What I'm Reading - 6/4/2018
Three to five links every weekday - 'Batteries Not Included' edition.
An article written in 2015 by a former Pentagon robotics researcher looks more prescient by the day. That summer, Gill Pratt, who oversaw robotics technology as a manager of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), said robot capabilities had crossed a key threshold. Improvements in electric energy storage and the exponential growth of computation power and data storage, he argued, had enabled robots to learn and make decisions informed by the experiences of other robots.
His expectation back then? Robots would multiply like rabbits because they were no longer simple-minded, single-purposed machines. And as robots learn more and more, Pratt argued, more people will have uses for them.
Today, that’s exactly what we’re seeing. Demand for robotics is increasingly broad-based. Everybody seems to want them.
A couple of days ago, I closed a little over $2M in a seed funding round for Seed&Spark. I’m supposed to send a press release to, like, Techcrunch or something with the headline, “SEED&SPARK RAISES $2.X MILLION TO ACCELERATE THE DIVERSIFICATION OF ENTERTAINMENT,” which, if I’m gonna be honest, is not a bad headline.
But I won’t. Not only because I’m loathe to further Silicon Valley’s regressive myth of the rockstar entrepreneur, but more importantly because the headline itself — and accompanying boilerplate article — does a complete disservice to the real story (involving real humans and human emotions) of closing the round.
An FBI agent has mapped out the nation states that pose the biggest cyber threat to the US.
Business Insider spoke to Aristedes Mahairas, a special agent in charge of the New York FBI's Special Operations/Cyber Division, about the cybersecurity landscape in America. He said the US is always alive to threats from cyber criminals, cyber terrorists, and renegade hacktivists, but nation states are at the "very top" of the threat list.
Mahairas said there has been a "significant increase in state-sponsored computer intrusions" over the past 12 years as it has become a potent way of unsettling an adversary alongside traditional espionage.
A year ago, science fiction publisher Tor Books announced that it was launching a new imprint: Tor Labs, dedicated to experimental storytelling. Its first project was a serialized podcast called Steal the Stars, a pulpy audio drama about the employees of a secretive government contractor that is studying a crashed UFO.
Across 14 episodes, Steal the Stars follows Dak (voiced by Ashlie Atkinson), the chief of security for a defense contractor called Quill Marine that in possession of an alien spacecraft buried deep underground. It’s Dak’s job to make sure that the ship and the alien contained within is kept secret, enforcing the company’s stringent security measures. But when she falls for a new hire, Lieutenant Commander Matthew Salem (voiced by Neimah Djourabchi), her life is turned upside down. Interpersonal romances are expressly forbidden, and the two go to great lengths to hide their newfound relationship as their corporate overlords demand more from the research team at the facility.