* Posts by sebt

100 publicly visible posts • joined 21 Mar 2017


Kill Google AMP before it kills the web


Re: Death to AMP

Startpage is working well for me.

Let's sum up Google's VR strategy so far: Making life less crap for a lonely 20-something


The Society For the Prevention Of Cruelty To the English Language writes...

["Our goal here is really to raise all boats by doing heavy lifting," Bavor said on stage.]

The question is: if the rats leave a rising boat, does that help the camel dodge the bullet of the boat becoming the straw that breaks its back?

"Baveur" in French means someone who dribbles. And this veep was blessed by his (?) parents with the forename "Clay".

Not that I mean to suggest that what comes out of his mouth in any way resembles the dribbling of an amorphous, icky suspension of fungible, unrelated particles. No, in no way whatsoever.

Bloke charged under UK terror law for refusing to cough up passwords


Re: Be honest

"I miss the 70s when we all the terrorists were white.

From the folkish charm of the Oirish, the reliability of the German RAF/BM and the shear exuberence of the Italian communists."

If we wait long enough, ISIS culture will "develop" enough to produce a hipster craze like ours. Then we'll get PIRA/RAF/Years of Lead-style terrorist threats. But they'll only be doing it in an "ironic" way, of course.


Re: "used only in extreme terrorism cases"

Sounds like a very interesting review. What I get from your short summary of it is that CAGE messed up by underestimating the rabid, moronic fury the UK media can unleash when their stultifying, 6-brain-cell cartoon soundbites and "narratives" are questioned.

I'm blaming the UK media, but this habit extends far beyond that (ermm, "area"? "industry"? "bubbling botulism-infested sump of warmed-up excrement?") to the PR-management of the TWAT (The War On Terror) worldwide.

Terr'sm is just EVUHL, geddit? Don't ask any questions or try to think about how it came about, otherwise you're On The Terr'sts Side Innit?

UK.gov plans to overhaul £6bn in big IT deals 'watered down'


What a surprise...

"hundreds of contracts expiring this year are being renewed because civil servants are too busy with Brexit to focus on new and better-value tenders."

As if it wasn't enough that Brexit is a total waste of money, time and effort, it's also going to prevent government from even trying (yes, I know - but even trying would be nice) from pouring more money down other, pre-existing total wastes of money, time and effort.


No laptop ban on Euro flights to US... yet


Re: Why Israel didn't ban electronic devices on flights to Tel Aviv?

Why?.... simply because El Al, being the airline of Israel, a country which knows there are a lot of people who want to blow up its citizens, does proper security. Someone (maybe Bruce Schneier) wrote a long article about it.

El Al-style security is time-consuming, expensive and involves highly-trained personnel. That's because it's security that takes security seriously.

Everything else about airline security is just gesturing security-theatre, intended only as a pork-barrel and to simultaneously worry and reassure the proles. Security-_theatre_ in the sense of "local primary school nativity play".

Google DeepMind's use of 1.6m Brits' medical records to test app was 'legally inappropriate'


Re: Streams is showing real patient benefits.

The Greater Evil here is perfectly clear.

Our confidential data is being provided to a profit-making company for nothing or next to nothing. Whether it (overtly) has so far or not, the company has no obligation whatsoever to respect privacy, to use the data strictly for the purpose intended, or to do anything other than pursue its own profit. It's a company that has a track-record of building income streams from data.

The fact this exercise may have helped some people is a distraction. It's great that it did, but that's no excuse to brush the evils under the carpet, as if there was no better way to achieve the same outcome.

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Re: There's a more interesting ethical question than just "the rules"


"Would it have been ethical for them to have ignored the fact that people needed treatment and not told those people?"

Very good point. I think it would clearly be unethical.

Where that argument becomes invalid is when it gets abused (as it often is) to argue:

- Using this method, we managed to treat someone who'd otherwise not have been noticed, or even save their life;

- Therefore, any objections to the method itself (e.g. giving data to big companies for free, torturing prisoners) are irrelevant and overridden.


