​~The Idea of Playback Just Didn't Occur to Him~

1 year ago

Text only:

 The magazine of record for the freight industry on Uber Freight: Huh, no autonomous trucks, eh?

"Industry observers were surprised to learn Uber Freight was not launched concurrently with a fleet of autonomous trucks. Uber Freight  launched Thursday without a component many in the transportation industry expected to see: autonomous trucks. Although autonomous vehicles have been much in the news since Uber’s $680 million acquisition of Ottomotto last year, Uber’s freight brokerage and autonomous vehicle ventures are separate, and are likely to remain so, a company official said. ‘There are no self-driving trucks in the Uber Freight network,’ Eric Berdinis, senior product manager at Uber Freight, told JOC.com Wednesday. ‘Will there be collaboration? Possibly, but it’s not part of our plans for the future right now.’ He dismissed the idea that Uber Freight would be the platform for autonomous trucks as ‘a story line people like to pontificate about.’”

This is how much data you need to map the 100,000 neurons of the fruit fly

“For a given electron dose, a higher contrast sample scatters more electrons, resulting in a higher quality image. We therefore optimized fixation and embedding procedures for high membrane contrast, while preserving high quality ultrastructure. A series of 7,060 sections, encompassing the entire brain, was prepared manually. Nearly all (99.75%) targeted serial section data were successfully acquired. Ten sections were lost prior to imaging, and regions of some sections with debris or cracks in the support film were excluded from imaging. Medium- and large-diameter neurites can still be readily traced through the missing data, with minimal anticipated impact on traced networks. The resulting EM dataset comprises ~21 million images occupying ~106 TB on disk.”

+ The human brain has on the order of 100 billion neurons

 An anthropologist decides to make his own petroglyphs.

“Over the past two decades, the Russian scientist has walked the brown saltwort deserts of western Kazakhstan, carefully scanning its dust for clues dropped by the parade of humanity that once migrated through Central Asia: Stone Age hand axes, shell beads dating from the Bronze Age, arrowheads from the Silk Road era, and an occasional musket ball from forgotten 19th-century Tsarist forts. This winter, though, after climbing a remote mountain in his vast and largely unpopulated study area, Astafyev peered down at the landscape and decided to leave a few artifacts of his own. Big ones. Copying the designs of local petroglyphs, he used GPS technology, a quadrocopter drone, and a railroad tie roped to his car to sketch colossal geoglyphs across the steppe.”

The man who first recorded sound thought of his task as taking a picture (or daguerreotype) of sound

“As strange as it seems, all the French inventor cared about was seeing what sound looked like. ‘The idea of playback just didn't occur to him’ says Emily Thompson, a professor at Princeton who teaches the history of sound technology. "He wanted to understand how sounds worked. He's part of a tradition of finding ways to render sound visible so that you could look at it and learn about it."

This is an important distinction and the whole post is a worthy and interesting effort at thinking about automation (in medicine).

“A general definition of automation is the replacement of human labour with non-human effort. Note that the word ‘job’ is not part of this definition. A job is a combination of various related tasks. Automatic systems are very narrowly focused on specific tasks. They do one thing really well, but can’t really do anything else. Even with deep learning we struggle to teach individual neural networks more than a couple of closely related tasks.”

I am back writing at The Atlantic and exploring how big the big companies in tech have really gotten. Here’s two ways of looking at it:

The Weird Thing About Today’s Internet

Silicon Valley’s Big Three vs. Detroit’s Golden-Age Big Three


I also remain amazed that Facebook does not see that it is an engine for social behavior, not a camera (let alone “a mirror”)

1. joc.com 2. biorxiv.org 3. nationalgeographic.org 4. npr.org 5. lukeoakdenrayner.wordpress.com | @rsloan

~The Idea of Playback Just Didn't Occur to Him~

5it by Alexis Madrigal
Fairview Park Oakland, CA 94618 USA
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