As a public service to people planning a felony (but will never read my blog) and also for entertainment of people who would never commit a felony, I have accumulated a few stories of people who really messed up their escapade by not quite thinking things through.
Extra special tip for your planning consideration: pay attention to the impact of technology.
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.
Behind the Black has a series of posts linking to video of the astounding first trip to the moon. Today, July 20, 1969, marks 50 years since humans set foot on the moon. What an incredible accomplishment.
Fun articles on technology change that caught my interest over the last few months:
Yes, your color printer may very well be marking every printed page as belonging to you
Not only are land lines disappearing, growing number of people won’t answer the doorbell unless you text first
Dropping oil prices are a worry for central bankers, even as that saves consumers bunches of money
Amazon is developing its own delivery system
IBM has fewer employees in the US than in India
Google drew a multi-billion dollar fine from the EU
6/7/17 – BBC – Why printers add secret tracking dots – A large portion of color laser printers add tiny yellow dots to the page in order to allow tracking of which specific printer was used to print a specific page.
This is handy for criminal or espionage investigations. A particular leaking case is in the news, with the perpetrator having been found using microdots.
Might be handy for tracking down whistle blowers.
The espionage angle isn’t of interest to anyone reading my blog.
If you every want to keep something you print really private, you might want to pay attention.
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.
Amazing new services and products arising from the technology revolution are a delight every day. We are all benefiting from astounding stuff. Tons of entertainment options on the ‘net. Astounding capabilities for our smartphones.
The downside is companies that can’t keep up are getting swept away. The people and space involved in old stuff can be reused in new services. That is creative destruction.
An accelerating number of folks are dumping cable and getting all their entertainment directly from the net. Seems like a person could get whatever entertainment desired from Amazon, Hulu, Netflix, specialized sports services, and dedicated on-line channels.
Looks like we are in the midst of radical change in regional and world politics caused by the technological revolution in oil and gas production. I keep trying to wrap my little brain around what is going on. Here are a few articles that may stretch your brain too.
Brain stretcher on the shift in geopolitics due to increased US oil production
Speculation why the Saudi government’s plan to re-engineer their country’s economy isn’t going to work
Three articles on the rapidly increased US shale production undercutting the OPEC production cut
3/12/17 – PJ Media – The Problem of Success– Article raises the unsettling idea that nobody has figured out the impact of dramatically increased production in the US.
Neither the previous US administration, the current US administration, leadership in Saudi Arabia, leadership elsewhere in the Middle East, nor even pundits for that matter, have figured out how geopolitics will change as Saudi Arabia loses its role as dominant oil producer and the decentralized American drillers gain the swing producer role.
It stretches my brain even to understand there is an issue.
American frackers used the dramatic run up in oil prices to $100 as an opportunity to figure out how to frack oil where it could never have been touched before. They then used the collapse in prices as an opportunity to figure out how to frack far more efficiently, far more effectively, with far higher production output from every well. As a result, the break-even price for U.S. shale has shrunk.
The vast network of independent producers are responding to price changes far faster than OPEC could handle or the majors could ever dream of. Prices go up somewhat and in about three months US production is surging.
I suggest you are in fact richer today than John Rockefeller was 100 years ago. If it were possible for Prof. Don Boudreaux to switch places with John Rockefeller’s life and even if he could have a billion dollars after he arrived back in 1916, he would not make the switch. He would rather live as a comfortable professor today than be a billionaire 100 years ago.
Here are three posts to explain this strange idea: first, what life was like 100 years ago, why Prof Boudreaux would not make the switch, and then why Coyote Blog wouldn’t either.
(Cross-post from Attestation Update. This post supports my conversation on ancient finances at that blog and also fits the discussion of how much life has improved over the last 200 years here.)
I will update a few of the stats in the Atlantic article where the author took a shortcut. When I browsed through the BLS report, I noticed some sentences which were repeated nearly verbatim in the article, which is okay since the report is a public document.
A few highlights:
Workers in factories averaged 55 hours a week. The fatality rate across the economy was 61 deaths per 100,000 compared to about 3.3 per 100,000 today.
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.
My friend John Bredehoft provides a different perspective on technology change. On 1/22 at his blog tymshft, he asked Do the essentials change?
He discusses a podcast comparing life today to about 35 years ago. For perspective, that puts us in 1981, or the range of the first year of the Reagan administration.
One of many points I draw from the discussion is related to Jon’s last comment:
But the speed of the processing chip in my smartphone is relatively meaningless.
Phrased differently, the smart phone in your hand may have an operating speed that is thousands or millions of times faster than 30 years ago but that increase doesn’t have an impact on your life in proportion to the increase in speed. Increased operating speed in the last decade probably hasn’t affected your life much at all.