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The Gopher Times 6

The Gopher Times 6 is out!


This newspaper published on Gopher is still up and running.

Given the Text version is only 32kB and PDF version only 64kB,
they were both attached to this email without fear of ruining
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                      The Gopher Times


         Opus 6 - Gopher news and more - Oct. 2022

   Sentient Regex                                 tgtimes

   Can  there  be a sed one-liner that implements Artifi-
   cial Intelligence?  Depending on how you define  Arti-
   ficial Intelligence, it may!

   sed -r 's/Is ([^y]*)?/Absolutely, (1)./
   s/Is (.*y.*)?/I do not think that (1)./'

   How does it work for you?  How more accurate than this
   is  machine learning going to become to answer our ex-
   istential questions?

   fold, fmt, par: get your text in order         katolaz

   If  you  happen  to read plain text files (e.g., phlog
   posts), you have probably noticed that, especially  on
   gopher,  the  lines  of a text file tend to be wrapped
   all to a similar length. Some authors are very  strict
   on  the  matter,  and like all the lines to be "justi-
   fied" (i.e., all adjusted to  have  exactly  the  same
   length,  by  inserting  a  few spaces to get the count
   right). Some other authors (including myself) just  do
   not  allow any line to be longer than a certain amount
   of characters (in this case, as  you  might  have  no-
   ticed, the magic number is 72). But how to they manage
   to do that?

   Most common editors have a command to format  a  para-
   graph  ('M-q' in Emacs, 'gwip' or '{gq}' in vim normal
   mode, etc.). But obviously,  there  are  several  Unix
   tools  that  can help you getting the right formatting
   for your files. We are talking of fold(1), fmt(1), and
   par(1), so keep reading if you want to know more.

   The oldest one is probably fold(1) (and it is also the
   only  one  to be defined in the POSIX standard...). It
   will just break each line  to  make  it  fit  a  given
   length  in characters (by default, 72, which is indeed
   a magic number). Let's see how to wrap  the  lines  of
   this post at 54 characters:

   $ fold -w 54 20190213_fold.txt | head -10
       fold, fmt, par: get your text in order
   If you happen to read plain text files (e.g., phlog po
   sts), you have
   probably noticed that, especially on gopher, the lines
    of a text file
   tend to be wrapped all to a similar length. Some autho
   rs are very strict
   on the matter, and like all the lines to be "justified

   Notice  that fold(1) did not really think twice before
   breaking "posts" or "authors" across two  lines.  This
   is  pretty inconvenient, to say the least. You can ac-
   tually force fold(1) to break stuff at  blank  spaces,
   using the '-s' option:

   $ fold -w 54 -s  20190213_fold.txt |head -10
      fold, fmt, par: get your text in order

   If you happen to read plain text files (e.g., phlog
   posts), you have
   probably noticed that, especially on gopher, the
   lines of a text file
   tend to be wrapped all to a similar length. Some
   authors are very strict
   on the matter, and like all the lines to be

   Nevertheless,  the  output  of  fold(1) is still quite
   off: it breaks lines at spaces, but it does not "join"
   broken  lines  to  have  a more consistent formatting.
   This is where fmt(1) jumps in:

   $ fmt -w 54  20190213_fold.txt |head -10
      fold, fmt, par: get your text in order

   If you happen to read plain text files (e.g., phlog
   posts), you have probably noticed that, especially on
   gopher, the lines of a text file tend to be wrapped
   all to a similar length. Some authors are very strict
   on the matter, and like all the lines to be
   "justified" (i.e., all adjusted to have exactly the
   same length, by inserting a few spaces to get the

   Now we are talking: fmt(1) seems to be able to to "the
   right thing" without much effort, and  it  has  a  few
   other  interesting  options as well.  Just have a look
   at the manpage. Simple and clear.

