Showing posts with label AI. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AI. Show all posts

August 5, 2019

Shootings in El Paso and Dayton

Another bloody weekend...this time in El Paso and Dayton. 

With at least 29 dead and 53 injured in mass shootings.

We still don't seem to be able to get a state of security in our country. 

Whether it's gangs and violence in our decaying cities (yes, like Baltimore). 

Or mass shootings by racists and nut jobs attacking our schools, houses of worship, shopping malls, and places of work. 

People can buy assault rifles with mega mags of ammunition and go crazy.

And they do!

While I was impressed with the response in Dayton especially, they killed the perpetrator within 30 seconds of the start to his killing spree, in other cases it takes considerably longer,

Moreover, while generally the first responders are brave and heroic in going after and taking out the bad guys, in places like the Parkland shooting, the officer apparently hid behind a tree while the students got massacred. 

We need a rethinking of how we deal with these terror situations. 

Can technology help (and I know these may sound crazy, but we have to think out-of-the-box at some point)?

We have the ShotSpotter technology to pinpoint where shootings are occurring. 

Why can't we have persistent armed drones on patrol with AI ready to swoop in (even through an open door or window) and respond and neutralize the shooter (while law enforcement makes their way through our busy city streets). 

Other ideas...embedded chips in humans (yes, it is coming) that would drive the privacy wonks nuts, but can identify occurrences of extreme violence and potentially stop it.  

I am sure there are other technology ideas out there.

Certainly, we do need to balance privacy with safety, and it will be tricky to make sure the AI is getting it right, but as we figure this out, tragically there are fathers, mothers, children not coming home because they are dead.  ;-)

(Credit Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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July 18, 2019

Retro Cool Digital Watch

Wow, I love this retro digital Computron watch from Bulova. 

I remember when the first digital LED watches with the red numbers like this first came out in the 1970s. 

They were quite expensive then!

Part of the computer revolution. LOL

I remember my uncle had something like this and I thought how cool it was--no moving hands to read.

Also, has a little of that sci-fi Battlestar Galactica red (moving) light effect from the cybernetic enemy, Cylon visors. 

What's old is what's new.  ;-)
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April 12, 2019

Gotta Love FANUC


I love FANUC industrial robots. 

They are made by a secretive company in Japan and they are #1 in workplace automation worldwide! 

They have over half a million installed industrial robots around the world.

Their robots are on assembly lines making everything from "cars and smartphones to beverages and drugs."  They also are in Tesla and Amazon...so you know they are pretty much everywhere. 

FANUC has customers in 108 countries supported by 263 service locations. 

Their robots are made by...that's right other robots...80% is automated

These robots are strong, fast, and precise, and they can do dangerous work. 

This company is the future of jobs, productivity, efficiency. 

But of course, people are still the brains behind the brawn.  ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 13, 2018

10-Steps To Common Sense Defense


(Source Graphic: Andy Blumenthal)

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October 12, 2018

Why Isn't The U.S. Keeping Up Militarily?


The United States is ranked as the most powerful country in the world:



But the U.S. spends more than the next 7-8 countries COMBINED!(See below chart from Forbes 2016)


In fact, military spending is more than half of all U.S. federal discretionary spending. 

So the question is why are we spending so much more than everybody else, is the United States getting its money's worth, and most importantly are we able to defend ourselves? 

The U.S. defense budget is going up and has been approved at $717B for 2019. 

All the other 28 NATO countries together spend less than half ($296B) as much as the U.S. alone. 

If you add NATO spending as a complement to the U.S. then the total spend on our mutual defense approaches $1 trillion!

Russia ($69B) China ($146B), North Korea ($6B), and Iran's ($16B) military spending in total pales in comparison at just $237B.

NATO as a whole is outspending Russia + China + North Korea + Iran by a factor of 4 times yet these countries are still considered major threats to us!

Despite all the truly incredible brave, hard working, and excellent men and women that serve with distinction in our military, 

Therefore, again why is it that the U.S. is spending more on what others seem to get for cheaper?  Is there significant fraud, waste, and abuse in the system?  Are we as a rich capitalistic nation simply getting fat, lazy, and stupid?  

Notwithstanding the outsized spending by the United States, incredibly from today's Wall Street Journal, there is another article about our inability to defend ourselves:
"These are admissions that the U.S. cannot proportionally and equally defend itself in space, cyber, and response to tactical and nuclear weapons except through the threat of escalation and intrusion into other domains."
Some poignant examples given:

- Our stationary land-based nuclear missiles are no match for Russia and China's mobile-based ICBMs.

- Our ten busiest U.S. ports do not have an adequate defense against an underwater nuclear missile launch.

China and Russia variously are beating us out in:
  • Quantum Communications
  • Anti-Satellite Weapons
  • Directed Energy 
  • Hypersonics 

In fact, it was just reported that China conducted its 8th hypersonic test of a plane--with this one said to capable of Mach 10--and that it is capable of carrying nukes! 

