- Fairness in Machine Learning — read this fabulous presentation. Most ML objective functions create models accurate for the majority class at the expense of the protected class. One way to encode “fairness” might be to require similar/equal error rates for protected classes as for the majority population.
- Safety Constraints and Ethical Principles in Collective Decision-Making Systems (PDF) — self-driving cars are an example of collective decision-making between intelligent agents and, possibly, humans. Damn it’s hard to find non-paywalled research in this area. This is horrifying for the list of things you can’t ensure in collective decision-making systems.
- State of Hardware Report (Nate Evans) — rundown of the stats related to hardware startups. (via Renee DiResta)
- A Recent Discussion about DRM (Joi Ito) — strong arguments against including Digital Rights Management in W3C’s web standards (I can’t believe we’re still debating this; it’s such a self-evidently terrible idea to bake disempowerment into web standards).
Four short links: 7 April 2016
Fairness in Machine Learning, Ethical Decision-Making, State of Hardware, and Against Web DRM
Four short links: 14 January 2016
DRM at W3C, Tractor DRM, Self-Driving Timeline, and Emoji Analytics
- You Can’t Destroy a Village to Save It (EFF) — EFF have a clever compromise for W3C’s proposal for DRM on the Web. [T]he W3C could have its cake and eat it, too. It could adopt a rule that requires members who help make DRM standards to promise not to sue people who report bugs in tools that conform to those standards, nor could they sue people just for making a standards-based tool that connected to theirs. They could make DRM, but only if they made sure that they took steps to stop that DRM from being used to attack the open Web. I hope the W3C take it.
- Copyright Law Shouldn’t Keep Me From Fixing a Tractor (Slate) — When a farmer friend of mine wanted to know if there was a way to tweak the copyrighted software of his broken tractor, I knew it was going to be rough. The only way to get around the DMCA’s restriction on software tinkering is to ask the Copyright Office for an exemption at the Section 1201 Rulemaking, an arduous proceeding that takes place just once every three years.
- License to Drive — I have difficulty viewing No Drive Day as imminent. We’re maybe 95% there, but that last 5% will be a lengthy slog.
- Text, Sentiment & Social Analytics in the Year Ahead: 10 Trends — emoji analytics and machine-written content are the two that caught my eye.
Four short links: 17 December 2015
Structured Image Concepts, Google's SDN, Lightbulb DeDRMing, and EFF SF
- Visual Genome — a data set, a knowledge base, an ongoing effort to connect structured image concepts to language.
- Google’s Software Defined Networking — [What was the biggest risk you faced rolling out the network? …] we were breaking the fate-sharing principle—which is to say we were putting ourselves in a situation where either the controller could fail without the switch failing, or the switch could fail without the controller failing. That generally leads to big problems in distributed computing, as many people learned the hard way once remote procedure calls became a dominant paradigm.
- Philips Backtrack on Lightbulb DRM — In view of the sentiment expressed by our customers, we have decided to reverse the software upgrade so that lights from other brands continue to work as they did before with the Philips Hue system.
- Pwning Tomorrow — EFF Publishes SF Anthology. You can expect liberties and freedoms to feature.
Old-school DRM and new-school analytics
Piracy isn’t the threat; it’s centuries old. Music Science is the game changer.
Download our new free report “Music Science: How Data and Digital Content are Changing Music,” by Alistair Croll, to learn more about music, data, and music science.
In researching how data is changing the music industry, I came across dozens of entertaining anecdotes. One of the recurring themes was music piracy. As I wrote in my previous post on music science, industry incumbents think of piracy as a relatively new phenomenon — as one executive told me, “vinyl was great DRM.”
But the fight between protecting and copying content has gone on for a long time, and every new medium for music distribution has left someone feeling robbed. One of the first known cases of copy protection — and illegal copying — involved Mozart himself.
As a composer, Mozart’s music spread far and wide. But he was also a performer and wanted to be able to command a premium for playing in front of audiences. One way he ensured continued demand was through “flourishes,” or small additions to songs, which weren’t recorded in written music. While Mozart’s flourishes are lost to history, researchers have attempted to understand how his music might once have been played. This video shows classical pianist Christina Kobb demonstrating a 19th century technique.
