Let’s be honest – nowadays cyberattacks are not a surprise for any of us. We are slowly getting used to deepfakes, info leaks, disinformation used for way more critical things than creating memes with politicians or celebrities. In one of my previous articles, I already presented one of the cases of deepfake usage by russian authorities, aimed at President V.Zelenskiy.
However, unfortunately, it was not the only digital attack used by russians after invasion. On Friday, 29 April, Romanian key public institutions experienced a series of cyber attacks, including the Defense Ministry. According to Romanian authorities, the attack was not that serious and all the data is protected. They also claim that russian Killnet hacking group is responsible for that. However, Romania is not the only country suffering from russian cyber attacks recently. Czech Republic also experienced similar issues with websites of the Czech government, Czech Interior Ministry and police, firefighter departments. No data was leaked as well.
Obviously, most of russian cyberattacks were aimed at Ukraine. According to Microsoft analysis – there were more than 237 operations, majority of which were stopped by Ukrainian intelligence. What is interesting, that these attack usually come “in pack” with missile strikes and shelling of some of Ukrainian cities. It is done on purpose. For example, on March 1st it was a great attack on media companies in Kyiv, after which, in the same day, Kyiv TV Tower was hit by a missile.
“It’s been a relentless cyberwar that has paralleled, and in some cases directly supported, the kinetic war,” Mr. Tom Burt ( leads the Customer Security & Trust team) said . Hackers affiliated with Russia were carrying out cyberattacks “on a daily, 24/7 basis since hours before the physical invasion began,” he added.
As of me, the war that is happening on the ground and the missiles flying on the sky of residents of Mariupol, Melitopol, Odesa, Kharkiv, Kherson, Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities – more terrifying and heart-breaking than cyber attacks. On the other hand, we should not forget that the data, especially the one from key institutions of the country, is important – it can literally influence Ukrainians lives.
What do you think about this? Are cyberattacks influential enough to change the outcome of the war? Is it a new form of war, never experienced before?
Since the start of the corona crisis in 2020, the use of VPNs has increased enormously. Whether it concerns large-scale home working, online meetings, music or music streaming. But why are more and more people using a VPN? And why do you need a VPN in 2022?
You may not have heard of VPNs, not to mention how VPNs work. In this article, we’ll talk about what a VPN is, how it works, and why you need a VPN in 2022.
What is a VPN? VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. With a VPN, the IP address is adjusted by connecting to a server in another country. As a result, you can browse the web anonymously, access content that is not available in your home country, or keep your IP address secret. Using a VPN connection makes surfing the internet a lot easier and safer. A VPN acts as an intermediary between your smartphone, tablet or laptop and the server.
What can you do with a VPN? VPNs have various properties that contribute to a secure and anonymous internet. By using a VPN, you can surf the web more securely. This is achieved, among other things, by the fact that VPNs disguise their actual location. And that way you don’t leave any traces on the web. You can surf the web completely anonymously by connecting to a secure VPN like ExpressVPN. The ExpressVPN What is a VPN page clearly explains what a VPN is and what it can do for you. But why would you want that? For example, a VPN makes data unavailable because the company cannot collect it. Your data is worth a lot of money, which is why companies like to collect your data. You can prevent this with a VPN.
Why a VPN in 2022? This year we are more digital than ever. Never before have so many transactions been done online, never before have there been so many online meetings as now. In addition, there is also a continuous threat of cyber attacks and online terror. That is one of the reasons why it is very important that you protect your online privacy. This is possible with a VPN.
Stream content from all over the world VPNs also work to your advantage when viewing various content. For example, some content may not be available in the Netherlands. You can solve this with a VPN. The VPN changes the IP address and in this way also displays the content available in such countries.
Encrypt your network With more people working from home and more digital traffic, there is also more crime on the web. Hackers and malware are becoming more and more active, so it is important that you protect yourself against them. Something that works more than excellently with the help of a VPN. With a VPN it is possible to encrypt your internet connection. Something that comes in handy when you have to work on a guest network. The more secure your connection is, the better it is for you.
