Tag Archives: internet

All of Human Knowledge in a Tablespoon of DNA

A tiny strand of DNA has an amazing ability to store some pretty big data. In fact, researchers estimate that all of the world’s digital data could fit into just 20 grams (a little more than a tablespoon) of DNA.

Every time we do anything on the internet, such as upload a photo or send an email, we generate data — which means we generate a lot of data. Most of our data is stored in the “cloud” — which really just means massive data centers around the worldLast year, all of Wikipedia was stored in a few strands of DNA.

However, these centers take up a lot of space, are costly to maintain, and account for nearly 2% of U.S. energy consumption. Plus, we’re going to keep generating more and more.) data, and existing centers won’t be able to store it all. We’ll either need to start discarding a bunch of potentially useful information, or we’ll need to think smaller and figure out how to store more information in less space.

Information in DNA is consistently sequenced, synthesized, copied, and stored… just like the information on your phone or computer’s hard drive. However, when it comes to storage, DNA has some considerable advantages. Aside from being extremely dense, it’s also extremely durable: it can survive passively for millennia. We were able to decode information from the DNA found in the 5,300-year-old corpse of Otzi the Iceman.

That’s clearly not the case with silicon microchips or magnetic tape, which tend to degrade and need replacing every few years. Last year, researchers announced that they had stored the English-version of Wikipedia (yes, all of it!) into a few strands of DNA. This year, we’ve used DNA to store the Wizard of Oz and an episode of Biohackers (a Netflix series). There’ve also been other random works of art saved, too: War and Peace, Shakespeare sonnets, and an OK Go music video.

While you and I won’t be buying synthetic DNA hard drives, considerable efforts are underway to make this a viable storage system for those who need to store a bunch of important, but rarely accessed, archival data (i.e., governments and big corporations). Researchers expect that more consumer-friendly options are at least a decade away.

In order to retrieve the information, you’ll need a DNA sequencing machine (the same machines used for sequencing human genomes), and that’s one of the hurdles to making this a household technology. As CNET points out, one of the machines “would fit easily in your house if you first got rid of your refrigerator, oven and some counter space.”

Another hurdle is the time it takes to retrieve the information. Last year, it took 21 hours to retrieve the word “Hello” (roughly 5 bytes of data) from DNA. If we’re going to use DNA as a storage system, we’ll have to make it many orders of magnitude faster.

Source: https://www.freethink.com/

Elon Musk Promises Demo Of A Working Neuralink Device Today

Neuralink, the secretive firm has been relatively quiet since its first public event in July 2019, when Musk and his team explained how the firm plans to use chips to link human brains up to computers. On Tuesday, Musk revealed more details about the event via his Twitter page. The event is set to feature a “live webcast of a working Neuralink device,” giving the public its first glimpse of the device in action. The stream is scheduled to take place on FRIDAY, AUGUST 28 AT 3 P.M. PACIFIC TIME, or 12 p.m. Eastern time.

The motto hints at one of Musk’s biggest goals with Neuralink. While it’s currently focused on creating chips that could help medical patients, Musk has spoken before about his fear that artificial intelligence could one day outsmart humanity. Neuralink, Musk reasons, could help humans more effectively communicate with these smarter systems, and develop a symbiotic relationship with machines.

It’s important that Neuralink solves this problem sooner rather than later, because the point at which we have digital superintelligence, that’s when we pass the singularity and things become just very uncertain,” Musk said in a November 2019 interview.

It’s an ambitious goal, but Musk has hinted that Friday’s event will be a more grounded affair. That doesn’t mean there won’t be surprises in store, however, and Musk’s comments suggest it could offer something spectacular.

Source: https://www.inverse.com/

How Huawei Is Dividing Western Nations

The relationship between the United Kingdom and Australia is not usually a flashpoint in international relations. After all, the two allies share a common language, ancestry, and monarch. So what caused a dustup recently that saw a senior Australian parliamentarian rebuke the British foreign secretary, and for a group of Australian MPs to then cancel a trip to London in protest?

The answer is fears over , the Chinese telecom giant at the center of the 5G next-generation wireless debate. Australian officials were miffed when the British government recommended that the company be allowed to play a limited role in the U.K.’s 5G deployment despite calling it a “high risk” supplier due to its close ties to the Chinese government (the company’s founder, Ren Zhengfei, served for many years as an engineer in the People’s Liberation Army). The Australian government, a fellow member of the Five Eyes intelligence alliance (which includes the two countries plus the United States, Canada, and New Zealand), disagreed back in 2017 when it barred Huawei on national security grounds.

Now, two close allies are at cross purposes about the very future of the internet. What’s at stake is not just who equips the future of telecom infrastructure, but the very values that the internet itself holds.

