Does the NY Times Want Celebrity Journalists?

September 28, 2023

Vea4_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_thumb_t[1]Note: This essay is the work of a real and still-alive dinobaby. No smart software involved, just a dumb humanoid.

I read “In the AI Age, The New York Times Wants Reporters to Tell Readers Who They Are.” subtitle is definitely Google pet food:

The paper is rolling out enhanced bios as “part of our larger mission to be more transparent,” says the Times’ Edmund Lee, and “as generative AI begins to creep into the media landscape.”

The write up states:

The idea behind the “enhanced bios,” as they are being called, is to put more of a face and a name to reporters, so as to foster greater trust with readers and, as more news elsewhere is written by generative AI, emphasize the paper’s human-led reporting.

9 26 trust mom and kid

“I am sorry, mom. I cannot reveal my sources. You have to trust me when I say, ‘Gran is addicted to trank.’” Thanks, MidJourney. Carry on with the gradient descent.

I have a modest proposal: Why not identify sources, financial tie ups of reporters, and provide links to the Web pages and LinkedIn biographies of these luminaries?

I know. I know. Don’t be silly. Okay, I won’t be. But trust begins with verifiable facts and sources as that dinobaby Walter Isaacson told Lex Fridman a few days ago. And Mr. Isaacson provides sources too. How old fashioned.

Stephen E Arnold, September 28, 2023

Free Employees? Yep, Smart Software Saves Jobs Too

May 31, 2023

If you want a “free employee,” navigate to “100+ Tech Roles Prompt Templates.” The service offers:

your secret weapon for unleashing the full potential of AI in any tech role. Boost productivity, streamline communication, and empower your AI to excel in any professional setting.

The templates embrace:

  • C-Level Roles
  • Programming Roles
  • Cybersecurity Roles
  • AI Roles
  • Administrative Roles

How will an MBA makes use of this type of capability? Here are a few thoughts:

First, terminate unproductive humans with software. The action will save time and reduce (allegedly) some costs.

Second, trim managerial staff who handle hiring, health benefits (ugh!), and administrative work related to humans.

Third, modify one’s own job description to yield more free time in which to enjoy the bonus pay the savvy MBA will receive for making the technical unit more productive.

Fourth, apply the concept to the company’s legal department, marketing department, and project management unit.


Stephen E Arnold, May 2023

What Is the Byproduct of a Farm, Content Farm, That Is?

May 31, 2023

Think about the glorious spring morning spent in a feed lot in Oklahoma. Yeah, that is an unforgettable experience. The sights, the sounds, and — well — the smell.

I read “Google’s AI Search Feels Like a Content Farm on Steroids.” Zoom. Back to the feed lot or in my case, the Poland China pen in Farmington, Illinois. Special.

The write up is about the Google and its smart software. I underlined this passage:

…with its LLM (Large Language Model) doing all the writing, Google looks like the world’s biggest content farm, one powered by robotic farmers who can produce an infinite number of custom articles in real-time.

What are the outputs of Google’s smart software search daemons? Bits and bytes, clicks and cash, and perhaps it is the digital stench of a content farm byproduct?

Beyond Search loves the Google and all things Google, even false allegations of stealing intellectual property and statements before Congress which include the words trust, responsibility, and users.

It will come as no surprise that Beyond Search absolutely loves content farms’ primary and secondary outputs.

Stephen E Arnold, June 1, 2023

Regulate Does Not Mean Regulate. Leave the EU Does Not Mean Leave the EU. Got That?

May 30, 2023

I wrote about Sam AI-man’s explanation that he wants regulation. I pointed out that his definition of regulate means leaving OpenAI free to do whatever it can to ace out the Google and a handful of other big outfits chasing the pot of gold at the end of the AI rainbow.

I just learned from the self-defined trusted news source (Thomson Reuters) that Mr. AI-man has no plans to leave Europe. I understand. “Leave” does not mean leave as in depart, say adios, or hit the road, Jack.

ChatGPT Maker OpenAI Says Has No Plan to Leave Europe” reports:

OpenAI has no plans to leave Europe, CEO Sam Altman said on Friday, reversing a threat made earlier this week to leave the region if it becomes too hard to comply with upcoming laws on artificial intelligence.

I am not confused. Just as the company’s name OpenAI does not mean “open,” the AI-man’s communication skills are based on the probabilities of certain words following another word. Got it. The slippery fish with AI-man is that definition of the words in his mind do not regress to the mean. The words — like those of some other notable Silicon Valley high tech giants — reflect the deeper machinations of a machine-assisted superior intelligence.

Translated this means: Regulate means shaft our competitors. Leave means stay. Regulate means let those OpenAI sheep run through the drinking water of free range cattle

The trusted write up says:

Reacting to Altman’s tweet on Friday, Dutch MEP Kim van Sparrentak, who has worked closely on the AI draft rules, told Reuters she and her colleagues must stand up to pressure from tech companies…. Voluntary codes of conduct are not the European way.