Re: Streams is showing real patient benefits.


"if it saves someone YOU personally care about, you will be thankful."

Ah, the usual "if it saves ONE life..." fallacy. Always deployed when there's an argument about public-health ethics. Always deployed as if it overrides any other considerations. Didn't have to wait long for it to pop up here.


Re: RE: Did the hospital or Google

"I'd be happy for my non-identifiable data to be used in an experiment of this form so long as the full results are returned to the NHS."

I'd be happy only given another caveat: that the data, and any results of research using it, remain the IP of the NHS, and subject to the same confidentiality restrictions as the original data is (I mean.... should have been).

Or, possibly, that private companies could use this kind of data to provide useful analysis, for payment of a large fee, representing the real value of the data. Fee to be used to swell the NHS's coffers for spending on healthcare.

Where did this assumption that data simply belongs to whoever can get hold of it come from? Answer: it's a convenient lie which serves enormous commercial interests like Google and FB.

Australia considers joining laptops-on-planes ban


Please no!

"Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull has said the nation is considering signing up for the laptops-on-planes ban"

Please, in the name of what is holy, don't.

This security theatre spreads by convincing authoritative-sounding people that they have to join the lemming-rush. With the risk of appearing "soft on terrorism" to 6-braincell tabloids as another goad.

How long is it since the mass pearl-clutching over "liquid bombs" was completely and thoroughly scientifically refuted? How long after will we be allowed to bring liquids onto planes, like we did throughout the terrorist-attack-riddled 70s, 80s and 90s?

All it would take to stop this is one prominent person to stand up and call out the bullshit for what it is. If Turnbull can be that person, he'll go way up in my estimation.

Someone is sending propaganda texts to Ukrainian soldiers

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Re: Biased much?

Ironic that an early-occurring phrase in a comment entitled "Biased much?" is "Kiev junta". That was the point at which I stopped reading.

Try not to scream: Ads are coming to Amazon's Alexa – and VR goggles



"VRFocus had a chat with Vertebrae's CEO and, as ad companies always are, he was full of energy and happiness about the opportunity to shove companies' products down millions of users' throats while talking about how much he respects those self-same users."

VERTEBRAE? How about Smugg Spynlss Cke-Flled MnyGrabbng Twt?

Fellow-commentards above have already done the Bill Hicks thing. But does anyone remember that very short sequence in Terry Gilliam's masterpiece "Brazil"?

The big truck is driving down what looks like a Scottish glen - but the road is lined with a continuous palisade of ads on both sides, so that people driving along it (unlike the camera) can't see anything except the ads.

That's twunts like these's vision of the future. They can shove it up where ideas like this came from, and then jiggle it about a bit.

Drugs, vodka, Volvo: The Scandinavian answer to Britain's future new border

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Very interesting...

... and it sounds like a sensible, efficient solution to the problem.

For that reason, though, it's just not going to fly in Britain. This Scandinavian system relies on self-declaration of goods, with intelligent and targeted spot checks to deter evasion.

That just doesn't fit with the British tradition of the last few decades, which is to treat _everyone_ as if they're hardworking enough to manage to be a people-smuggler, drugs smuggler, terrorist and illegal immigrant all at the same time.

This system is also focused on goods, not people. And it's the movement of people which is the great trumpeting main theme of the Brexit bullshit. I can imagine the UK government turning a blind eye to smuggling of goods into the (Scottish part of the) EU - how else is trade going to happen? But an open border, which smelly _people_ can just walk across - no way! Paul Dacre's head would explode with fury.

Which is actually a major plus point for this kind of border.

America 'will ban carry-on laptops on flights from UK, Europe to US'

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Re: Blue Riband?

