Technology is Eroding the Ability To Move Around the Physical World Anonymously

Something really massive is happening, and I feel like society is barely grasping the tendrils of the implications. Technology is eroding one of the great levees of human society — the ability to move around the physical world anonymously. This is happening because computers are getting better at spotting patterns in data, and the cost of capturing data that contain patterns about human beings is plummeting. Most adult humans have a device in their pocket capable of recognizing the patterns in another human’s face. Face recognition is just the most obvious side of this new reality. It’s easy to grasp that a computer can remember what your face looks like because humans can do that too (not that well though). But computers don’t care what data is used to tag you, only that the data is unique.

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CERN turns to open source software as Microsoft increases its fees

For the last 20 years, CERN — home of the Large Hadron Collider — has been using Microsoft products under a discounted “academic institution” rate. But in March, at the end of its previous contract, Microsoft revoked CERN’s academic status. According to a CERN blog post, under the new contract, licensing costs have increased more than tenfold. In response, CERN is pulling back the curtain on a now year-old project to migrate to open source software, and it’s calling it the Microsoft Alternatives project, or MAlt.

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