How different ant species coexist in the same territory – Science Daily


Science Daily

How different ant species coexist in the same territory
Science Daily
Ants make up a large fraction of the planet’s total biomass, and they are responsible for ecological functions such as seed dispersal and pollination. Despite their great diversity, thanks to the collections of museums around the world they are a well

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NEW: Fire-ant attack leads Florida man to overturn car – Palm Beach Post


Palm Beach Post

NEW: Fire-ant attack leads Florida man to overturn car
Palm Beach Post
Louis Marino, of Tampa, felt fire ants biting his legs and lost control of his Ford Explorer, rolling the vehicle on Interstate 10, according Tallahassee Democrat. Marino suffered minor injuries in the wreck last week. >> Snake shocks Florida woman

and more »

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Russia 1, Data Science 0

Both sides in the 2016 election had access to the best statistical models and databases money could buy. If Russian influence (which as far as we know involved little more than the well-timed dumping of not exactly military grade hacked information, plus some Twitter bots and Facebook ads) was at any level decisive, then it’s a slap on the face for data-driven campaigning.

Apparently, the use of sophisticated data-driven campaign design hasn’t rendered obsolete the old art of manipulating cognitive blind spots in media coverage and political habits (“they used Facebook and Twitter” explains nothing: so did all US candidates, in theory with better data and technology, and so do small Etsy shops; it should’ve made no difference).

The lessons, I suspect, are three:

  • The theory and practice of data-driven campaigning is still very immature. Algorithmize the Breitbart-Russia-Assange-Fox News maneuver, and you’ll have something far ahead of the state of the art. (I believe this will come from more sophisticated psychological modeling, rather than more data.)
  • If a country’s political process is as vulnerable as the US’ was to what the Russians did, then how will it do against an external actor properly leveraging the kind of tools you can develop at the intersection of obsessive data collection, an extremely Internet-focused government, cutting-edge AI, and an assertive foreign policy.
  • You know, like China. Hypothetically.

Whenever this happens, the proper reaction to this isn’t to get angry, but to recognize that a political system proved embarrassingly vulnerable, and take measures to improve it. That said, that’s slightly less likely to happen when those informational vulnerabilities are also used by the same local actors that are partially responsible for fixing them.

(As an aside, “out under-investment on security /deliberate exploiting of regulatory gaps we lobbied for/cover-up of known vulnerabilities would’ve been fine if not for those dastardly hackers” is also the default response of large companies to this kind of thing; this isn’t a coincidence, but a shared ethos.)

 

from Ethical Technology http://ift.tt/2fFZxVF

The Observer view on the future of work | Observer editorial

In his speech at Labour’s conference in Brighton last week, Jeremy Corbyn made an astute observation: “2017 may be the year when politics finally caught up with the crash of 2008.” The financial crisis not only sent shockwaves rippling through the global economy: it sounded a warning bell that all was not well with a weakly regulated economic model powered by consumer debt bubbles and rapid house price growth. Yet the political response has been utterly inadequate. Despite promises to the contrary, we have returned to the same old growth model of debt-fuelled spending and the stark intergenerational divide has got worse, not better.

Almost a decade on, there are signs of a growing public appetite for change, from the rejection of the status quo in the Brexit referendum to the surge in support for Labour that denied Theresa May a majority in June’s general election. Both parties have acknowledged there are fundamental problems in Britain’s economic model and have committed to reform it. But Britain now stands on the cusp of an ideological choice: compare and contrast Corbyn’s challenge with May’s robust defence of free markets last week.

There is a range of social and economic challenges that will test that commitment to reform: how to cope with an ageing population; how to move to growth based more on investment than debt; how to come to a more equitable settlement between the generations. One particularly important question is how we adapt to the challenges technology and automation pose for the future of work.

Observer atom

Much of the contemporary debate is underpinned by a misplaced assumption that the erosion of human work is nigh. This scenario has captured the human imagination for centuries, from the utopians who dream of a world filled with leisure to the dystopians who agonise about the rise of a “useless class”.