What does this statement mean to AI-man?

I would suggest from my temporary office in clear thinking Washington, DC, not too much.

I look forward to the next hearing from AI-man. That will be equally easy to understand.

Stephen E Arnold, May 30, 2023

Google Smart Software: Lawyers to the Rescue

May 2, 2023

The article “Beginning of the End of OpenAI” in Analytics India raised an interesting point about Google’s smart software. The essay suggests that a legal spat over a trademark for “GPT” could allow Google to make a come-from-behind play in the generative software race. I noted this passage:

A lot of product names appear with the term ‘GPT’ in it. Now, if OpenAI manages to get its trademark application decided in favour, all of these applications would have to change their name, and ultimately not look appealing to customers.

Flip this idea to “if Google wins…”, OpenAI could — note “could” — face a fleet of Google legal eagles and the might of Google’s prescient, forward forward, quantumly supreme marketing army.

What about useful products, unbiased methods of generating outputs, and slick technology? Wait. I know the answer. “That stuff is secondary to our new core competency. The outputs of lawyers and marketing specialists.”

Stephen E Arnold May 2, 2023

What Does Poor Performer Mean? Loser, Lousy Personnel Processes, or Crawfishing

December 15, 2022

Google is not afraid to fire anyone who ignites controversy within the company related to diversity and women. Sometimes it is not bad press that causes Google to lay off its employees, instead it is the economy. The Daily Hunt reports that, “Google Asked Managers To Fire 10,000 ‘Poor Performers’ As Mass Layoffs Hit Tech Sector.”

The US federal government’s raising interest rates and tech companies that make a large portion of their profits from ads are feeling the pain. Meta, Google, Amazon, Twitter, and more companies are firing more workers. Alphabet is telling its managers to lay off all employees who are rated as “poor performers.” The hope is to get rid of at least 10,000 workers and there might be some subterfuge behind it:

“As per a report from Forbes, Google might even bank on these rankings to avoid paying bonuses and stock grants. Google’s managers have been reportedly asked to categorize 10,000 employees as “poor performers” so that 10,000 people can be fired. Alphabet has a total workforce of 187,000 people, which is one of the largest workforces in tech.”

Google’s workforce is described as bloated and pays its employees 70% more than Microsoft compensates its staff or 153% compared to the top twenty big tech companies. Google pays more than its competition to hoard talent and increases its stranglehold on the tech industry.

My thought is that Google is into the lifetime labeling approach to handling RIFed professionals. There’s nothing like a lifetime albatross around the neck of a job seeking Xoogler used to Foosball and snacks.

Whitney Grace, December 15, 2022

2Italy: Cracking Down on Copyright Violations

October 24, 2022

It is easy to break copyright on the Internet, but it is near impossible to enforce it unless you have time, money, and inclination. According to Giovanni Franchini’s blog post: “Copyright, The Antitrust Authority Condemns Fechner and Photoclaims’ ‘Illegal Letters’. Stopping The Scam,” German lawyer Robert Fechner sent copyright violation letters on behalf of the Photoclaim company to unsuspecting Italian citizens. The Italian Competition and Market Authority decreed that Fechner’s notices were illegal and to cease any further actions. The official documentation is as follows:

“In condemning the Fechner-Photoclaim system, the Authority states: ‘the payment requests sent by the lawyer Fechner, on behalf of Photoclaim, do not appear to comply with the high degree of diligence required by professionals in the legal protection of online copyright sector and are capable of considerably limiting the freedom of choice of the recipient micro-enterprises and inducing them to hire decisions of a commercial nature that he otherwise would not have made. Such conduct therefore integrates an unfair commercial practice, in violation of Articles 20, paragraph 2, 24 and 25, of the Consumer Code ‘“
Fechner and Photclaim sent violation notices en masse to people in the hopes of collecting fees. When one company received the notice, it decided to investigate and notified the Italian Competition and Market Authority. The Italian Competition and Market Authority then decided to conduct its own investigation, and asked Photoclaim and Fechner to comply with the process, but was met with resistance. Fechner and Photoclaim used their knowledge of international bureaucracy and law to drag the scam out as long as possible.

The Italian Competition and Market Authority finally called BS on Fechner and Photoclain, fined them, and told them to go away. The bad actors wanted to make a profit off of supposed copyright violations, but they failed to understand what copyright does. Copyright protects an individual’s or group’s rights and the originators of a unique body of work. It prevents others from copying or stealing the work for their own gain. If theft is suspected, then the copyright holders have the right to take legal action, demand a fee for usage, etc.

This scam is similar to fake tech support calls or Amazon/eBay violation scams. The bad actors demand fees, then threaten legal action to scare the victims into paying money. Fechner and Photoclaim went a roundabout way to steal money. Maybe they could learn a thing or two from Nigerian bad actors.

