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Volume 6, Issue 636:  Monday, April 26, 2004

  • "The Latest High-Tech Legal Issue: Rooting Out the Spy in Your Computer"
    New York Times (04/26/04) P. C3; Schwartz, John; Hansell, Saul

    Spyware or adware programs can run the gamut from innocent to annoying to obviously illegal: The programs' potential for irritation includes slowing down PC performance to generating distracting pop-up ads, while more sinister applications involve online activity monitoring or keystroke recording. Spyware is often installed on PCs without the user's permission when the user signs up for a free or popular service, and tech companies argue that this practice damages their brands. The first U.S. antispyware law was signed last month by Utah Gov. Olene S. Walker: The law bans the installation of software without user consent as well as programs that transmit personal data. In a letter to Utah officials, a coalition of firms warned that the law "would have serious unintended consequences on everyday, legitimate activities on the Internet," while New York lawyer Jeffrey D. Neuberger says the legislation is excessive and permits "frivolous lawsuits." Utah Rep. Stephen H. Urquhart (R) says the law would force companies to notify PC owners of the spyware's installation and offer them the option of refusing the programs or removing them with little difficulty. "I'm convinced over 75 percent of the people who have [spyware] on their computers have no idea it's there," he argues. The antispyware initiative is following a three-stage model typical of online technology: In the first stage, unwelcome practices crop up after the adopted technology reaches a certain degree of popularity; the second stage involves consumer anger generating political concern, while affected industries warn that innovation and legit business will suffer from regulation; and in the third stage, states start passing laws, prompting industry to lobby Congress to enact a less strict, more uniform federal law. In February, Sens. Conrad Burns (R-Mont.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced Spyblock, a bill requiring companies to notify consumers and obtain their permission before installing spyware.
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  • "E-Voting Debate: Can We Trust Computers?"
    Associated Press (04/23/04)

    Confidence in touchscreen electronic voting terminals has been rattled by failures in the March primaries, and this has prompted at least 20 states to propose laws that would require a paper ballot. Among the problems noted last month was a delayed vote count in Maryland due to modem difficulties, and a power surge that caused the wrong screens to appear on at least 50 percent of San Diego County's machines. Computer scientists argue that paperless systems make elections vulnerable to hacking, software bugs, and other factors that could lead to the erasure or alteration of millions of ballots. The experts are calling for the scrapping of over 100,000 touchscreens installed in U.S. counties, and a retooling of voting software development. A key California panel called for a ban on a Diebold touchscreen machine on April 22, and Secretary of State Kevin Shelley must decide whether to decertify Diebold and perhaps other touchscreen models by April 30. Still, there was support for Diebold's machines among some California voting registrars, who claimed that junking and replacing the systems, as well as training poll workers to operate replacement machines by the Nov. 2 general election, was impossible. Oregon, New Hampshire, and Illinois have made paper trails a requirement, while Missouri, Nevada, and California must have printed audit trails in place by 2006; paper ballots are also being called for by West Virginia and Washington's secretaries of state. Other critics say installing printers in touchscreens is no guarantee of election security, and advise companies to publicly disclose their voting software online. They contend that using an open-source code would help engineers make software invulnerable to hacking.
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    To read about ACM's actions involving e-voting, visit http://www.acm.org/usacm.

  • "Top Strategic Technologies for 2005"
    Tech Update (04/22/04); Farber, Dan

    Enterprise technology will become more pervasive and useful for businesses through 2005, says Gartner, and points to 10 technologies expected to make the biggest impact in 2005. Instant messaging has already changed the way many companies work, but improved security will allow companies to include the tool in more applications; Gartner reports that instant messaging has reduced its own email load by 40 percent and trimmed voice calls by 70 percent. Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) will make wireless networks a trusted alternative to wired networks, says Gartner research vice president Carl Claunch, while the upcoming 802.11i standard will include even stronger encryption algorithms. Large businesses especially will benefit from the build-out of standardized taxonomies and vocabularies, which will enable employees and machines to more accurately categorize and search for data. Voice-over-Internet-Protocol (VoIP) will be another big technology in coming years, with companies switching over due to normal replacement cycles, productivity benefits, and cost savings. Businesses' IT infrastructure and operations will be increasingly defined by services instead of technological components, reports Gartner, and software-oriented development will allow for modular Web services that can be assembled quickly into enterprise applications, as well as reused throughout the organization. Internal IT infrastructure will become more real time and shared across applications instead of compartmentalized and dedicated to single applications. In terms of vendor outsourcing, utility computing schemes will allow businesses to reduce risk and match IT outlays more closely with real business activity. Further out, Gartner sees grid computing allowing for even more seamless sharing and utilization in enterprise IT, and also predicts increasingly converged network security functions with the exception of anti-spam operations.
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  • "U.S. Programmers: Bargains Go Begging"
    Business Week (04/22/04); Gumpert, David E.

