Big Data is the new Artificial Intelligence

deskset4This is the first of a couple columns about a growing trend in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and how it is likely to be integrated in our culture. Computerworld ran an interesting overview article on the subject yesterday that got me thinking not only about where this technology is going but how it is likely to affect us not just as a people. but as individuals. How is AI likely to affect me? The answer is scary.

Today we consider the general case and tomorrow the very specific.

The failure of Artificial Intelligence. Back in the 1980s there was a popular field called Artificial Intelligence, the major idea of which was to figure out how experts […]

Abe fiddles while Fukushima leaks

fukushimatanksIn the middle of a pissing match between the President and Congressional leadership it’s good to remember that the United States isn’t the only government that seems to have lost touch with reality. I was reminded of that today when I read this story about the contaminated water problem at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. Now here’s a government that is truly paralyzed!

The story from Japan Times, if you choose to read it, says Japanese Prime Minister Abe is reaching out to foreign experts in an attempt to deal with the problem of radioactive cooling water that is accumulating in hundreds of makeshift tanks that are now beginning to leak. “We […]

What Intel and AMD clean rooms could teach hospitals

buttonIn 19th century Europe (and probably in America, too) women were less likely to die in childbirth if their babies were born at home or even on the street rather than in hospitals. The reason was simple: street and home births almost always involved the doctor or midwife washing their hands, thus minimizing the risk of infection. Doctors of the time rarely bothered to wash between hospital patients. Yum. Ignaz Semmelweiss first noticed this in Austria before 1850. Then Louis Pasteur came up with his germ theory of disease in 1864. Finally Joseph Lister in England (he of Listerine fame) pioneered the use of carbolic acid (phenol) antiseptics and the fight against germs took off […]

The nose knows

pew!We call it The Red Devil — a 1994 Jeep Grand Cherokee V-8 I bought online earlier this year mainly to pull a trailer filled with airplane parts. But perhaps we should have named it Stinky, because that’s what this column is all about. When buying something on the Internet, how can you make sure it doesn’t smell terrible?

You can’t.

I should have known. The price was too low, the pictures too good, but the seller had sold hundreds of cars online and boasted a 100 percent satisfaction rating. So did I, but my 82 transactions had taken 13 years to accumulate.

When the car arrived it looked great but it smalled like a thousand mice had been camping […]

The terahertz revolution and local security

lenscraftersIf you were able to get through to yesterday’s column between server crashes perhaps you noticed the very first reader comment, which wasn’t about mobile phones or marathons at all, but about my promise to in this column discuss new anti-terrorism technology.  Here, if you missed it, is his comment:

“Is yesterday going to be an excuse to ban pressure cookers? I’m fed up with the government. Money has been shoveled by the barge load onto the ‘security issue’ and we have nothing to show for it except the union thug goons that feel us up at the airport and a severe loss of personal and constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. I suggest we disband these futile efforts […]