Science and technology micro-summaries for June 29, 2019

in #rsslog2 years ago

A company that can unlock any iPhone and many Androids; A declaration of digital independence; A physicist explains quantum supremacy; Vaccination for machine learning algorithms; A Steem collaboration is holding a charity fund-raiser in the competition for Satoshi's Treasure


Straight from my RSS feed:
Links and micro-summaries from my 1000+ daily headlines. I filter them so you don't have to.

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pixabay license: source.

  1. CELLEBRITE SAYS IT CAN UNLOCK ANY IPHONE FOR COPS - The Israeli forensics firm and law enforcement contractor made the announcement on Twitter, saying: "Cellebrite is proud to introduce #UFED Premium! An exclusive solution for law enforcement to unlock and extract data from all iOS and high-end Android devices". According to the linked web page, they can pull data from iOS devices going back to iOS 7, and Android devices from Samsung, Huawei, LG, and Xiaomi. h/t Bruce Schneier

  2. Declaration of Digital Independence - Larry Sanger, co-founder of wikipedia, has published a Declaration of Digital Independence, which declares that individuals have the unalienable right to control how their personal data is used. It goes on to argue for decentralized technologies because the current, centralized, Internet has induced many to abandon those rights. In the style of the American Declaration of Independence, the document goes on to list the abuses that make decentralized technologies necessary. These include bans, shadow-bans, undemocratic moderation techniques, marketing of personal information, surveillance, resisting end-to-end encryption, and more. The declaration also contains a statement of 9 principles for decentralized social media.

  3. Quantum Supremacy: What is it and what does it mean? - In a youtube video and written transcript, Sabine Hossenfelder describes the physics behind quantum computing. She points out that classical computers also rely on quantum behavior, but distinguishes between the two based on the operation of their fundamental unit of computation. Classical computers operate with "bits", which can only take the singular values of zero or one. Quantum computers, on the other hand, use q-bits which can take on combinations of multiple zeros and ones in superposition, and can also make use of quantum entanglement. She goes on to say that quantum supremacy is when a quantum computer outperforms a classical computer on a specific type of problem. She points out, however, that these problems are not necessarily useful. In order to solve a useful problem, she says, somewhere between half a million and a billion q-bits would be needed. Our present capability is somewhere around 50 q-bits, and no one has any ideas for how to get beyond a few hundred q-bits. The essay acknowledges that quantum supremacy is a "super-exciting" milestone, but retains a skeptical tone towards the ability for quantum computers to do useful things in the foreseeable future. Quantum supremacy was previously covered in Science and technology micro-summaries for June 23, 2019.

    Youtube video here:



  • Researchers develop 'vaccine' against attacks on machine learning - Machine learning models "learn" without being programmed by identifying patterns in their training data. A class of attacks against this technique involves polluting the data with noise, so that the machine misses the patterns. Now, Australian researchers have created the first set of techniques to "vaccinate" the algorithms against this class of attack. The new technique includes a weak form of the attack in the training data set, which helps the machine to recognize stronger variants after it has finished training. The paper describing these techniques has been accepted at the 2019 International Conference on Machine Learning (ICML). h/t Communications of the ACM

  • STEEM Getting Upvotes On Steem Could Win Us 1 Million Dollars!!! - @steemclan is holding a charity fundraiser to extend their lead in the Satoshi Treasure contest. Your up-vote can help. Click through and help drive the post to the top of the trending list - and beyond. In addition to raising funds for charity, this could give the Steem blockchain some much-needed visibility as a collaboration platform. (5% of the rewards from this post will go to @steemclan)


  • In order to help make Steem the go to place for timely information on diverse topics, I invite you to discuss any of these links in the comments and/or your own response post.

    For example, feel free to comment on any or all of these discussion topics:


    • In the past, companies have kept it close to the vest when they develop techniques to hack into devices. Now, Cellebrite is announcing it on Twitter. Do you think the better business practice is to publicize the capability or to keep it quiet? Why?

    • How many of Sanger's principles for decentralized social media do you think the Steem blockchain satisfies?

    • What are your thoughts on Hossenfelder's argument that even after quantum supremacy, quantum computers will still be unable to solve useful problems for the foreseeable future.

    • Besides immunization, what other biological phenomena can be useful for computer and information security?

    • Describe the experience if you are participating with @steemclan in the Satoshi treasure hunt?


    About this series
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