Logging into public Wi-Fi networks carries some risks and in addition, not all websites are free to visit in certain countries. The connection can be very slow at times and you unintentionally share more information than you would like.
ENSO – is a polish startup based in San Francisco, whose founders Wojciech Danilo and Sylwia Brodacka decided to address the issues of modern “Data Related” programming languages and create a new Data language which is written on Scala, Rust, Java and also have some data-processing components on Python, R and visualizations on JS. Application also has a GUI on top of it. Their idea was evaluated in 16.5$ millions dollars by ventures such as Signal Fire, Khosla Ventures, Day One Ventures, Decacorn Capital, Y Combinator, Samsung Next, Harvard’s Endowment, West Coast Endeavors, Innovation Nest and others. Founder stated that this investment will be spend on creating the Enso Cloud (platform with powerful hardware that will be able to handle heavy data workflows)
According to the founders of ENSO the main idea and motivation behind the project was to create a Data-Specialized language that would be able to inherit all of the features of Data Science languages such as R, Python, Java and create User Interface on top of it, so that people that are nor programmers nor engineers were able to create end-to-end automated data pipelines (from ingestion to visualization) just in a few clicks without learning the syntax.
Furthermore, due to the fact that ENSO project is open source and its code is available on GitHub, companies’ Data Engineers or Software Engineers can dig into it and create new features on top of it that will be able to fulfill some organization specific tasks, such as for example recently some programmers from the ENVO community committed several features to the project, which right now allow to process and analyze the 3D models, sounds and IoT devices networks.
It was also stated that ENSO has features of managing, orchestration and control of data processing pipelines such as identifying errors and even preventing some of the common errors for happening using ingested AI algorithms. Moreover, ENSO has a support for all of the modern deployment, versioning technologies and also supports importing Python, Java and R packages for performing specific tasks.
As it was mentioned by the engineers of Enso, programming language can perform data processing tasks 80x faster that it was intended to be on the original programming language such as Python for example.
Finally, Enso team already released a few initial versions of the Enso language itself and the optimized GUI on top of it, so anyone can test or use it right now after just watching a short video tutorial in 20 minutes. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQvWMoOjmQk
The $44 billion offer was made by Elon Musk to acquire Twitter. This deal has been made after the released information that Elon bought 9.4% of Twitter shares before. On the 14th of April, Elon has proposed a deal to buyout Twitter as a whole and take it private. On Monday, 26th of April, Twitter agreed to the deal for Elon to buy the company at the price of $54.20 per share, which is 38% higher since it’s been revealed that Musk is trying to buy it out.
The famous Tesla CEO, has been a very, very active Twitter user in the past. There are numerous infamous tweets made by Elon, which disrupted our society in many ways. From changing prices of stocks, crypto and “normal currencies, to creating a huge scandals over his controversial short sentances sent to his 83-million follower group. To say that he has been influential for the platform is an understatement. Elon is ensuring that he has great plans for Twitter, and all of them revolve around the freedom of speech. Supposedly, Elon wants to
“make Twitter better than ever by enhancing the product with new features, making the algorithms open source to increase trust, defeating the spam bots, and authenticating all humans. Even my worst critics remain on Twitter, because that is what free speech means.”
The changes that are coming will certainly have a big impact on all of us. The question is, what kind of impact – what kind of consequences will it have? Personally, I think that the plan to take down of bots is great. Bots are one of the main reasons for me to not use twitter. Also, if Elon’s plan to ensure freedom of speech, while increasing trust and defeating spam and misinformation will work out, twitter, for the first time could be taken seriously as a medium fo information for the public.
What do You think? How do you see it and what consequences this deal can have for all of us? Let me know in the comments below!
