The digital era brings problems for those who produce copyrighted material.

Ever since the era the tape recorder the copyright producing industry has fought against pirating. CDs, PC and especially MP3s made the situation worse. Napster screwed the whole music industry (and ensured I would never buy another Metallica album).

More or less the iStore and various other legal download sites have now made the situation less bad (as well as the Spotify model)

The one-time super star DJ Carl Cox has come up with a different approach (possibly because of the terms of business with the legal download sites / Spotify -esque models, but I donot know for sure), his latest album All Roads Lead to the Dance Floor is being released as a USB stick. The stick will update with new tracks and other multi media goodies over time. Sounds like a good idea?

I am not convinced. Why doI have to buy a piece of external media to own an album? I stopped doing that when I ceased purchasing CDs. Why would I replace one form of external media which came with nice paper packaging for a USB stick, which hasĀ  the artists name written on, but really, isn’t that special.Can I transfer the Carl Cox tracks from the USB onto a portable MP3 player? Can I only listen to the tracks when i plug the stick into a device? Why can’t it just live on the cloud like everything else is starting to?

Apologies Carl, I think this idea is not going to take off for the general consumer (loyal fans may find it tolerable).

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More about those robots

November 16, 2010

The world is changing and what we have seen in sci-fi movies will become reality soon enough.

How many times have we seen on-screen cars which drive themselves?

Well our friends at Google have been experimenting with one on the roads of California.

I have mentioned robots before and how they are set to change our lives for the better – in ways beyond which cars / phones / PCs and the internet have already.

When my solar-powered car will drive me about and I can read or sleep en route I will be a happy man.

Right Google, what about a teleport?

The Rest of the Robots

October 6, 2010

OMG! Please check out this blog and listen to the podcast. I blogged about robots and supermarkets previously and this follows on from that.

What happens when you have an Asimo in your house that can remember EVERYTHING it sees, hears, smells in its internal hard drive and, if you have a cloud version, on a remote server (and several mirror servers)?

What happens if a Government organisation wants access to what this robot has recorded? Will this data be admissible in a court of law – can the robot’s memory be used against you? What you store on your home PC can be, so why would robots be any different?

And how can we be sure our robots aren’t being hacked by criminals to use against us – are we all sure our home PC has never been hacked?

Ryan Calo works at a top US law school and is a robots expert.

One of the key things he says in this podcast is that robots will be the transformative technology of this century.

He refers to how PCs changed lives in the 80s, the internet in the 90s. I would look back to the 19th century and remember the changes cars heralded and also the telephone and light bulb. The rise of the robots is THAT important.

Seriously, the sci fi fear industry shows us what happens when robots go wrong (James Cameron and The Terminator are the most famous and chilling example). As often happens military applications are where technology is developed and robots are the same. Alan Turing is a perfect example here, involved as he was with the development of modern computing and later defined the Turing Test.

I have been speaking about the use of robots for a long time with someone I know well who remains sceptical (I keep telling this person robots would be perfect to do a certain role in their organisation) and this person mentioned it to their boss who agreed with them and said it will never happen.

The blog goes on to discuss the insurance industry which will naturally rise up around robots in every day use. I mentioned this to an actuary I know over a year ago who was going off to see what his company were doing about this. He has not come back to me, which either means his company think I am nuts, or they are well aware and just don’t want to acknowledge it.

There will also be international industry safety standards for robots as there is for all sorts of items you can buy.

Maybe I am wrong about these robots, but I remember when I got my first mobile phone back in 1997 people couldn’t understand what I was doing carrying around this brick everywhere I went.

Just about no one else I knew had one.

One lady (the mother of one of my friends) pointed out I had a post uni McJob rather than a high-flying career, so what was I thinking?

No one got it – yet today every one of those people has a mobile phone they take everywhere they go.

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