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Who Owns The Leviathan?

 
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:36 pm    Post subject: Who Owns The Leviathan? Reply with quote

My comment to the New York Times regarding how lawyers are being replaced by software.

Quote:
This brings up the thought of ownership. Who will these mechanical Leviathans serve? For 30 years there was equalization in computing as the costs and availability were brought down to the price of smart phone and building an application required HTML. But now, the complexity and price have ratcheted way upward if the real value is a Watson. So, yes, these computers could go looking for crooks...or they could be used to do even more incomprehensible crimes.

Who owns the Leviathan?


http://community.nytimes.com/comments/www.nytimes.com/2011/03/05/science/05legal.html?permid=115#comment115

There are actually two topics or thoughts in this comment I think we could discuss or expand upon.

The first is the escalation in the cost of personal technology. For decades we were handed technology in our homes that could revival that of corporations. The Intel dual cores that had more processing that the Air Force Norad system did in the 1970s. Now, to be competitive, we need a room full of IBM Power Servers, and an army of computer scientists and academics to have our own "Watson". (Well, at least until someone "puts it on the web".)

The second idea is kind of fun in a diabolical way. What would Watson's "evil twin" be used for. Some ideas:

    Unheard of exploitations of email for spam
    New computer virures
    Arbitrage exploits that would take humans decades to find.
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

jabailo wrote:
For 30 years there was equalization in computing as the costs and availability were brought down to the price of smart phone and building an application required HTML. But now, the complexity and price have ratcheted way upward if the real value is a Watson. So, yes, these computers could go looking for crooks...or they could be used to do even more incomprehensible crimes.

...

Now, to be competitive, we need a room full of IBM Power Servers, and an army of computer scientists and academics to have our own "Watson". (Well, at least until someone "puts it on the web".)

The second idea is kind of fun in a diabolical way. What would Watson's "evil twin" be used for. Some ideas:

    Unheard of exploitations of email for spam
    New computer virures
    Arbitrage exploits that would take humans decades to find.


I think you are overstating the case, for effect.

It is true, to start, that computing technology has made it possible for
individuals to have the outward effect of a small company from an
earlier era. You can do your own "filing" because it is just a matter
of dragging and dropping. You don't need a stenographer if you
can type your own email, or use voice-recognition software. It is
easy to outsource a mass mailing from your mailing list. Design
software allows you to learn to create your own camera-ready logo,
and put it onto various products and webpages. Your customers
fill in their own addresses and other information, so it doesn't require
data entry. You can establish your own drop-shipping relationship,
meaning your warehouse is outsourced. If you don't have any
employees, then you don't need to develop an employee policy or
a human resources department. Your photos don't require a trip
to the camera shop, and can be very easily uploaded onto your
ongoing web "brochure" (your web page). You don't need a receptionist
because all interaction can be web-based. Overall, with a little accounting
help, and by making use of online services, one individual could
have the same productivity as a dozen or more, in the past, depending
on the nature of the business.

Strictly speaking, though, the advance described in the article refers
to the elimination of the need to hire a team of lawyers to analyse
thousands of pages of documents. Since that hasn't been a business
need for me, I tend to discount the disadvantage that I am put in
by not having access to it.

I do take your larger point to some extent, though it seems just a
matter of degree. Would it really make sense, for instance, for me
to be as productive as 100 people? Would that be something I'd
even want? Even though operations might be automatable to that
extent, would the underlying complexity of it tend to be a limiting
factor? How might I keep all the balls in the air if I caught a cold,
or if I started to lose my laserlike focus?

As far as the amusing possibilities for evil go (sic), it seems like
hardly any of this would be needed. I'm grateful that email scams
are of such obvious low quality. Making it seem like email spam
actually came from someone I knew or did business with would be
pretty easy, requiring, perhaps, a mili-Watson of computing power.
Having the full Watson, or even a deci-Watson would seem to be
massive overkill, leaving aside the notion of a kilo-Watson entirely.
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jabailo



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 1273
Location: Kent (East Hill), WA

PostPosted: Mon May 16, 2011 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I once quipped that our economy is so productive...it doesn't need us any more.

That's one of my explanations for the perceived high top wage to low wage ratio.

The "middle class" used to be the Internet...the professionals, looker-uppers, paper pushers. They were actually needed to make the vast machine function.

But with a web form, the food stamp user can login, manage their balance, or simply get a "value card" in the mail, whose balance is determined by a formula, and not need much else.

So, that middle class is what was automated out of the system.

The top feeders say -- this is why I am a billionaire, because I removed inefficiency.

The bottom feeders say -- give me my card...at the lowest cost and with the highest balance on it.

The middle feeders say....where's my food!?!
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