“AI” and the importance of “Neuter”

An article by Simone Cosimi on Repubblica.it re-sings the old refrain of “the computer is stronger than a human playing chess” in the variant “Go” (which is a Chinese game, but that the journalist qualifies with Japanese terms about a Korean player, despite being the game known and played for centuries in Japan and Korea).

A semantic rigour aside, that a computer – or better, a software, can be “stronger” than a human being – is hardly a news. Everyone who plays chess knows that, having honed their skills with the many programs, some really excellent, available to the general public. As it is hardly a news the fact that the software is so advanced as to put in difficulty professionals or even champions.

But from here, to say – or to suggest – that we are dealing with a system that is more “intelligent” than Man, there is a huge gap. It would be like saying that since a mechanical arm makes perfect welds that no human being can replicate, it should be considered as able to “think”.

The problem, here, is the absence – or rather the disappearance – of the “neuter” genre in the language, because the trick of the narrative about “artificial” intelligence is in the words. Software does neither “learn” or “understand” but simply modifies its functioning at various levels of autonomy. Continue reading ““AI” and the importance of “Neuter””

The risk of using US subscription-bases’ services

Adobe block of Venezuelan accounts upon enforcement of an USA President Executive Order questions the subscription-based business model.

Once a path is paved, it will be not crossed just once. In other words: since the USA has started an extensive commercial ban against the EU and its member States, it is within the realm of possible that IT companies and software manufacturer are ordered to stop doing business with a Country.

The Adobe-Venezuelan quarrel is different from the Google – HuaWei story, because while the latter involves (at least in theory) two companies, the former is an act against a Country.

To build an IT industry entirely EU based is a top priority, but the European Commission and the member States seem not caring.

Words do Matter

Words do matter, and that’s not just a philosophical issue.

Smart contracts are not contract, cryptocurrencies are not legal tenders and Artificial Intelligence is very artificial and definitely not intelligent.

A poor understanding of the meaning of the words leads to confuse thinking and negatively affects the lawmaking process

The CIA to provide evidence of HwaWei involvement with Chinese Military and Intelligence

Even if true, where is the beef? That HwaWei got funded by Chinese military and intelligence is not an issue. Do we already forgot the “Fritz Chip”, the use of (Western-sponsored) State malware in intelligence and criminal investigation and so on?

From a national security and public policy perspective, it is  logic that a sovereign state explores all the possibilities to obtain superiority over its foes and “friend” too. Thus – if confirmed – the proof offered by CIA of HwaWei involvement with the national security apparatus shouldn’t surprise. Continue reading “The CIA to provide evidence of HwaWei involvement with Chinese Military and Intelligence”

If software were a military weapon

Software manufacturing is often compared to car building, and there are plenty of such analogies available, ranging from jokes to serious analysis.

A less considered match is the manufacturing of military weapons in contrast to sport weapons.

The history of the US Army contest that led Beretta to a winning over the German-Swiss Sig Sauer, thus securing the Italian company a rich supply contract of the “92” (renamed “M9” in the US Army naming system) is revealing.

The M9 was “the” most reliable gun in the market, being able to fire thousands of bullets without malfunctions, though enough to stand against the harshest environmental conditions and easy to both operate and maintains. Soldiers could rely upon this weapon to have the job done and not being let alone in critical moments.

How many software (from firmware, to operating systems, to platforms) are built like a Beretta M9?