There is growing debate about the extent to which content platforms are responsible for the content third parties create and distribute. As I write this, the US Congress is holding a hearing about whether Facebook, Twitter and Google should be held liable for the unsavory posts and other controversial content they distribute.
The concept of artificial intelligence (AI) has a long history in science fiction. Many historians cite the 1927 film, Metropolis as the first on-screen appearance of robots that had some kind of machine intelligence. Since then, AI has not been treated as kindly or with as much wonder. 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Terminator movies and dozens of other films usually have AI as a sinister force bent on the destruction of the human race that created it. In more recent times, as AI has moved beyond sci-fi and into our daily lives as a force for good (or at least one that can reorder toilet paper for us), we are becoming more sympathetic to it—more C3PO and WALL-E vs HAL.
We’ve been living in/with smart homes for many years now. You can use Alexa or Google Home to dim lights, play music throughout your house and reorder milk when the time comes. And this is just the beginning.
Your computer stops working. All your remote working has taken its toll on a personal laptop you never indented to use this extensively. You panic because you can’t go into the office, and there’s nothing your remotely-working IT person can do when your machine can’t turn on.
We at Tech Essentials realize this has been a doozy of a week in terms of news—mostly political and mostly bad. For those who needed a respite from Tuesday’s chaotic debate and the torrent of election-focused headlines, we offered a live virtual conference yesterday that highlighted how customers are using RPost’s RMail and RSign products to optimize financial processes, transaction automation and affordability with feature-rich e-sign and e-security.
Most clichés originated from terms that were once clever, useful and connoted some broader meaning from hearing the phrase. These welcome, useful terms catch on and last over time but eventually get overused and then get relegated to cliché status. “The Hair of the Dog,” as an example, lives in infamy today to mean, ‘indulge again in what you overindulged, and you may feel better’. This term originated from a 16th century medical “remedy” where if you were bitten by a rabid dog, you would put the burnt hair of that dog on the wound, and the hair would supposedly act as an antidote.
Has this happened to you recently: You get an email from yourself asking you to click a link to see an agenda you didn’t write or for an invoice you never sent? The newest are people sending you pictures of checks that they supposedly put in the mail to you (hoping you click on the image which then makes nefarious things happen). Earlier this week I saw an email from myself with an exact duplicate of my own RPost signature asking me to click a link to register for a long-past webinar and download a strange document that was titled, “PO#09162020.doc”.
As 2020 plods along, new tech challenges I never thought we’d face are becoming realities. First of all, as I’m sure many of you who share living spaces have noticed, home internet connections have become less than ideal during the 8AM – 12 noon timeframe. My kids’ virtual learning via video hogs so much bandwidth that my own video calls for business are cutting out (fortunately, virtual school is only half a day).
Earlier this week, a house party in Beverly Hills, California made national headlines, as hundreds of revelers went maskless and practiced virtually zero social distancing. Worse still was that gunfire erupted later on in the party, and three people were shot. Parties like this are hardly limited to California, as it’s clear that people all over the nation (and world) are using rented ‘party houses’ as a substitute for the nightclubs that have been shut down due to the pandemic.
As today’s technological and political environments are becoming ever more polarized, it is useful once again the think about these trends in the context of America’s foundation—i.e. the reason for celebrating Independence Day in America.