It’s not just Australia and Britain that find themselves separated by an ocean (or two). In America, Huawei has become the Trump Administration’s favorite company to hate. In a speech at this year’s Munich Security Conference, Defense Secretary Mark Esper called the company “today’s poster child” for “nefarious activity” while another White House official compared the company to “the Mafia.”  It should come as no surprise that the company is the target of trade restrictions, a criminal action against its CFO, and a concerted diplomatic campaign. 

America’s concerns are twofold. First, that critical infrastructure provided by a Chinese company with such close ties to the country’s central leadership is an unacceptable security risk. Second, that arresting Huawei’s increasing dominance risks surrendering any chance for American leadership in 5G technology.

National security considerations have predominantly driven policymakers in Australia. More alert by geography to the strategic risks posed by China, Canberra moved early and decisively to bar Huawei from participating in its 5G networks at all. “The fundamental issue is one of trust between nations in cyberspace,writes Simeon Gilding, until recently the head of the Australian Signals Directorate’s signals intelligence and offensive cyber missions.

That lack of trust between China and Australia is compounded by the difficult geopolitics of the Asia-Pacific. “It’s not hard to imagine a time when the U.S. and China end up in some sort of conflict,” says Tom Uren of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI). “If there was a shooting war, it is almost inevitable that the U.S. would ask Australia for assistance and then we’d be in this uncomfortable situation if we had Huawei in our networks that our critical telecommunications networks would literally be run by an adversary we were at war with.

Source: https://techcrunch.com/

Russia’s Secret Intelligence Agency Hacked: ‘Largest Data Breach In Its History’

Red faces in Moscow this weekend, with the news that hackers have successfully targeted FSBRussia‘s Federal Security Service. The hackers managed to steal 7.5 terabytes of data from a major contractor, exposing secret FSB projects to de-anonymize Tor browsing, scrape social media, and help the state split its internet off from the rest of the world. The data was passed to mainstream media outlets for publishing.

FSB is Russia’s primary security agency with parallels with the FBI and MI5, but its remit stretches beyond domestic intelligence to include electronic surveillance overseas and significant intelligence-gathering oversight. It is the primary successor agency to the infamous KGB, reporting directly to Russia’s president.

A week ago, on July 13, a hacking group under the name 0v1ru$ that had reportedly breached SyTech, a major FSB contractor working on a range of live and exploratory internet projects, left a smiling Yoba Face on SyTech’s homepage alongside pictures purporting to showcase the breach. 0v1ru$ had passed the data itself to the larger hacking group Digital Revolution” , which shared the files with various media outlets and the headlines with Twitter—taunting FSB that the agency should maybe rename one of its breached activitiesProject Collander”.

BBC Russia broke the news that 0v1ru$ had breached SyTech‘s servers and shared details of contentious cyber projects, projects that included social media scraping (including Facebook and LinkedIn), targeted collection and the “de-anonymization of users of the Tor browser.” The BBC described the breach as possibly “the largest data leak in the history of Russian intelligence services.”

As well as defacing SyTech‘s homepage with the Yoba Face0v1ru$ also detailed the project names exposed: “Arion“, “Relation“, “Hryvnia,” alongside the names of the SyTech project managers. The BBC report claims that no actual state secrets were exposed.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/

5G Connected Cows

They may look like regular cows, but a herd of Friesian dairy cattle at a British farm are internet pioneers and they are enjoying the benefits of 5G connectivity before you. 5G promises super-fast connections, which evangelists say will transform the way we live our lives, enabling everything from self-driving cars to augmented-reality glasses and downloading a feature-length film to your phone in seconds.

While it is being used in pockets of pilot studies around the world, the first near-nationwide coverage is not expected in countries such as China, Japan or the United States until 2023, according to industry analysts. For the cows, among the 5G-connected gadgets they are wearing is a collar that controls a robotic milking systemWhen the cow feels ready to be milked it will approach machine gates that will automatically open. The device recognizes the individual to precisely latch on to its teats for milking, while the cow munches on a food reward.

At the government-funded Agricultural Engineering Precision Innovation Centre (Agri-EPI Centre) in Shepton Mallet, in southwest England, around 50 of the 180-strong herd is fitted with the 5G smart collars and health-monitoring ear tags. The gadgets do not harm the cows and the monitoring allows handlers to see any signs of distress.

We are testing the ability of 5G to transmit the data from our sensors much quicker, and not via the farm’s PC and a slow broadband internet connection,” said Duncan Forbes, Project Manager at the Agri-Epi Centre. “And the significance of that is it means that this sort of technology could be taken up … not just on farms but on rural communities right across the country.

The working dairy, set up by Agri-EPI with the support of Britain’s innovation agency, uses a range of technology; including automated brushes that rotate when the cow rubs up against them, sensor-operated curtains that open depending on the weather, and a smart feeding system that automatically delivers food in the barn via ceiling-mounted rails.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/