Whitney Grace, October 24, 2022

Microsoft: Now It Is the Chinese Because Russia, Well, Russia

October 3, 2022

Brad Smith, president of Microsoft Corp, pinned the blame for the SolarWinds’ misstep on 1000 super cyber warriors from the all-time leader in muffing bunnies. With Russia’s special operation, few would attribute technical super powers to a nation state unable to refuel tanks or prevent troops from eating poisoned cookies offered by a grandmotherly type. China, I think it is your turn to be cast as the dark nemesis for the outstanding Microsoft Exchange Server.

“More Trouble for Exchange Server As Zero-Day Exploits Attacked” asserts:

Microsoft has acknowledged the issues in a post on the Security Response Center, identifying two vulnerabilities, one a Server Side Request Forgery, and another that allows remote code execution via PowerShell. These vulnerabilities are apparently being currently exploited, with signs pointing to China state sponsored hacking groups, who are known to use some of the web shells used in the attacks.

Are there fixes? Sure, the write up reports:

The company also lists some possible detection techniques using Microsoft Sentinel, Defender for Endpoint, and Defender Antivirus.

Microsoft offers some after-the-fact words in this oracular Redmondian emission. Do I have some questions? Nah. Been there. Done that. Do I have observations? Nah, been there and done that too.

One thing could be added to the list of life’s certainties: Microsoft and security are the new peanut butter and jelly of technology. Bad actors love the combo.

Stephen E Arnold, October 3, 2022

Meta Covets Kiddie Instagrams

January 5, 2022

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri’s recent testimony before Congress shows Facebook continues to deny truths revealed by whistleblower Frances Haugen: The company’s own research demonstrates Instagram is harmful to children and teens. Vox Recode reports that “Facebook Still Won’t Give Up Instagram for Kids.” Mosseri was asked whether the company would permanently halt development of Instagram for Kids, a platform intended for children ages 10–12. All the CEO would commit to was that if such a project were launched it would require parental permission. So that is a long-winded no. Writer Shirin Ghaffary observes:

“The exchange reveals a deeper takeaway from the hearing: Instagram — and its parent company Meta (formerly Facebook) — do not seem to believe their product is harmful enough to children and teens that it needs radical change. That’s in spite of internal company research leaked by Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen, which showed that one in three teenage girls who felt bad about their bodies said Instagram made them feel worse. The research also showed that 13 percent of British teenage users and 6 percent of American teenage users who had suicidal thoughts traced the desire to kill themselves to Instagram. … [Mosseri’s] answers seemed to do little to reassure the remarkably bipartisan group of US lawmakers at the hearing, who say they believe Instagram is damaging teenagers’ mental health. These lawmakers say they are committed to passing legislation that could force Facebook and other tech companies to change their businesses to better protect children.”

But are they really? We also learn:

“Right now, there are several bills out to create stronger privacy laws, to establish penalties for Facebook if it allows damaging content to surface, and to mandate that Facebook must share more data with outside researchers to assess the harms of its products. So far, none of these bills have passed or are even close to passing.”

It sounds like Meta intends to ride out the wave of outrage until something displaces it in the public’s awareness, as is bound to occur, then reintroduce its platform for tweens. Perhaps it will give the product a different name. Certainly it will continue to spin social media as a net good for children, as Mosseri did at that hearing. Given both the public’s limited attention span and Congress’ tortoise-like speed, it seems like a solid plan.

Cynthia Murrell, January 5, 2022

Microsoft: Whipping Up the Dataverse to Distract from Security Issues?

December 27, 2021

I pegged the half-baked Windows 11 as a way to deflect tech writers from Microsoft’s noteworthy security challenges. The names almost became household words, spoken in retirement facilities and pre-schools. The mantra? SolarWinds, Exchange Server, Printspooler, Azure, etc.

How does a giant company with millions of “users” respond? My first thought was: Get everyone amped over the Windows 11 release. And the “real” tech journalists responded. Big names like Paul Thurrott were not clued in to the release. Wow, surprise! ZDNet chased the ball around the cubicle. And to cap the PR push Windows 11 users cannot select a different browser. That will put some “real” tech bloggers teeth on edge.

What was the result? The mind boggling security issues have been pushed into the background. From Microsoft’s point of view, that may be a good thing.

So what’s next?

How about this? “Microsoft is mining the Xbox 360 ‘Red Ring’ controversy for profit, and that’s not cool.” Yep, that’s the headline for a story about Microsoft hardware failure. The promotion was couched within a YouTube video. Plus, Microsoft will sell its faithful and security indifferent users a poster. No NFT for the Softies? This is a tree killing, ink centric offering.

To what end?

Just try to recall that the SolarWinds’, Exchange, etc. vulnerabilities still bedevil some security professionals. Will the tech bloggers and experts cut from Thurrott wool notice?

Nah. Red herring is a wonderful dish for a New Year’s feast in my opinion.

Stephen E Arnold, December 27, 2021

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