Intel: Chips Like a Brain

July 18, 2019

We noted “Intel Unveils Neuromorphic Computing System That Mimics the Human Brain.” The main idea is that Intel is a chip leader. Forget the security issues with some Intel processors. Forget the fabrication challenges. Forget the supply problem for certain Intel silicon.

Think “neuromophic computing.”

According to the marketing centric write up:

Intel said the Loihi chips can process information up to 1,000 times faster and 10,000 times more efficiently than traditional central processing units for specialized applications such as sparse coding, graph search and constraint-satisfaction problems.

Buzz, buzz, buzz. That’s the sound of marketing jargon zipping around.

How about this statement, offered without any charts, graphs, or benchmarks?

With the Loihi chip we’ve been able to demonstrate 109 times lower power consumption running a real-time deep learning benchmark compared to a graphics processing unit, and five times lower power consumption compared to specialized IoT inference hardware,” said Chris Eliasmith, co-chief executive officer of Applied Brain Research Inc., which is one of Intel’s research partners. “Even better, as we scale the network up by 50-times, Loihi maintains real-time performance results and uses only 30% more power, whereas the IoT hardware uses 500% more power and is no longer in real-time.”

Excited? What about the security, fab, and supply chain facets of getting neuromorphic disrupting other vendors eager to support the artificial intelligence revolution? Not in the Silicon Angle write up.

How quickly will an enterprise search vendor embrace “neuromorphic”? Proably more quickly than Intel can deliver seven nanometer nodes.

Stephen E Arnold, July 18, 2019

Google: Help the GOOG Find Your Business with the Help of Search Engine Optimization

July 11, 2019

One can buy Google ads. That may help.  But if you just want to create a listing for your business, you may have to do a bit of work. If your business does not come up in a Google query, that business may be missing out on sales. That’s called leaving money on the table. Not much fun DarkCyber thinks.

Well, there’s a fix. Just point your browser to this write up:

What do you do if Google My Business doesn’t understand your business? Pop-up shops, mobile by design, are legitimate businesses but Google has no easy way to help you find them.

No kidding. That an SEO friendly title.

The write up points out this easy fix:

Fortunately, Google has been helpful in working with us to find a solution, which shows that Google is flexible and willing to evolve. As more companies adopt business models shorn of permanent locations, the bigger question is how will Google adapt over time? If you are one such business, you may need an advocate to work with Google – but it’s worth trying. Google, to its credit, watches for patterns of behavior among its users and adapts. It behooves Google to provide the best experience to its users, and if more of its users are struggling to find businesses, Google will adapt rather than lose them to another ecosystem.

Yep, Google is helpful. But not as helpful as hiring an SEO expert. There’s nothing like a “real” news story with substantive information. Fascinating. As Google’s results become less and less relevant to a user’s query, the SEO crowd wants to ensure that your business can be found even if the query is not relevant to your business. That’s just “good” business in SEO land.

Stephen E Arnold, July 11, 2019

Online Manipulation Made Easy

July 11, 2019

Do you want to manipulate one or more people using social media or other online communication channels? Science Focus reduces the approach to a selection of ten effective techniques. “Nudge Theory: 10 Subtle Pushes That Change How You Think” is a distillation of the University of Chicago techniques plus some spice imported from Cambridge University. What are the methods? Here’s a snapshot of five of the 10. Navigate to the source document for the complete list:

  1. Simplify. Yep, keep it simple stupid.
  2. Make things easy and convenient. Yep, easy. Convenient like search results which come from a curated subset which people perceive as comprehensive but are not.
  3. Disclosures. Think unsealing court records from the Epstein Florida case.
  4. Ask questions. Just don’t ask, “Does the person asking the question have an ulterior motive?”
  5. Remind people. This is called “nagging.”

See. You too can be a master of online manipulation. Simple, convenient, backed by proof, and just like a nagging partner. Is that great?

Stephen E Arnold, July 11, 2019

The Ease with Which Search Marketing Experts Manipulate Relevance and the Clueless

July 8, 2019

The New York Times (paywall, gentle reader, take heed) ran an opinion editorial “real news” item called “I Used Google Ads for Social Engineering.” You can locate the write up on page A 23 of the July 8, 2019, dead tree edition in the version of the paper that is distributed in rural Kentucky. By the way, good luck with that.