    Mark Jennings of Synergroup Systems is offering to provide the services of U.S. programmers to customers at rates competitive with those in overseas markets such as India and the Philippines, a practice dubbed "insourcing." Author David E. Gumpert reports that such a proposal is a tough sell due to the popularity of offshoring and the cost savings it represents. His interviews with customers and prospects reveal that some companies believe overseas rates are still far more desirable than the reduced pay Jennings is offering. Others, such as Ceridian VP John Magrann, claim that offshore firms can not only provide a complete outsourcing package that includes programming, management, and communication, but boast high "Capability Maturity Model" ratings for assessing programming expertise. In addition, Digital Evolution VP Michael Gibson notes that customers expect service providers to use offshoring to some degree--otherwise, "they feel you are not up to the game." Still, Jennings thinks the time is ripe for insourcing, based on U.S. programmers' willingness to work for significantly less money, and his own willingness to settle for lower margins in the hopes that they will be offset by volume. However, Gumpert writes that as things currently stand, major corporations are more likely to look upon Synergroup's services as a fallback in case foreign outsourcing is restricted. Jennings, meanwhile, is trying to bring prospects and customers aboard by appealing to their sense of patriotism, but has thus far only succeeded in finding work for two American programmers.
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  • "Feds Want to Eavesdrop on Internet Phone Calls"
    SiliconValley.com (04/25/04); Gillmor, Dan

    Dan Gillmor voices concerns stemming from law enforcement's lobbying of the FCC to force broadband service providers and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) companies to allow their customers' Internet phone calls to be monitored. He acknowledges that law enforcement agencies' motives are understandable: Their fear is that malicious parties will communicate via VoIP, which is not currently covered by the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) of 1994. AT&T Labs researcher Steven M. Bellovin noted at the annual Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference that the Internet Engineering Task Force argued the pointlessness--and danger--of attempting to modify the Internet's infrastructure for wiretapping, as the additional complexity would raise the odds that third parties will be able to breach networks. Data encryption can be employed to secure VoIP calls, but if this encryption is prohibited, then both civil liberties as well as personal and corporate security will be further eroded, Gillmor writes. Lee Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation warned conference attendees that if law enforcement succeeds in its CALEA expansion request, then it, the FCC, and the major network gear manufacturers will regulate future Internet development. He also said that law enforcement wants the FCC to institute a surcharge on communication to pay for VoIP wiretapping, yet does not want the surcharge to show up separately on customers' bills. "Silicon Valley companies should be shouting from the rooftops against this latest incursion," writes Gillmor, who adds that the measure would force new technology developers to obtain authorization from the FCC prior to implementation.
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  • "Oh, Yeah, He Also Sells Computers"
    New York Times (04/25/04) P. 3-1; Markoff, John

    Apple's Steve Jobs continues to bear the standard of pervasive digitalization where his contemporaries have shrunk back, according to experts who note Apple's recent success in selling consumer electronics products. "Despite all of his warts, Jobs has kept the dream alive, whether it's movies, music, or photos," says Forrester Research chief executive George F. Colony. Since his return to Apple, Jobs has reinvigorated innovation and steered the company with what observers say is an instinct for what will work in the real world; that intuition helped Jobs avoid getting into areas too early, such as with the Newton and General Magic handheld products, or from investing in Internet services even when the move seemed to make the most sense. Observers in Silicon Valley maintain that Jobs' superior sense of consumer desires will keep Apple ahead of larger competitors such as Sony and Microsoft, which this year plan to release handheld devices that not only play digital music, but digital video as well. Jobs has said handheld video is unnecessary, and is expected to announce his company's contrarian vision at the upcoming World Wide Developers Conference; that vision may involve a household media box similar to the Media Center PCs advocated by Microsoft and Intel, but more likely will be an expansion of Apple's consumer electronics line, of which the iPod is the flagship product. Some Apple watchers see a digital mobile phone that takes advantage of an expanding VoIP market, and these theories are supported by Apple's quiet inclusion of the new 3GPP and 3GPP2 wireless standards in its QuickTime multimedia software. Apple's most recent financial results show iPods outselling Macintosh PCs, and Jobs says his company holds 45 percent of the MP3 device market and 70 percent of the emerging market for legal music downloads. Those figures open up new frontiers for Apple innovation beyond the company's 5 percent market share in PCs, Jobs says.
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  • "Good Times Roll for Australian IT Jobs, Salaries"
    ZDNet Australia (04/21/04); Ferguson, Iain