Ever since the covid-19 pandemic, many parts of our lives have switched online, and socializing online, whether in the metaverse, VR, or Zoom, has become quite normal. Conferences, working, learning, training, and collaborations in the workplace have already become overwhelmingly online.
For those who are not familiar with the concept of the metaverse, the metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. Some call it the next generation of the internet. Unlike the current internet, it’s decentralized and places emphasis on virtual experiences and activities. Some companies started to use this metaverse in their workplace, and instead of having a zoom call, people meet in virtual reality with others’ avatars by wearing devices like headsets. Some even started to use it in socializing in the workplace.
When used properly, the metaverse has lots of pros. First, it can allow employees to connect even when all workers have not fully been back to the office. By using the metaverse, employees can meet colleagues even though they’re not in the office or they’re working in another country. The metaverse also features various functions. One of them is a spatial audio system, which allows people’s voices to get louder or quieter depending on how one’s avatar is close to another’s in the virtual space. They can add more reality, unlike Zoom meetings where the focus only goes to the speaker. They might also use a digital whiteboard for visual collaboration among remote workers. Virtual games, like playing golf together or doing casual mobile games are also possible in the metaverse. Overall, it enables working or socializing even in bad conditions, not only for the pandemic but also for people who get injured or need to take care of their children.
However, like always, there are also some downsides. First, there’s physical discomfort when using VR headsets. They are bulkier and heavier than most would like. Secondly, socializing in VR could be like socializing online. Eventually, it might cause some phenomenon like Zoom fatigue. It also makes people lose real connection with people. Lack of in-person socialization is already a problem ever since the pandemic.
For some companies, VR devices have become part of the essential hardware with laptops and phones. Let’s look at the company Accenture. The global IT consulting firm purchased 60,000 Oculus Quest 2 headsets, which is Meta’s entry-level VR device. Their onboarding process now includes training that even might happen in their virtual space (the metaverse), which is called the Nth floor. On the Nth floor, they have their avatars and can talk with colleagues.
Companies want to better connect employees to others and clients using VR. They want to create a future of mixed reality, where virtual reality meld with our real world. Microsoft even aims to go beyond these avatars and turn them into actual holograms
Nevertheless, for me, I would still prefer in-person socializing. Technology can enhance human connections but never replace them. What do you think about it?
Probably all of you heard about image generation, transferring styles or generating images based on sketches. But have you ever heard of generating images from a text description?
Now it is possible thanks to DALL-E 2. It is the second, improved version of the AI system created by programmers from Open AI. This non-profit research laboratory was set up in 2015 by a group of founders, including well known Elon Musk.
DALL-E 2 can easily generate realistic, original images and art from a description in natural language. For now, the program is not accessible to the public due to the dangers it can cause. It might help with spreading fake news or cause copyright scandals. However, for sure it will find application on the commercial market. Just imagine how easy it would be for customers to create endless arrangements based on the products they choose. Online shopping would become so simple!
Below you can see some examples of images generated by artificial intelligence:
DALL-E 2 can also add elements to already existing images. While making those realistic edits, it takes into account even the shadows and different textures.
Personally, I cannot wait to try DALL-E 2 myself and see what it can generate from my text descriptions. And what about you? Aren’t you curious how it will revolutionize the photography and graphics market?
I encourage you to visit the Open AI website and check what DALL-E 2 is capable of!
There is the point that has appeared in my mind some time ago – people do not change. Please, do not roll your eyes with the mark of “too obvious” – at least not till I fully clarify my thought. The issue is that we were taught our whole life how our society has been developing all these years, how advanced we become , how much cleverer we are right now, comparing to previous generations.
