How’s this sound for another down side of technology?
Applying cutting edge technology to a video, changing the words said, altering the mouth movement to conform to the fabricated words, changing facial expressions, and thus fabricating a new video telling a story that doesn’t exist.
That is called deepfake.
Currently, the technology is at a level where a human watching a deepfake can tell it is fake. Inconsistencies in facial movement or lighting or pixelation will give away the fabrication. Several articles say the technology is advancing so fast that soon humans will not be able to detect a fake just by watching.
Special computer programs can detect the alterations.
Companies and industries that can’t keep up with changes in technology or demographics or the internet are getting hit hard.
A few more hits to the old way of doing things:
collapsing price for taxi medallions
tricks to hide low TV audiences; gaming the ratings
more closures of Sears stores
Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy protection
The wide use of Uber and Lyft has affected the taxi industry. As one measure of the technological disruption, consider the price of a taxi medallion in New York. One cannot operate a taxi there without a medallion.
There is apparently a thriving business, or at least there used to be a thriving business, in buying a medallion and then renting it out to someone who wanted to drive a taxi.
The market for medallions has collapsed. Consider the following graph by Mark Perry, described in a tweet on 7/6/17.
You might want to read part four before diving into this wrap-up of the rationalization discussion.
How can body organs be okay?
Shall we extend this discussion into body organs?
I suppose there might be some way for informed consent to be given in a situation where a body organ is extracted and sold on the Dark Web. I can’t get my brain around it, but I suppose there might be some possible way to do so that would be consistent with libertarian concepts.
I have a real problem with thinking that organ providers in China gave informed consent.
Maybe I’m missing the boat or maybe just can’t stretch my brain far enough, but I don’t see how libertarian concepts can be used to justify the sale of either hand grenades, rocket launchers, or livers & kidneys. That seems to be a rationalization to do what you otherwise feel like doing.
His girlfriend came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior later in the book, well after they broke up. (Based on a few ways that the description of her conversion and faith are described, I will make a wild guess the author of the book is not a believer).
At one point when they got back together for a while, his girlfriend persuaded him to attend worship at what appears to be a charismatic congregation that operated without a formal pastoral leadership structure.
After the worship she asked him what he thought about the morals that were discussed during the worship service.
What is the relative moral ranking of people selling the following illegal products:
Harvested body parts
Early in the growth of the Silk Road, which was a hidden place on the internet where you could buy anything you wanted, and I mean aaaaanything imaginable, a debate emerged about the outer limit of products that would be allowed on the site.
The website was set up and run by Ross Ulbricht. Ultimately the feds busted him, his senior staff, and another couple hundred people who worked for Silk Road or sold stuff there.
I read but did not keep track of a WSJ article describing e-commerce companies moving into otherwise dead shopping malls and converting them into fulfillment centers. Sounds like a good way to recycle vacated malls.
Some other articles on the deteriorating retail market. Also, an explanation why sales of vinyl records have slowed.
If you are living in California more than, oh, say 15 miles from the ocean, you likely wonder why the statistics saying the economy is going fantabulously well don’t seem to fit with what you see while looking around or what you hear after talking to people.
Two articles explaining why you might be feeling that disconnect, why something just seems off.
First, business activity including employment in the Inland Empire area of Southern California is only now, in early 2017, returning to the level when the recession started.
Second, it isn’t just your imagination that lots and lots of younger people are still living at home when it seems like they should be out on their own. We are talking people who have graduated and are employed.
There are many dark places on the underside of life that I will never see. One item on the long list of reasons why I blog is to look into those places by explaining what I read on the ‘net. I describe those places as worlds far away that I’ll never visit.
Two topics for today:
Deep background on Silk Road, the marketplace for anything
Selling positive pregnancy tests online
From 2013 through 2015 I wrote about 10 articles on Silk Road and the Dread Pirate Roberts who ran that dark world where you could buy anything you wanted. You could buy drugs, weapons, forged passports, poison, anything. You can find my old posts here.
Turns out Dread Pirate Roberts (an unfortunate choice of names that sullies the reputation of one of the best slap stick movies ever!) is Ross William Ulbricht. He is currently serving a life sentence at the New York Metropolitan Correctional Center. The Bureau of Prison website lists his release date as “Life.”