   Last but not least, par(1) can do whatever fmt(1)  and
   fold(1) can do, plus much, much more. For instance:

   $ par 54 < 20190213_fold.txt  | head -10
      fold, fmt, par: get your text in order

   If you happen to read plain text files (e.g., phlog
   posts), you have probably noticed that, especially on
   gopher, the lines of a text file tend to be wrapped
   all to a similar length. Some authors are very
   strict on the matter, and like all the lines to be
   "justified" (i.e., all adjusted to have exactly the
   same length, by inserting a few spaces to get the

   will give more or less the same output as fmt(1). But:

   $ par 54j < 20190213_fold.txt  | head -10
      fold,   fmt,   par:   get  your   text   in   order

   If you  happen to read  plain text files  (e.g., phlog
   posts), you have probably  noticed that, especially on
   gopher, the  lines of a  text file tend to  be wrapped
   all  to  a  similar  length.  Some  authors  are  very
   strict on  the matter,  and like all  the lines  to be
   "justified" (i.e.,  all adjusted  to have  exactly the
   same  length, by  inserting a  few spaces  to get  the

   will  additionally  "justify"  your  lines to the pre-
   scribed width, while: something like:

   $ head file.h
    * include/linux/memory.h -  generic memory definition
    * This is mainly for topological representation. We define the
    * basic "struct memory_block" here, which can be embedded in per-arch
    * definitions or NUMA information.
    * Basic handling of the devices is done in drivers/base/memory.c
    * and system devices are handled in drivers/base/sys.c.

   can be easily transformed into:

   $ par 40j < file.h
    * include/linux/memory.h    -   generic
    *memory definition
    * This   is   mainly  for   topological
    * representation.  We define  the basic
    * "struct memory_block" here, which can
    * be  embedded in  per-arch definitions
    * or NUMA information.
    * Basic  handling  of  the  devices  is
    * done  in   drivers/base/memory.c  and
    * system   devices   are   handled   in
    * drivers/base/sys.c.
    * Memory   block   are   exported   via
    * sysfs  in  the  class/memory/devices/
    * directory.

   Pretty neat, right?

   To be honest, par is not the typical example of a unix
   tool  that  "does exactly one thing", but it certainly
   "does it very well" all the things it does. The author
   of  par(1)  felt  the need to apologise in the manpage
   about the style of his code and documentation,  but  I
   still think par(1) is an awesome tool nevertheless.

   fold(1) appeared in BSD1 (1978-1979)

   fmt(1) appeared in BSD1 (1978-1979)

   par(1) was developed by Adam Costello in  1993,  as  a
     replacement for fmt(1).

   GNU tar(1) extraction is quadratic             tgtimes

   When  implementing  something from the ground, it gets
   possible to build-up a simple home-baked  file  format
   or  protocol  looking  perfect  without  any cruft and
   legacy.  Easy to implement, fast to adopt,  supporting
   everything  you  need  from  it,  and not much more...
   Likely an alternative to a huge elephant in the  room:
   the  current standard in place used by everyone, huge,
   with many extensions with many use-cases...

   Why bother, then, with implementing the huge and  dif-
   ficult  file  format  or  protocol?   Maybe because it
   would be used by many software, and  writing  data  in
   this slightly more bloated format would help making it
   compatible with all the software that already  support

   In this compromise, a limit can be drawn, across which
   the  big  and bloated format or protocol is dropped in
   favor of a simpler, more reasonable, less time-wasting
   alternative, eventually home-brewed.

   The result is a new tar implementation written for the
   single special-case of a 1.1 TiB file!  [1]
   1 https://mort.coffee/home/tar/

   BYTE Magazine Covers                           tgtimes

   The  BYTE magazine lives among the legends of computer

   Being a paper glossy magazine, it  had  fancy  covers.
   Our  usual  data archivist heroes, Archive.org, have a
   large collections of covers for these things.  [1]

   On another level of effort, someone with  passion  and
   patience,  actually went through recreatinhg the scene
   coming from these covers, that never really existed...
   Until they did!  [2]

   >> In the 1970s and 1980s, Byte magazine featured cov-
    ers  with  beautiful,  surreal paintings by Robert F.
    Tinney.  What if the scenes that Mr. Tinney  imagined
    actually  existed  in real life?  And what if, as Mr.
    Tinney was painting them, there  was  a  photographer
    standing next to him, capturing the scene on film?

   >> That's the idea behind this site.   I  created  and
    photographed  real-world  objects  and composited the
    images together in order to show  what  Mr.  Tinney's
    images might look like in real life.
   1 https://archive.org/details/byte-magazine

    2 https://bytecovers.com/

   An experiment to test GitHub Copilot's legality seirdy

   >>  This article was posted on 2022-07-01 by Rohan Ku-
    mar [1] and is now  republished  on  this  newspaper,
    with permission (CC-BY-SA 4.0).


