#0017: Bull sharks in flood waters
If you have ever tried to take a photograph at night (or in the dark), then you know how hard it can be to get a good shot. This new tech is not only amazing, it works on full motion video. The demonstration video has to be seen to be believed. Not surprisingly, it’s military technology and a price has not been disclosed.
If you’ve ever struggled to pick fluctuations in the stock market, then perhaps it’s because indexes like the DOW are ‘useless’.
Self-driving cars are already raising questions, but one thing that regulators, drivers, and carmakers need to consider is how insurance will work in a world full of automated vehicles. For example, Warren Buffet thinks that self-driving cars will hurt Geico’s business. If automated vehicles can be better (on average) at driving then people, then it would seem to make sense that premiums will trend down. However, depending on how regulators see this playing out, it might also cause a shift in responsibility from drivers to carmakers.
One of the big challenges with certain types of AI/ML systems is that it’s not always possible to isolate a discrete set of decisions or data points that lead to an outcome. Whilst this is analogous to the way humans can’t isolate all of the factors that lead them to make a specific decision, this property of AI systems poses some interesting problems for regulators when working out who is at a fault in the event that something goes wrong. This is certainly a case of the technology running way ahead of our ability to manage and control it. If only we had a machine that could help us work out what to do …
who-will-think-of-the-designers files: AI won’t change companies without great UX. This is a subtle insight, because unless you are completely removing humans from a system, there will still need to be some forms of human interaction.
Is it possible that sleep could become the ultimate status symbol?
Just when you thought that blockchain ideas couldn’t get any crazier: this new VC fund is issuing its own digital tokens as a way of raising money. This could well be genius. Or not. At this stage, it’s unclear.
The raw processing power required to build a distributed database with ACID behaviour is not easy. This is part of the reason why there are some fundamental limits to the transaction-per-second rates of the various blockchain technologies. Some systems attempt to solve this problem by going “off chain” for storage. But doing so presents some very real challenges for the ACID-ity of transactions.
“Blockchain could transform crucial parts of financial infrastructure” says Mark Carney, Bank of England Governor. “Could” is the operative word, but will it? As indicated above, there’s an awful lot of work to do before this is true.
Robots that are close, but not quite close enough to human-like behaviour inhabit something called the Uncanny Valley. Because humans are so good at recognising faces, subtle imperfections in the realisation of a human face tend to give us a dose of the creeps. With regards to voice recognition, the fact that there is a gap in “what a user wants to ask their device” and “what the device can reasonably understand“ presents us with a new kind of uncanny valley.
Could an Uber-esque operating model work for manufacturing? Fascinating to contemplate: An Uber model for manufacturing is ready to upend the industry.
How about a glass-bottomed pool on the 42nd floor, 500 foot above the ground? Sure!
If you have, or know, a child under 15, they will have obsessed over Minecraft. The amount of time my kids have spent playing this game is just incredible. Now, thanks to Microsoft, they will have the chance to go full-mogul, as Microsoft plans to launch an in-game currency.
It’s well known that traditional bank IT systems are sclerotic and fragile. What’s interesting about this is how the demand for COBOL programmers and an increasing shortage of supply is pushing up demand for IT ‘cowboys’.
Only in Australia
Think it’s safe to go back into the water? What about floodwater after the recent cyclone ‘Debbie’ in Queensland? You might need to be careful. A bull shark was left stranded after the Burdekin River flooded. Source @philipjcalder.
This teaser is not only a bit of fun, but has fundamental implications to the way modern asymmetric key cryptography works:
Princess Alice from the Kingdom of Allusia and Prince Bob from the Kingdom of Bobidar have fallen in love.
Because the kingdoms of Allusia and Bobidar are separated by a large sea, Alice and Bob have only ever communicated via the Internet. Prince Bob wishes to profess his love to Princess Alice and wants to post her a diamond ring. Unfortunately, they live in the United States of Kleptockrica which has a rather unscrupulous postal system. Anything of value sent through the mail will be stolen unless it is enclosed in a special padlocked box.
Alice and Bob each have plenty of padlocks, but none to which the other has a key. How can Prince Bob get the ring safely into Princess Alice’s hands?
The prize this week for the first correct answer is plaudits from the Eternal Peanut Gallery. Plus a special Easter-edition of the usual hard-to-get Friday Teaser Certificate.
Bobbie gets the correct answer. Based on the arrangement made by Inspector Plod, the only thing that Bobbie can see is Charlie wearing a blue hat. Bobbie has no information about the other two prisoner’s hat colours. From this information he is able to deduce:
- He can be wearing either a red hat or a blue hat.
- If he is wearing a blue hat, Alfie should be seeing his (Bobbie’s) blue hat as well as the blue hat on Charlie. He would therefore conclude that the remaining two hats (his and Dave’s) must be red. Therefore, Alfie should have already been able to declare the colour of his own hat. However, because Alfie has remained silent, it must mean that Bobbie is not wearing a blue hat, in which case, he (Bobbie) must be wearing a red hat.