The write up contains some interesting factoids; for example:

  1. “Three out of four smart phone owners turn to Google first to address their immediate needs.” (Immediate needs? Remind me where I put the dog’s shock collar? No. Help me insert a video snip in my weekly DarkCyber video? No. Explain why my Android phone no longer allows me to hear voicemail? No. And I could go on but three fourths of my immediate needs require my attention be directed at Google? Really?)
  2. A person has 150 micromoments a day. (No, I don’t know what a micromoment is, and I hope I don’t learn either.)
  3. Redirection is a method which diverts my attention from what I wanted to what Google wanted me to want. (Yeah, that sounds just wonderful.)

The point of the write up is:

Google left behind a blueprint. The blueprint shows, step by step, how you can create your own redirect ads to sway any belief of opinion – held by any Google user, anywhere in the world – of your choice.

Really?

Just a question: “Why hasn’t an entity used the technique to deal with the border crisis or Iranian leaders’ desire to generate explosive material if Google Ads are so darned effective?”

The write up admits there are some weaknesses in Google’s approach.

No kidding? How about making Google the focus of what search engine optimization experts actually do: Distort relevance so poor, little Google doesn’t know what’s what about a particular topic?

The write up identifies one measure of success:

Nine days after my campaign began [to prevent suicide], the ads were accepted by Google. My ad was the first result across the United States when someone Google with suicidal intent. I showed unique ads to suicidal people who were physically located around the Golden Gate Bridge. Nearly one in three searches who clicked my ad dialed the hotline – a conversion rate of 28 percent. The average Google Ads conversion rate is 4 percent. The campaign’s 28 percent conversion rate was met in the first week.

Who can dispute the value of Redirect, Google Ads, and clicks?

Not me.

The write up points out:

Click data can be used for harm by a redirector whit bad intentions. If redirectors can groom ISIS sympathizers, they can also use it to groom school shooters. A redirector using a call forwarding service can link up with like minded terrorist by having clickers’ calls directed to their phones.

There you go. The how to manipulate method. Pederasts, are you paying attention? Credit card scammers, pay attention? Contraband vendors, you need Google Ads, right now.

The write up continues:

Using Google’s ISIS campaign blueprint, anyone can access the platform’s precise targeting tools and redirect ads to help further his or her own agenda. For instance, swaying peoples’ political beliefs during an election.

Why does this method work like a champ?

More than 50 percent of people still can’t differentiate between an ad )redirect or not) and an organic result on Google.

The person writing the article was at the time of the writing a Google certified partner and the founder of an outfit called Berlin SEM. I think SEM means “search engine marketing.”

Let’s step back and look at a handful of questions:

  1. Is this “news” or is it a marketing play designed to make the phone ring and the email flow to Berlin SEM?
  2. Are there mechanisms in place at Google or elsewhere to prevent this type of exploitation, what some call a “dark method”?
  3. Are the data presented in the write up or available from other sources able to tie an action to a Google ad budget; that is, “How much does it cost (money and time) to skew an election, cause me to buy an shirt, or perform some other action I did not want to perform?

DarkCyber is one the fence about [a] the benefit of presenting information about behavior manipulation via ads and  [b] the inappropriateness of presenting a partial description of what an effective distortion campaign requires.

But an opinion editorial is not designed to be data heavy, thorough, and comprehensive. In fact, the write up is another example of trying to criticize Google and making the Google method into a service some advertisers will want to use now and more often.

The message strikes DarkCyber as, “That Google advertising is just what I need to make sales.”

Good job. Boost that usage of Google because micromoments are just an opportunity to distort. Don’t forget the tweets, the Facebook posts, the traditional news release, and for fee content placement.

Combo propaganda campaigns are more effective and warrant more comprehensive explanation, analysis, and discussion, not advertorials.

