Mechanics, not microbes, are the menace to civilisation.
– Norman Douglas (1868 – 1952)
The Mobile Phone
My mobile phone or cell phone is now a part of my everyday life. I don’t know how I ever mananged without it.
Mine you, I am not a very techie person. I use my mobile phone to make a phone call and occassionally to send a text. If push, I would also use it to browse website, especially globalgranary.life. 😉
Anyway, I do not use my iPhone much but the battery drains so fast, it is unbelievable and charging it takes time. It takes ages and I can be a very impatient person.
I heard that if you charge the phone using the airplane setting, the charging will be faster! The only drawback is that you won’t be able to receive call.
I agree with Stephen Hawkings on this one. My smartphone alone will be the death of me. It autocorrects my messages. It automatically change my sometimes funny but nonsensical comments into downright stupid ones. It is killing my reputation and gathering me some very unhappy friends. 😉
I also find that machines, which are supposed to make life easier are anything but. I now have less and less free time as technology improves more and more.
My social life now consists of me and my Facebook friends and Twitter followers. 🙂 Of course I love every single one of them. Some of them give me gifts for my Farmville, Sugar Crush and help me with my Pet Saga, but surely there is more to life than a mouse, keyboard and a small screen and of course a capricious internet connection?
Artificial Intelligence – Death of Mankind
Stephen Hawking warns artificial intelligence could end mankind
He told the BBC:”The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
His warning came in response to a question about a revamp of the technology he uses to communicate, which involves a basic form of AI.
But others are less gloomy about AI’s prospects.
The theoretical physicist, who has the motor neurone disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), is using a new system developed by Intel to speak.
Machine learning experts from the British company Swiftkey were also involved in its creation. Their technology, already employed as a smartphone keyboard app, learns how the professor thinks and suggests the words he might want to use next.
Prof Hawking says the primitive forms of artificial intelligence developed so far have already proved very useful, but he fears the consequences of creating something that can match or surpass humans.
“It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” he said.
“Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”
But others are less pessimistic.
“I believe we will remain in charge of the technology for a decently long time and the potential of it to solve many of the world problems will be realised,” said Rollo Carpenter, creator of Cleverbot.
Cleverbot’s software learns from its past conversations, and has gained high scores in the Turing test, fooling a high proportion of people into believing they are talking to a human.
Rise of the robots
Mr Carpenter says we are a long way from having the computing power or developing the algorithms needed to achieve full artificial intelligence, but believes it will come in the next few decades.
“We cannot quite know what will happen if a machine exceeds our own intelligence, so we can’t know if we’ll be infinitely helped by it, or ignored by it and sidelined, or conceivably destroyed by it,” he says.
But he is betting that AI is going to be a positive force.
Prof Hawking is not alone in fearing for the future.
In the short term, there are concerns that clever machines capable of undertaking tasks done by humans until now will swiftly destroy millions of jobs.
In the longer term, the technology entrepreneur Elon Musk has warned that AI is “our biggest existential threat”.
In his BBC interview, Prof Hawking also talks of the benefits and dangers of the internet.
He quotes the director of GCHQ’s warning about the net becoming the command centre for terrorists: “More must be done by the internet companies to counter the threat, but the difficulty is to do this without sacrificing freedom and privacy.”
He has, however, been an enthusiastic early adopter of all kinds of communication technologies and is looking forward to being able to write much faster with his new system.
But one aspect of his own tech – his computer generated voice – has not changed in the latest update.
Prof Hawking concedes that it’s slightly robotic, but insists he didn’t want a more natural voice.
“It has become my trademark, and I wouldn’t change it for a more natural voice with a British accent,” he said.
“I’m told that children who need a computer voice, want one like mine.”
Yellow Pages – Telephone Book
Peter was doing his daily recycling when he got hold of the yellow pages which was delivered on our letter box a few days ago. He was flabbergasted and found it antiquated to still use yellow pages when it is easier to just go online to search for anything under the sun.
He has a point, I have not used the yellow pages since the early 90s and yet we get them year after year, though decidedly thinner that the 2 inches thick yellow pages of a few years ago.
I remember when we went to visit Ripley’s there were several outstanding arts made from different everyday things. One of which was the telephone book. I think the portrait of Sting was rather good.
