Microsoft Teams: Ho Ho Ho

September 30, 2022

That Microsoft Teams is something. I refuse to use it. Others have to use it. I am happy with Zoom. I am fortunate. I can dictate what video tool I use. You? No. Too bad. I try not to think about Teams. I admit to sending my son notices of new Teams’ features, and he has a great sense of humor and sends me smiley faces as a reply. I am not sure he is smiling inside, however.

I noted that Teams popped up in a link to a YCombinator discussion “Why Is Microsoft Teams Still So Bad?.” The comments are informative and interesting; for example:

  • Roydivision says: Random crashing.
  • Classified says: Once the bean counters discover that you can make money with a piece of software, the game is over.
  • M4lvin says: In Germany (or maybe whenever the system language is German) Microsoft decided that everyone should have a Ferris wheel and a bezel in their task bar because now it is Oktoberfest in Munich. Seriously? I think we have reached spam-as-an-operating-system.
  • Yawnxyz says: Microsoft product suites are like the Olive Garden of the product world.
  • Cyberge99 says: I think Teams also offers more capabilities to Enterprise users. I’ve been on a few teams calls with people on the call that are not visible in the attendee list.

What’s interesting is that:

  1. People complain but organizations use Microsoft products due to pricing, compliance, institutional momentum, security assertions, familiarity, etc. (Does this mean “monopoly”?)
  2. Microsoft seems to be assembling a communications equivalent to Word; that is, many features, some of which do not work or cannot be located by a user not intimately familiar with the application. (Is this terminal featuritis?)
  3. Microsoft’s assertions to the media are not fact checked; otherwise, the comments in the cited thread might be less creditable. (Does science fiction count as a technology deliverable?)

I found the question interesting, but the comments speak more effectively than an equivalent number of TikToks. Viva Teams!

Stephen E Arnold, September 30, 2022

Will Simplicity Sprint Help Google Contend with iPhone Rise?

September 30, 2022

It appears Android users have just been relegated to the minority in the US, at least for the moment. Apple Insider reports, “There Are More iPhones in Use in the USA than Android Phones.” Writer William Gallagher tells us:

“Counterpoint Research has previously reported that on a quarterly basis, Apple’s sales of the iPhone are growing. New research from Counterpoint discusses the total installed pool of smartphones that are actually in active use — and iPhones now account for just slightly over 50% of actively used smartphones in the States. According to the Financial Times, Counterpoint analysts have said that this is Apple’s highest-ever share of active smartphone users since the original iPhone launch in 2007.”

So, what is Google’s next phone move? Perhaps it will be another “Simplicity Sprint” like the one CEO Sundar Pichai recently launched in the face of dismal productivity numbers: the company’s second-quarter revenue growth was a mere 13%, down from 62% a year before. The project is asking employees for ideas to boost efficiency. Historically, Google has been considered the most worker-centric big tech company (contrast to Amazon, for example). Some have said that culture is changing; perhaps employees will wax nostalgic on their feedback forms.

Whatever the results, writer and programmer Pen Magnet thinks Pichai would do better to consider some factors unique to programming. In “Why Google Employees Don’t Work,” published at Level Up Coding, they write:

“When it comes to productivity, quarterly and yearly figures don’t matter much for huge companies. They have decade-long product-rollout plans. If something is looking bad today, it’s more likely to be rooted in someone’s bad judgment 5 years ago, who is currently out of the blame-game horizon. … As a 2-decade veteran programmer, every time I think of productivity, all I can think of is excellence. In other words, the fastest way to do something is to do it right, no matter how long it takes.”

If that apparent contradiction piques your interest, see the write-up for more discussion. Will Google find a way to better compete with Apple, or will iOS capture more of the upscale US market for mobile phones?

Cynthia Murrell, September 30, 2022

Google and Its Smart Software: Marketing Fodder and Investment Compost

September 29, 2022

Alphabet Google YouTube DeepMind is “into” smart software. The idea is that synthetic data, off-the-shelf models, and Google’s secret sauce will work wonders. Now this series of words is catnip for AGYD’s marketing and sales professionals. Grrrreat, as Tony the Tiger used to say about a fascinating cereal decades ago. Grrreat!