For real retro-Russian cachet, plus (as William-Gibson wrote) Bond-villain panache, you want an ekranoplan:



Re: foot'n'mouth

Yep, same for me when I went to Australia at the same time. Seemed like a pretty sensible precaution - and that was before I even became informed about how keen Australians are on preventing agricultural disease from spreading. (Wasn't there even a - voluntary, honor code - fruit-bin on the highway between Victoria and NSW?)

This latest, though, is pure security-theatre bullshit. I can only hope this will be the straw that breaks the camel's back. More and more people will realise just how bullshit even current measures are, start demanding real, effective security checks, and tell the USA to go shove its idiotic rules.

UK General Election 2017: How EU law will hit British politicians' Facebook fight


Re: All your data belong to us

It's "All your data ARE belong to us".

Honestly, does no-one use proper grammar any more?


An odd argument

"Perhaps party lawyers on either side are even now testing the water for loopholes: because, it could be argued, automated processing and the use of big data in the context of elections may have a significant aggregate effect overall – but a minimal effect on individual voters."

How can that argument stand up? Even the prospect of a win by PryMincer MayBot is having a major effect on my alcohol intake.

On the other hand, the German lessons and emigration plans are going well.

Sorry, Dave, I can't code that: AI's prejudice problem


Re: Who decides?

You're not getting it - you're insisting that "rich", "beautiful" and "fair" have some (however fuzzy) accepted definition, which most people would agree on, while arguing endlessly about the details. How 20th C! Get ready for some "disruption", and get with the new definitions:

Rich: Us, who manufacture this pile-of-shit expert-system software wearing AI drag. You, possibly, if you're in a position of power and decide to be nice to us.

Beautiful: Don't use this word. There's a startup called Beautfl, backed by a bunch of ravening VCs, and they now own their brandname, all words vaguely similar to it, all equivalents in all world languages, and all words vaguely similar to _those_. You'll be hearing from their lawyers shortly.

Fair: Whatever helps us sell our shonky software. See Rich.


Bunch of snake-oil salesmen

"With algorithms increasingly making key decisions about our lives, it’s important not only to be properly represented in the data they’re considering, but to understand how they’re reaching their conclusions."

No, that's not enough. The only thing that will make algorithmic decision-making in these areas acceptable is a special kind of algorithm. This kind of algorithm would not only be open and understandable. It would also be explain to explain how and why it came to a particular decision. And over and above that, it would be able to _take responsibility_ for that decision.

There are approximately 4 billion of these algorithms moving about on the planet. (Slightly fewer, OK, if you exclude children, the senile and those with debilitating mental illnesses). And we already have heuristics, albeit imperfect ones, to select the most able of these algorithms and empower them to make decisions about sentencing, credit and so on.

What benefit is supposed to come from cracking this problem - the hardest AI problem of all? When we have perfectly good techniques to do these jobs already?

The answer is that the whole project is intellectually dishonest from top to bottom. For example, it's not actually trying to crack this hard AI problem at all - while simultaneously (and inconsistently) claiming that these algorithms can do the job not just just as well, but better than the human equivalent.

It has no aim except to contribute to the general contemporary deskilling and disempowerment of humans, while making as much money as possible for the charlatans who seem to be able to pull the wool over the rubes' eyes sickeningly easily.

London app dev wants to 'reinvent the bus'


Re: if that's the answer, then someone asked the wrong question

Any automated message deserves to be attacked with wirecutters, and the person responsible for it "reminded" with a cattle-prod, an open window with a suspiciously-low sill, a builder's skip three stories below, and a free trip to a lonely forest clearing wrapped in a roll of carpet in the back of a van.

If something's worth saying it's worth someone saying it. My ears are not an empty space to be colonised by whatever idiotic Safety'n'Security State propaganda might impinge on the space inside some moron manager's skull.

Agile consultant behind UK's disastrous Common Platform Programme steps down


According to his LinkedIn profile...

...Jeremy Renwick, chief exec of Agilesphere, held the role of Programme Manager/Agile Coach from February 2015 until April 2017.

Also according to his LinkedIn profile, he discovered antibiotics, destroyed Carthage, and turned water into wine.

