“On a cool day late last September, half a dozen Chinese engineers walked into a conference room in the heart of Geneva’s UN district with a radical idea. They had one hour to persuade delegates from more than 40 countries of their vision: an alternative form of the internet, to replace the technological architecture that has underpinned the web for half a century. Whereas today’s internet is owned by everyone and no one, they were in the process of building something very different — a new infrastructure that could put power back in the hands of nation states, instead of individuals.”
“Using a machine-learning algorithm, MIT researchers have identified a powerful new antibiotic compound. In laboratory tests, the drug killed many of the world’s most problematic disease-causing bacteria, including some strains that are resistant to all known antibiotics. It also cleared infections in two different mouse models. The computer model, which can screen more than a hundred million chemical compounds in a matter of days, is designed to pick out potential antibiotics that kill bacteria using different mechanisms than those of existing drugs.”
“Augmented and virtual reality are about delivering a sense of presence — the feeling that you’re right there with another person or in another place. Instead of having devices that take us away from the people around us, the next platform will help us be more present with each other and will help the technology get out of the way. Even though some of the early devices seem clunky, I think these will be the most human and social technology platforms anyone has built yet.
The ability to be « present » anywhere will also help us address some of the biggest social issues of our day — like ballooning housing costs and inequality of opportunity by geography. Today, many people feel like they have to move to cities because that’s where the jobs are. But there isn’t enough housing in many cities, so housing costs are skyrocketing while quality of living is decreasing. Imagine if you could live anywhere you chose and access any job anywhere else. If we deliver on what we’re building, this should be much closer to reality by 2030.”
“L’objectif : créer, en deux semaines, un Web alternatif qui puisse tenir sur une clé USB d’1 giga. Il raconte : « On a tout déconstruit, et listé ce à quoi ils tenaient dans le Web : à Wikipédia, à la communication, aux mèmes… Chacun se répartit une des fonctions du web et ils recréent leurs services à eux. Les étudiants aiment YouTube, pas pour YouTube en lui-même mais pour la connaissance qu’ils y trouvent. Cela pose aussi des questions de gouvernance : puisqu’on ne peut pas tout faire tenir sur 1 Go, faut-il faire sortir un service pour en laisser entrer un autre ? Déterminer une durée de vie pour un site ? ». Les étudiants vont fabriquer leur propre serveur avec un Rasberry Pi, et l’alimenter avec un panneau solaire. « Comme ça, la nuit, notre web n’est plus accessible et il revient le lendemain matin (c’est aussi le cas du site du Low-Tech Magazine, ndlr). On va s’amuser avec des contraintes. »”
“To put that in context, researchers at Nvidia, the company that makes the specialised GPU processors now used in most machine-learning systems, came up with a massive natural-language model that was 24 times bigger than its predecessor and yet was only 34% better at its learning task. But here’s the really interesting bit. Training the final model took 512 V100 GPUs running continuously for 9.2 days. “Given the power requirements per card,” wrote one expert, “a back of the envelope estimate put the amount of energy used to train this model at over 3x the yearly energy consumption of the average American.” You don’t have to be Einstein to realise that machine learning can’t continue on its present path, especially given the industry’s frenetic assurances that tech giants are heading for an “AI everywhere” future.”
“A paper by Google’s researchers seen by the FT, that was briefly posted earlier this week on a Nasa website before being removed, claimed that their processor was able to perform a calculation in three minutes and 20 seconds that would take today’s most advanced classical computer, known as Summit, approximately 10,000 years. The researchers said this meant the “quantum supremacy”, when quantum computers carry out calculations that had previously been impossible, had been achieved.”
“Imagine a world in which you travel long distances without the need for airports. A world in which you can avoid airport security, hours of queuing and waiting, and noisy, cramped airliners. What if, instead, you could take your own first-class private cabin that picks you up at home and takes you from door to door?”
“Nous en savons de plus en plus sur le monde, tout en étant de moins en moins capables d’agir sur lui, du fait de sa complexité et de son intrication. Le sentiment d’impuissance qui en résulte, plutôt que de nous inviter à reconsidérer le monde, semble nous pousser plus avant dans la paranoïa et la désintégration sociale. Pour Bridle, nous avons déchaîné avec la technologie des systèmes si complexes qu’il nous devient difficile de comprendre ce qu’ils veulent. Pourtant, nous ne sommes pas aussi dépourvus qu’on veut bien le penser”.