However, there may be a slight disconnect between the AGYD smart software papers, demonstrations, and biology-shaking protein thing and the cold, hard reality of investment payback. Keep in mind that AGYD is about money, not the social shibboleths in the stream of content marketing.

Google Ventures Shelves Its Algorithm” states:

Google Ventures has mothballed an algorithm that for years had served as a gatekeeper for new investments… GV [Google Ventures] still relies heavily on data. After all, this is the corporate venture arm of Google. But data has been relegated to its original role as aide, rather than arbiter.

I interpreted the report to mean: Yikes! It does not work and Googley humans have to make decisions about investments.

The spin is that the algos are helpful. But the decision is humanoid.

I wonder, “What other AGYD algos don’t deliver what users, advertisers, and Googlers expected?”

Google listens to those with lots of money at risk. Does Google listen to other constituencies? Did Google take the criticism of its smart software to heart?

My hunch is that the smart software is lingo perfect for marketing outputs. Some of the outputs of the smart software are compost, rarely shown to the public and not sniffed by too many people. Will Tony the Tiger inhale and growl, “Grrreat”? Sure, sure, Tony will.

Stephen E Arnold, September 29, 2022

Amazon and Open Source: A Me Too Spin on Microsoft and Its Extinguish Tactic?

September 26, 2022

I heard that Amazon — the lovable online bookstore — is thinking about open source software in general and open source search specifically. This is just a hunch, based on comments bandied about in the vendors’ area at a recent law enforcement conference. The attendees may not think much about Amazon as an ecosystem for bad actors but the vendors with whom I talk are:

Aware

Eager to use the AWS platform

Expressing varying degrees of concern.

Were these vendors representative of the cyber security community? Are you kidding? Were the conference attendees a cross section of the more than 100 US enforcement agencies? Nope.

So why do I mention this impression? Three reasons:

  1. Amazon, like Microsoft, provides plumbing for a number of government entities and for some darned interesting cyber security vendors in the US and elsewhere (Hello, Israel?)
  2. The US government is not a cohesive entity. One of the regulatory agencies, which I shall not name, is thinking hard thoughts about the friendly online bookstore. I have heard that third party seller activity (Amazon’s and some seller), Amazon’s human centric management approach, and some of Amazon’s surfing on data generated by resellers, vendors, and possibly home shoppers are topics of interest.
  3. Years ago, Amazon hired some Lucid Imagination open source search professionals and plopped the wizards in the Bezos Bulldozer’s Burlingame office. Evolving from that “lucid” input, the venerable online bookstore engaged in a game of fork you with Elastic, a company associated with the open source Elasticsearch, for fee services, and a digital animal dubbed ELK.

These reasons cause me to recall one of the principal conclusions my team and I formulated when we wrote “Open Source Search Report” for a mid tier consulting firm. (Unsurprisingly the company changed hands and the study was split apart with individual chapters going for $3,000 each on — guess what online bookstore? Give up? It was Amazon.

I reflected on the conclusion in our monograph: Open source is the domain of large corporate entities. Why? Open source was pretty much free and could be changed. Plus, unpaid open source enthusiasts would find and fix software problems.

One of the reasons enterprise search in general and content processing in particular has been a company killer is that search is not an “application.” Search is weirdly personal, and each enterprise search client wanted a system that would work for the many silos within an organizational structure.

The information super highway is littered with search road kill. Many of the names are long forgotten. When was the last time you longer for the francophone centric Delphis or the enterprise powerhouse Entopia?

Why am I thinking about Amazon and open source search?

I read “Open Source Bait and Switch” with the fetching and click magnet subtitle “When OSS advocacy goes too far & corporate greed takes over, free software is used as a tool to destroy competition and hurt the developer community.”

I noted these statements in the article, which is in step with our 2011 research. (Yep, more than a decade ago, which I find interesting.)

let me highlight a couple of statements from the article which arrested my attention this morning (Monday, September 26, 2022).

