FCC commissioner Robert McDowell concludes his 20dec2010 WSJ piece on ‘net neutrality’ with – “On this winter solstice, we will witness jaw-dropping interventionist chutzpah as the FCC bypasses branches of our government in the dogged pursuit of needless and harmful regulation. The darkest day of the year may end up marking the beginning of a long winter's night for Internet freedom.” You may have heard over the last couple of years or so that our government wants to bring ‘fairness to broadband’s onramps’. The truth, as many have explained over the months leading up to tomorrow’s latest government overreach, is far from 'fairness'. What this represents is just the latest successful attempt to fix what is not broken. Another successful enterprise will be brought under the cold hand of government control. (21dec2010 update here.)
Jeff Hawkins of PalmPilot fame came up with a new paradigm a few years back (cf On Intelligence) for how machines can learn. This is called hierarchical temporal memory or HTM. For some background on RR's Singularity Signposts please read this and see comment thread here . Hawkins deduced a new generalized building block that would mimic how parts of the human brain work. He argued that assembling these HTM blocks into a mechanical brain would allow the machine to do all kinds of clever things like learn and reason about the world. To make all this real, he and cohorts started Numenta to commercialize this technology.
Now MIT Technology Review reports (here) that Numenta is starting to sell these HTM based adaptive learning systems that can do everything from detecting credit card fraud to predicting if a treated patient will suffer a relapse.
This, of course, bears heavily on what I have described (most recently here) as the ongoing and ongrowing crisis of jobs in America. The bar for gainful employment keeps getting raised. Consider what impact machine learning technologies (i.e. HTM and Bayes nets) will have on people who were looking forward to mid-level careers in the so-called ‘knowledge industries’. Judging from their writings and spoken words, most economists and almost all politicians don’t have a clue about this tsunami. But you do.
[21dec2010 update] AtPac suit against County/Diaz finally becomes newsworthy (here).