    Australia has reason to be optimistic about job opportunities for information technology workers, as the IT Skills Hub forecasts a 25 percent increase in advertised information and communications technology (ICT) positions over the first six months of 2004. According to the nonprofit organization formed by the federal government and the information technology and telecommunications industry, there was an 18.7 percent increase in ICT job advertisements over the last half of 2003, compared with the first half of last year. IT Skills Hub, which produced the Market Monitor survey, projects a 5 percent increase in ICT salaries over the first half of the year, up from 3.1 percent over the last half of 2003. Executives at the nonprofit say most advertisements will involve security and risk management, open source software, systems integration, and project management. Over the last half of 2003, there was a 67 percent increase for security specialists and a 10.6 percent increase in salary. After a 73 percent increase in advertisements for hardware engineers, the position faces the largest position decrease, and the growing role of general technical support will reduce the demand for operators, database administrators, network administrators, and systems administrators. IT Skills Hub CEO Brian Donovan added, "We do not want to continue the peaks and troughs of skills oversupply and shortages and therefore need to align education and planning and business planning and industry projections to get the right mix of what skills are to be needed and when--including the developments in e-risk management and e-security."
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  • "Fingertips 'Read' Text Messages"
    BBC News (04/22/04); Sandhana, Lakshmi

    Researchers at Germany's Bonn University have developed a system that enables a person to discern a text message as a "tactile melody" using a mobile equipped with arrays of pins, whose movements are directed to produce specific patterns under the user's fingertips. Circles, lines, squares, and simple letters can be perceived by the system, but Rolf Eckmiller of Bonn University's Division of Neural Computation insists that communicating letters is not the researchers' intention. "What interests us is the rapid transmission of sensory units, such as I, you, in an hour or to Bonn," he explains. The scientists are developing software that will allow the mobile to become owner-adaptive, and permit users to build their own individual tactile vocabulary. The system's advantages include enabling people to perceive messages when illumination is poor or in complete privacy. The researchers claim that the system can be rapidly taught to recognize the melody the person wants to correspond with an event, object, or word, which the person can recall with as much ease as remembering sounds or pictures. The scientists expect the device will eventually lead to exclusively tactile SMS messages, but the technology could also be applied to automotive systems that alert motorists to problematic situations and correct routes, for instance. Other potential applications include medical engineering to recreate sounds for hearing impaired people or enhance blind people's perceptions, while still another possibility is fully tactile artwork.
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  • "Open Your Mind to the Home Automation Era"
    IST Results (04/22/04)

    Information Society Technologies' HOMETALK project involves an open-source home automation and networking platform that links previously unconnected machines--ovens and phones, for example--via a homogenous reference point or Residential Gateway, which can deploy this technology convergence through the required hardware and software protocol stacks. "We offer it back in open-source in order to allow for input by other parties and to quickly gain adoption by developers," explains inAccess Networks CEO Christos Georgopoulos, who notes that creating a standard platform and integrating the developer community is the HOMETALK partners' goal. HOMETALK includes speech-enabled graphical user interfaces so that user interaction is more natural; the system can be controlled from a PDA or garden-variety telephone by either programming or uttering into the handheld the HOMETALK-based system's desired functions. "The central control/automation engine of HOMETALK [called HERMES] includes a scheduler...It can register alarms that the user sets directly through the telephone by performing voice recognition," explains HOMETALK's Jan Sedivy. With voice recognition, elderly and handicapped people could perform tasks that would otherwise be impossible or difficult on the platform. HOMETALK's advantages include lower development time, a common language, and the potential to concentrate on value-added service rather than connectivity. The platform will be tested in Madrid and Athens between June 2004 and May 2005.
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  • "Optical Quantum Memory Designed"
    Technology Research News (04/28/04); Smalley, Eric

