This VR experience will have you coming back for more. As many of you have no doubt heard by now, Steam has recently lifted its restrictions on developers selling adults-only titles on its distribution network. This, as I mentioned in my previous article discussing the game giant’s brave move , is a huge step in the right direction for the adult game industry.
Strange way of starting a conversation.. my guess, an insidious chatbot ‘mixin’ it up’ so as to confuse the human prey. .. close call!
The Shoddy Science Behind Mind Uploading How outdated views of the mind are driving the movement to digitize our minds.
Many are devoting part of their life insurance toward the prospect of outwitting their death. They are entrusting their bodies — or for some, just their heads — to Alcor, a company which specializes in cryonically preserving human bodies, suspending them from death, with the intention to revive them once we have the futuristic technology to restore their health and integrate them into society. Those who have opted to preserve only their heads seek a different fate — an opportunity for their minds to be scanned and uploaded to a machine much stronger and more capable than their human bodies were.Upgrading our bodies would also enhance our cognitive abilities. According to Ray Kurzweil, a strong proponent of mind uploading, “An emulation of the human brain running on an electronic system would run much faster than our biological brains.” As they envision, the procedure would involve scanning all contents of the brain with high-resolution microscopic receptors, constructing a three-dimensional map (or connectome) of the brain and translating it into the neural code that will run on a new machine.One question we have to ask is: would scanning the brain exclusively for its information construct a complete picture of our cognition? Before we get into questions of whether extracting this data would simulate our intelligence, or who would own this data, we need to tackle this question — why scan just the brain?Mind-uploaders are content to discard their bodies, but is that wise? Implicit in this vision of mind uploading is the view that our intelligence, our reason, is independent of the body and its limitations. This view of the disembodied mind dates back to antiquity. According to Plato, “the whole body [is] a disturbing element, hindering the soul from the acquisition of knowledge” (from Phaedo, ca. 360 B.C.E.). Today, this view is echoed in the cultural imagination surrounding mind-uploading, as tech visionaries work to “extract” the mind from the body.This widely accepted view has persisted for centuries despite evidence in favor of it being absent. On the other hand, contemporary theories of the brain recognize the body as a prominent factor in shaping our mental lives. “The body,” cognitive scientist Daniel Casasanto writes, “is an ever-present part of the context in which we use our minds and, therefore, has pervasive influences on the neurocognitive activity that constitutes our thoughts.” In fact, many of the frameworks of our thinking derive from our bodies, such as how we come to understand abstract concepts — like numbers and magnitudes, time, and morality — which we cannot perceive with our senses. And considering how embodied experience influences thinking, we can expect different bodies to exercise different thinking. For instance, right- and left-handers performing the same tasks tend to make opposite judgments about the same objects and create systematically different mental images. On the basis of handedness, Casasanto found staggering cognitive differences. Imagine how acquiring new bodily attributes through technology would afford us a radically diverse array of thinking — the ultimate cognitive enhancement.Of course, the embodied aspects of our cognition complicate the roadmap for mind uploading — namely, the procedure, as scanning the brain alone would not construct a complete picture of our cognition. What’s most concerning, though, is how tech visionaries have justified overlooking contemporary neuroscience. A common criticism of mind uploading has been that we don’t understand the contents of the brain on a comprehensive level to begin simulating it. Instead of acknowledging this fact as a considerable setback, Anders Sandberg and Nick Bostrom have responded to this criticism by noting that creating a database of all raw data of individuals’ brains and making it readable to a computer would eliminate our need to understand the brain. “It is entirely possible,” they write, “that we could acquire full knowledge of the component parts and interactions of the brain without gaining an insight into how these produce (say) consciousness or intelligence.”Despite Sandberg and Bostrom’s indifference, it’s imperative that we acknowledge our biological realities if we are to transcend them through technology. We need to approach the possibility of simulating the brain by also considering its relationship to the body. Rational thought goes beyond the mind. As we work to create the conditions for artificial superintelligence, we have to make sure our visions to upgrade the mind are not being driven by outdated views of it.This story is published in The Startup,
In 2016 we saw the world come to grips with the fact that data breaches are almost a matter of when, not if, as some of the world’s largest companies announced spills of incredible magnitude. In 2017 and 2018, we started to see regulatory agencies make it clear that companies need to proactively protect users from attacks fueled by these breaches as they show little sign of slowing.In the time between Shape’s inaugural 2017 Credential Spill Report and now, we’ve seen a vast number of new industries roll up under the Shape umbrella and, with that, troves of new data on how different verticals are exploited by attacker—from Retail and Airlines to Consumer Banking and Hotels. Shape’s 2018 Credential Spill Report is nearly 50% larger and includes deep dives on how these spills are used by criminals and how their attacks play out. We hope that the report helps companies and individuals understand the downstream impact these breaches have. Credential stuffing is the vehicle that enables endless iterations of fraud and it is critical to have eyes on the problem as soon as possible. This is a problem that is only getting worse and attackers are becoming more advanced at a rate that is devaluing modern mitigation techniques rapidly.Last year, over 2.3 billion credentials from 51 different organizations were reported compromised. We saw roughly the same number of spills reported each of the past 2 years, though the average size of the spill decreased slightly despite having a new record breaking announcement reported by Yahoo. Even after excluding Yahoo’s update from the measurements in 2017, we saw an average of 1 million credentials spilled every single day.These credential spills will affect us for years and, with an average time of 15 months between a breach and the report, attackers are already well ahead of the game before companies can even react to being compromised. This window of opportunity creates strong motives for criminals, as evidenced by the e-commerce sector where 90% of login traffic comes from credential stuffing attacks. The result is that attacks are successful as often as 3% of the time and the costs can quickly add up for businesses. Online retail loses about $6 billion per year while the consumer banking industry faces over $50 million per day in potential losses from attacks.