The Rise of the Machines

This Is Not a Metaphor

"Robots allow the cows to set their own hours, lining up for automated milking five or six times a day — turning the predawn and late-afternoon sessions around which dairy farmers long built their lives into a thing of the past. With transponders around their necks, the cows get individualized service. Lasers scan and map their underbellies, and a computer charts each animal’s 'milking speed,' a critical factor in a 24-hour-a-day operation. The robots also monitor the amount and quality of milk produced, the frequency of visits to the machine, how much each cow has eaten, and even the number of steps each cow has taken per day, which [...]


Drone Boat Ready to Kill It (You)

The "it" it might kill could also mean "boatloads of Chinese immigrants." It looks like this thing has a 2 inch draught, so maybe it could even make it in the Rio Grande in the wet season. Used to make sure "bad people don't get in" (that's a technical term), in the words of its salesman, in this inexplicably long and needlessly dumb TV news clip from the 6th Annual Border Security Expo in sunny downtown Phoenix.


Will We Even Know if We Enter a Full-Surveillance Society?

If you're not following the Carrier IQ story, it's the flip side of the User Agreement Trust Economy. It's the modern tale: Who Secretly Owns Your Data and What Do They Do With It? For background of the story to date, here's a fairly good timeline. Carrier IQ gathers diagnostic information on some phones; it may or may not actually keylog what you type on your phone; it may or may not sometimes or always gather the passwords you enter on your phone; and, according to the FBI's refusal to release information, it may or may not have actually turned over information to law enforcement. (Carrier [...]