    An optical quantum memory device that can store photonic quantum bits (qubits) has been designed by scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The quantum transponder could be employed to build quantum repeaters that would increase the range of nascent quantum cryptography systems, while California Institute of Technology researcher Robert Gingrich says the device could one day be applied to all forms of quantum data processing. "We are aiming to design and ultimately build a complete quantum Internet using only linear optical elements," he notes. "The quantum computers at each node and the quantum communication lines that connect them [would] all [be] made out of these simple resources." The plan is for qubit pairs to be encoded in sets of four photons in a manner that permits the two qubits to be read even if one of the four photons is missing. Qubits would be channeled into a fiber loop and a quantum computer would fix errors caused by the fiber's absorption of photons. Lost photons would be replaced by a photon-generating device included in the transponder that would connect multiple transponders in a series to extend quantum communications. Earlier quantum repeater designs widen transmission range by controlling the quantum state of entanglement in pairs of atoms or subatomic particles, while the transponders would extend transmission range via simple error correction. NASA, the National Security Agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Office of Naval Research, the National Reconnaissance Office, and the National Research Council underwrote the project, which Gingrich reckons will yield a practical transponder in five years.
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  • "Credit Card Only Works When Spoken To"
    New Scientist (04/21/04); Biever, Celeste

    Beepcard engineers have developed a prototype credit card that aims to prevent fraud and deter credit-card theft by responding to a spoken password from its owner. The device builds on an earlier Beepcard technology with an embedded loudspeaker that "squawks" an acoustic ID signal to an online server through a computer's microphone; the server confirms that the signal and the card details match in order to infer that the user actually has the card with him, and the ID code changes every time the card is used in a pre-ordained sequence known only to the server so that fraudsters cannot record the beeps. The new card, which incorporates a microphone, a loudspeaker, a voice-recognition chip, and a battery, is designed to prevent thieves from using stolen cards: Like the earlier card, the new device uses its ID squawk to identify itself, but only after it has confirmed the user's password. The only way thieves would be able to fool the card is by recreating the owner's voice accurately. The owner pushes a button on the card, generating a spoken prompt to utter his password; once the password is authenticated, the card squawks and the server confirms it to permit a transaction. The electronics are only activated when the card is being used in order to conserve power, and Beepcard plans to make the battery capable of supporting 10 transactions a day for two years. The card is much thicker than an ordinary credit card, but Beepcard CEO Alan Sege says the company plans to slim the device down by using smaller chips. Further challenges include ruggedizing the battery to survive wear and tear.
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  • "Hackers: Under the Hood"
    ZDNet Australia (04/19/04); Gray, Patrick; Foo, Fran; Gray, Patrick

    Network security cannot be effective without a thorough understanding of the hacker mindset, and several hackers--Brian Martin, Adrian Lamo, and Raven Alder--agreed to be interviewed to discuss their backgrounds and motivation. Martin, 30, is best known by the moniker "Jericho," and his most notable work is the co-creation of the attrition.org Web site, a catalog for defaced Web sites and security holes. Now employed as an independent security consultant, Martin recalls that his hacking escapades ran the gamut from just plain silly to downright paranoid, such as the time he hacked into the phone network because he was worried that his line was bugged. He says the security industry is in a sorry state, and is characterized by a shortage of "real" skills and overpriced products of exceedingly poor quality. Lamo, 23, started hacking when he was eight years old; disenchanted by hacker culture, he prefers working alone, and has applied his nomadic lifestyle to his online exploits. Though Lamo has never hacked for malicious reasons (he would usually contact network administrators and describe how he penetrated their systems), he was arrested when he broke into the New York Times network and gained access to its contributor database. Lamo calls the security industry dishonest, and says that to work in such an industry would be tantamount to prostitution. Alder, 28, admits she is "geekish," and shares with Martin and Lamo a disdain for the security industry: "The root problem that the security industry has is...unscrupulous people selling to an uninformed market," she explains, although she also reserves some culpability for end users, who remain willfully ignorant. "People who understand security are necessary, and in chronically short supply," Alder laments.
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  • "Cream of the Science Crop"
    InformationWeek (04/19/04) No. 985, P. 75; Murphy, Chris

