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Weekend Reads 011119

Just when you express hope that the network industry can shed the past, somebody demonstrates it won’t be easy. An interview in Light Reading with Amdocs CTO Anthony Goonetilleke proposes that one of the unsung benefits of 5G is that it will enable operators to charge for services rather than for data. Is this really a 5G revolution in making, or are we simply reprising the same kind of silly stuff that’s been around for decades? —Tom Nolle

The Silicon Valley gospel of “disruption” has descended into caricature, but, at its core, there are some sound tactics buried beneath the self-serving bullshit. A lot of our systems and institutions are corrupt, bloated, and infested with cream-skimming rentiers who add nothing and take so much. —Cory Doctorow

The high-order bit in much of the below is complexity. Hardware, software, platforms, and ecosystems are often way too complex, and a whole lot of our security, privacy, and abuse problems stem from that. —Chris Palmer

How much of the internet is fake? Studies generally suggest that, year after year, less than 60 percent of web traffic is human; some years, according to some researchers, a healthy majority of it is bot. For a period of time in 2013, the Times reported this year, a full half of YouTube traffic was “bots masquerading as people,” a portion so high that employees feared an inflection point after which YouTube’s systems for detecting fraudulent traffic would begin to regard bot traffic as real and human traffic as fake. They called this hypothetical event “the Inversion.” —Max Read

Early numbers indicate that 2018 was a relatively quiet year in terms of huge distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, but does that indicate quieter times ahead in 2019? While it’s tricky to predict the future in cybersecurity, some experts think that improvements in DNS security are forcing criminals and vandals to change their strategies in order to keep up. —Curtis Franklin, Jr.

The Intel CPU is continuing to shrink, and Ice Lake is promising to bring computing down to a 10nm production node this holiday season. The processor promises to include the typical improvements we see with every generation including better battery performance and faster graphics, but it has a few tricks up its sleeves. —Michael Archambault

No one doubts that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will transform cybersecurity. We just don’t know how, or when. While the literature generally focuses on the different uses of AI by attackers and defenders ­ and the resultant arms race between the two ­ I want to talk about software vulnerabilities. —Bruce Schneier

It is difficult these days to avoid hearing about blockchain. Blockchain is going to be the foundation of a new business world based on smart contracts. It is going to allow everyone to trace the provenance of their food, the parts in the items they buy, or the ideas that they hear. It will change the way we work, the way the economy runs, and the way we live in general. —Jim Waldo

Yesterday Bloomberg reported that the scandal-beset social media behemoth has inked an unknown number of agreements with Android smartphone makers, mobile carriers and OSes around the world to not only pre-load Facebook’s eponymous app on hardware but render the software undeleteable; a permanent feature of your device, whether you like how the company’s app can track your every move and digital action or not. —Natasha Lomas

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