   I am not a lawyer.  This post is satirical  commentary

   o The absurdity of Microsoft and OpenAI's legal justi-
     fication for GitHub Copilot.

   o The oversimplifications people use to argue  against
     GitHub  Copilot  (I  don't like it when people agree
     with me for the wrong reasons).

   o The relationship between capital and legal outcomes.

   o How civil cases seem like sporting events where peo-
     ple  â??winâ??  or  â??loseâ??, rather than opportunities to
     improve our understanding of law.

   In the process, I intentionally misrepresent  how  the
   judicial  system  works:  I portray the system the way
   people like to imagine it works.   Please  don't  make
   any important legal decisions based on anything I say.

   The only section you should take  seriously  is  â??Con-
   text: the relevant technologiesâ??.


   GitHub is enabling copyleft violation  at  scale  with
   Copilot.   GitHub  Copilot  encourages  people to make
   derivative works of source code without complying with
   the  original  code's  license.   This facilitates the
   creation  of  permissively-licensed   or   proprietary
   derivatives of copyleft code.

   Unfortunately, challenging Microsoft (GitHub's  parent
   company)  in  court  is a bad idea: their legal budget
   probably ensures their victory, and  they  likely  al-
   ready  have  a comprehensive defense planned.  How can
   we determine Copilot's legality  on  a  level  playing
   field? We can create legal precedent that they haven't
   had a chance to study yet!

   A chat with Matt Campbell about a  speech  synthesizer
   gave me a horrible idea.  I think I know a way to find
   out if GitHub Copilot is legal: we could use its legal
   justification  against another software project with a
   smaller legal budget.  Specifically, against a  speech
   synthesizer.   The  outcome of our actions could set a
   legal precedent to determine the legality of Copilot.

   Context: the relevant  technologies  Let's  cover  the
   technologies and actors at play before I start my evil

   Exhibit A: GitHub Copilot

   GitHub Copilot is a predictive autocompletion  service
   for  writing  software.  It's powered by OpenAI Codex,
   [2] a language model  based  on  GPT-3.   [3]  It  was
   trained  using  the source code of public repositories
   hosted on GitHub, regardless of their  licensing.   In
   response  to a Request for Comments from the US Patent
   and Trademark Office, OpenAI claimed that  â??Artificial
   Intelligence  Innovationâ??,  such  as  code  written by
   GitHub Copilot, should be considered â??fair useâ??.  [4]

   Many of the code snippets it suggests are exact copies
   of  source code from various GitHub repositories.  For
   an example, see this tweet: I don't want to  say  any-
   thing  but  that's  not  the right license Mr Copilot.
   [5] by Armin Ronacher [6] It contains a screen record-
   ing of Copilot suggesting this Quake code.   [7]  When
   prompted to do so, it obediently fills in a permissive
   license.  That permissive license violates  the  Quake
   code's  GPL-2.0  license.  Copilot provides no indica-
   tion that a license violation is taking place.

   GitHub performed its own  research  into  the  matter.
   [8] You can read about it on their blog: GitHub  Copi-
   lot research recitation, [9] by Albert Ziegler.   [10]
   I'm  not  convinced that it accounts for the fact that
   suggested code might have  mechanical  alterations  to
   match  surrounding  text,  while still remaining close
   enough to trained data to be a license violation.

   Exhibit B: The Eloquence speech synthesizer

   I recently had a chat with Matt on  IRC  about  screen
   readers and different types of speech synthesizers.  I
   mentioned that while I do like some variety, I  always
   find  myself returning to the underrated robotic voice
   of eSpeak NG.  [11] He shared some of my fondness, and
   also  shared  his preference for a similar speech syn-
   thesizer called Eloquence.

