Geekly Update - 04 May 2023 (giraffes ahead...)

Category: Tech-News

Has AI advanced to point where mind reading is possible? Did passwords become obsolete this week? Is it safe to poke a robot? And can giraffes predict the statistical likelihood that your hard drive will soon fail? Get answers in today's Geekly Update... it's jam-packed with the latest tech news. This issue is guaranteed to make you 146% smarter -- you'll see why. Read, think, and, comment!

The AskBobRankin Geekly Update

Researchers at the University of Texas have developed a system that can read your mind. Sort of, some times. Using a combination of AI, a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine, and a "semantic decoder", the researchers were able to scan a subject's brain activity and generate a stream of text that was surprisingly close to what they were thinking. The participants listened to stories, watched silent videos, or silently imagined stories, while the software attempted to decipher and reconstruct their thoughts. About 50 percent of the time, the results were good. The researchers hope that further work in this area will help those with disabilities who are unable to speak.

The folks at Backblaze have over 240,000 hard drives in their data center, so they keep a keen eye on hard drive performance and failure rates. But when they saw a report claiming the average age at which hard drives failed was just two years and 10 months, they were skeptical. But after running the numbers on their own collection of drives, they were even more surprised. Their own review of hard drive failure rates came up with an even more dismal average failure time of 2 years and 6 months. When was YOUR last backup?

Passwords can be frustrating. "You must enter at least 8 characters, composed of upper and lower case letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and a Celtic rune or Egytian hieroglyph." Fortunately, passkeys are here to save the day. Passkeys are touted as a more secure and convenient login alternative, which eliminates the need for those hard to remember that many sites require. Passkeys typically are based on a biometric such as fingerprint or facial recognition, and are tied to one or more devices that you open. Google announced this week that passkeys can be used for password-less logins to Gmail, Drive, YouTube and other Google accounts.

Geekly Update 05-04-2023

Are you thinking about switching to, or at least experimenting with Linux? Wired has a list of the best laptops for Linux, including some that come with Linux already installed.

Arvind Krishna, IBM's CEO, is salivating at the thought of replacing up to 7,800 human workers with artificial intelligence. The company plans to pause hiring for certain jobs that could potentially be automated by AI. Those thought to be most vulnerable are human resources, office-support workers, lawyers and engineers. But that's the good news. Goldman Sachs believes generative AI "could significantly disrupt the global economy" and replace up to 300 million white-collar workers. I wonder if that includes CEOs.

It's bad enough that robots are getting smarter, faster and stronger than humans. Soon, they'll know when you're touching them. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have developed electronic skin for robots that give them a sense of touch. Robo-skin could help a robot understand how hot something is, or how tightly an object is being gripped.

Would you like to make your Android phone feel twice as fast? Tweaking a few settings in your smartphone can boost the speed of opening apps, window pop-ups, moving between home screen panels, and animations that happen when you open or close apps. It's a little bit geeky, but worth a try.

Computer guru Kim Komando wants you to know the five Google searches you should avoid. Search reaults for these topics can lead to online scams, malicious websites, malware, identity theft, and ripoffs

And finally, this week's Just Here for the Headline: Giraffes, Despite a Relatively Small Brain, Can Handle Statistics. That leaves only Lies and Damned Lies to worry about.

Your thoughts on these topics are welcome. Post your comment or question below...

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Geekly Update - 04 May 2023 (giraffes ahead...) (Posted: 4 May 2023)
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