[ExI] 23andme again

Anders Sandberg anders at aleph.se
Fri Jun 14 19:14:40 UTC 2013

On 2013-06-13 07:42, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> On Thu, Jun 13, 2013 at 06:34:21AM +0100, Anders Sandberg wrote:
>> identities and activities much more than we normally think. And in
>> the future every kid will have tools that make Prism look pretty
>> trivial.
> Even if that kid has his private meganode botnet, he's not
> running piece of core infrastructure and probably has a
> slightly smaller budget (no nuclear cable-splice
> submarine for you today, go back to your room and sulk).
> So the question is not about how good you are with
> Splunk or R, but how much probes you have, and how
> many large scale clusters you can afford.

In order to figure things out, you need to be able to acquire 
information, process it and know how to notice interesting things.

Right now we are somewhat obsessed with the big data idea where the data 
all resides in a central location, having been acquired piecemeal or 
wholesale over time by some organisation. It is effective, but there are 
other ways of gathering data like distributed searches and P2P. 
Currently they are inefficient, yet we cannot be certain they are not 
going to become big. The Internet of Things looks like it is going to 
store lots locally rather than in the cloud.

The processing depends on what algorithm you runs. Right now we are 
getting good at the algorithms that run well on clusters, but again that 
might just be a low-hanging fruit. There are plenty of interesting 
distributed algorithms, and it is not too unlikely that people might 
have options for running algorithms in some of the clouds.

I suspect that the key thing is people asking the right kind of new 
question. Much of the big data infrastructures today are set up to 
answer general questions or anticipated future questions, yet they might 
well enable new user categories asking unprecedented questions. 23andMe 
was not intended to support genealogy. Flickr was not intended to build 
ontologies. Google was not intended for finding unsecured surveillance 

So the real thing to watch out for is people who come up with clever 
questions. We have built an infrastructure that makes it easier to 
answer them. A Logic Named Joe is coming our way.

Dr Anders Sandberg
Future of Humanity Institute
Oxford Martin School
Oxford University

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