UK.gov job ads entice IT bods with promise they will be OUTSIDE IR35


Isn't HMRC the government body (responsible for collecting tax, I believe), which leases one of its main offices from a tax-dodging company based offshore? Mapeley Stepps, I think it's called.

You couldn't make it up.

Capita's huge role in UK government should go under the spotlight


On my Christmas list...

... is news that Capita has gone bust, and the work it did is being brought back in-house.

They're a bunch of free-riding benefit-thieves. Rather than getting on their bike and touting for business in the free market, they suck up Government contracts in an inevitable fashion, which they can then run pretty much as they like without scrutiny, backed up by the enforcement power of the state (which they pay nothing for).

They're hardly the only ones, of course. Any company involved in railways will be on my list too - perhaps next year's birthday list, as both together is perhaps too much of an ask.

Another AI assistant... It's getting crowded in here, isn't it, Siri?


Iain M Banks...

...got the voice-sensitive AI assistant (Hub, Ship) right.

That's because he posited machine intelligences which are more intelligent than humans by so many uncountable orders of magnitude that they couldn't possibly have any selfish or prurient interest in spying on humans, slurping their data or manipulating them. (Except for SC, which provide many of the Interesting Times in the books - but even then it's mostly Mind manipulating Mind).

"We are close to gods; and on the far side".

Until Google/Amazon/Microsoft/whoever can come up with _that_, they can take their creepy, pseudo-human little demons and shove them where solar radiation never reaches.


Re: Given that

Bravo, Sir (or Madam)!

Why, for instance, have I never been stalked mercilessly by ads for Marmite lasers?

(perhaps from now on I will).


Re: I'm still lost.

"I was quite used to people wandering around stations muttering to themselves, but they usually carried a bottle of cheap sherry in a brown paper bag. One in a suit was something new."

There was a homeless guy who sold the Big Issue outside where I worked (in a very besuited and betowered part of the Melbourne CBD). I'd tell him "you take care out here, with all these weirdos walking around muttering to themselves".

Cabinet Office losing grip on UK government departments – report


Re: Obvious, really

"someone" (a civil servant) tells me that the number of Written Instructions demanded since last year is completely off the scale. (Written Instructions are where the Civil Service say "Minister, your idea is impossible/bonkers/illegal/all three" and the SPAD ignores them and retorts "do it anyway").


Re: Why senior Civil Servants are preoccupied with presentation

Not to mention the One-Man-Reason-To-Bring-Back-Transportation: Linton Crosby. (oooh, sorry, that's SIR Linton Crosby to me...).

All we need is to find another terra nullius (since the last thing the Australians want is to have him back). Maybe one of the moons of Uranus? One with no atmosphere?

Don't listen to the doomsayers – DRM is headed for the historical dustbin, says Doctorow

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Before I left the UK my friends from Poland and Hungary and Turkey were like, "Don't think this isn't going to happen in the UK, this is not a disease of underdeveloped countries or countries that don't have democratic fundamentals."

Exactly what I've been thinking for years. After a while living in Hungary I got a more and more sinister feeling that whatever Orbán was doing, the UK Tories weren't far behind - they just didn't have Orbán's audacity. Give 'em time, I thought - and sure enough, here we are in another Nonsensistan fuelled by half-witted binary nationalism.

Loadsamoney: UK mulls fining Facebook, Twitter, Google for not washing away filth, terror vids


Strong and Stable(TM)

The true origin of this infuriating catchphrase has been uncovered by the brave investigative reporters at the Mash:


(mine's the one with the blue pills in the pocket)

UK outsourcing market hits record levels


Re: I really hope

"This all turns to shit"

It already has - for anyone trying to use the outsourced "disservices". Probably for anyone working for these shysters as well.

I guess your hope is that, for a change, it turns to shit (deep, pungent, clinging shit with lumps) for the shareholders, directors, and the corrupt sods in Government who keep on shovelling cash at these fraudsters.