But the steady march of human progress has not yet eliminated the need for us to work. Instead, technological developments over the last two centuries have improved economic productivity and served to make us all richer. As some jobs have disappeared, others have replaced them; there are fewer manufacturing jobs in Britain today than there were 50 years ago, but there are many more service sector jobs. In 50 years’ time, there will undoubtedly be many more jobs created that use the human skills that will remain difficult to automate, such as empathy, care and creativity.

This is why labour market economists such as Alan Manning argue that the human race is unlikely to be on the cusp of a new technological revolution that will reduce human economic activity. Indeed, today’s labour market is showing none of the signs we would expect if automation was starting to erode the net amount of work. Productivity has fallen to pre-crisis levels, while overall employment is at record levels. If anything, British businesses are not investing in productivity-boosting technology fast enough.

Future-gazing into a world with less work risks distracting us from the profound and unequal effects technology will continue to have on the way society is structured. At one end of the job market, it has created a new cadre of rewarding, high-skilled jobs in developing and maintaining this new technology. But technology has eroded the highly automatable semi-skilled jobs in the middle of the labour market, replacing them with low-skill jobs lacking autonomy. Skilled and bespoke workmanship has increasingly disappeared, replaced by Fordist assembly lines. Today, algorithms dictate to delivery couriers and warehousing workers exactly what route they should take round the city or the warehouse, eating away at the autonomy of their job. Technology also increases the potential for employers to constantly monitor workers’ productivity levels, encouraging a conception of workers as commodities to be swapped in and out, rather than people to be trained and developed.

Rather than debating the end of work, we should be focusing on the real challenges technology is creating today. First, the role of technology in deskilling low-paid work raises serious questions about the “any job is better than no job” mantra that has driven welfare-to-work policy over the last two decades, particularly in light of new research that suggests having a poor quality job is worse for someone’s health than being unemployed. While it’s right to expect people to work if they can, they, in turn, should be entitled not to have to work in conditions that cause them long-term harm.

Second, there needs to be significant energy directed at reskilling those whose jobs will be replaced by robots. Here, there are critical lessons from the past. The deindustrialisation of the 1980s saw thousands of people lose their manufacturing jobs, effectively shunting them on to a human scrapheap, never to work again, with devastating consequences for themselves, their families and their communities.

For all the grandiose talk of reforming capitalism from both parties, the contemporary political debate is falling short. Neither party is thinking enough about how we might improve the quality of work in the low-paid labour market. Indeed, the Conservative government’s flagship welfare-to-work programme places very little emphasis on skills development. Its cuts to social care funding are further worsening working conditions in a growth industry of the future. Far from making plans to retrain the losers of the technology revolution, Conservative ministers have almost destroyed the ecosystem for adult learning; further education budgets have been slashed and the numbers of part-time and mature university students have fallen dramatically.

In contrast, Labour has placed a welcome emphasis on adult skills, although there is as yet little detail on the tough questions of exactly how a Labour government would improve vocational learning and re-establish a lifelong learning system. But there is a risk the party falls into the seductive trap of imagining the end of work. Shadow ministers have reportedly been flirting with ideas such as a universal basic income, in which all citizens get paid a basic income by the state, and a tax on robots. Both are flawed responses to automation. Even if robots were to erode human work, a universal basic income would be no solution: why would their owners continue to pay the rest of us an income when we lack the economic power that comes from having a job? Ceding the ground of an economic model based on the dignity of work and humans producing stuff consumed by other humans risks paving the way to extreme inequality. A tax on automation would simply discourage investment in the technological progress that improves living standards.