What do you think?
This is good news. We are now mobile/cell phones using nations and the end of roaming charges can only be good news to us all. We have heard of much horror stories, which landed so many unsuspecting users with thousands of pounds of hidden and not quite so hidden roaming charges.
The only thing is that, what does it mean the roaming charges are to end by Christmas 2015? Does this mean roaming charges are not quite dead yet?!!!
So we must not celebrate by using our phone’s roaming apps just yet. 😉 Wait a while longer! Easy does it!
Brussels, 3 April 2014
European Parliament votes to end roaming charges, expand consumer rights and make it easier to create better telecoms.
Today the European Parliament voted to end roaming charges by Christmas 2015, as part of a wider vote in support to the Commission’s proposed regulation for a “Connected Continent” (telecoms single market)*.
European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said:
“This vote is the EU delivering for citizens. This is what the EU is all about – getting rid of barriers to make life easier and less expensive.”
“Nearly all of us depend on mobile and internet connections as part of our daily lives. We should know what we are buying, we should not be ripped-off, and we should have the opportunity to change our mind. Companies should have the chance to serve all of us, and this regulation makes it easier for them to do that. It’s win-win.”
“In 2010 I promised to end roaming charges by the end of 2015, and now we are one step away from achieving that result.”
“Beyond the highly visible barrier of roaming we are now close to removing many other barriers so Europeans can enjoy open, seamless communications wherever they are”.
EU Member States will now continue to review the regulation and the Commission expects final agreement of the Regulation by end of 2014.
*The “Connected Continent” telecoms Regulation was proposed by the Commission in September 2013. It aims to bring us much closer to a truly single market for telecoms in the EU, by ending roaming charges, guaranteeing an open internet for all by banning blocking and degrading of content, coordinating spectrum licensing for wireless broadband, giving internet and broadband customers more transparency in their contracts, and making it easier for customers to switch providers.
Tweets from @NeelieKroesEU today included:
“Today EU Parliament voted to end roaming charges by Christmas 2015 !! #roaming”
“We need a digital Europe – today we are another step closer with EU Parl vote for #ConnectedContinent”
“Find out more about the EU plan that is set to end #roaming + guarantee #NetNeutrality on Connected Continent webiste”
Email: email@example.com Tel: +32.229.57361 Twitter: @RyanHeathEU
Last Friday, we took our lively little terrier dog to the veterinary surgeon (vets). He had his routine vaccination. The vet also checked that his implanted microchip was working OK.
In the UK by law, all pet dogs have to have microchips implanted (normally near the neck). The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice. It consists of a tiny computer chip housed in a type of glass made to be compatible with living tissue. The microchip is implanted between the dog’s shoulder blades under the skin with a needle and special syringe. The process is similar to getting an injection with little or no to no pain. Once in place, the microchip can be detected immediately with a handheld device that uses radio waves to read the chip. This device scans the microchip, and then displays a unique alphanumeric code. Once the microchip is placed, the dog must be registered with the microchip company, usually for a one-time fee. Then, the dog can be traced back to the owner if found.
Microchip and detector
This made me think to the future and all the surveillance and communication technology we have and use in the 21st Century.
Today, we use an increasing amount of Radio-frequency identification (RFID) wireless devices to monitor movements/location of people or items. Shops/stores use RFID for stock control or used to asset tag for inventories.
Indeed many of our smart phones, PC tablets can be tracked through built-in RFID devices. Cars and vehicles have RFID.
This technology is invaluable in locating/tracking lost or stolen pets & valuable items.
Ever increasing sophisticated implanted microchips would also provide a range medical benefits for monitoring health and even adjusting critical bodily functions to keep us healthy.
I wonder if, or indeed when humans maybe similarly ‘microchipped’ and have RFID implanted to monitor us . We would have a truly ‘Big Brother’ Orwellian 1984 nightmare, where the locations and status of all citizens are known or can be found by the government, regimes etc.
At birth or soon after, would all children have micro-chip implants by law and registered along side the Birth Certificate process!?
Possibly the microchip(s) would only be activated for specific, appropriate and lawful needs?
Possibly known criminals,terrorists etc., will be implanted with microchips active for their lifetimes or for a fixed period. This would make policing immeasurably more effective but remove fundamental human rights.