Take Elastic search. They were open source and killing it. But AWS was forking and not really helping their bottom line. So Elastic changed their license to block AWS. AWS started their own fork. Some people vilify Elastic in this story but those people probably never had to fight Amazon for the survival of their business. In this case, both sides weaponised open source in a business fight.

Also:

I love open source and think it’s remarkably important. That’s why we shouldn’t let corporations weaponize it.

And:

Major corporations use open source as a weapon to fight each other, we seem to benefit in the short term. But as they win the corporate mindset takes over and they double down on control.

What’s shaking at Amazon? Based on my vantage point and my limited viewshed, I will hazard several observations:

  1. Amazon wants to dominate via search and retrieval because it is a utility that is essential for next generate search based applications.
  2. Amazon wants to strike at its competitors, which are estimable organizations obviously, and deprive them of any advantage these firms may be perceived to have when it comes to findability. Could these be great outfits like Google and Microsoft as well as annoying start ups like Algolia and the almost laughable Gulliver of search in Canada as well as an interesting entity morphing as I write this essay? (Want names? Sorry, not in a free blog, you silly goose.)
  3. Amazon lacks imagination, and it is — in my opinion — manifesting the old Microsoft method of embrace, extend, and extinguish. Yep, extinguish. In my view, Amazon is showing other outstanding for profit entities how to attack competitors, community minded open source developers, and users of Amazon AWS simultaneously. None of the “special operation” thinking that has been in the news lately. Amazon is operating strategically and tactically with a single minded purpose. Split up the bookstore and each part will grow bigger than it is today.

Should I worry that my eBook won’t arrive or the French bulldog’s winter coat fail to show up tomorrow? Nah. What about open source, the community thing, the free thing. Yep, worry is good.

Stephen E Arnold, September 26, 2022

LinkedIn: The Logic of the Greater Good

September 26, 2022

I have accepted two factoids about life online:

First, the range of topics searched from my computer systems available to my research team is broad, diverse, and traverses the regular Web, the Dark Web, and what we call the “ghost Web.” As a result, recommendation systems like those in use by Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are laughable. One example is YouTube’s suggesting that one of my team would like an inappropriate beach fashion show here, a fire on a cruise ship here, humorous snooker shots here, or sounds heard after someone moved to America here illustrate the ineffectuality of Google’s smart recommendation software. These recommendations make clear that when smart software cannot identify a pattern or an intentional pattern disrupting click stream, data poisoning works like a champ. (OSINT fans take note. Data poisoning works and I am not the only person harboring this factoid.) Key factoid: Recommendation systems don’t work and the outputs can be poisoned… easily.

Second, profile centric systems like Facebook’s properties or the LinkedIn social network struggle to identify information that is relevant. Thus, we ignore the suggestions for who is hiring people with your profile and the requests to be friends. These are amusing. Here are some anonymized examples. A female in Singapore wanted to connect me with an escort when I was next in Singapore. I interpreted this as a solicitation somewhat ill suited to a 77 year old male who no longer flies to Washington, DC. Forget Singapore. What about a person who is a sales person at a cable company? Or what about a person who does land use planning in Ecuador? What about a person with 19 years experience as a Google “partner”? You get the idea. Pimps and resellers of services which could be discontinued without warning. Key factoid: Recommendations don’t match that I am retired, give lectures to law enforcement and intelligence professionals, and stay in my office in rural Kentucky, with my lovable computers, a not so lovable French bulldog, and my main squeeze for the last 53 years. (Sorry, Singapore intermediary for escorts. Sad smile)

I read a write up in the indigestion inducing New York Times. I am never sure if the stories are accurate, motivated by social bias, written by a persistent fame seeker, or just made up by a modern day Jayson Blair. For info, click here. (You will have to pay to view this exciting story about fiction presented as “real” news.