   Downloads of Eloquence are easy to find (it's even in-
   cluded with the JAWS screen reader), but I struggle to
   find any â??officialâ??  pages  about  the  original  Elo-
   quence.   Nuance acquired Eloquent Technology, the de-
   veloper of Eloquence.  Microsoft  later  acquired  Nu-

   Eloquence sample audio

   Matt recorded this  sample  audio  clip  of  Eloquence
   reading some text.  [12] The text is from  the  intro-
   duction  of  Best practices for inclusive textual web-
   sites.  [13]

   >> My primary focus  is  inclusive  design.   Specifi-
    cally, I focus on supporting underrepresented ways to
    read a page.  Not all users load a page in  a  common
    web-browser and navigate effortlessly with their eyes
    and hands.  Authors often  neglect  people  who  read
    through  accessibility tools, tiny viewports, machine
    translators, â??reading modeâ?? implementations, the  Tor
    network,  printouts,  hostile  networks, and uncommon
    browsers, to name a few.  I list more niches  in  the
    conclusion.  Compatibility with so many niches sounds
    far more daunting than it really is: if you only  se-
    lectively  override  browser  defaults and use plain-
    old, semantic HTML (POSH), you've done  half  of  the
    work already.

   I like the Eloquence speech  synthesizer.   It  sounds
   similar  to  the  robotic  yet predictable voice of my
   beloved eSpeak NG, but with improved overall  quality.
   Unfortunately, Eloquence is proprietary.

   Exhibit C: Deep learning speech synthesis

   Deep learning speech synthesis [14] is  a  recent  ap-
   proach  to  speech  synthesizer creation.  It involves
   training a deep neural network on voice  samples,  and
   using  the trained model to generate speech similar to
   a real human voice.  One synthesizer using deep learn-
   ing speech synthesis is Mozilla's TTS.  [15]

   Zero-shot approaches could allow a  pre-trained  model
   to generate multiple different voices.   YourTTS  [16]
   is one such example.  This could allow us to syntheti-
   cally re-create a person's voice more easily.

   My horrible plan

   My horrible plan revolves  around  going  through  two
   different  lawsuits  to  set some judicial precedents;
   these precedents could improve the odds of  succeeding
   in a lawsuit against Microsoft for Copilot's licensing

   If this succeeds, we have new legal justification that
   GitHub  Copilot is illegal; if it fails, we have still
   gained a means to legally re-create proprietary  soft-
   ware.  It's a win-win situation.

   Part One: set a precedent

   1. Train a modern text-to-speech  (TTS)  engine  using
     the voice a proprietary one made by a company with a
     small legal budget.  Keep the model's internals hid-

   2. Then release the final TTS under a  permissive  li-
     cense.   Remember,  we're still keeping the machine-
     learning model hidden!

   3. Wait for that company to file suit.  [17]

   4. Win or lose the case.

   Part Two: use that precedent against  Microsoft's  Nu-

   Our goal here is to get the same legal outcome as  the
   low-stakes â??trial runâ?? of Part One.

   Microsoft owns Nuance.  Nuance previously bought  Elo-
   quent  Technology,  the  developers  of  the Eloquence
   speech synthesizer.

   1. Repeat Part One against Nuance speech synthesizers,
     including Eloquence.  Go to court.

   2. Have the ruling from Part One cited as legal prece-

   3. Achieve the same outcome as Part One, demonstrating
     that we have indeed set precedent that works against
     Microsoft's legal department.

   Implications of the outcomes

   If we win both cases: Microsoft  has  the  legal  high
   ground.  Making a derivative of a copyrighted work us-
   ing a machine-learning algorithm allows us  to  bypass
   copyright licenses.

   If we lose both cases: Microsoft does not have the le-
   gal  high  ground.   We  have  good judicial precedent
   against  Microsoft  to  use  when  filing   suit   for
   Copilot's behavior.

   Either way, it's an absolute win  for  free  software.
   Taking  down  Copilot  protects copyleft from enabling
   proprietary derivatives (and  by  extension,  protects
   software  freedom).   But if we accidentally win these
   two low-stakes â??testâ?? cases, we still  gain  something
   else: we can liberate huge swaths of proprietary soft-
   ware, starting with speech synthesizers.

   Update: on satire

   This  post  isn't  â??satire  through-and-throughâ??  like
   something  from  The  Onion.  Rather, my intent was to
   make some clear points, but extrapolate them to absur-
   dity to highlight other problems.  I don't think I was
   clear enough when doing this.  I'm sorry.