    Recruiting students will be among the challenges Randal Bryant faces as the new dean of the School of Computer Science at Carnegie Mellon University. Although Carnegie Mellon still accepts one out of ten students who applies to the computer-science program each year, the number of applications this year was down more than 40 percent from 2001. Concerns about outsourcing of IT jobs overseas and the end of the dot-com boom has students thinking about careers in other fields. Bryant wants Carnegie Mellon to continue to bring in the best teenage scientific minds. "It's clear if public perception is that IT is dead, or all the jobs are going overseas, we risk losing the best and brightest," says Bryant, an expert in modeling tools for integrated circuits. Bryant is considering embracing robotics, data mining, spoken-language recognition, automation, sensor technology, and other emerging fields to boost the department's appeal to more undergraduates. His colleagues at the computer science department are also considering how to work more closely with schools tied to fields that are increasingly relying on technology. For example, the biology department approached the computer science school about a joint effort five years ago because it knew areas such as genomics have computational demands.
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  • "Can E-Mail Be Saved?"
    InfoWorld (04/19/04) Vol. 26, No. 16, P. 40; Boutin, Paul

    Email's usefulness in the enterprise is being threatened by the growing problem of spam, which is why email's role in the workplace needs to be reconsidered; a panel of a half-dozen software entrepreneurs offer various solutions, but all concur that the effectiveness of any solution stems from positive identification. Sendmail author Eric Allman believes that email problems are not restricted to spam, and his solution is to redesign SMTP with a focus on cryptography rather than DNS-based authentication. He also thinks a standard domain-authentication mechanism should be implemented across the entire Internet. Bill Warner, developer of the Wildfire voice system, says challenge-response systems should be patterned after the U.S. Postal Service's method for identifying abuse by using caller ID schemes to identify the people sending the email instead of the servers. Reinventing email is not the answer, according to Ray Ozzie of Groove Networks: What is called for is a move away from the email paradigm, in which workplace activities are transferred to other, more appropriate paradigms such as instant messaging and RSS. Userland Chairman Dave Winer states that email is no longer valid as a publishing tool, and the best solution is RSS, which he has made immune to spamming by keeping the system opt-in at both ends. Proofpoint Chairman Eric Hahn says email content must be made automatically parsable, and this shift is being driven not just by spam, but by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002; his solution involves converting email into metadata packaged in XML. Inventor Brewster Kahle offers the bluntest solution to spam, in which spammers are prosecuted by law enforcement for committing acts of fraud. Moreover, Kahle says this can be done without passing excessive new laws; for instance, he suggests that spammers who conceal their real names and addresses should be reported to the FBI for sending forged documents.
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  • "Use It and Lose It"
    CIO (04/15/04) Vol. 17, No. 13, P. 103; Edwards, John

    Disposable technologies offer convenience and significant cost savings, but come with caveats such as uncertainties about security and environmental impact; balancing their advantages and disadvantages is a key challenge for CIOs. Technologies such as radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags become disposable once their repair and maintenance costs outweigh product price, and users stand to save a lot of money by eliminating the need for upkeep and upgrades. Security is essential for technologies that store personal or financial data, which is why some RFID-based products use encryption, for instance. Other disposable products promise to augment the security of key assets, an example being Cypak's SecurePak technology, a tool for tracking items that can determine whether packages have been tampered with. Environmental concerns about disposable technology have prompted many manufacturers to design eco-friendly products such as organic light-emitting polymers and a paper-based cell phone invented by Randi Altschul. Disposable devices are also being rolled out that can fit into existing recycling initiatives, but recycling could gain in complexity with the emergence of smaller digital devices that are incorporated into everyday objects such as apparel. "Disposable [smart] clothing will be a challenge because it will involve lots of different materials, all close against one another," notes MIT professor Edwin Thomas. Such a challenge makes the case for molecular recycling, in which discarded products are recycled without being broken down into their component ingredients.
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  • "No Wires, No Rules"
    Business Week (04/26/04) No. 3880, P. 94; Green, Heather; Crockett, Roger O.; Rosenbush, Steve

