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News

Radar trends to watch: August 2021
Security continues to be in the news: most notably the Kaseya ransomware attack, which was the first case of a supply chain ransomware attack that we’re aware of. That’s new and very dangerous territory. However, the biggest problem in security remains simple: take care of the basics. Good practices for authentication, backups, and software updates […]
O'Reilly Radar | 02-Aug-2021 16:27

Communal Computing’s Many Problems
In the first article of this series, we discussed communal computing devices and the problems they create–or, more precisely, the problems that arise because we don’t really understand what “communal” means. Communal devices are intended to be used by groups of people in homes and offices. Examples include popular home assistants and smart displays like […]
O'Reilly Radar | 20-Jul-2021 13:37

Thinking About Glue
In Glue: the Dark Matter of Software, Marcel Weiher asks why there’s so much code. Why is Microsoft Office 400 million lines of code? Why are we always running into the truth of Alan Kay’s statement that “Software seems ‘large’ and ‘complicated’ for what it does”? Weiher makes an interesting claim: the reason we have […]
O'Reilly Radar | 13-Jul-2021 15:28

Radar trends to watch: July 2021
Certainly the biggest news of the past month has been a continuation of the trend towards regulating the biggest players in the tech industry.  The US House of Representatives is considering 5 antitrust bills that would lead to major changes in the way the largest technology companies do business; and the Biden administration has appointed […]
O'Reilly Radar | 06-Jul-2021 19:12

Hand Labeling Considered Harmful
We are traveling through the era of Software 2.0, in which the key components of modern software are increasingly determined by the parameters of machine learning models, rather than hard-coded in the language of for loops and if-else statements. There are serious challenges with such software and models, including the data they’re trained on, how […]
O'Reilly Radar | 23-Jun-2021 14:34

Why Elon Musk is so rich
At one point early this year, Elon Musk briefly passed Jeff Bezos to become the richest person in the world. After a 750% increase in Tesla’s stock market value added almost $180 billion to his fortune, he briefly had a net worth of over $200 billion. It’s now back down to “only” $155 billion. In […]
O'Reilly Radar | 22-Jun-2021 15:07

Communal Computing
Home assistants and smart displays are being sold in record numbers, but they are built wrong. They are designed with one person in mind: the owner. These technologies need to fit into the communal spaces where they are placed, like homes and offices. If they don’t fit, they will be unplugged and put away due […]
O'Reilly Radar | 15-Jun-2021 13:27

Code as Infrastructure
A few months ago, I was asked if there were any older technologies other than COBOL where we were in serious danger of running out of talent. They wanted me to talk about Fortran, but I didn’t take the bait. I don’t think there will be a critical shortage of Fortran programmers now or at […]
O'Reilly Radar | 08-Jun-2021 15:22

Radar trends to watch: June 2021
The most fascinating idea this month is POET, a self-enclosed system in which bots that are part of the system overcome obstacles that are generated by the system. It’s a learning feedback loop that might conceivably be a route to much more powerful AI, if not general intelligence. It’s also worth noting the large number […]
O'Reilly Radar | 01-Jun-2021 15:45

AI Powered Misinformation and Manipulation at Scale #GPT-3
OpenAI’s text generating system GPT-3 has captured mainstream attention. GPT-3 is essentially an auto-complete bot whose underlying Machine Learning (ML) model has been trained on vast quantities of text available on the Internet. The output produced from this autocomplete bot can be used to manipulate people on social media and spew political propaganda, argue about […]
O'Reilly Radar | 25-May-2021 16:14

DeepCheapFakes
Back in 2019, Ben Lorica and I wrote about  deepfakes. Ben and I argued (in agreement with The Grugq and others in the infosec community) that the real danger wasn’t “Deep Fakes.” The real danger is cheap fakes, fakes that can be produced quickly, easily, in bulk, and at virtually no cost. Tactically, it makes […]
O'Reilly Radar | 11-May-2021 13:58

Radar trends to watch: May 2021
We’ll start with a moment of silence. RIP Dan Kaminski, master hacker, teacher, FOO, and a great showman who could make some of the more arcane corners of security fun.  And one of the few people who could legitimately claim to have saved the internet. AI Snorkel is making progress automating the labeling process for […]
O'Reilly Radar | 03-May-2021 16:05