Not exactly impartial

"Traditional sourcing ACV (annual contract value) for France paints a less positive picture," ISG said. "The €70 million awarded in the first quarter was the country's weakest performance in five years."

A "less positive" picture? A "weak" performance?

That's assuming that outsourcing is a _good_ thing. Which of course it is, for Information Services Group. Hardly an impartial view.

UK.gov throws hissy fit after Twitter chokes off snoop firm's access


Re: Flameout...

The trouble is that your argument (leaving out your frustration) is a nuanced argument, when this Government (and governments in general these days) only deals in moronic absolutes.

"You're helping terrorists" is not exactly a nuanced argument. You don't make that argument, but Amber Rudd does. I think you're wrong in imagining that commentards want absolute freedom for commercial companies to use datafeeds for mining, but to absolutely prohibit it when it's government doing it.

My view, for instance, is that I hate datamining in general, whoever does it (barring, perhaps, researchers bound by a code of research ethics). I wish commercial companies didn't do it either. But there is a difference between commercial and government mining: the worst commercial companies can do with my data is try to sell me more spurious crap. A government can use my data to lock me up, equally spuriously.

And I believe that governments should be able to access whatever data they need to investigate a particular crime or suspect - with a court order. That's not what Rudd is implying - she wants everything.

The frustration which you in turn get frustrated by comes from the fact that idiot statements like Rudd's (though she's hardly the only one) make it even less possible for the more nuanced arguments to even get off the ground.



I don't know what depresses me most.

- The idiots who are in Government

- The idiots who uncritically spam out their PR

- The idiots who read it

- The idiots who still vote for them.

Rudd's "siding with the terrorists" crap raises an interesting question. If I had to choose to side with the terrorists or with Rudd (as her false dichotomy implies), which one would I choose? Tough one...

Actually, the answer to this conundrum came quicker than I thought. I can't be arsed to side with either of them. Let them sort out their differences, unarmed, in a cage. While I have a beer.

British government has bought a £200m 5G 'academic wet dream'



"5G is fragmented, divisive and lacking standards but – for the most part – lacks a single clear or decisive reason for being."

Whaddya mean no decisive reason? How else can we watch our milk turn sour in our IoT fridges? In HD? Or get a full spectroscopic analysis of the crap our cats have just deposited in our IoT litterboxes? From anywhere in the world?

These sceptics. Bloody Luddites, they want to keep us in the Dark Ages.

Uber cloaked its spying and all it got from Apple was a slap on the wrist


It's probably something like browser fingerprinting (see EFF's Panopticlick tool for more info). A combination of the OS/browser/installed info that's available to the webserver can be relatively unique.

While Facebook reinvents Sadville, we still dream of flying cars



"It's striking how much more ambitious the public is than technologists. Perhaps the public is naïve in wishing for a flying car."

Perhaps they are. But the public are ambitious because they're using their imagination - something that's utterly lacking in the current crop of supposedly bold, disruptive "technologists".

I'm not talking about people who try to make a flying car a reality: they're really up against the technical challenges, and trying to find an imaginative way round them. I'm talking about smug idiots like Zuckerberg, who think that extending the reach of his ad-slinging FB empire counts as "imaginative" or "disruptive" just because _he_ thought of it. Or the dickwads who come up with a juicer that only works when connected to the Internet, and then only with the company's proprietary plastic packs of fruit.

If people like that came up with a flying car, you'd have to insert IoT probes into every one of your bodily orifices, feeding the great advertising maw with data, before you could even start the engine. Like that wheel-you-sit-in in that South Park episode.

Would you believe it? The Museum of Failure contains quite a few pieces of technology

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Ovation and Mexican wave


There's a Museum of Failed Relationships in Zagreb, where you're actually encouraged to leave items representing a failed relationship. I doubt they accept live exhibits, but still, perhaps you'd be safer not going there with your other half.

