241 posts categorized "Technology and Society" Feed

For Those Who Think Machines Think They Can Think (by Paul W. Smith)


Thinking has always been an ethereal thing.  It is the most private of human activities, and while the expression “I know what you’re thinking” is part of the lingua culturae, it is a bold-faced lie.  Notwithstanding crypto-keys and blockchains, the only truly protected storage place in the universe – at least for now – is the thought-swarm deep within our respective skulls.

Brains themselves are fascinating stuff, and no one is quite sure what’s in there.  This is important, since a vessel of chemicals and tissue generating a cluster of electrical activity is one thing, but that which we call consciousness is quite another.  Physicist/Neuroscientist Paul Nunez wrestled with this, building a foundation of scientific facts with which to construct some reasonable theories.  Science also warns us, he notes, that some things are fundamentally unknowable. 

Philosophers, who spend considerable time thinking about thinking, have had a lot to say about the subject.  One of the most influential philosophical works, Discourse on Method (1637) by René Descartes, not only gave us the Cartesian coordinates that we scientists have come to love, but also introduced the discipline of Methodic Doubt.   Doubting things methodically led René to the conclusion that he could not doubt his own existence since after all he was the one doing the doubting.  The coup de grâce for self-doubters was the legendary “Cogito, Ergo Sum”, aka “I Think Therefore I Am.”

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A Line in the Silicon (by Paul W. Smith)

Draw Line in Sand BW
During the siege of the Alamo in 1836, Lt. Col. William Travis is said to have drawn a line in the sand with his sword, imploring those who were willing to defend the fort to step across.  While the story itself has since been debunked, it was good enough to insert the phrase “a line in the sand” into the popular lexicon.  Originally intended to force people to choose sides, crossing a line has also become a familiar metaphor for going just a little too far.  Politicians famously draw both types of lines, and then usually end up regretting it. 

Most of us would step across a line to proclaim that we support the benefits of technology.  There are far too many to list here, and some are more critical than others.   As recently as 1800, the average lifespan was 40 years.  Today, about 50% of the population is over 40.  Were it not for some of the benefits of technology, half of us would be dead. 

Technology is clearly beneficial, until it goes too far.   Crossing that other line has sparked debates ranging from medical record keeping and DNA databases to artificial intelligence and machine autonomy.  Technology allows us to gather huge masses of data (Forbes says we generate 16.3 Zettabytes/year) and continues to find new ways to utilize it.  Although it’s convenient to ask Siri for the closest Italian restaurant that’s open late, it also concerns me that she knows where I am, and where I have been.  The line between utility and privacy can be tough to draw.

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On Second Thought... (by Paul W. Smith)

The ThinkerMy first thought is usually one I’ve shamelessly filched from someone else, a tidbit of conventional wisdom that hijacks my brain immediately after a problem presents itself.  I envy people who can respond to the challenge of a difficult decision by saying “Let me sleep on it.”  Some may see this as procrastination in disguise, but I view it as a sign of superior mind control and emotional balance.  It offers the possibility that no short cuts will be taken and serious, thoughtful consideration will be given to the matter.

For folks like me who prefer the Easy Button, Malcolm Gladwell provided a much-needed defense.  In his bestseller Blink, he introduces people in wide ranging professions who can make brilliant decisions nearly instantly.  Why waste time mentally grinding down a problem when the first idea that pops to mind is probably the best?

Unfortunately, Malcolm also notes that most people are hopelessly inept at these snap judgments.  As he explains it, quick thinkers are good at plucking out the few key factors that really matter while the rest of us are semi-paralyzed by the overwhelming number of choices that life presents.  It’s much easier to choose between pizza and Chinese food for dinner than it is to decide “where we should eat?”

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5 Ways to Improve Your Brand Reputation Management ( by John Gumas)

5 Ways to Improve Your Brand Reputation Management

You only get one chance at making a good impression. And you never know who’s seeking you out for the first time.

Make your Brand

If there’s even one bad review on the Internet, it might be enough to convince someone on the fence to check out a different company. Brand reputation management is a major issue for all companies in the digital age, and it’s a responsibility that never ends. Therefore, your best approach is to get in front of any potential issues regarding your brand so that people will never have anything but the best impression of your business. Here are some tactics you can employ that will help you to keep your online reputation at a high level, both now and in the future.

  • Define your approach
  • Stay on top of Social Media
  • Use an SEO
  • Respond to Reviews
  • Focus on Great Content


Get the Details on 5 Ways to Improve Your Brand Reputation - Read on - 


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Common SSL certificate errors and how to fix them (by Dan Radak)

Common SSL certificate errors and how to fix them by Dan Radak

SSL certificates provide a wide range of benefits to website owners, security being the prime among them. Like software products, SSL certificates are also issued by separate vendors who follow their own software writing methods and processes. SSL certificates from different Certificate Authorities might behave differently under various circumstances.

SSL helps keep data safe from the Web to the end users Browser.


A good SSL tutorial - SSL on YouTube

As a result, it is possible that they throw up errors, some of which first time certificate users may not be able to understand or rectify on their own.

In most cases, these errors could also be warning issued by the certificate to alert the user against system and network compromises that can lead to damage.

In other cases, it could possibly be an internal error which can be easily rectified.

Here are some such common errors related to SSL certificates and how they can set right.

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