– Julian Assange; Google Deepmind; Fusion Plasma and facial recognition databases. That’s just a few of this week’s tech stories, and this is SnapMunk’s Weekly Tech Feed.
– I’m Devin Greene
– And I’m Eric Hargrove
– And this week’s top story is Julian Assange. His internet was cut by
the Ecuadorian government after pressure from the US.
– This comes after two or more very high-profile leaks and directly involving Democratic leadership.
– Right, exactly. And so those two leaks actually… We’ve got first the DNC leak that leaked and showed information around the suppression of Bernie Sanders campaign, right. And now most recently we’ve got John Podesta’s emails. Now if you don’t know John, he is Clinton’s campaign chair, and his emails actually kind of show how the Clinton party flip-flops on important topics.
– Now whether or not that’s important information for the public to know is up for debate, but they’re claiming that by releasing all this information without any editing whatsoever, you know that’s what WikiLeaks does, they’re endangering American people. Where’s the line there?
– Well, I think that the line is really clear where it’s drawn, and let’s take a look at what WikiLeaks is all about, right. WikiLeaks two tenants: 1) Releasing information that’s non-redacted. Number two is a safe haven for whistleblowers to actually impart information for the public.
– Versus Snowden who takes the leaks, releases them to a journalist to make that assessment themselves.
– Right, yeah. And you see how that went for him.
– So you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
But in either case the thing that’s overlooked is that more information is going to the public and that’s a good thing.
– Unless that challenges people’s privacy or security.
– Right, yeah, exactly. Speaking of digital information, Google Deepmind…
– Now I tried to do my homework on this one. I read the articles. I, like maybe a lot of you, don’t understand the significance yet. Explain it to me.
– OK. It’s AI and it’s using differentiable neural computers.
– Differential? Differentiable?
– Differentiable neural computers.
– Like the blimp.
– That sounds like a lot of words, but how does it work?
– OK, you do improv, right?
– OK, great. So let’s make it simple. Scripted performance versus improve performance, right? Scripted performances, let’s say is Siri, and Siri has a script. If it doesn’t find what is on the script, it gets confused. It gets stumped.
– I don’t know the answer to that, Eric.
– Exactly! Exactly right. Improve performance … Google Deepmind will
find you an answer regardless. There is no script, just like a human.
– What’s the use of an improvising robot?
– OK, well currently its sifting through Google information like a statistician would, but in the future it could be … I don’t know something like better directions.
– That sounds pretty good, actually, but we’re giving away some
– Sure, in the name of convenience?
– So, we have to trust Google to somehow keep this AI contained so Elon’s musk thing doesn’t happen.
– So, technically though… technically, we have to trust Alphabet, Google’s parent company, and remember Alphabet didn’t take an oath to do no evil. Just sayin’.
– Ah, loophole! Yeah that’s where we’re flying, but I think I get it.
– So nuclear fusion hit a milestone this week. Scientists down at MIT were able to record the highest plasma pressure ever.
– What that means atoms melted down into subatomic particles, are sent around in this donut-shaped capsule and have to be contained with magnetic fields because nothing can contain this reaction, it’s so hot. And the whole thing’s going to melt it down.
– Really? Well, clearly they haven’t got it perfected, but even though … right? The fusion has been the holy grail of clean energy for the past, what, 50 years and right now just keeping it contained for a short period of time without it leaking is actually an achievement.
– Well, it’s definitely challenging. I mean, what you’re essentially trying to do with fusion is contain the power of the Sun, Sunny D style. It’s like trying to use a paper bag to store your lava. Like… infusion is what happens inside of a star. It is safer than fission, though.
– Fission’s associated with Three Mile Island, Hiroshima. That’s the danger of a snowball effect creating this radioactive mess. With fusion, when a fusion reactor shuts down, the fusion reaction itself shuts down too, so there’s a built-in failsafe there.
– Got it. So how much would something like this cost?
– The French created a fusion reactor for $30 billion. The MIT one I think was last around there.
– Got it. So $30 billion for something that doesn’t even turn on a light and leaks all over the place. Right? How about we use $30 billion on solar next time? How about that? Because last time I checked, solar panels don’t leak, they don’t melt, and they don’t cause cancer. I’m just sayin’.
– We like what we can’t have. And we can’t have time to talk about every tech issue.
– Which is what brings us to honorable mentions.
– Honorable mentions!
– Honorable mentions!
– Honorable mention number one: a comprehensive report states that you may actually be one of fifty percent of Americans that are on the government’s facial-recognition database.
– Yep, yeah I’m one. I’m one. I went down there, did my face, did my fingers, spent the night. Yeah, it was nice.
– Oh, that’s great. So you might be interested in honorable mention number two: a wine glass technology that allows you to drink your sorrows straight from the bottle.
– How classy!
– Yeah! Well that’s it for Weekly Tech Feed.
– Yeah, make sure you like. Make sure you subscribe.
– And make sure you comment and either one of us will get to ya! Promise.
– Was that your pause?
– Yeah, that was.