Not auf wiedersehen – yet! The Berlin scene tempting Brexit tech


It's not just Brexit

"For employees themselves, a UK working visa costs more than £400 (€477), but for Germany it's £50 (€60)."

A lot of the completely unnecessary hassle in the UK predates the Brexit referendum - although Brexit will undoubtedly make it even worse.

There's a kind of punitive aspect to any kind of bureaucracy in the UK, and this applies of course especially to immigration issues. Because it's OK to make life hard for dose darned furriners - but actually that's not the whole story: Government, or rather privatised/semi-privatised Government agencies, do their level best to make life hard for anyone, British or foreign, who tries to deal with them.

The idea of an infrastructure which works smoothly and efficiently, allowing you to concentrate your energies on more interesting and productive things, has become just a memory in the UK. Maybe this is supposed to be some kind of "market incentive" to turn you into a 14-hours-a-day City trader and buy yourself into a minimally decent world.

I'm going to be doing postgraduate study in Europe, and the impression I've got is that no-one over there is in the slightest interested in making life hard for me. Sure, I may end up on a higher fee level if all goes pear-shaped in the negotiations (or, God forbid, if Boris is allowed within the country's borders to personally to deliver a series of hilarious schoolboy insults), but the bureaucracy will just be a matter of fill in these forms, prove you speak the language, pay €50, wait a while and there you go.

Free health apps laugh in the face of privacy, sell your wheezing data


Perhaps this is all just first-gen nonsense

I used to think stories like this (and the zillion other stories like it) meant that the end of civilisation as we know it was at hand. Beam me up Scotty, there's no intelligent life down here: only a mould-culture of roughly 4 billion proto-sentient lifeforms, happily letting themselves be exploited for the sake of the latest shiny-shiny.

Sometimes - like today - I feel better about it. I want no part of this IoS nonsense. But maybe this explosion of idiocy is just the first rush; a kind of co-operative act of lunacy between

1. millions of gullible consumers

2. startup shops desperate to join the feeding-frenzy with their crappy, Agile-developed little "Apps"; and

3. greedy and cynical marketing companies.

As stories like this one pile up, perhaps the bottom will fall out of this pumped-up South Sewer Bubble, and we'll start to get actually useful, properly written, secure applications to use all that network bandwidth.

Then (1) will - if they can't entirely stop being gullible - at least be gullible about something else. (2) can either start working on these useful, properly-written applications, or do something more useful than what they're doing now (like, for example, picking litter off the streets). In the absence of a B Ark, (3) are never going to go away; but if they can be kept busy staring up their own fundaments with a few of the giant stocks of Smart Internet-Enabled Colonoscopes they've entirely failed to sell, rather than bothering the the rest of us, that would improve life on the planet enormously.

No more IP addresses for countries that shut down internet access

IT Angle

Re: Not Impacting Government

Trouble is that that's an argument for never doing _anything_, on the international level, against an evil/oppressive government.

It's virtually impossible to apply international sanctions that are guaranteed to only make the people actually responsible suffer. Except, maybe, the kind of sanction that flows out of the barrel of a Walther PPK.

Teenagers think Doritos are cooler than Apple


Re: Who gives a stuff what teenagers think?

Give them a chance. We all had to go through our teenage years to become the experienced, clever onanists we are now.

(mine's the one with pocket-slits but no pockets inside them)

Governments could introduce 'made by humans' tags - legal report



And who will put the tags on? If a machine puts on the "made by humans" tag, won't the tag need a little disclaimer tag? Put on by a human, of course, otherwise there'd be no end to the tags.

An alternative version of the Shoe Event Horizon: the Von Neumann tag. Or the hegemonising tag-swarm.

Mine's the one made by humans, covered in tags...

Startup remotely 'bricks' grumpy bloke's IoT car garage door – then hits reverse gear


Bad PR move?

"The firing of the customer was never about the Amazon review, just wanted to distance from the toxic individual ASAP," a rep said in a forum posting. "Admittedly not a slickest PR move on my part. Note taken."

