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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

HonkinNews for September 20, 2016 Available

September 20, 2016

Stories in the Beyond Search weekly video news program “HonkinNews” include LinkedIn’s censorship of a former CIA professional’s post about the 2016 election. Documentum, founded in 1990, has moved to the frozen wilds of Canada. A Microsoft and Nvidia sponsored online beauty contest may have embraced algorithmic bias. Google can write a customer’s ad automatically and may be able to alter users’ thoughts and actions. Which vendors of intelligence-centric software may be shown the door to the retirement home? The September 20, 2016, edition of “HonkinNews”, filmed with old-fashioned technology in the wilds of rural Kentucky is online at this link.

Kenny Toth, September 20, 2016

HonkinNews, September 13, 2016 Now Available

September 13, 2016

Interested in having your polynomials probed? The Beyond Search weekly news explains this preventive action. In this week’s program you will learn about Google new enterprise search solution. Palantir is taking legal action against an investor in the company. IBM Watson helps out at the US Open. Catch up on the search, online, and content processing news that makes the enterprise procurement teams squirm. Dive in with Springboard and Pool Party. To view the video, click this link.

Kenny Toth, September 13, 2016

Image Search: Colors and Patterns

August 30, 2016

When I search for an image, I often look for an individual. I have noticed over the years that the automatic search function for Google Images delivers facial matches (sometimes) and colors and patterns. Here’s an example.

This image comes from my snaps of a recent trip to a far off place far from Harrod’s Creek, Kentucky.

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When I plug the image into Google’s automatic image search, the system returns images like these:

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To my untrained eye, it certainly appears that Google’s image search has returned images which evidence the colors and patterns of the original. Sure, none of these is a juice bar, but if I were looking for a similar image, it strikes me that the Google does the job.

Apparently not. 500px sees the world from its unique perspective. I like the word “unique.”

I read “500px Launches Way to Search for Photos by Colors or Designs.” Another image search system is a net gain. I learned from the write up:

500px has created a new way to discover photos, based not on textual descriptions but on swatches and colors. The company today launched Splash, a search engine that lets you simply select a color or design to begin filtering photos that match your mood.

I highlighted this passage:

“This is a way of searching images that has never been done before,” explained 500px head of product Kelly Thompson.

If I understand the system, I can draw a sketch and 500px technology will figure out what matches my drawing. Problem: I cannot draw. I can scan. I can trace. If I rely of these methods, Google can “match” my uploaded image.

Oh, the unique 500px search allows you, gentle reader, to purchase the image the system presents.

Poor Google, left behind again from some entrepreneurs’ point of view. For me, I am okay with the Google Images’ approach.

Stephen E Arnold, August 30, 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

HonkinNews Video Available for August 23, 2016

August 23, 2016

After several tests, the fourth HonkinNews video is available on YouTube. You can view the six minute video at https://youtu.be/AIYdu54p2Mg. The HonkinNews highlights a half dozen stories from the previous week’s Beyond Search stream. The commentary adds a tiny twist to most of the stories. We know that search and content processing are not the core interests of the millennials. We don’t expect to attract much of a following from teens or from “real” search experts. Nevertheless, we will continue with the weekly news program because Google has an appetite for videos. We will continue with the backwoods theme and the 16 mm black and white film. We think it adds a high tech look to endless recycling of search and content jargon which fuels information access today.

Kenny Toth, August 23, 2016

Beyond Search HonkinNews Video for 8 August 2016 Online Now

August 9, 2016

You can view the August 8, 2016, HonkinNews program at this link. The video comes from Goodwill-grade 8 mm film equipment. The program highlights recent stories from the free (yep, no cost whatsoever) Beyond Search Web log. Learn about the how one Google executive “escaped” life in the fast lane. The Verizon acquisition of Yahoo reminds Stephen of Washington’s wooden false teeth. The deal allows Verizon to own two Internet artifacts. Hewlett Packard Enterprise, owner of Autonomy, faces an uncertain future as its sells units and thinks about selling itself. And there’s more in the six minute news program; for example, a restrained MBA cheer for Big Data. But that’s a sotte voce rah, rah. Like Beyond Search, the honking video version tries to separate the giblets from the goose feathers in the thrilling world of search, content processing, and related disciplines. That’s not easy in today’s search-centric world where relevance is mostly good enough and jargon is its own virtual reality.

