that settles in when you realize that we’re all doomed. Warren Ellis coined the term in a novella named “Normal,” which tells the story of futurists who suffer nervous breakdowns after discovering that there is no hope for humanity as a result of the trends in whatever area they study. […] continuedRead more
It’s the ten-year anniversary of one of the most important inflection points in history. 2007 was such an eventful year that its significance seems obvious in hindsight, but it’s gone unremarked until Thomas Friedman spelled it out in a new book.
Thomas Friedman, the well-known and controversial New York Times columnist, released Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations a few weeks ago. […] continuedRead more