Now there is a full length book describing his assent to the peak of the dark world and descent into a life of free federal housing for the rest of his natural life. At a current age of 33, that will be a looooong time.
Review summarizes the origin of Silk Road, its rapid growth, and challenges of running an organization with a billion dollars of illegal sales.
Reviewer suggests there is not really that much unusual about Mr. Ulbricht: he suggests people who love Ayn Rand, have extreme confidence, and can build a competent website are on both sides of each street at every corner of Silicon Valley.
The routine surge of electricity during the late morning and early afternoon in California is disrupting the electricity system. Matching the excess production of electricity during the day with highest use in the evening is going to be expensive for consumers.
The underlying issue is solar is neither reliable nor dispatchable. The issue is beginning to be a problem and will get far worse.
3/5/17 – Wall Street Journal – How California Utilities are Managing Excess Solar Power – There is so much solar power in California that when the sun is bright, there is too much electricity and it must be sold cheaply just to get rid of it. Then, when the sun goes down and demand goes up after people get home from work, there isn’t enough electricity and the spot price goes sky high.
Article says that during the day, the wholesale spot price of electricity frequently shrinks to zero. Occasionally the wholesale spot price can hit $1,000 a megawatt-hour after dark. That would be about a dollar a kilowatt. $1.00.
At the end of the article there is a comment that on 178 days in 2016 the wholesale price went negative. The spot was below zero. The solar plants in California had to pay someone to take the excess electricity. I wonder what that does to the bottom line at Ivanpah? (That is a rhetorical question. – Impact on them is zero because I think they are on a multi-decade fixed price contract.)
Huge battery plants can store electricity during the day and discharge at night. That is expensive. Article says the price ranges from $285 up to $581 a megawatt-hour, which is in contrast to a natural gas peaker at $155 to $227 a megawatt-hour. That is around twice as expensive.
Several articles provide an in-depth view of the disruption taking place in several industries due to the IT revolution.
Hollywood is ripe for the same creative destruction we’ve seen in music, newspapers, and publishing.
New York Times is shrinking their physical space and staff size
Prime time TV still having a rough time
The question to ponder in the back of your mind is what are you going to do when this wave of disruption overturns your industry?
January 2017 – Vanity Fair – Why Hollywood As We Know It is Already Over– Looking for a good article on how technology is going to do to Hollywood what IT has already done to music and publishing? If so, this is what you’ve been looking for.
Check out the article to help understand the massive change surrounding us.
Disruption of music industry
First, music and newspapers. The author saw his first indication the music industry would collapse when he started downloading music. Instead of driving to a store somewhere and spending $20 to get one song he wanted, he could spend a buck and get the song immediately.
Author says the music industry has shrunk by half in the last decade. Remember that is after the first round of disruption hit.
Disruption of newspapers
Next were the newspapers. For a long time, the web part of the New York Times was physically separate from the headquarters. “Banished” is the word the author used. At the same time, startups like Instapundit (yeah Professor Reynolds!) and DailyKos were figuring out how to blog. Then WordPress and Tumblr allowed anyone on the planet to start blogging, and doing so for free.
Author says a lot of people didn’t want to wander over to a newsstand and buy a whole newspaper or magazine when instead they could read the single article they wanted, online, for free.
To illustrate the concept, I’ve never bought a copy of Vanity Fair and doubt I ever will. I certainly didn’t drive over to Barnes & Noble to buy the current edition so I could read this article. A blogger I read (see above!) mentioned it and I clicked over.
Two reports on the issue of whether transitory housing will remain in Williston: one court case closed with one remaining; city allows another year and a half to remove the camps.
Young guys who moved to North Dakota and decided to stay have brought their wifes to the area and guess what? Lots of them are having babies. By the way, our son is in that category, our daughter-in-law is someone who moved as well, and our grandson is one of the following statistics.
Finally, an indicator why people in North Dakota don’t like all the changes. I get it. Really, I get it: there are ugly sides to economic expansion.
While tech innovations have opened up new frontiers, innovation is disrupting some fields. Here are a few articles making this point that I’ve accumulated recently: newspaper circulation continues to collapse, higher ed is increasingly vulnerable to disruptions, and accreditation agencies (which illustrate regulatory capture) show why disruption is needed.