Weekend Reads 070122

For decades, hopeful techies have been promising a world where absolutely every object you encounter—bandages, bottles, bananas—will have some kind of smarts thanks to supercheap programmable plastic processors.

To be clear, current artificial intelligence systems are decades away from being able to experience feelings and, in fact, may never do so.

The fact that LaMDA in particular has been the center of attention is, frankly, a little quaint. LaMDA is a dialogue agent. The purpose of dialogue agents is to convince you that you are talking with a person.

While it has always seemed absurd that this matter wasn’t addressed before the government extorted huge sums of money from operators for the right to do so, it’s also reasonable to assume the matter is not restricted to the US.

The number of tech layoffs in May alone skyrocketed 780% over the first four months of the year combined, according to outplacement services firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

Just before last Christmas, in a first-of-a-kind case, JPMorgan was fined $200M for employees using non-sanctioned applications for communicating about financial strategy.

At the same time, I’ve also noticed what might be called a zero-trust backlash, as it becomes apparent that you can’t wave a zero-trust wand and instantly solve all your security concerns.

Premium Short Message Service (SMS) abuse is no longer new. But it’s pretty rare for such threats to rack up hundreds of dollars in additional phone bill costs for every victim each year.

Arguably the best strategy to avoid ruinous reparation costs is to avoid storing any sensitive data at all. Let your customers hold their own data, and ask them for (limited) permission to use it.

The Internet presents a serious conundrum. Though well known to have security problems, the network is globally relied upon for commerce and used to control many critical systems and infrastructure.

With vulnerability-management workloads ballooning in the era of heightened software supply chain security risks, a study out today suggests that only about 3% of today’s flaws are actually reachable by attackers.

Multichannel phishing attacks are on the rise, and more breaches are successful because hackers are delivering very targeted attacks on massive scales — powered by automation technology, taking advantage of human psychology, and exploiting our use of apps, browsers, and multiple communications channels.

European privacy laws requiring opt-in informed consent for the use of tracking cookies on websites gave rise to the now-ubiquitous cookie consent banner.

For employees who worked from home prior to the pandemic, we assumed any observed change in behavior after the work-from-home mandate was not due to working remotely, but to other factors, perhaps COVID-related.

Despite this excitement, including successful sensing devices, quantum computing has not made practical contributions. Moreover, there is still no winner among very different schemes to physically implement quantum bits, or qubits.