Further, our carrier group fleet and land forces are at risk with respect to Russia and China's hypersonic weapons.

Of course, EMP weapons can fry our electrical grid and a large cyber attack could disable our critical infrastructure.

Let's not even talk bioweapons--think Black Plague from the Middle Ages that wiped out 30-60% of Europe. 

Yes, some of these are asymmetric warfare, but why are we still thinking and fighting so kinetic and conventionally. 

If we are fighting the wars of yesteryear instead of the battles of today and the threats of tomorrow then what good is our military investments and assets.

To become a more capable fighting force that is less vulnerable, more capable of defending this country, and making better use of our large investment dollars here are 10-steps we need to take to transform our military; we need to transition as follows:

  1. From static land-based nuclear missiles to a fully mobile platform.
  2. From vulnerable fleets of large ships and planes to "unstoppable" swarms of miniaturized lethal drones. 
  3. From a preponderance of earth-based kinetic weapons to space-based energy directed weapons. 
  4. From having to generally choose between speed or power to using the power of speed as an "unstoppable" force of nature. 
  5. From projecting a time and space bound visible presence to a persistent invisible existence.
  6. From attempting to defend limited points of presence to establishing a "impenetrable" umbrella shield of multi-layered defenses.
  7. From reactively identifying and stopping cyber threats to proactively hunting and destroying them. 
  8. From knee-jerk instinctive putting of human lives in harm's way to matter-of-factly sending milbots (military robots) to the front lines. 
  9. From relying on the heroics and genius of individual human brainpower to harnessing in realtime "the collective" augmented by artificial intelligence into a hive.
  10. From relying on escalation of a "bigger, badder gun" to being able to fight capably in every battle arena, win in each and dominate holistically. 

Over $700B per year should buy us a lot of defense, hopefully in the future we can really use it to defend ourselves. ;-)
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September 19, 2018

Impact of Hyperwork on Family

I am seeing this all the time now... 

Parents of little children, or even older children, who are too busy working to pay much, if any, attention to their families.

Call it a disease of the industrial revolution + information technology. 

Whether people worked on the assembly line making widgets or nowadays on the computer and smartphone answering their bosses and colleagues compulsively--it's become a global obsession. 

On one hand, with the impending robot and AI revolution taking over jobs, people need to be grateful to even have a job to earn a living for the families.

On the other hand, with the connections to each other and our work 24/7, the depression-era saying of:
Brother, can you spare a dime?

Has morphed into:
Brother, can you spare some time?

Yes, we all need to be responsible adults, earn a decent living and pay our bills. 

But in the end, it's not money or things that we give to our families that is the most important.  

I would argue money and things are the least important, and what is truly most precious is the love, time, and attention you give to yours. 

As the old saying goes:
Money can't buy love.

But time and attention given to your loved ones can build meaningful relationships that last a lifetime and beyond. 

Yes, of course, people need to work to earn a living and productively contribute something to society, but it is also true that work is used as an excuse to run away from parental and familial responsibilities. 

It's easier to give an Amazon gift certificate or a Gameboy then to actually spend the afternoon with the kids. 

These days, people say ridiculous things like:
I love going into the office to get away from home.  

But you can't run away from your problems at home--you need to work on them and solve them.

The diabolical murderous Nazis used work as a tool to enslave, torture, and exterminate their victims as the sign over the gate of the Auschwitz (and many other) concentration camps read:
Arbeit Macht Frei  (or Work Sets You Free)

But as we all know inside, true freedom is being able to give generously from your time and effort to your loved ones, and slavery is not being able to let go of your work. 

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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January 17, 2017

Twitter BESTS Facebook

Here are six reasons why Twitter bests Facebook and we ain't seen nothing yet:

- Unadulterated News & Messaging 
Twitter is where you can hear it from the President's mouth or the Kardashians or anyone else for that matter with no media bias and filtering (their very mission is information sharing), while Facebook is often about reposting stories, pictures, and videos that we find of interest already on the web. What's even more amazing is that anyone of us can tweet back to @realDonaldTrump or @SpeakerRyan...that is some unbelievable access we now have. 

- Speed of Information To Market
Twitter is now considered the fastest way to get the latest (and greatest) on what's happening.  From the US Airways jet crash into the Hudson River to up-to-the-minute updates on the Mumbai terrorist attackYou could even watch the election debates or the Walking Dead and get a real-time running commentary. 

- Our Very Social Identity
Twitter is now part of our very social identity, so that everything from our blog writings to our resume has our Twitter handle. Mine is @AndyBlumenthal.  

- It's Populism As A Movement
Twitter, while not technically as popular in terms of number of users as Facebook, is more popular in terms of the cultural impact. Politicians are putting out policy debates online and fighting it out there too, while celebrities and athletes are sharing personal updates, and the world is truly communicating directly and succinctly in 140 characters or less what's really important to them. 

