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Singularity 1on1: Fund Raising Event

September 22, 2016

Editor’s note: To donate to Singularity 1on1, click this link[.

In a conversation with Nikola Danaylov, the engaging entrepreneur behind Singularity 1 on 1, has tallied more than four million downloads. When I first met him, he referenced Socrates, the Athenian philosopher. Danaylov’s approach to information is based on questions. My thought is that he is the modern counterpart to the individuals who learn and cause others to learn via rigorous questioning. The remarkable video interview series has been featured on BBC, ArteTV, and TV Japan, among other high impact outlets.

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The service, available at this link, is a conversation about exponential growth, accelerating change, artificial intelligence and ethics – because technology is not enough.

The main idea is that we are not experiencing a shift in technology but rather a shift in humanity.  So everything that we know for certain is certainly going to change if we are to survive the 21st century; for example, political processes, economics, law, religion, and the very meaning of what it means to be human.

Danaylov told me:

The blog is not meant to provide definitive answers, but rather, to ask the tough questions in an attempt to generate discussion, provoke thought and stir the imagination. It aims to spark a conversation about the impact of technology, exponential growth and artificial intelligence where everyone’s opinions and participation are greatly encouraged.

He added:

So while I do not shy to provide my opinion but place no claim on its superiority because the goal is to get the audience actively involved in the ever-evolving conversation about the future of humanity.

From my vantage point, Singularity Weblog’s value may be not so much in the answers it provides, but in the Questions it raises — the kind that everybody could or should be asking.

In addition to the video interviews, Singularity Weblog:

  • Publishes relevant articles by Socrates and his friends.
  • Posts interviews with the best scientists, writers, entrepreneurs, film-makers, journalists, philosophers and artists.
  • Brings attention to relevant news stories, films, media and scientific developments.
  • Provides an online discussion forum where readers and supporters can start a conversation on issues important to them.
  • Gives people a platform to write and share your own great content.

Danaylov is deeply in love with learning but keenly aware that his personal knowledge is always going to be dwarfed by his ignorance: a man who knows that he doesn’t know; a man with many questions and few answers of his own… Thus Singularity Weblog is, and will always remain to be, an open and collaborative work in progress. And Nikola is, and will remain to be, a student and a host, rather than a teacher or an owner.

Yet, I learned that Danaylov is of the strong belief that we can attain profound insights by asking challenging questions in the company of good people, gathered within an open, informal and interactive symposium. Danaylov hopes to be the midwife, and Singularity Weblog – the setting, where you come to examine the questions, search for your answers, challenge, be challenged and, ultimately, give birth to your own ideas.

It is for this reason that, having spent the past six years producing over 900 articles and interviewing more than 190 of the world’s best known experts, Danaylov has made his treasure trove of information available without charge.

He has a crowd funding campaign underway. Beyond Search readers can support his work at InterviewTheFuture.com.

I asked him what’s next for Singularity 1on1 and the Web log. He replied:

After doing 200 interviews I have learned that it is perhaps best to keep those secret until they are totally recorded, edited and ready for publishing. So you will have to subscribe to the Singularity 1on1 podcast to find out.

As part of my support for Danaylov’s information service, I noted this statement from Darian Wawer:

“There are probably only three things that have impacted my life to such an extent. Carl Sagan with his love for science, Elon Musk and his dedication to improving the quality of the world we live in and finally, the third person would be… Nikola Danaylov with his website Singularity Weblog. Obviously, there are a thousand people whose work I deeply appreciate (Kurzweil, Natasha-More, and so forth) but you are the hub that allows us to stay connected. You have also committed and sacrificed a lot to do so. You are the real deal.”

For more information about Danaylov’s impact, see https://www.singularityweblog.com/testimonials.

Stephen E Arnold, September 22, 2016

Open Source Log File Viewer Glogg

September 21, 2016

Here is an open source solution for those looking to dig up information within large and complex log files; BetaNews shares, “View and Search Huge Log Files with Glogg.”  The software reads directly from your drive, saving time and keeping memory free (or at least as free as it was before.) Reviewer, Mike Williams tells us:

Glogg’s interface is simple and uncluttered, allowing anyone to use it as a plain text viewer. Open a log, browse the file, and the program grabs and displays new log lines as they’re added. There’s also a search box. Enter a plain text keyword, a regular or extended regular expression and any matches are highlighted in the main window and displayed in a separate pane. Enable ‘auto-refresh’ and glogg reruns searches as lines are added, ensuring the matches are always up-to-date. Glogg also supports ‘filters’, essentially canned searches which change text color in the document window. You could have lines containing ‘error’ displayed as black on red, lines containing ‘success’ shown black on green, and as many others as you need.