Also, how it is important that we are able to obtain enough knowledge to compare – so as to know history. There is no doubt that we have to remember history to create the future. As Robert Heinleinclaims: “A generation which ignores history has no past and no future.” This statement refers to the idea of us , as humanity, to learn from the previous generations in order not to make the same mistakes and not to start the process of development all over again but to use information which was already understood by our predecessors and create a bright reality. The funny thing is that in theory it sounds reasonable, meanwhile practice shows that even this simple idea is an utopia for our society. The most clear proof of that would be war in Ukraine – blindness and stupidity of the occupying nation. Even though we have learned about so much horror in the past – we still willingly bring it to our present. Besides, we, as individuals also haven’t changed that much – our moral values still being interconnected with laws of cristian religion and we still tend to break them; our desires can be structured in a simple piramide; there are still a lot of us who are sexists , misogynists, racists, homofobic and the level of inequality is not even dreaming about getting lower.
Our generation has faced the radical change in our routine life – we are surrounded by modern technologies from the day we are born. There was a hope that with such ability to spread information and provided opportunity for self-education something might be changed. It is indeed true that technologies have influenced our mindset even though not in the way we would like them to.
“For example Mary Midgley (1992) argues that the belief that science and technology will bring us immortality and bodily transcendence is based on pseudoscientific beliefs and a deep fear of death. In a similar vein Sullins (2000) argues that there is often a quasi-religious aspect to the acceptance of transhumanism that is committed to certain outcomes such as uploading of human consciousness into computers as a way to achieve immortality, and that the acceptance of the transhumanist hypothesis influences the values embedded in computer technologies, which can be dismissive or hostile to the human body.
While many ethical systems place a primary moral value on preserving and protecting nature and the natural given world, transhumanists do not see any intrinsic value in defining what is natural and what is not and consider arguments to preserve some perceived natural state of the human body as an unjustifiable obstacle to progress. Not all philosophers are critical of transhumanism, as an example Nick Bostrom (2008) of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University argues that putting aside the feasibility argument, we must conclude that there are forms of posthumanism that would lead to long and worthwhile lives and that it would be overall a very good thing for humans to become posthuman if it is at all possible (Bostrom, 2008).”
Additionally, such rapid spread of technological capabilities brought usfrom the point of being able to learn something to not learning at all, as we can find it on the internet. It is funny to realize that Socrat had the same fears that we face today. “Socrates lived during the long transition from a largely oral tradition to a newer information technology consisting of writing down words and information and collecting those writings into scrolls and books. Famously Socrates was somewhat antagonistic to writing and scholars claim that he never wrote anything down himself. Ironically, we only know about Socrates’ argument against writing because his student Plato ignored his teacher and wrote them down in a dialogue called “Phaedrus” (Plato). Socrates, who was adept at quoting lines from poems and epics and placing them into his conversations, fears that those who rely on writing will never be able to truly understand and live by these words. For Socrates there is something immoral or false about writing. Books can provide information but they cannot, by themselves, give you the wisdom you need to use or deeply understand that information. Conversely, in an oral tradition you do not simply consult a library, you are the library, a living manifestation of the information you know by heart. For Socrates, reading a book is nowhere near as insightful as talking with its author. Written words,
…seem to talk to you as though they were intelligent, but if you ask them anything about what they say, from a desire to be instructed, they go on telling you the same thing forever. (Phaedrus, section 275d).
His criticism of writing at first glance may seem humorous but the temptation to use recall and call it memory is getting more and more prevalent in modern information technologies. “
In general, technologies simply make our life easier but , unfortunately, they do not always make it better.I am not claiming that technologies are good or bad, I simply think that we give them empowerment they do not deserve.
Two Japanese inventors developed electric computerized chopsticks allowing to increase the saltiness of dishes. This revolution, based on tiny electric currents emitted by the sticks on the tongue of the user, appears to be beneficial for Japanese people to reduce their daily salt consumption. Indeed, Japanese cuisine is using a lot of salty ingredients in most of its recipes such as soy sauce or miso.