The story catching my attention today (Saturday, September 24, 2022) has the title “LinkedIn Ran Social Experiments on 20 Million Users over Five Years?” Obviously the author is not familiar with the default security and privacy settings in Windows 10 and that outstanding Windows 11. Data collection both explicit and implicit is the tension in in the warp and woof of the operating systems’ fabric.

Since Microsoft owns LinkedIn, it did not take me long to conclude that LinkedIn like its precursor Plaxo had to be approached with caution, great caution. The write up reports that some Ivory Tower types figured out that LinkedIn ran and probably still runs tests to determine what can get more users, more clicks, and more advertising dollars for the Softies. An academic stalking horse is usually a good idea.

I did spot several comments in the write up which struck me as amusing. Let’s look at a three:

First, consider this statement:

LinkedIn, which is owned by Microsoft, did not directly answer a question about how the company had considered the potential long term consequences of its experiments on users’ employment and economic status.

No kidding. A big tech company being looked at for its allegedly monopolistic behaviors not directly answering a New York Times’ reporters questions. Earth shaking. But the killer gag for me is wanting to know if Microsoft LinkedIn “consider the potential long term consequences of its experiments.” Ho ho ho. Long term at a high tech outfit is measured in 12 week chunks. Sure, there may be a five year plan, but it probably still includes references to Microsoft’s network card business, the outlook for Windows Phone and Nokia, and getting the menus and icons in Office 365 to be the same across MSFT applications, and pitching the security of Microsoft Azure and Exchange as bulletproof. (Remember. There is a weapon called the Snipex Alligator, but it is not needed to blast holes through some of Microsoft’s vaunted security systems I have heard.)

Second, what about this passage from the write up:

Professor Aral of MIT said the deeper significance of the study was that it showed the importance of powerful social networking algorithms — not just in amplifying problems like misinformation but also as fundamental indications or economic conditions like employment and unemployment.

I think a few people understand that corrosive, disintermediating impact of social media information delivered quickly can have an effect. Examples range from flash mob riots to teens killing themselves because social media just does such a bang up job of helping adolescents deal with inputs from strangers and algorithms which highlight the thrill of blue screening oneself. The excitement of asking people who won’t help one find a job is probably less of a downer but failing to land an interview via LinkedIn might spark binge watching of “Friends.”

Third, I loved this passage:

“… If you want to get more jobs, you should be on LinkedIn more.

Yeah, that’s what I call psychological triggering: Be on LinkedIn more. Now. Log on. Just don’t bother to ask me to add you my network of people whom I don’t know because “Stephen E Arnold” on LinkedIn is managed by different members of my team.

Net net: Which is better? The New York Times or Microsoft LinkedIn. You have 10 minutes to craft an answer which you can post on LinkedIn among the self promotions, weird facts, and news about business opportunities like paying some outfit to put you on a company’s Board of Advisors.

Yeah, do it.

Stephen E Arnold, September 26, 2022

Facebook Reassures Users It Does Not Keep Data, Of Course

September 22, 2022

I bet Facebook, Google, Apple, and other big tech companies have an entire segment of their publicity department constantly writing press releases about how they do not sell nor store user data. Nudge. Nudge. Wink. Wink. They do. The Intercept intercepted another such damage control piece this time from the mouths of Facebook engineers: “Facebook Engineers: We Have No Idea Where We Keep Your Personal Data.”

Two Facebook engineers were interrogated at the hearing regarding the Cambridge Analytica lawsuit about mishandling user information. The engineers were asked the crucial question: “What information, precisely, does Facebook store about us, and where is it?” They responded that they did not know.

Court-appointed, subject matter expert Daniel Garrie grilled the Facebook engineers and neither could tell him in which of Facebook’s fifty-five subsystems user information was stored. They also were unable to answer how to track down every bit of data associated with a single user account. The Facebook engineers are either speaking the truth or were coached, just like the publicity department:

“…Meta spokesperson Dina El-Kassaby told The Intercept that a single engineer’s inability to know where all user data was stored came as no surprise. She said Meta worked to guard users’ data, adding, ‘We have made — and continue making — significant investments to meet our privacy commitments and obligations, including extensive data controls.’”