Ken Toth, August 9, 2016

Facial Recognition: A Work in Progress

June 18, 2016

Years ago I read “The FBI’s Next Generation Identification Program: Helping Law Enforcement Track and Share Suspect Information across State Lines.” That write up identified, probably semi accurately, Lockheed Martin as the “lead contractor” for the NGI IPS (Next Generation Identification Interstate Photo System). I mention this because the write up “FBI Has 411 Million Photos in Its Facial Recognition System, and a Federal Watchdog Isn’t Happy” does not dig into the contractor or contractors involved in this nine zero project. (An older list of some FBI contractors appears at this link.)

The GAO report about the program also lacks some details. If you are interested in what a government report of the controversial system offers, you can download for now a copy of the document at this link.

I realize that the marketing of smart systems which can make sense of images suggests three functions:

  1. High speed matching
  2. High precision
  3. High recall.

The reality is a bit different. Please, keep in mind that the beliefs created by over inflated marketing claims and carefully staged demonstrations often are at odds with how the system actually performs in real life.

Government entities have to look to technology to help deal with the ever increasing and possibly unstoppable flood of digital information. The actual systems, whether the UK’s NHS systems or the US Army’s DCGS systems, are works in progress. In many cases, the progress is halting, and the work has unanticipated consequences.

I have pointed out that enterprise search, content management, and similar and smart software are not the slam dunks many managers think they are. Hope springs eternal, but that hope has to be gated with what happens in the real, disorganized, and time starved reality in which the magic is supposed to happen.

Stephen E Arnold, June 20, 2016

Google Voice Search: An Optimistic View

June 7, 2016

I read “Google Voice Search Records and Keeps Conversations People Haver Around their Phones but You Can Delete the Files.” I like the “you can delete the files. How does one know what has or has not been deleted in this era of real time cloud goodness?

I assume that the information in the write up is accurate.

The write up states:

The feature works as a way of letting people search with their voice, and storing those recordings presumably lets Google improve its language recognition tools as well as the results that it gives to people.

If you want to “delete” these recordings, the write up asserts:

It’s found by heading to Google’s history page and looking at the long list of recordings. The company has a specific audio page and another for activity on the web, which will show you everywhere Google has a record of you being on the internet.

Optimism is good. One presidential hopeful believed certain emails had been deleted. I am not sure that the FSB agrees. It seems that the Independent’s “real journalist” was not aware of “Your Data Is Forever.”

Stephen E Arnold, June 7, 2016

Google Is Many Things: Racial Bias in Hair May Be Brushed Aside

April 18, 2016

I read a story about matching up user queries with images. I don’t think Google’s image search is particularly good. Examples range from Google’s obsession with taking a query like “truth” and returning images of pictures with the word “truth” in them. And this image:

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What about the query for “watson.” Google showed a picture of a computer, a person named “sherlock,” and images of this guy:

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The write up “Do Google’s ‘Unprofessional Hair’ Results Show It Is Racist?” wants to point out that Google’s methods have a nasty side. I noted this passage:

We’ve always conceived of search engines as arcane but neutral creatures, obedient only to our will and to the precious logic of information. Older engines from the advent of the internet reflected this: Remember “Ask Jeeves,” the genteel butler? Dogpile, which would “fetch” things for you? Despite this fantasy, the things engines and their algorithms are able to know and to find are influenced by the content we give them to work with, which means they may reflect our own biases.

 

AskJeeves was a human powered system. The Google is algorithmic. Google does not “give” its image search system content. The image search system indexes what it finds, within the depth settings for the crawl. Sorry, gentle reader, Google does not index everything available via the Internet. Bummer, right?

I circled this statement:

is its [image search’s] purpose to reflect and reinforce what its users feel, do and believe? Or is it to show us a fuller picture of the world and all things contained in it as they really are? Google Images was conceived in response to what people most wanted to see. Maybe it hasn’t decided yet what we most need to see.

The Guardian itself is an interesting legal search. Run the query “guardian” on Google Images and what does one find? Here you go:

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The logo of the “real” journalistic thing and the word “truth.” Now is that biased?

Stephen E Arnold, April 18, 2016

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