AI anxiety: Do intelligent technological “demons” spell dawn or doom?

Is technology, and thus the economy, stagnating? Or is technology moving so fast that we need to slow it down, lest it devour us? It’s an intriguing, if dissonant, debate, highlighted once again last week, this time by Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk. “With artificial intelligence,” Musk warned, “we’re summoning the demon.” It was a brief comment in response to an audience question at an MIT aerospace event, but Musk’s manner, which turned solemn when asked about AI, showed just how seriously smart people are taking the idea of an AI threat to humanity. “I’m increasingly inclined to think that there should be some regulatory oversight,” Musk said, “maybe at the national and international level, just to make sure that we don’t do something very foolish.”
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Internet speed: What you don’t know about the web

High-speed (more correctly, “high capacity”) broadband networks are often touted as the cornerstones of a blazingly fast web experience, but this isn’t really the case. The other factors that influence the web experience are the capacity of web servers to respond to user requests and the ability of browsers and end user devices to render and display web pages. At the speeds that most Americans use today, these non-network factors account for 50 to...

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Shifting alliances at the ITU: Why authoritarian regimes would love to see Title II applied in the US

The 14th Plenipotentiary (“plenipot”) Conference, a global meeting of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU),  is underway in South Korea and has the potential to change the operating norms of the Internet. The ITU was originally chartered to coordinate international telegraph communications 150 years ago and is now part of the United Nations. The organization coordinates the international use of spectrum, satellites, and technical standards for communications. There are many reasons why this meeting...

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Aereo’s inefficient piracy machine has been terminated

Yesterday, in ABC, Inc. v. Aereo, Inc., a federal district court issued a nationwide injunction against Aereo. This action came after findings that the company’s inefficient array of tiny antennae and duplicative server copies were nothing more than the latest example of technologically inefficient means to commit what the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights might call “copyright piracy…on a commercial scale.” This latest Aereo decision once again bids good riddance to bad rubbish.