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Big Revolution - When dumb beats smart

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Welcome to Friday's Big Revolution. Today there's something of a 'geopolitical tensions and security'
 
March 16 · Issue #19 · View online
Big Revolution
Welcome to Friday’s Big Revolution. Today there’s something of a ‘geopolitical tensions and security’ theme – it must be something in the air…
Martin.

Big things you need to know today
Credit: Aatu Liimatta
- If Russian tensions with the West weren’t high enough already, the USA has revealed it found Russian malware in its power stations that could have shut them down. Unanswered: how widespread are such hacks among other nation states? And who has malware on Russian power station computers?
- A city in New York state has banned Bitcoin mining for 18 months, due to the demands it puts on the power grid. However, only new commercial mining operations will be affected.
- The controversial ‘predictive policing’ programme that ran in secret in New Orleans for six years has ended. It “used Palantir’s network-analysis software to identify potential aggressors and victims of violence.” Yet more evidence the US needs to look at stronger, EU-style data protection.
- Microsoft is gearing up to offer games via streams from the cloud. Sony already offers a similar ‘PlayStation Now’ service, but the next generation of consoles is likely to put such technology front and centre. 
- Google has rebranded Android Wear as Wear OS. It’s a bid to grab the attention of iOS users looking for an alternative to the Apple Watch. 
The big thought
When dumb beats smart
News yesterday of new products from Google’s Nest came as Amazon ramps up its rival bid to run your home’s heating, security and lighting. Seeing Nest now offers separate temperature sensors for different rooms had me thinking again about whether it was time to dive properly into smart home tech in my own house.
But no. I won’t.
I have an internet connected in-home security camera, but when that goes offline unexpectedly (and it does) it’s a minor inconvenience. Putting your heating online just feels like asking for trouble. I say that as I look at a weather forecast predicting more snow for the UK in mid-March.
There have been enough stories of buggy smart thermostats making people’s homes unbearably cold or hot to put me off the tech entirely. And looking at today’s news about malware in power stations, I’d rather not provide yet another vector for attack in my own home.
Bah humbug. 
One big read
A tweet from the Russian embassy in London.
If we really are sleepwalking into a ‘new Cold War’ as some have suggested recently, it’s worth keeping a close eye on how propaganda is changing. After all, Reagan and Brezhnev didn’t have Twitter and Facebook at their disposal.
It’s not all about covert bots. This article looks at how the Russian embassy in London uses meme-y humour to put across Putin’s view in shareable, bitesize chunks.
One big tweet
The Theranos fraud charges raise broader questions. Other forms of theft by other types of people result in much more serious consequences.
Villi Iltchev
Really disappointed by the Theranos coverage in the press. Totally missed the story. The story is that a massive fraud results in a token 500K fine and no other consequences for those involved. The story is about injustice in our society.
5:49 PM - 15 Mar 2018
That’s all for today...
At weekends, Big Revolution is a little ‘less big’ but there will still be lots to read. See you tomorrow!
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