Four short links: 31 December 2014
Feudal Employment, Untrusted Computing, Nerd Entitlement, and Paxos Explained
- Governance for the New Class of Worker (Matt Webb) — there is a new class of worker. They’re not inside the company – not benefiting from job security or healthcare – but their livelihoods in large part dependent on it, the transaction cost of moving to a competitor deliberately kept high. Or the worker is, without seeing any of the upside of success, taking on the risk or bearing the cost of the company’s expansion and operation.
- Hidden Code in Your Chipset (Slideshare) — there’s a processor that supervises your processor, and it’s astonishingly fully-featured (to the point of having privileged access to the network and being able to run Java code).
- On Nerd Entitlement — Privilege doesn’t mean you don’t suffer. The best part of 2014 was the tech/net feminist consciousness-raising/uprising. That’s probably the wrong label for it, but bullshit is being called that was ignored years ago. I think we’ve collectively found the next thing we fix that future generations will look back on us and wonder why it went unremarked-upon for so long.
- Understanding Paxos — a simple introduction, with animations, to one of the key algorithms in distributed systems.
Four short links: 24 December 2014
DRMed Objects, Eventual Consistency, Complex Systems, and Machine Learning Papers
- DRMed Cat Litter Box — the future is when you don’t own what you buy, and it’s illegal to make it work better. (via BoingBoing)
- Are We Consistent Yet? — the eventuality of consistency on different cloud platforms.
- How Complex Systems Fail (YouTube) — Richard Cook’s Velocity 2012 keynote.
- Interesting papers from NIPS 2014 — machine learning holiday reading.
Four short links: 15 December 2014
Transferable Learning, At-Scale Telemetry, Ugly DRM, and Fast Packet Processing
- How Transferable Are Features in Deep Neural Networks? — (answer: “very”). A final surprising result is that initializing a network with transferred features from almost any number of layers can produce a boost to generalization that lingers even after fine-tuning to the target dataset. (via Pete Warden)
- Introducing Atlas: Netflix’s Primary Telemetry Platform — nice solution to the problems that many have, at a scale that few have.
- The Many Facades of DRM (PDF) — Modular software systems are designed to be broken into independent pieces. Each piece has a clear boundary and well-defined interface for ‘hooking’ into other pieces. Progress in most technologies accelerates once systems have achieved this state. But clear boundaries and well-defined interfaces also make a technology easier to attack, break, and reverse-engineer. Well-designed DRMs have very fuzzy boundaries and are designed to have very non-standard interfaces. The examples of the uglified DRM code are inspiring.
- DPDK — a set of libraries and drivers for fast packet processing […] to: receive and send packets within the minimum number of CPU cycles (usually less than 80 cycles); develop fast packet capture algorithms (tcpdump-like); run third-party fast path stacks.
Four short links: 15 May 2014
Pervasive Monitoring, Mozilla DRM, Game Finances, and Distributed Systems
- Pervasive Monitoring is an Attack (Tim Bray) — if your application doesn’t support privacy, that’s probably a bug in your application.
- Reconciling Mozilla’s Mission and the W3C EME — essentially, “we don’t want to put a closed source bolus of evil into our open source unicorn, but you won’t be able to watch House of Cards with Firefox if we don’t.”
- The Financial Future of Game Developers (Raph Koster) — Today, a console is really just a hardware front end to a digital publisher/distribution network/storefront. […] Any structure that depends solely on blockbusters is not long for this world, because there is a significant component of luck in what drives popularity, so every release is literally a gamble. […] The median game uploaded to the App Store makes zero dollars. It starts great and just gets better. Koster is on fire! He scores again! GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!
- Notes on Distributed Systems for Young Bloods — “It’s slow” is the hardest problem you’ll ever debug.
Who holds your keys?
DRM makes a mash of security and privacy.
Put your books, movies, and music on a gleaming shelf. Close the door to keep the dust off. Lock the door, so no one can take it, and hand me the key. I’ll let you have the key when you need it, if you promise not to share these with anyone else.
I might keep track of when you borrow the keys, and what you check in and out. You understand, of course, that it’s just data I need to collect and aggregate to keep my costs down, right? I wouldn’t want to have to charge you very much for my key-keeping service.
It’s the Deal of the Century!
Or at least it will be if some kinds of content publishers and distributors get their way. Terrified by the sudden collapse in the cost of duplication and distribution, locking everyone’s shelves down seems like the only way to maintain their balance (sheets). Worse, products from beyond publishing are appearing with the new key-management practices built in, including cars, coffee, and of course printer cartridges.