Data spies: The dark and shady practices of Silicon Valley

This is how data harvesting really works. You're not going to like it.

  • In this absorbing talk spanning the last 20 years of tech, Roger McNamee starts at the origins of the PayPal Mafia (which included entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, and Reid Hoffman) and traces them to Silicon Valley's global domination.
  • Data is used by online vendors in all industries to make behavioral predictions for profit – often in unethical or cloaked ways.
  • Did we sign up for this? Roger McNamee calls for a halt to blind participation and asks for a national debate on whether commerce based on personal data (but not for personal benefit) should be legal.
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6 ways blockchain is revolutionizing online gaming

Back with another one of those block(chain)-rockin' reads.

Image: Big Think.
  • Blockchain is already revolutionizing many industries across the board, and the gaming sector is no exception.
  • The gaming industry is a massive market on the rise with huge potential for growth, and blockchain is already looking for ways to innovate this up-and-coming sector.
  • Blockchain projects are already focusing on solving specific pain points and issues currently found in the gaming world which will be based on the technology.
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Google to Achieve "Supremacy" in Quantum Computing by the End of 2017

Google is closing in on achieving a major quantum computing milestone.

9-qubit quantum processor. Credit: Julian Kelly/Google.

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Are We Living inside a Massive Computer Program?

Is our existence base reality—or are we pawns in a matrix? Cognitive scientist Joscha Bach explains how we might be able to tell.

Are we living in a video game? If so, the joke is on us, says cognitive scientist Joscha Bach. When people debate the possibility of human existence as a simulation, it's predominantly assumed that we are the players. Our overlord simulators are watching us, right? Well, that doesn't seem to gel with the amount of detail present in our world and the observable universe beyond. Why did our cosmic creators bother to code trillions of galaxies into the viewfinders of our telescopes? The Higgs boson, for example, is not necessary for our existence, so who would have the time to add such irrelevant frills just for our amusement (maybe the simulators had a really great intern that summer)? The answer? It's not made for us. According to Bach, if this is a simulation it's unlikely that we are the main attraction and much more realistic that the simulators wanted to make a model of a universe to explore hypothetical physics. That tiny blue dot with primates mixing concrete all over the surface? "We are just a random side effect or an artifact of the fact that evolution is possible in this universe," says Bach.

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