Checking Jeff Bezos’s Math
“If you want to be successful in business (in life, actually), you have to create more than you consume. Your goal should be to create value for everyone you interact with. Any business that doesn’t create value for those it touches, even if it appears successful on the surface, isn’t long for this world. It’s […]
O'Reilly Radar | 23-Apr-2021 22:43

AI Adoption in the Enterprise 2021
During the first weeks of February, we asked recipients of our Data and AI Newsletters to participate in a survey on AI adoption in the enterprise. We were interested in answering two questions. First, we wanted to understand how the use of AI grew in the past year. We were also interested in the practice […]
O'Reilly Radar | 19-Apr-2021 14:20

NFTs: Owning Digital Art
It would be hard to miss the commotion around non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Non-fungible tokens are, to a first approximation, purchased digital goods that exist on a blockchain. At this point, NFTs exist on the Ethereum blockchain, but there’s no reason that they couldn’t be implemented on others; it seems reasonably likely that specialized blockchains will […]
O'Reilly Radar | 06-Apr-2021 20:43

Radar trends to watch: April 2021
March was a busy month. There’s been a lot of talk about augmented and virtual reality, with hints and speculation about products from Apple and Facebook. In the next two years, we’ll see whether this is more than just talk. We’ve also seen more people discussing operations for machine learning and AI, including a substantive […]
O'Reilly Radar | 01-Apr-2021 13:30

InfoTribes, Reality Brokers
It seems harder than ever to agree with others on basic facts, let alone to develop shared values and goals: we even claim to live in a post-truth era.1 With anti-vaxxers, QAnon, Bernie Bros, flat earthers, the intellectual dark web, and disagreement worldwide as to the seriousness of COVID-19 and the effectiveness of masks, have […]
O'Reilly Radar | 23-Mar-2021 15:40

The End of Silicon Valley as We Know It?
High-profile entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, venture capitalists like Peter Thiel and Keith Rabois, and big companies like Oracle and HP Enterprise are all leaving California. During COVID-19, Zoom-enabled tech workers have discovered the benefits of remote work from cheaper, less congested communities elsewhere. Is this the end of Silicon Valley as we know it? Perhaps. […]
O'Reilly Radar | 11-Mar-2021 18:22

The Next Generation of AI
Programs like AlphaZero and GPT-3 are massive accomplishments: they represent years of sustained work solving a difficult problem. But these problems are squarely within the domain of traditional AI. Playing Chess and Go or building ever-better language models have been AI projects for decades. The following projects have a different flavor: In February, PLOS Genetics […]
O'Reilly Radar | 09-Mar-2021 14:46

Radar trends to watch: March 2021
For a short month, a lot happened in February–perhaps because the US elections are behind us, perhaps because COVID case numbers are dropping, perhaps for any number of reasons. Some of the most interesting articles I’ve seen have been about the Internet of Things, ranging from wireless peas to Elon Musk’s neural interfaces. AI and […]
O'Reilly Radar | 01-Mar-2021 15:13

Product Management for AI
A couple of years ago, Pete Skomoroch, Roger Magoulas, and I talked about the problems of being a product manager for an AI product. We decided that would be a good topic for an article, and possibly more. After Pete and I wrote the first article for O’Reilly Radar, it was clear that there was […]
O'Reilly Radar | 26-Feb-2021 20:40

5 things on our data and AI radar for 2021
Here are some of the most significant themes we see as we look toward 2021. Some of these are emerging topics and others are developments on existing concepts, but all of them will inform our thinking in the coming year. MLOps FTW MLOps attempts to bridge the gap between Machine Learning (ML) applications and the […]
O'Reilly Radar | 19-Feb-2021 16:23

5 infrastructure and operations trends to watch in 2021
Change is the only constant in the technology world, and that’s particularly true in the realm of sysops, infrastructure, and security. Here’s a look ahead to 2021 and five of the trends we’re watching closely. Kubernetes Complexity To say that Kubernetes is the leading container orchestration platform is an understatement.  It’s the only container orchestration […]
O'Reilly Radar | 19-Feb-2021 16:22

The Wrong Question
“If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.” Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow The deplatforming of Donald Trump and his alt-right coterie has led to many discussions of free speech.  Some of the discussions make good points, most don’t, but it seems to me that all of them […]
O'Reilly Radar | 09-Feb-2021 13:19