This invention, not yet released to the public, was created by Homei Miyashita, a professor at the Meiji University of Tokyo in close collaboration with the beverage producing company Kirin. The point is to enhance the human experience by imitating various food flavors while at the same time preventing people from high blood pressure or even strokes due to a high dependence on salt.
The working process on these chopsticks is very well thought out and established. As a matter of fact, thanks to electrical stimulation, these sticks catch and transmit sodium ions from the food to the mouth of the eater creating the sensation of saltiness.
The eater is holding the sticks in their hands which are linked to a small device attached to the wristband of the user.
The full product looks as follows:
Tests have been run on people to conclude a result of low sodium aliments tasting 1.5 times saltier thanks to these sticks.
From the released information let by Miyashita and Kirin, the product should be released over the next year giving the opportunity to Japanese citizens and potentially other Asian countries to profit from this revolution and drastically improve their long-term health.
A few days ago, the Internet was hit by another unfortunate news: Netflix clearly hinted that they are planning to take down sharing passwords. I believe that plenty of people were unpleasantly shocked since sharing accounts became a way to save more money on movie-streaming services. Instead of paying 10$ for a month, you could have split up this sum with 5 other people and pay only 2$ monthly. Moreover, you could have shared your own profile with other people making it even cheaper or even for free. Netflix said that it’s about to the best option on how to “monetize sharing”. According to their calculations, Netflix is being shared with 100 million additional households.
There are 2 specific reasons for this decision. Starting 2022 the service struggles a lot.
For the first 3 months of 2022 Netflix lost around 200k customers instead of gaining 2.5 million as it was predicted by their forecast. As it is known, the reason for that is occurring strong competition which was hard to face with.
More obvious reason, which influences majority of the businesses as of now is russian-Ukrainian war. Thankfully, Netflix suspended its services in russia but it led to the loss of almost 700,000 users.
The first payment plans are about to be tested in Costa Rica, Chile and Peru – allowing users to create cheap sub-profiles. Users can add up to 2 profiles for 2$ each on top of the regular fee.
Majority of the people are not happy with this decision but we should all agree that the business must somehow survive and it’s one of the easiest way they could have done to leave their consumers relatively “untouched”. What do you think about it? Have you shared your Netflix profile with others and how do you look at new regulations?
The internet allowed us to cooperate in many various tasks – from writing documents and coding to… creating masterpieces! Recently, on April Fools’ day, Reddit opened the so-called “r/place” which simply was a huge empty white canvas of size 2000 x 2000 pixels that could be edited by every user. For four days, every Redditor could change the color (32 colors were available) of a single-pixel every 5 minutes – this rule forced people to collaborate to have an impact on the canvas.
During the first two days, around 72 million pixels were placed by more than 6 million users! On average, 2.5 million pixels were changed every hour! Just have a look at this video showing the progress in creating the r/place canvas of 2022:
Since a single pixel meant nothing, just after the event started, large communities of people started working together on planning their contribution to the canvas. Many Redditors connected via other subreddits to coordinate in creating pixel arts. However, other platforms like Discord and Twitch played significant roles – streamers had specifically big impact since their communities are usually active while watching streams. Some of these collaborations resulted in really outstanding pixel arts — check out these examples (there are so many of them that I couldn’t choose which ones are my fav):
A social experiment
It is important to mention, that this was the second edition of r/place after the first one in 2017. Reddit is one of the biggest information exchange platforms with 174 million registered users (2020). Events like “r/place” are social experiments that show us how people can collaborate in creating something creative. This one proved again how online communities of people who usually don’t know each other can collaborate even without talking to each other. It also reveals that handling such an experiment can be difficult from the technical standpoint — Reddit needed to take care of many issues including frontend, backend, handling millions of requests every hour, bots, and many more. After the event finished, the data of every single pixel were shared by Reddit and now, everyone can dig through the history o every piece of the artwork!
Do you think that this kind of experiments are useful in exploring the nature of online communities? May collaboration in creating pixel arts translate into the real world problems?