Like those of the past, the next wave of technological breakthrough is unlikely to eliminate the need for work. Rather than putting a brake on the steady march of human progress, our political leaders must focus on ensuring there are as few losers as possible in the coming decades. Otherwise, growing inequality and social injustice will be its sorry byproducts.

from Artificial intelligence (AI) | The Guardian http://ift.tt/2hCCaNo

Review of ‘Ants among Elephants…’: An area of darkness – The Hindu


The Hindu

Review of ‘Ants among Elephants…’: An area of darkness
The Hindu
In her landmark dismantling of the Indian state that has failed to live up to the idealism of its preceptors, Gidla appears like a modern day Mahishasuramardini — the goddess who rides a tiger and destroys the buffalo-headed demon of ignorance with a

from ants – Google News http://ift.tt/2xOnyQC

“how do you pay a good journalist a competitive wage? How do you fund ultra expensive (& economically risky) investigative journalism?”

Well, I have further ideas that tie into that, lemme see if I can put it into steps so I don’t prattle on.

  1. Embrace AI as the reality of our surroundings in the digital age. Create a synapse to the internet by which we all interact. A demonetized pure interface that analyzes all information from every source. No bias, just recording events and metatagging them down to the root level, organizing everything.

  2. This has a drastic effect on the economy and civilization, because now everything is fact and traced. No hidden money in shell companies, because the patterns are clear as day for machines. Humans can’t hide money in information, and all money is logged in a manner of speaking. Now, all individuals and businesses are fairly taxxed, leading to a drastic increase of available money.

  3. Due to this incredible influx of money, we are able to give universal health care, universal basic income, universal education, universal voting knowledge education, and interface devices for every person.

  4. Now, just by living, people give tons of information. We are driven to share data together. We like posting music, hoping to share it with someone who will in turn like it. With these bursts of expression, algorithms can look at everything, and see patterns in people that like things.

  5. Like a giant hyper accurate Myers-Briggs, people are sorted and logged, every little "like" filling out this beautiful puzzle. Every little comment is read and saved, the concepts and intentions being saved as well. If you look at peoples’ profiles on reddit though snoopsnoo, it kinda looks like what I’m talking about. This account is new, so it doesn’t have a great view of me yet, but here:

http://ift.tt/2wqzO6T

So, you can scroll down and see that big box of little boxes. Whenever I post interests, it gets a better idea of me as a whole. But, reddit is led by advertising. All social media is led by advertising, so we must turn it on it’s head and rethink business and society.

//////////////////// Evolution moment /////////////////////

  1. People are instantly sorted into what they like, their drives, their faults. They are led to careers and opportunities that they are naturally good at, in environments where they will flourish.

  2. Economy explodes, because suddenly all employees are motivated beyond that which a manager could ever do. There is no advertising, so R&D revenue explodes.

  3. With universal basic income, people don’t have to work shit jobs to get by, they have their needs met. Their lives are not stressful. There is no need for robbery or murder, as people aren’t driven to drastic actions to make ends meet.

  4. Innovation explodes across every industry. All people are free to pursue their natural interests. As individuals, we exceed in some ways and are deficient in others, but together, working as a whole, everyone working at what they naturally are good at

  5. Business flourishes like never before, a pure capitalism. Products must be good, otherwise customers will be led to a better one, because the objective algorithm seeks that which is best for individuals on a case by case basis.

  6. I like to think this results in a beautiful global consciousness, where we all start moving towards space exploration, tbh.

Anyway, the short answer to your answer is journalists would already have a living wage, and would be seeking the positions and stories best suited for them, because it is what they want to do, and they have the freedom to do it.

Edit: I forgot two parts:

The Justice. Since she can see all information, she can see intent. She could have seen the Russian connections, for example, clear as day. We would have been notified. All those false accounts would have been nullified, because she would have seen they are not actual people. She will purge people from civil service that seek power, because she can see their person. Political service will be pure, because all data and intent will be seen.

And also, for questions from businesses like

"But, who will clean the bathrooms?"

I say

"Fuck you, that’s not our problem, invent something that cleans bathrooms, you’ll sell one to every business."

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