Este articulazo de The Verge nos trae un vistazo a la frágil infraestructura de cables submarinos que hace posible Internet, de la flota que los repara constantemente, los desafios que se han convertido en su día a día, y lo precario de su situación.

“Cable industry professionals tend to be pragmatic people, preoccupied with the material realities of working planet-scale construction. But in conversations about landing high-bandwidth cables in digitally neglected regions or putting millions of people back in contact with every fiber strand melted together, they often hint at a sense of larger purpose, an awareness that they are performing a function vital to a world that, if they do their jobs well, will continue to be unaware of their service.”

Por otra parte, hay organizaciones que tienen responsabilidades e impacto en Internet como mínimo igual de importante que la reparación de cables submarinos, pero que no son tan diligentes. El reciente bloqueo masivo por error en Twitter de cuentas de divulgadoras científicas y otros medios es una cagada más en la lista desde que Eloncio asumió los mandos y se deshizo de gran parte de la plantilla. No será la última.

El primer genocidio habilitado y dirigido mediante IA en la historia de la humanidad lo está cometiendo.. Israel. Me parece una locura.

“The sources said that the approval to automatically adopt Lavender’s kill lists, which had previously been used only as an auxiliary tool, was granted about two weeks into the war, after intelligence personnel “manually” checked the accuracy of a random sample of several hundred targets selected by the AI system. When that sample found that Lavender’s results had reached 90 percent accuracy in identifying an individual’s affiliation with Hamas, the army authorized the sweeping use of the system. From that moment, sources said that if Lavender decided an individual was a militant in Hamas, they were essentially asked to treat that as an order, with no requirement to independently check why the machine made that choice or to examine the raw intelligence data on which it is based.”

“In an unprecedented move, according to two of the sources, the army also decided during the first weeks of the war that, for every junior Hamas operative that Lavender marked, it was permissible to kill up to 15 or 20 civilians; in the past, the military did not authorize any “collateral damage” during assassinations of low-ranking militants. The sources added that, in the event that the target was a senior Hamas official with the rank of battalion or brigade commander, the army on several occasions authorized the killing of more than 100 civilians in the assassination of a single commander.”

Otro uso menos letal pero poco ético de la IA sigue siendo la generación de material que poco a poco difumina la validez de las imágenes como prueba documental: que Netflix lo haga, precisamente, en un documental sobre crímenes, lo hace todo todavía más turbio. Aunque no es la única mala práctica que rodea el creciente boom de los “True Crimes” en plataformas de streaming.

“Any type of manipulation of photos of a true crime documentary is controversial because a story — especially one as sensitive as Pan’s — should be told truthfully and unvarnished even when that story is being told through imagery.”

“Resorting to the tech to generate pictures of a real person, especially of somebody who’s still in jail and will only be eligible for parole around 2040, should raise some alarm bells,” 

Y hablando sobre buenas prácticas, durante décadas un simple fichero de texto (robots.txt) ha servido de contrato social para regular qué partes y a qué ritmo queremos que los robots de los buscadores indexen nuestra web. Pero si la elección está entre el respeto o adquirir más datos, la industria IA lo tiene claro.

“The robots.txt file governs a give and take; AI feels to many like all take and no give. But there’s now so much money in AI, and the technological state of the art is changing so fast that many site owners can’t keep up. And the fundamental agreement behind robots.txt, and the web as a whole — which for so long amounted to “everybody just be cool” — may not be able to keep up either.”

“As the AI companies continue to multiply, and their crawlers grow more unscrupulous, anyone wanting to sit out or wait out the AI takeover has to take on an endless game of whac-a-mole. They have to stop each robot and crawler individually, if that’s even possible, while also reckoning with the side effects. If AI is in fact the future of search, as Google and others have predicted, blocking AI crawlers could be a short-term win but a long-term disaster.”

Hablando de adaptar viejas herramientas, es llamativo descubrir que a día de hoy funciones importantes del sistema de tranvía/tren ligero de la ciudad de San Francisco sigue funcionando con.. ¡discos de  5¼”! Al menos hasta 2030, fecha en la que se espera haber sustituido el antiguo sistema por algo más adaptado a los tiempos que corren.

“Members of the SFMTA recently spoke with the ABC7 Bay Area News and detailed the agency’s use of three 5¼-inch floppy disks every morning. The floppies have been part of Muni Metro’s Automatic Train Control System (ATCS) since its installation in the Market Street subway stop in 1998. The ATCS has multiple components, “including computers onboard the trains that are tied into propulsion and brake systems, central and local servers, and communications infrastructure, like loop cable signal wires,” Michael Roccaforte, an SFMTA spokesperson, told Ars Technica.”

Y mirando hacia al futuro, el manga/anime Planetes ya avisaba de los potenciales peligros de la basura espacial. Justamente una startup japonesa comienza a plantear prototipos para intentar limpiarla.

Nuevo video para el tema de 2019 de Amon Tobin, igual de fascinante que su contrapartida musical.