Radar trends to watch: February 2021
A lot happened in the last month, and not just in Washington. Important developments appeared all through the technology world. Perhaps the most spectacular was the use of Natural Language Processing techniques to analyze viral DNA. It’s actually sort of obvious once you think about it. If DNA is a language, then it should have […]
O'Reilly Radar | 01-Feb-2021 15:54

Where Programming, Ops, AI, and the Cloud are Headed in 2021
In this report, we look at the data generated by the O’Reilly online learning platform to discern trends in the technology industry—trends technology leaders need to follow. But what are “trends”? All too often, trends degenerate into horse races over languages and platforms. Look at all the angst heating up social media when TIOBE or […]
O'Reilly Radar | 25-Jan-2021 13:03

Seven Legal Questions for Data Scientists
“[T]he threats to consumers arising from data abuse, including those posed by algorithmic harms, are mounting and urgent.” FTC Commissioner Rebecca K. Slaughter Variants of artificial intelligence (AI), such as predictive modeling, statistical learning, and machine learning (ML), can create new value for organizations. AI can also cause costly reputational damage, get your organization slapped […]
O'Reilly Radar | 19-Jan-2021 13:21

Patterns
A few months ago, I said that “making everything into a design pattern is a sign that you don’t know what design patterns really are.” So now, I feel obliged to say something about what design patterns are. Design patterns are frequently observed solutions to common problems. The idea comes from the work of Christopher […]
O'Reilly Radar | 12-Jan-2021 13:56

Radar trends to watch: January 2021
The last month of the old year showed a lot of activity on the border of AI and biology. The advances in protein folding with deep learning are a huge breakthrough that could revolutionize drug design. It’s important to remember the role AI had in developing the vaccine for COVID—and also worth remembering that we […]
O'Reilly Radar | 05-Jan-2021 12:40

Four short links: 14 Dec 2020
End-to-end Entity Resolution for Big Data — Introduction to the entity resolution pipeline and the algorithms at the different stages. Includes a summary of open source tools and their features. (via Adrian Colyer) 33 Engineering Challenges of Building Mobile Apps at Scale — Part 1, covering the first 10, is up. They are: 1. State […]
O'Reilly Radar | 15-Dec-2020 15:52

Four short links: 8 Dec 2020
TextAttack — Framework for generating adversarial examples for NLP models. (Paper) (via The Data Exchange) Measuring Developer Productivity — There is no useful measure that operates at a finer grain than “tasks multiplied by complexity.” Measuring commits, lines of code, or hours spent coding, as some tools do, is no more useful at a team […]
O'Reilly Radar | 15-Dec-2020 15:49

O’Reilly’s top 20 live online training courses of 2020
2020 has been a year of great challenges for so many, but it’s not all negative. Around the world, organizations and their workforces have risen to the occasion, recognizing the importance of expanding their knowledge, taking on new tasks, and bettering themselves both personally and professionally. With the uptick in virtual conferencing, remote work, and, […]
O'Reilly Radar | 09-Dec-2020 15:36

What is functional programming?
It has long seemed to me that functional programming is, essentially, programming viewed as mathematics. Many ideas in functional programming came from Alonzo Church’s Lambda Calculus, which significantly predates anything that looks remotely like a modern computer. Though the actual history of computing runs differently: in the early days of computing, Von Neumann’s ideas were […]
O'Reilly Radar | 08-Dec-2020 18:19

Four short links: 4 Dec 2020
NAND Game — You start with a single component, the nand gate. Using this as the fundamental building block, you will build all other components necessary. (See also NAND to Tetris) Facebook’s Game AI — today we are unveiling Recursive Belief-based Learning (ReBeL), a general RL+Search algorithm that can work in all two-player zero-sum games, […]
O'Reilly Radar | 04-Dec-2020 21:56

Four short links: 1 Dec 2020
AlphaFold — This is astonishing: protein-folding solved by Google’s DeepMind. Figuring out what shapes proteins fold into is known as the “protein folding problem”, and has stood as a grand challenge in biology for the past 50 years. In a major scientific advance, the latest version of our AI system AlphaFold has been recognised as […]
O'Reilly Radar | 01-Dec-2020 21:54

Radar trends to watch: December 2020
This month’s collection of interesting articles that point to important trends is dominated by AI. That’s not surprising; AI has probably been the biggest single category all year. But its dominance over other topics seems to be increasing. That’s partly because there’s more research into why AI fails; partly because we’re beginning to see AI […]
O'Reilly Radar | 01-Dec-2020 18:33