How can this be dismissed as a "bad PR move"? It's insane. The implication is that the company was only completely and utterly wrong to do this because of its PR effects.

Implying, in turn, that if they messed about with customers' stuff _but without it becoming known_, that would be absolutely fine.

Come friendly Vogons, and nuke us from orbit...

(I know that sentence is an ugly bastard offpsring of three parents)

'No deal better than bad deal' approach to Brexit 'unsubstantiated'


Re: @ Paul Crawford

"Probably. Can you believe people still believe the lies that we need to reapply to the WTO!"

Now you're just deliberately lying, by distorting the argument and dismissing a straw man - implying that there's no problem.

We are WTO members, but will need to agree tariffs from scratch. _That's_ what everyone has been banging on about.

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It won't make any difference...

because Theresa May is simply Right, and everyone else is Wrong. Sit Down and Be Quiet.

And as long as she and her merry band of lunatics continue to have support from the Mail-reading useful idiots who can be flipped into a nationalistic frenzy at the click of the fingers, no possible rational input will leave a mark on them.

I keep on waiting for the straw that'll break the camel's back, but it hasn't happened for 9 months yet. Far from turning into some kind of practicable, imperfect but realistic plan, it's just become more and more demented.

It's like being a passenger in the bus from Speed - but with a chimpanzee on DMT at the wheel.

Forget robot overlords, humankind will get finished off by IoT


Re: Robots won't kill off humankind.

I'd give you 100 upticks if I could for your mention of The Machine Stops.

The real threat is not the Evil Robots - it's the brainless, burbling marketing-droids: the Cloud-wallahs, the IoT-mongers, the SaaS-pushers with their fixed grins, zealots' eyes and empty, ringing braincases. And their sinister, pin-eyed financial backers.

Let's round them all up at gunpoint* and force them to read this story (in book** form) over and over until they can prove that they've actually understood it.

And then kill them anyway, just because.

* gun: an analogue device, not connected to the Internet, which you can use to propel a small lump of metal (also not connected to the Internet) at high speed into the body of people you object to. Without even using an app!

** book: a collection of sheets of paper with symbols marked on them. Not connected to the Internet. Some humans are able to - sorry, I meant "have the app to" - "read" "books" and absorb new information from them.

London councils seek assurance over Capita's India offshoring plans



"We need to focus on our core business to achieve business plan and bring the business back into a profit…"

Written, like most corporate missives, by someone with the part of their brain that deals with clear use of language surgically removed. I love "achieve business plan": the omission of "the" is obviously intended to give the impression of clipped, efficient meeting-speak, but actually comes across as something not a million miles away from "I am a complete lying moron".

And all this "focus" (meaning "you're redundant") casts a rather unforgiving light on what the "core business" being focused on actually consists of. My guess is : sucking as hard as possible on the government teat while delivering and paying employees as little as possible. Lobbying expenditure to bake this situation irremovably into the constitutional structure of the UK is just an unfortunate cost of doing business.

When can we "offshore" Capita, preferably into deep space, without a spacesuit?

Dr Hannah Fry: We need to be wary of algorithms behind closed doors


"Recruiter: Our sophisticated interview application analysis software has rejected you as a suitable candidate."

It's basically about people being too pathetic to actually take responsibility and make the decision themselves. (Because they're desperate not to make decisions: make a decision and you could get sued!). If I don't get a job, there can be all kinds of reasons. Maybe my potential future manager just didn't like me. Or maybe the interviewers decided I wouldn't be a good fit into their current situation or team. These are perfectly valid reasons: it's probably better to act on that at the start rather than trying to work together.

But people seem to prefer handing over responsibility to something "greater" than themselves, so that they can't be blamed, and to provide some illusion of objectivity and authority. If they shanghaied God into this role, they'd be laughed at. But what they're doing with their systems is no different.

(deliberately not posting as AC so that these moron "systems" put a black mark against my name)