The lawsuit has been going on for four years. When the court asked Facebook to provide the plaintiff’s information, it gave the same data that can be downloaded from the “Download Your Information” tool. Facebook told the court that any information not included in the provided data was outside the lawsuit’s scope:

“…ignoring the vast quantities of information the company generates through inferences, outside partnerships, and other nonpublic analysis of our habits — parts of the social media site’s inner workings that are obscure to consumers. Briefly, what we think of as “Facebook” is in fact a composite of specialized programs that work together when we upload videos, share photos, or get targeted with advertising. The social network wanted to keep data storage in those nonconsumer parts of Facebook out of court.”

The judge disagreed in 2020 and told Facebook they had to share everything they gathered on the Internet used to monetize information. The Facebook team, however, claims they cannot point to the exact subsystem or application because the social media platform is too complex. Garrie was flabbergasted that a diagram did not exist.

Facebook denies that it even understands how its systems work to avoid data privacy laws.

Facebook’s immensity is unmappable. If the territory is unknown, how can one accept a Facebook statement about what is and is not held within that territory? Ah, El Zucko is surprisingly consistent in my opinion.

Whitney Grace, September 22, 2022

Apple Prepares to Core, Halve, and Quarter the Zuckbook

September 21, 2022

Last year Apple smugly changed its privacy policy so iOS users now choose whether to allow their Identifier for Advertisers (IDFA) to be tracked. Naturally, most say no. This is an expensive problem for Meta, which has historically made a lot of money targeting users via their IDFA on Facebook and Instagram. Now Apple is preparing another blow to its rival, according to MarketWatch‘s piece, “Apple Already Decimated Meta’s Ad-Tech Empire. Now, It’s Homing In on Facebook’s Advertisers, Too.” Reporter Shoshana Wodinsky points to a pair of virtual help-wanted signs to support her assertion:

“MarketWatch found two recent job postings by Apple that suggest the company is looking to build out its burgeoning ad-tech team with folks who specialize in working with small businesses. Specifically, the company says it’s looking for two product managers who are ‘inspired to make a difference in how digital advertising will work in a privacy-centric world’ and who want to ‘design and build consumer advertising experiences.’ An ideal candidate, Apple said, won’t only be savvy in advertising and mobile tech, and advertising on mobile tech, but will also have experience with ‘performance marketing, local ads or enabling small businesses.’ The listings also state that Apple’s looking for a manager who can ‘drive multi-year strategy and execution,’ which suggests that Apple isn’t just tailing local advertisers but will likely be tailing those advertisers for a while. And considering how some of those small brands are already looking to jump ship from Facebook following Apple’s privacy changes, luring them off the platform might be enough to hamper Meta’s entire business structure for good, ad-tech analysts said.”

If true, this move is the second jab in a one-two punch for advertisers. Cutting off their IDFA-based user data is believed to have hurt small businesses—not just the many that advertised on Facebook, but those advertising on other platforms too, from Google to Pinterest. This left the door wide open for Apple to come sauntering to the rescue—after creating the problem in the first place. Many advertisers will surely accept the deliverance anyway; Facebook has conditioned them to tolerate the whims of a digital despot as inescapable, however detrimental they may be.

Analyst Eric Seufert suspects Apple’s moves are about more than money. He tells Wodinsky:

“I think the revenue piece [of the ad market] is less important to Apple than just breaking up Facebook’s total ownership of distribution on mobile. Ads are a revenue opportunity, but, more importantly, they’re a discovery mechanic. And suddenly Facebook was determining which apps got downloaded, not Apple. My sense with all this is that they care about the revenue, but I don’t think that was the primary driver. I think it was about the power.”

Ah yes, a good old power struggle. With advertisers large and small playing the pawns. Who will come out on top? Well, A is for Apple and Z is for … losers?

Cynthia Murrell, September 21, 2022

How Does Googzilla Smother Competition: A Big Pile of Money Perhaps?