    New wireless technologies promise to revolutionize communications and foster even more breakthroughs through their use of free and unlicensed radio spectrum. "The licensed world tends to move in this fairly ponderous way, but with unlicensed spectrum people can try out other things and learn there is a whole market sitting out there," notes independent technology strategy consultant Kevin Werbach. This wave of innovation was triggered by the creation and runaway success of Wi-Fi, a high-speed wireless networking technology that links PCs and other devices across short distances and connects them to the Internet. Following Wi-Fi is ZigBee, a product that supervises communication among thousands of tiny sensors; WiMax, a high-speed wireless networking solution with greater range than Wi-Fi; Mobile-Fi, which supplies high-speed wireless access to moving vehicles; and Ultrawideband, which allows users to quickly transfer large files over short distances. These wireless Internet technologies promise to speed automation and boost productivity by collecting previously untrackable information and by making data available on an as-needed basis. Various issues must be settled before these technologies can take off: Mobile-Fi and Ultrawideband face competing standards, while cellular companies are deploying 3G (third-generation) technology to give customers high-speed Net access on their cell phones or laptops. There are also worries that these various devices could overcrowd the radio spectrum and interfere with each other, which is why tech companies are asking the FCC to allocate more spectrum. If successful, these technologies would spark more significant advancements, such as interconnected networks that serve as the foundation for new services.
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  • "Internetworking"
    Technology Review (04/04) Vol. 107, No. 3, P. 44; Fitzgerald, Michael

    Startups that employ social-networking software are helping users build, outline, and take advantage of a web of social and professional associations that stretch beyond their everyday social set. Through companies such as Visible Path and LinkedIn, people are using these webs to land jobs, business meetings, and sales leads, among other things. Investors and technologists are confident that these second-generation networking companies will not repeat the mistakes of the first generation: Not only are startups spending money more wisely, but consumers are more wired than they were half a decade ago. Visible Path co-founder and President Antony Brydon estimates that 80 percent to 90 percent of real-life social networks are digitized to some degree. LinkedIn is a typical representative of business-oriented networking sites: Users first construct a profile as simple or as sophisticated as they wish, and then search for acquaintances on the site and invite them to join the network; they consequently gain access to the connections of friends who join, and the network can help them meet any promising contacts they uncover. The question remains whether networking firms will turn a profit from such services, while an even more important question is whether computer-generated social-network maps will accurately mirror real-world social webs. Firms can take heart in the fact that current networking sites are enjoying more sustainable growth than their antecedents. Mayfield general partner Allen Morgan notes that the content of these sites is generated by users, whose word of mouth is an unbeatable--and cheap--marketing tool.
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  • "Forecasts for Artificial Intelligence"
    Futurist (04/04) Vol. 38, No. 2, P. 24; Stedron, Bohumir

    The roadmap for artificial intelligence's evolution over the next three decades is debatable, but intriguing. Issues to monitor as AI development proceeds include its environmental impact and the growing importance of artificial life. Projected developments in the years 2010 through 2020 include the high-tech R&D dominance of the United States, Germany, Japan, France, Ireland, Finland, and China; intelligent computers and telecommunication networks governing teaching and enabling voice command for 3D Internet, radio, television, medical care, mobile phones, and other services; heavy reliance on AI systems for the enaction of laws; the integration of information technologies, nanotechnologies, and biotechnologies, along with their associated disciplines; the emergence of quantum and DNA computers, and antiviral programs that eliminate artificial life that threatens to interfere with vital infrastructure; and the passage of socially beneficial new laws that address the risks of AI development, such as over reliance on robots and electromagnetic smog. The years 2020 through 2030 could witness the creation of new, highly intelligent materials as well as intelligent computers and telecom networks capable of self-repair, scientific research, and production. Other potential developments in this decade include implants that effect direct communications between humans, computers, and cetaceans, and new legislation that grants certain robots human rights. In the fourth decade of the 21st century, AI may become advanced enough to copy the intellect of any person, which could necessitate the creation of laws to regulate and protect such duplicates. The geometric model of the world could be supplanted by a holographic model, while AI systems could extract holographic data from the environment. Finally, mysterious phenomena such as ESP and energy fields could be better understood or even harnessed for practical applications.

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