Palantir: the ‘special ops’ tech giant that wields as much real-world power as Google

Peter Thiel’s CIA-backed, data-mining firm honed its ‘crime predicting’ techniques against insurgents in Iraq. The same methods are now being sold to police departments. Will they inflame already tense relations between the public and the police? Jacques Peretti The Guardian

Robert Mercer: the big data billionaire waging war on mainstream media

WARNING: This Is Scary With links to Donald Trump, Steve Bannon and Nigel Farage, the rightwing US computer scientist is at the heart of a multimillion-dollar propaganda network. Carole Cadwalladr of The Observer profiles Robert Mercer, the man who re - wrote Josef Goebbels' propaganda playbook for the 21st Century read more

AI learns to write its own code by stealing from other programs

By Matt Reynolds OUT of the way, human, I’ve got this covered. A machine learning system has gained the ability to write its own code. Created by researchers at Microsoft and the University of Cambridge, the system, called DeepCoder, solved basic challenges of the kind set by programming competitions. This kind of approach could make…Read more AI learns to write its own code by stealing from other programs

The Data that turned the World Upside Down

Psychologist Michal Kosinski developed a method to analyze people in minute detail based on their Facebook activity. Did a similar tool help propel Donald Trump to victory? Two reporters from Zurich-based Das Magazin (where an earlier version of this story appeared in December in German) went data-gathering. Written by Hannes Grassegger and Mikael Krogerus read…Read more The Data that turned the World Upside Down

What’s Next in Computing?

The computing industry progresses in two mostly independent cycles: financial and product cycles. There has been a lot of handwringing lately about where we are in the financial cycle. The product cycle by comparison gets relatively little attention, even though it is what actually drives the computing industry forward. Chris Dixon reports. read more

How a Grad Student Found Spyware That Could Control Anybody’s iPhone from Anywhere in the World

Last summer, Bill Marczak stumbled across a program that could spy on your iPhone’s contact list and messages—and even record your calls. Illuminating shadowy firms that sell spyware to corrupt governments across the globe, Marczak’s story reveals the new arena of cyber-warfare. Read Bryan Burrough's fascinating story from Vanity Fair. read more

Will Self: Are humans evolving beyond the need to tell stories?

An interesting article, printed recently in The Guardian, on literary evolution by poet and writer, Will Self. A few years ago I gave a lecture in Oxford that was reprinted in the Guardian under the heading: “The novel is dead (this time it’s for real)”. In it I argued that the novel was losing its…Read more Will Self: Are humans evolving beyond the need to tell stories?

Amazon nets patent for mini police drones

Science Fiction writers have reached a crisis point: reality may soon outstrip imagination. As the world of astronomy stands poised for its first head on investigation of a Black Hole, the more mundane reality of insect sized, electronic spy devices may soon be a daily reality and not just a special effects device from the…Read more Amazon nets patent for mini police drones