September 20, 2022

I am not a fan of short form, addictive-algorithmic games. Some are. Parents should be concerned about the usage of TikTok. I am not. I know that as schools in the US suffer shortages of teachers, there are solutions proven to work for the progeny of the upper one percent; for example:

  1. Camping at Kumon Math and Reading Center or a similar for-fee tutoring outfit’s classes
  2. Studying with a more informed individual, one-on-one just like a chess grandmaster’s coach
  3. Sitting down to a high powered computing device with a gigabit Internet connection and a supervisor, preferably a nun who once taught at a Jesuit university of a Chinese family’s really smart and demanding grandmother (nainai)
  4. Asking mumsey or popsey for help because the learner’s parents have advanced degrees
  5. Combining techniques.

The GOOG wants to be a player in the short form, attention eroding, baloney stuffed videos served up via a magical, smart software machine.

TikTok, Zuckbook, and others are going to try to the old fashioned way. Hard work, clean living, studying ethical business methods, and probably a prayer to either Euler (the god of mathies) or some other (probably less mathy) deity.

YouTube Shorts Could Steal TikTok’s Thunder with a Better Deal for Creators” reveals in real news style the Google’s method; to wit:

YouTube Shorts is gearing up to announce an ad revenue sharing model that could revolutionize short form video and give TikTok a run for its money — literally… The company is reportedly set to announce a Partner Program-like ad revenue sharing model on Tuesday at its Made on YouTube event. If the rumors are true, YouTube Shorts creators would get 45% of ad revenue.

The source article has more quotes and factoids, but for my argument, the use of money is the key point. It seems only fair that a company with a lot of money and a stellar track record of making me too products into big winners and solving the difficult problems of life like death might just use cash.

Simple, easy to understand, and very, very Googley.

Will it work? Sure, if regulators shift into gear and the children of those regulators abandon TikTok, the idea is a winner.

What is the sound a suffering Googzilla makes? For me it is the riffing of fat stacks of $100 bills.

Stephen E Arnold, September 20, 2022

Adobe: Figma May Channel Framemaker. Yikes!

September 20, 2022

I read a number of the articles about Adobe (yep, the Photoshop outfit) and its purchase of Figma. Many dinobabies use Adobe products. The youngsters are into mobile apps or Web apps when crafting absolutely remarkable online products and services. Adobe is a dinobaby product. Do you use channels? Yeah, right. I gave a lecture at the University of Michigan about something in which no one was interested except me and one professor who knew about my indexing methods. I do recall, however, talking with students at a free lunch which attracted a couple of people from the art and design or design and architecture or some similarly mystical fields. I sat with two of these individuals and learned that Adobe software was taught in their design course. I asked, “Why?” The answer was, “To get a job you have to know Photoshop and Illustrator.” Okay, because these interesting people were not going to get involved in machine indexing or what whippersnappers and the smartest people in the world call “metadata.”

One of the write ups about Adobe, a software subscription company, was “Adobe’s Figma Acquisition Is a $20 Billion Bet to Control the Entire Creative Market.” The write up states with incredible insight, confidence, and design savoir faire:

Adobe says the current plan is essentially for nothing to change.

Okay, I believe this statement. I believe everything I read on Silicon Valley-type real news services.

I would point to Adobe’s masterful handling of Framemaker. You use that program, probably more often than you use Adobe’s Channels controls.

Framemaker is a desktop publishing tool purpose built decades ago to make it possible to produce long, technical documents easily and quickly. Many operations could be automated. But Framemaker was a killer to learn. How often do you Unix key combinations in your Windows applications? Framemaker did little to make certain things easy; for example, having a footnote that was longer than the hard coded limit in Framemaker or changing a color without navigating through absolutely crazy color libraries and clicking away like mad. A newcomer to Framemaker has zero clue about creating a new document and not having weird stuff happen with headers, footers, fonts, etc. Nevertheless, when one had to crank out documentation for a new tank or output the technical details of materials specifications, Framemaker was and in my office still is the go too software. FYI: We stopped buying Framemaker after Adobe foisted one upgrade on me. I won’t detail my problems with the weird changes which made the software more difficult to use and set up for a production job. I uninstalled the Adobe flavor and went back to Framemaker 7.2, which was released a decade ago and was a gentle bug fix. But after Framemaker 7.2, the software was lost in space. I called it “outer limits” code.