Williams spotted some more noteworthy features, like a quick-text search, highlighted matches, and helpful Next and Previous buttons. He notes the program is not exactly chock-full of fancy features, but suggests that is probably just as well for this particular task. Glogg runs on 64-bit Windows 7 and later, and on Linux.

Cynthia Murrell, September 21, 2016
Sponsored by ArnoldIT.com, publisher of the CyberOSINT monograph
There is a Louisville, Kentucky Hidden Web/Dark Web meet up on September 27, 2016.
Information is at this link: https://www.meetup.com/Louisville-Hidden-Dark-Web-Meetup/events/233599645/

Online Searching Proves Shakespeare Ripped Off Words and Phrases

September 16, 2016

Original phrases? Bah. Neologisms? Poppycock. William Shakespeare, like Mozart, ripped off other people. Imagine that. Listening to people, noting interesting turns of phrases, and learning new words from those around him. Where was the DCMA and copyright when we really needed them?

I read “The Game Is Up: Shakespeare’s Language Not As Original As Dictionaries Think.” My first reaction was, “Do dictionaries think?” I thought dictionaries were compilations of the work of individuals who chased down the meanings of words. Who am I but a lonely recluse in rural Kentucky? I know that real journalists know much more about dictionaries than I. So think they do.

But the guts of the story is that a person working at a university ran online queries across the digitized text of early British texts. Guess what? When running a query for the phrase “It’s Greek to me”,

the academic points out that searching for it in the digital resource Early English Books Online throws up its usage in Robert Greene’s The Scottish History of James the Fourth, printed in 1598 but possibly written in 1590.

Who said Shakespeare was a wordsmithing genius? The answer, gentle reader, are those folks who compile dictionaries.

But that’s not the only rip off performed by the guy who wrote plays loved by students the world over. He stole “wild goose chase.”

The article pointed out that the Bard seems to have saddled up his imagination and actually created the phrase “to make an ass of oneself.”

The repercussions from this discovery are significant. The lively and flexible editors of the Oxford English Dictionary will hop to making the necessary changes. I will have to replace my copy of the Shorter  Oxford English Dictionary in due course. What if I learn that “wild goose chase” is not a coinage of a fellow suspected of being a closet Catholic.

Online is good for something. “Lord, what fools these mortals be.” No wonder creating a link is a violation of the law. If a recusant does not own up to the source, punishment is needed. Bad Sharkespeare.

Stephen E Arnold, September 16, 2016

Think of the Children! Kids and Unsupervised iPads

September 1, 2016

I hear this complaint everyday: people, especially children, are spending too much time attached to a screen. The belief is that we, as a society, are not establishing strong connections or relationships with each other. When it comes to children, the common conception is that too much screen time hinders their development growth. The Daily Mail spoke with modern parents to figure out what their concerns are concerning kids and iPad usage in the article, “’He Could Be Talking To A 60 Year Old Man:’ Parents Reveal Their Fears As They Admit Allowing Their Children As Young As Four to Use iPads Unsupervised.”

Parents are allowing their children to use iPads for entertainment, such as watching videos and playing games. Tablet is the dream tool that all parents have wanted for years when they needed to keep children occupied as they did chores or had a busy day running errands. While the iPad is a good tool to keep kids occupied, parents are concerned their offspring could access inappropriate material. One parent is concern that her child could communicate with an adult stranger. Another is worried that her progeny will create social media profiles and be at risk.

The biggest concern is stranger danger, which is a valid argument. However, most of these children using an iPad do not know how to read or write yet, so how could they contact anyone without those abilities? There are also settings on an iPad that limit how apps are touched and instill parental controls. From personal experience, there are always ways around parental controls that kids discover. Kids circumnavigate the parental controls to view taboo contact. Parents view the Internet:

The Internet is seen as a potential minefield by parents and whatever support site owners can give to prevent children seeing or buying what they shouldn’t would be welcomed. The government is currently pushing ahead with age verification protections for pornographic sites, but clearly parents have a much broader set of online content and services that cause them concern.