Stephen E Arnold, July 8, 2019

ICE Vendors

July 2, 2019

We spotted a list of vendors working with ICE. You can find the company names plus some details about their work in “An Incomplete List of Companies Working with ICE.” The write up uses the phrases “concentration camps” and
ethnic cleansing” which spin the list in a way that advances a particular mental slant. Here’s the description of Palantir Technologies, a vendor providing intelligence software or what DarkCyber classifies as “intelware”:

Palantir Technologies (@PalantirTech): This famously evil company got a $39,340,901 contract from ICE for building and helping to run FALCON, “a database and analytical platform […] to track immigrants and crunch data on forms of cross-border criminal activity.” More info on Palantir’s involvement with ICE and deportation here. Reporting by Spencer Woodman (@SpencerWoodman).

My former employer appears in the list as well:

Booz Allen Hamilton, Inc.(@BoozAllen): A huge infotech company which received a contract worth up to $100,457,166 for advising ICE with their ethnic cleansing campaign and concentration camp system.

However, for a company looking to sell support services to firms with existing government contractors, this list is useful. Cross correlate this list with the names of the individuals at these companies responsible for locating specialist subcontractors, and you might find a bonanza.

Recycling public information can be difficult, and this list is a good sales reference for certain types of vendors.

It would be helpful if the list were in alphabetical order, but that’s unnecessary if one has a short attention span and thumb types with agility.

You  may have to register to read the article. However, that ploy is unlikely to deliver the benefits the Medium operation anticipates. Annoying those who suggest others read one’s work seems to be an interesting marketing angle. My dog is now officially a Medium “reader.” He’s a French bulldog, and he is indifferent to Facebook tracking. Good boy!

Stephen E Arnold, July 2, 2019

Google: Are Stress Cracks Appearing?

June 9, 2019

I thought briefly about doing an item about the clown car YouTube. Instead I will focus on stress cracks evident from Google’s more aggressive marketing. Google may be implying that Apple’s iPhone is overpriced. The price angle is important because Google is pushing one of its devices as a great deal.

What difference does a little letter “i” make? Not much in one recent ad campaign, because it can be considered implied. “Google Rips iPhone for Being a Rip-Off,” reports ZDNet. Writer Chris Matyszczyk noticed that Google’s ads had been comparing their Pixel 3a, at $399, to “Phone X,” priced at $999—the same cost as a 64GB iPhone X, as it happens. However, he insists, this is about as accurate as comparing a Mini to an Audi A8. The write-up observes:

“In essence, then, Google wants you to believe that its 3a is just as good as an iPhone that’ll cost you more than twice as much. … I don’t dispute for a nanosecond that the Pixel 3a isn’t a very fine phone. Some might say, though, that its specs might bring it closer to an iPhone SE than an iPhone XR. If you buy a 3a, you’ll make so with a single camera for your selfies — the shame of it. You’ll also have a far slower processor. Oh, and you won’t be able to drop it down the toilet or in the swimming pool without ruining it. One more thing. Your wireless charging joy will be extinguished.”

Still, Matyszczyk concedes Google may have a point to make about inflated phone prices. Few people are prepared to pay a grand for their phone, so Android will benefit if Apple is painted as a brand for elites. The author wonders, though, whether some buyers will be disappointed in their Pixel 3a’s in the end.

The importance of this tiny stress crack is significant. Google and its approach to management are now dipping into the textbooks which explain how to sell commodities. Perhaps the methods of used car sales people will have more utility as Google wobbles forward, burdened by regulators, employee pushback, and the emissions of the Bezos bulldozer powering through the advertising landscape.

My goodness. Google is marketing the old fashioned way.

Cynthia Murrell, June 9, 2019

Google: Old School Advertising Embraced

May 23, 2019

Price is important.

What difference does a little letter “i” make? Not much in one recent ad campaign, because it can be considered implied. “Google Rips iPhone for Being a Rip-Off,” reports ZDNet. Writer Chris Matyszczyk noticed that Google’s ads had been comparing their Pixel 3a, at $399, to “Phone X,” priced at $999—the same cost as a 64GB iPhone X, as it happens. However, he insists, this is about as accurate as comparing a Mini to an Audi A8. The write-up observes:

“In essence, then, Google wants you to believe that its 3a is just as good as an iPhone that’ll cost you more than twice as much. … I don’t dispute for a nanosecond that the Pixel 3a isn’t a very fine phone. Some might say, though, that its specs might bring it closer to an iPhone SE than an iPhone XR. If you buy a 3a, you’ll make so with a single camera for your selfies — the shame of it. You’ll also have a far slower processor. Oh, and you won’t be able to drop it down the toilet or in the swimming pool without ruining it. One more thing. Your wireless charging joy will be extinguished.”