Adobe purchased Framemaker and the product has not made much progress, maybe zero progress. The cost is now about $360 per year. You can read about its Adobe magical features here. There’s only one problem: The software has lost its way. Adobe wants everyone to use InDesign, a software ill-suited to crank out documentation for a weapons system in my opinion.

What will happen to Figma once in the new evergreen revenue oriented Adobe? I fear that Figma, which is unsuited for the type of content I produce, will become:

  1. Adobe’s version of Google’s Dodgeball and get kicked into a corner
  2. A Framemaker destined to disappoint dinobabies like me
  3. The greatest thing since Photoshop was equipped with a feature to open Illustrator files and not immediately crash.

The future will be exciting. Goodness, channeling Framemaker. What a thought.

Stephen E Arnold, September 20, 2022

Research: Ethical Mirages

September 16, 2022

I spotted two separate items. I think each reveals something quite important about research and journal article statements like “source code provided upon request” or something similar.

The first item concerns a Nobel Prize winner. I was in Stockholm the day before a Nobel Prize award event. Some people take these best and brightest hoe downs seriously. I was giving a talk to what some in the Swedish government described as the country’s forest service. Ho ho ho. My topic had little to do with trees and quite a bit to do with the St Petersburg disinformation outfit chugging away in Russia.

Nobel Prize Winner Gregg Semenza Retracts Four Papers” reports:

The four papers retracted yesterday are:

  • Hypoxia-inducible factors mediate coordinated RhoA-ROCK1 expression and signaling in breast cancer cells
  • Mutual antagonism between hypoxia-inducible factors 1? and 2? regulates oxygen sensing and cardio-respiratory homeostasis
  • Anthracycline chemotherapy inhibits HIF-1 transcriptional activity and tumor-induced mobilization of circulating angiogenic cells
  • Hypoxia-inducible factors are required for chemotherapy resistance of breast cancer stem cells

Why pray tell? Recycled data. This is a bit like an honor student caught cheating with answers written on a body part. There you go. Integrity.

The second item is a tweet from an alleged Googler who just can’t believe that Stable Diffusion is available and “out there for public use.” The tweet is here. But the interesting part of the Stable Diffusion item appears in a Reddit thread, which you can find here.

Here’s a comment I found interesting:

I [tinysprinkles] contacted Google requesting one of their published models for development of eye health applications for children and they played very hard ball, made me sign a bunch of documents and I still don’t have their model. It was more than a year ago! They basically slowed me down so badly that I’m having to develop knowledge from scratch as a non ML specialist. Mind you, their paper was published in one of Nature journals and had “model will be provided upon reasonable request”, I guess my request was not reasonable? Idk… sad… wish I could have picked up this knowledge quicker, but wasn’t able to.

The thrust of tinysprinkles’ post is that Google said one thing and is allegedly doing another. Let me address tinysprinkles directly: “Is this a surprise to you, tinysprinkles? If so, please, do some reading about Google’s tactical actions related to AI/ML and staff; specifically, Dr. Timnit Gebru.”

Now what do these two items have in common? For me I see these connections:

  1. Both illustrate ethical situations. Stated simply, “Hey, we do what we want because we are wizards.”
  2. No institutional redress is available. The big brain keeps the Nobel and the Google keeps its data model. Ho ho ho. Consequences? I think not.
  3. Awareness of intellectual dishonesty is low. Hey, we have college graduates unable to read at the grade school level. Do you think “intellectual honesty,” “integrity”, or “ethics” resonates with people who don’t know where Canada is when presented with a map of North America.

Net net: Grim at the Nobel level; grimmer at the company level. Swipe left. You will be okay.

Stephen E Arnold, September 16, 2022

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