Also take into account each family raises their kids differently, so what qualifies as inappropriate content is subjective. The best way to raise children with an iPad is to be aware of what they are watching, how they use it, teach them on what they are allowed, and accept that there will be mistakes. All of the hullabaloo is the same as allowing kids to watch too much TV, videogames, comic books, and (way, way back) novels. It is a new medium, but same argument.

Whitney Grace, September 1, 2016

HonkinNews for August 30, 2016, Now Available

August 30, 2016

If you want to learn how Beyond Search sends secure messages, view Honking News, August 30, 2016. Stories include IBM in Scotland and a possible new recipe for haggis with tamarind, Microsoft and its inability to change China, the US Army’s math challenge, and frisky algorithms. The program for August 30, 2016, is located in this YouTube cubby. We have added a video player to the Beyond Search blog too. Bet your bots — er, bet your boots — on that.

Kenny Toth, August 30, 2016

Libraries Continue to Stay Awesome by Renting Out the Internet

August 26, 2016

The article on The Seattle Public Library titled SPL HOTSPOT offers library patrons a great option for “checking out” a mobile hotspot for up to 21 days for free with a valid library card. This is an excellent service for those of us without reliable Internet (thanks, Time Warner Cable) or who are travelling within the United States. More than anything, though, this service provides low-income Internet access. The article explains,

“The SPL HotSpot is an easy-to-use, mobile hotspot that keeps your tablet, laptop and other Wi-Fi–enabled devices connected to the Internet.

You can connect up to 15 devices to 4G LTE and 3G networks, and also charge external devices… You can return the hotspot to any Library location or book drop, just like other items. You must return the device with all the original packaging and accessories. Please fully charge the battery before you return the device.”

There are a few drawbacks: there is a $199 fine is the device is not returned on time, and according to user responses, the wait time is current up to 2 months. But due to the Internet monopolies by massive corporations, the cost of access is increasing; while at the same time so is our collective dependence on the Internet. Can you imagine going even a day without having it available? This is an invaluable service that will hopefully catch on elsewhere!

Chelsea Kerwin, August 26, 2016

Technology: The New Dr. Evil in the Digital Dark Age

August 9, 2016

When I ride my mule down the streets of Harrod’s Creek, I marvel at the young folks who walk while playing with their mobile phones. Heading home after buying oats for Melissa, I look forward to my kerosene lamps.

Technology does not frighten me. I find technology and the whiz kids amusing. I read “Technology Is Now Pop Culture’s Favorite Enemy.” Goodness. I find gizmos and bits fun. The write up suggests that fun loving, top one percenters in education and wealth are finding themselves at the wrong end of a varmint trap.

I find it interesting that technology, which some folks in big cities believe is the way out of a gloomy tunnel, is maybe not flowers, butterflies, and rainbows. (The unicorns have taken to the woods it seems. No unicorns at the moment.)

I learned:

The ubiquitous nature of futuristic technology has lead to an exponential increase in our distrust of each other and the products we use, but most interesting, has taken away some of the blame from government bodies and corporations. We no longer fear agency bodies as much as we fear the physical technology they use.

That seems harsh. I like the phrase, “We’re from the government and here to help you.” Don’t you?

The write up adds a philosophical note:

Despite us being more savvy of how to use social media or despite us having a better understanding of how computers work in general, most of us still aren’t fluent in how it all fits together. We give so much of ourselves over to our devices, and we don’t ask for much in return. When we give something that inanimate that much control over us, it’s terrifying to think that we’re willingly giving up our freedom.

Let’s think about technology in terms of public Web search. One plugs a query into a system. The system returns a list of results; that is, suggestions where information related to the query may be found.

But what is happening is that the person reviewing the outputs does not have to ask, “Are these results accurate? Are they advertising? Are they comprehensive?” There is another question as well, “Is the information objective?” And what about, “Is the information accurate; that is, verifiable?”

The search systems perform another magic trick. The user becomes a content input. This means that the person with access to the queries as a group or the query subset related to a particular individual has new information. In my experience, knowledge is power, and the folks using the search system do not generally have access to this information.

Asymmetry results. The technology outfits offering service have more information than the users. Search does more to illuminate the dark corners of those using the search system than the results of a search illuminate the user’s mind.

