Thursday, 20 September 2018

The Digital Ape: how to live (in peace) with smart machines by Nigel Shadbolt and Roger Hampson

The Digital Ape: how to live (in peace) with smart machines
by Nigel Shadbolt and Roger Hampson

Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt is well known to DMossEsq's millions of readers as the prophet of the magic of open data. He's the chairman and co-founder of the Open Data Institute and Roger Hampson is one of the ODI's four non-executive directors.

The title "The Digital Ape" is inspired by Desmond Morris's The Naked Ape and extends his evolutionary approach to artificial intelligence. Man has always used tools to overcome his original shortcomings. First there was the hand axe. Now there's artificial intelligence. Messrs Shadbolt and Hampson's argument is that the hand axe didn't destroy the human race, so artificial intelligence won't either.

What can we digital apes look forward to in the brave new artificial intelligence world where we are at peace with our smart machines?

This is a question Professor Sir Nigel has tackled before in conversation with the much lamented journalist, Steve Hewlett:
Just imagine a new world where you look out of the window and see the blue flashing lights, and then someone flies through the door and says "we're here to prevent you from having a heart attack".

Saturday, 1 September 2018

The Sham ID, called 'Aadhaar': Hoax of the Century

The Sham ID, called 'Aadhaar': Hoax of the Century
by Mathew Thomas

"Achche din is finally here", says the condemned man on the front cover of Mathew Thomas's book.

"Achhe din aane waale hain" was the campaign slogan of Narendra Modi's BJP party in India's 2014 election, "happy days are coming".

For years Mr Modi had opposed Aadhaar. Bad news. That's while he was in opposition. Then he became Prime Minister and now he's a fan. Happy days are here again.

"Stop! He has no Aadhaar card", says the lawyer on the front cover of Mathew Thomas's book.

The funny thing is, no-one does. There is no such thing as an Aadhaar card. Aadhaar cards are part of the extraordinary Indian delusion that is the subject of Mr Thomas's book.

UIDAI, the Unique Identification Authority of India, the people in charge of Aadhaar, have pulled off "the hoax of the century". Not only are there no Aadhaar cards, there is no unique identification either.

Aadhaar doesn't work. One big broken promise, it was meant to help the poor to claim state benefits and it doesn't. It can't.