Links from 2023-10-29
So, there you have it. The interiors of our homes, coffee shops and restaurants all look the same. The buildings where we live and work all look the same. The cars we drive, their colours and their logos all look the same. The way we look and the way we dress all looks the same. Our movies, books and video games all look the same. And the brands we buy, their adverts, identities and taglines all look the same.
But it doesn’t end there. In the age of average, homogeneity can be found in an almost indefinite number of domains.
Mainframe computers are often seen as ancient machines—practically dinosaurs. But mainframes, which are purpose-built to process enormous amounts of data, are still extremely relevant today. If they’re dinosaurs, they’re T-Rexes, and desktops and server computers are puny mammals to be trodden underfoot.
It’s estimated that there are 10,000 mainframes in use today. They’re used almost exclusively by the largest companies in the world, including two-thirds of Fortune 500 companies, 45 of the world’s top 50 banks, eight of the top 10 insurers, seven of the top 10 global retailers, and eight of the top 10 telecommunications companies. And most of those mainframes come from IBM.
In this explainer, we’ll look at the IBM mainframe computer—what it is, how it works, and why it’s still going strong after over 50 years.
Wie teuer ist “ein Admin-Team”? So teuer wie Deine AWS Rechnung hoch wäre, und die ist in den meisten Läden dreimal bis fünfmal höher als ursprünglich gedacht. Das ist das Ausmaß des Understaffing in Operations in den meisten Firmen.
Authorized transcript of Bruce Sterling’s lecture during the TU Eindhoven conference AI for All, From the Dark Side to the Light, November 25, 2022, at Evoluon, Eindhoven, co-organized by Next Nature.
YouTube link of the talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UB461avEKnQ&t=3325s
In Alan Turing’s Computing Machinery and Intelligence, deception is placed at the centre of the test to determine a machine’s capacity to exhibit intelligent behaviour.
And even tho deception was never the main objective, creating the illusion of intelligence rather than intelligence itself became the force driving sentient-like technologies like AI.
I’ve been aware of the Bechdel Test since the late 1990s and actively using it as part of my unconscious checklist for how to write a novel that doesn’t suck in some way, but even keeping it in mind, I sometimes fail. And I think it’s worth looking at where and why that happens.
So I decided to compile this score card for my books. (SF novels first, then Merchant Princes and Laundry Files.)
The US, China, and the EU are exporting their domestic regulatory models in an effort to expand their respective spheres of influence, pulling other countries into the orbits of the American, Chinese, or European digital empires. The US’ global influence today manifests through the dominance of its tech companies that exercise private power across the global digital sphere. China’s global influence can be traced to its infrastructure power, where Chinese firms—all with close ties to the Chinese state—are building critical digital network infrastructures in countries near and far. The EU exercises global influence primarily through regulatory power that entrenches European digital norms across the global marketplace.
Fringe Science Warning Signs
“Money in the Bank,” a new story by John Kessel and Bruce Sterling
Researchers at Google say they used existing noise-canceling headphones to get pulse readings by updating their software