- Operating On A Global Open Platform 
Twitter feeds are open to anyone who follows them and tweets are searchable on the web as opposed to Facebook which is predominantly a closed system to the web and you've got to be "friends" to get the real scoop with someone. Whether the Iranian Green Revolution or the Syrians Being Bombarded in Aleppo it's open and on Twitter. 

- Get Your BIG Data and Feed Your Artificial Intelligence
Twitter has about 500 million tweets a day or about 200 billion a year.  Even pulling out the ridiculous "What I had for lunch today" tweets, there is still an unbelievable amount of data to mine for analysis and artificial intelligence. Talking about a potential treasure trove of information and sentiment from over 317 million users, and computer algorithms are already churning through it to make the big data intelligible and usable for decision making. 

Certainly Twitter (and Facebook) need to get their virtual arms around fake news and profiles, but the good thing about it is that others can call b.s. as soon as they see it in 140 characters or less. ;-)

(Note: I am so impressed with Twitter's prospects, I am putting my own money where my mouth is.)


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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October 12, 2016

Losing Patience With Tech Progress

We're so close yet so far...that's my feeling as I grow ever impatient with the pace of technological progress. 

We have cloud computing, but still everyone has their own private computing setups everywhere. 

We have mobile computing, but still can't get get reliable service in the Metro and all the other "dead zones."

We have social computing, but still people are so cliquey and nasty and troll and bully each other online and off. 

We have the Internet of Things, but still things don't really talk to each other regularly (except our smart meters).

We have robots, but still they're relegated to factory assembly lines. 

We have natural language processing, but still can't get a meaningful conversation going with Siri.

We have 3-D printing, but still can't get dinner or a pair of Nikes to appear from the Star Trek like "Replicator."

We have augmented and virtual reality headsets, but still can't go anywhere with them without getting motion sickness.

We have biometrics, but still have to sign the check.

We have driverless cars, but still there is a driver inside. 

We have networks of information, but still it's subject to hacking, malware, identity and data theft, and even big time EMP knockouts. 

We have immunotherapy, but still haven't beaten cancer. 


We have nanotechnology, but still we travel through life loaded down with material possessions.

We have food and biotechnology, but still one in eight people are going hungry. 

We have space shuttles and stations, but still can't get a colony going on Mars.

We have big data, but still information is corrupted by personal biases and politics. 

We have knowledge management, but still more than 780 million adults are illiterate. 

We have artificial intelligence, but still it's devoid of emotional intelligence. 

We have bigger, deadlier, and more sophisticated weapons systems and smart bombs to "protect us", but still are no closer to living in peace and brotherhood. 

All this technology and advancement is great, except that we're left hungrier than ever for the realization of the promised technology land, and are really only halfway there, maybe. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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March 26, 2016

When They Say They Want To Kill You, Do You Think They Might Mean It?

We tried out a new large conservative synagogue in Rockville today. 

And they had an interesting speech this Shabbat by scholar in residence, Tal Becker.

He spoke about how as a Jewish people traumatized post Holocaust, we tend to view threats to us as existential or the possibility of them escalating to that. 

And of course, many of the threats out there are or could be--like the Iranian Ballistic Nukes or terrorism combined with WMD!

But in terms of overall Jewish security, normalcy, and exceptionalism--with two thriving Jewish communities in Israel and in America--we are probably doing better than at any time in recent history. 

It's a paradox, he mentioned, that in America, the Jews are a minority but amidst all the freedom, they may at times feel like a majority, while in Israel, the Jews are a majority, but amidst the dangerous neighborhood they live in, they can feel like a minority. 

Unfortunately, there is still quite a lot of hatred and anti-Semitism out there whether in America or the Middle East. 

Just this week, we saw numerous terror attacks in Israel and Turkey that left several Israelis dead or wounded again. And in America, not only did we have Palestinian protests on college campuses painting Jews as the occupiers and Apartheidists (rather than as the victims of daily Palestinians terror and intransigence toward a two-state solution living side-by-side with Israel in peace), but also Microsoft having to take down their AI Bot after users taught it to spew anti-Semitic remarks like "Jews deserve death" and holocaust-denial posts in social media.

So as wonderful as it is to be Jewish, there is typically not a day that goes by when we are not somehow reminded of those that reject us, hate us, and may want to kill Jews. 

The truth is that Jews (as Mark Twain pointed out)--despite having a pretty large and impressive footprint--are a very small minority of the people out there, and they have endured unbelievably difficult times from slavery to the destruction of the temple and exile (twice), forced conversions, tortured inquisitions, expulsions, pogroms, and genocide...so it is hard not to be a little touchy about people saying or implying that they  don't like you and want to kill you...someone may take that as an existential threat and it wouldn't even have to be a bad day at that. ;-)

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)
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