Without the inclination to figure out what’s valid and what’s not or lacking the expertise to perform this type of search results vetting, the users become the used.

That sounds philosophical but there is a practical value to the observation. Without access and capability, the information presented becomes a strong influence on how one thinks, views facts, and has behavior influenced.

My thought is, “Welcome to the medieval world.” It is good to be a king or a queen. To be an information peasant is the opposite.

Giddy up, Melissa. Time to be heading back to the digital hollow to think about the new digital Dr. Evil.

Stephen E Arnold, August 9, 2016

Library Search and Survival

July 29, 2016

I read “Library Systems Report 2016.” Interesting round up of niche player companies. The focus is upon library systems. This is today’s equivalent of the card catalogs I used when I was a wee lad in central Illinois.

Three points jumped out at me:

  • Most of the companies mentioned in the report are unknown outside of the library market. That’s okay. One can make a great deal of money serving niche markets. The takeaway for me was the technologies referenced struck me as decidedly 1990s-ish. There are no Palantir Technologies in this collection of “high tech” leaders.
  • The industry, which strikes me as small, compared with Pokémon Go is consolidating. I have no problem with this, but it suggests that library funding may be further constrained. With fewer libraries, there will be fewer customers; therefore, only the “big” will survive. MBAs threaten MLSs it seems.
  • Open source software and Web based and cloud solutions are beginning to have an impact. As I said, 1990s-ish thinking perhaps.

This quote sums up how one of the big dogs approaches the financial challenges it faces:

EBSCO Information Services stands as one of the major forces in the library technology sector, despite not offering it own comprehensive management product.

Unlike Google or Facebook, EBSCO, a company once known for making three ring binders, wants to be everyone’s connectivity pal.

Which of these vendors will become a billion dollar company? Which library start up will be the next big thing on Shark Tank?

I think I know the answer to these questions. Do you?

Stephen E Arnold, July 29, 2016

Bing Becomes More Like Telex

July 23, 2016

Decades ago, probably around 1980, I met with a person in New York City. The purpose of the meeting was to talk about value added information provided to users of the Telex system. (If you want a round up of Telex, let Wikipedia do it at this link.)

At that meeting, I saw the information available on the Telex “menu” for operators. There was a list of pop songs as I recall. Other “intellectual” goodies were the day’s astrological predictions, movies, and some star info. The demonstration consumed Telex minutes and, therefore, produced money for the outfit with which I was meeting. I knew that value added information like the content for which I responsible decades ago was a loser, non starter, dead dog, and of zero interest to this big company. The Telex provided information was breezy and designed to keep bored Telex operators amused when not typing out messages of grave import. It was, in a word, fluff. But it made money until the Telex world was vaporized by digital flows incompatible with double digit baud text delivery.

I thought of this demo when I read “Bing’s Home Page Gets Smart with Trivia, Quizzes & Polls.” The Bing innovation is a lowest common denominator function. Like the Telex information, it appeals to those with little to do. The intellectual payload is close to zero.

The write up, for understandable reasons, is not in the business of reminding the new Microsoft that it is imitating a Telex system’s content. I learned:

Senior managing editor Kristen Kennedy and senior program manager Vinay Krishna said they want Bing’s homepage to be a source of inspiration for millions and an entry point to learn more about the world.

Learning can be fun. What’s your sign? How is that horoscope’s accuracy today, gentle reader? What is the lowest common search denominator? Answer: Bing maybe?

Stephen E Arnold, July 23, 2016

DuckDuckGo: Filtering

July 22, 2016

I read “Is DuckDuckGo.com Partially Enforcing the “Celebrity Threesome Injunction“? The point of the write up is that information is filtered from search systems, including the privacy-centric system DuckDuckGo.com. I assume the queries summarized in the write up are spot on. If accurate, one cannot search that which is not in an index. That’s helpful for those who want to be thorough. It is also helpful for those who find themselves the subject of write ups already published and want to keep the links out of a search system’s results page. With folks loving the mobile research experience, who would know? The more interesting question, “Does anyone care?” A good example is the “artist” whose work disappeared from the Alphabet Google thing’s Blogger system. See “Google Deletes Artist’s Blog and a Decade of His Work along with It.” Back ups are good if not filtered by a helpful cloud service. Where did my music go anyway?

Stephen E Arnold, July 22, 2016

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