Still, Matyszczyk concedes Google may have a point to make about inflated phone prices. Few people are prepared to pay a grand for their phone, so Android will benefit if Apple is painted as a brand for elites. The author wonders, though, whether some buyers will be disappointed in their Pixel 3a’s in the end. As always, caveat emptor.

DarkCyber believes that super expensive smart phones are likely to face headwinds. Lower cost options may produce revenue volume. Will profits follow? Worth watching this Don Draper moment.

Cynthia Murrell, May 23, 2019

Pavlovian Marketing: The Automated Business Intelligence Engine

May 22, 2019

If you are following the rapid evolution of smart marketing systems, you will want to keep your eye on Trial Run Media. The company offers consumers free trials like toothpaste linked to automatic data collection. The consumer’s behavior informs the monitor what’s of interest. Then the monitor can push ads and similar offers to the consumer.

The approach is explained in “World’s First Automated Business Intelligence Engines That Offer On-Demand Marketing.” The approach is explained this way:

With Trial Run, consumers are in charge of the marketing experience. They choose the ‘content’ – a free sample of the brand they want to try – by entering a campaign URL into the browser of their smartphones. They are then prompted to enter their name and cell phone number, after which, they effortlessly receive a code to enter into ABIE’s keypad to release the sample.

One of Trial Run’s founders allegedly said:

“When someone has chosen to try your brand, they want to hear your brand story and with Trial Run the possibilities are endless – you can share videos, you can chat in real-time, you can invite consumers to events and even direct them to your online store in the moment when they have your brand in their hand.”

Imagine how useful the system would be, assuming it works well, if harnessed to information.The company’s Web site is http://trialrun.media/. Note that there is a  “fractal analytics” company with a similar name. These could be easily confused.

Stephen E Arnold, May 22, 2019

How to Pronounce CLTRe

May 21, 2019

DarkCyber was able to figure out how to say the name “KnowBe4.” This company is in the cyber security business and it obviously offers technology which can let a person “know before” something bad happens and take appropriate remediation steps.

KnowBe4 purchased a company named “CLTRe.” Here’s the question:

How does one pronounce “CLTRe”? The problem is similar to figuring out what the letters of a vanity license plate “mean”.

Here’s an easy one:

Image result for vanity license plate

What about this?

Image result for vanity license plate

Okay, back to the problem: CLTRe.

The answer appears in “KnowBe4 to Acquire Norwegian Assessment Company CLTRe.”

The word is “culture.”

The business of CLTRe is to measure clients’ security preparedness.

According to the article:

KnowBe4 currently is integrating the CLTRe assessments into its platform, and does not plan to change its pricing as a result of the deal.

We also noted this statement:

This deal marks only the latest cybersecurity merger or acquisition in an industry that analysts predict will only continue to consolidate. The data backup service Carbonite in February acquired Webroot, and some $3 billion of investors’ dollars has been pumped into the industry so far this year…

Will KnowBe4 retain the name of the company it just acquired?

WDKBWHN. This means “we don’t know but we hope not.

Stephen E Arnold, May 21, 2019

Alphabet and Its Privacy Push or Alphabet Can Spell Me Too

May 8, 2019

The Seattle Times wrote about Google’s privacy push. “Google’s Privacy Promises Don’t Sway Many Experts” includes a number of interesting quotes from the experts. Here’s an example of one that seems close to the mark:

“They’re sort of marginal improvements,” said Jeremy Tillman, president of Ghostery, which provides ad-blocking and anti-tracking software. “They are not bad, but they almost seem like they’re designed to give the company a better messaging push instead of making wholesale improvements to user privacy.”

Like Facebook, privacy is the in thing.

Stephen E Arnold, May 8, 2019

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