Four short links: 27 Nov 2020
Brian Kernighan Interviews Ken Thompson — From a fun interview: McIlroy keeps coming up. He’s the smartest of all of us and the least remembered (or written down)… McIlroy sat there and wrote —on a piece of paper, now, not on a computer— TMG [a proprietary yacc-like program] written in TMG… And then! He now […]
O'Reilly Radar | 27-Nov-2020 21:51

Four short links: 24 Nov 2020
OpenStreetMap is Having a Moment — Apple was responsible for more edits in 2019 than Mapbox accounted for in its entire corporate history. See also the 2020: Curious Cases of Corporations in OpenStreetMap talk from State of the Map. (via Simon Willison) Drone Warfare — The second point, “SkyNet”, is the interesting bit. Azerbaijan and […]
O'Reilly Radar | 24-Nov-2020 13:44

Four short links: 20 Nov 2020
epr — Terminal/CLI Epub reader. I Should Have Loved Biology — Conveys well the magic of the field. Notable also for the reference to A Computer Scientist’s Guide to Cell Biology, which I didn’t realise existed. Ur-Technical Debt — Reviving Ward Cunningham’s take on technical debt. Simply put, ur-technical debt arises when my ideas diverge […]
O'Reilly Radar | 20-Nov-2020 13:25

On Exactitude in Technical Debt
If software is such stuff as dreams are made on, how do we talk about nightmares? Software is not the tangible, kickable stuff our senses are tuned to, so we draw on metaphor to communicate and reason about it. The 1970s offered up spaghetti code to describe the tangle of unstructured control flow. This has […]
O'Reilly Radar | 17-Nov-2020 13:23

Four short links: 17 Nov 2020
NDSS Symposium 2020 Papers — Large pile of security research from the 2020 Network and Distributed System Security Symposium, including papers on topics as wide-reaching as hypervisor fuzzing and The Attack of the Clones Against Proof-of-Authority which sounds like a very niche Star Wars sequel indeed. Liquid Information Flow Control — We present Lifty, a […]
O'Reilly Radar | 17-Nov-2020 13:21

Four short links: 13 Nov 2020
Advanced System on a Chip Lecture Notes (2016) — Topics: 1. Basic Processor & Memory hierarchy; 2. Advanced Out-of-Order Processor; 3. Data-parallel processors; 4. Micro-controller introduction; 5. Multicore; 6. RISC-V core; 7. Advanced Multicore; 8. Multicore programming; 9. Graphics Processing Unit (GPU); 10. Heterogeneous SoC; 11. GPU Programming; 12. Application-Specific Instruction-Set Processor (ASIP); 13 PULP: […]
O'Reilly Radar | 13-Nov-2020 13:20

Multi-Paradigm Languages
The programming world used to be split into functional languages, object-oriented languages, and everything else (mostly procedural languages). One “was” a functional programmer (at least as a hobby) writing Lisp, Haskell, or Erlang; or one “was” an OO programmer (at least professionally), writing code in Java or C++.  (One never called oneself a “procedural programmer”; […]
O'Reilly Radar | 10-Nov-2020 14:29

Four short links: 10 November 2020
Hypothesis as Liability — Would the mental focus on a specific hypothesis prevent us from making a discovery? To test this, we made up a dataset and asked students to analyze it. […] The most notable “discovery” in the dataset was that if you simply plotted the number of steps versus the BMI, you would […]
O'Reilly Radar | 10-Nov-2020 13:13

Four short links: 6 Nov 2020
Dealing with Security Holes in Chips — system security starts at the hardware layer. Ubooquity — free home server for your comics and ebooks library. “Like plex for books.” Noisepage — a relational database management system developed by the Carnegie Mellon Database Group. The research goal of the NoisePage project is to develop high-performance system […]
O'Reilly Radar | 06-Nov-2020 12:59

Four short links: 4 Nov 2020
The AI Who Mistook a Bald Head for a Football — Second-tier Scottish football club Inverness Caledonian Thistle doesn’t have a camera operator for matches at their stadium so the club uses an AI-controlled camera that’s programmed to follow the ball for their broadcasts. But in a recent match against Ayr United, the AI controller […]
O'Reilly Radar | 04-Nov-2020 12:46

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