   Copilot has been found to suggest significant  amounts
   of code that is dangerously similar to existing works.
   It does this without disclosing obligations that  come
   with those works' licenses.  Training a model on copy-
   righted works may not be wrong in and of itself;  how-
   ever,  using that model to generate new works that are
   not sufficiently distinct from original works is where
   things  get  problematic.  Copilot's users could apply
   proprietary licenses to the generated works, defeating
   the point of copyleft.

   When a tool almost exclusively encourages  problematic
   behavior,  the  makers  of  that  tool should have put
   thought into its implications.  GitHub and OpenAI have
   not demonstrated a sufficiently careful approach.

   I don't think that â??going afterâ?? a smaller player just
   to  manipulate our legal system is a good thing to do.
   The fact that this idea seems plausible to some of  my
   readers  shows  how warped our perception of the judi-
   cial system is.  Even if it's accurate (I  doubt  it's
   accurate,  but  I'm  not certain), it's sad.  Judicial
   systems incentivise too much predatory behavior.

   Corrections It's come to my attention  that  Eloquence
     may  or may not still belong to Nuance.  Further re-
     search is needed.  Eloquent Technology was  acquired
     by SpeechWorks in 2000.

   1 https://seirdy.one/posts/2022/07/01/experiment-copilot-legality/
     2 https://openai.com/blog/openai-codex/

     3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GPT-3
     4 See Comment Regarding Request for Comments on Intellectual Property Protection
       for Artificial Intelligence Innovation submitted by OpenAI to the USPTO.

     5 https://nitter.net/mitsuhiko/status/1410886329924194309
     6 https://lucumr.pocoo.org/about/

     7 https://github.com/id-Software/Quake-III-Arena/blob/master/code/game/q_math.c
       At line 552
     8 I doubt anybody worth their salt would count on a company to hold itself
       accountable, but at least they tried.

     9 https://github.blog/2021-06-30-github-copilot-research-recitation/
     10 https://github.com/wunderalbert

     11 https://github.com/espeak-ng/espeak-ng/
     12 https://seirdy.one/a/eloquence.mp3

     13 https://seirdy.one/posts/2020/11/23/website-best-practices/
     14 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_learning_speech_synthesis

     15 https://github.com/mozilla/TTS
     16 https://doi.org/10.48550/arXiv.2112.02418

     17 If the stars align, you could file an anticipatory suit against the company.
       It's common for declaratory judgement regarding intellectual property rights.

   Glenda adventure                              sirjofri

   >> Glenda found herself in a dark forest.

   Do operating systems dream of electric bunnies?  Noth-
   ing is certain about that, but it does not prevent you
   to try to imagine.

   Sir Jofri offers us a piece of fiction  built  out  of
   the reality of the plan 9 operating system.  [1]

   Where should this go next?

   A story first published on the 9front Mailing List.

   1 http://sirjofri.de/oat/tmp/glenda_adventure.txt

   Space Weather Woman                            tgtimes

   As she names herself, Tamitha Skov [1]  is  the  Space
   Weather  Woman.  You read it right!  She have been do-
   ing, since now close to ten years, forecasts about how
   is space weather is going.

   Just a nerd fantasy?  Only a sci-fi artist on a  peri-
   odic  one  woman  show?  Not at all!  Knowing what the
   sun is blasting toward Earth can  reveal  more  useful
   than it looks.  This includes:

   o personnal safety for some plane flights at high lat-

   o GPS communication, something happening in the pocket
     of  many  individuals,  some of them even unaware of
     the involvement of satellites in the process.

   o Long distance radio communication, which include Am-
     ateur  Radio  operators, but also emergency services
     and militaries.

   o Something  that  Starlink  did  not  invent  [2]  is
     satellite-relayed communication, including satellite
     internet and voice phone transmission.   Actually  a
     lot  of  wind turbines are being given satellite in-
     ternet, and see  how  a  little  disruption  [3]  in
     satellite  internet  access can disrupt their opera-

   And all of these fancy things are benefiting from Tam-
   itha  Skov's  efforts as a researcher, but also by in-
   forming in layman's terms  what  is  going  on  outter

   >> Weather phenomena like coronal mass ejections,  so-
    lar flares, and solar particle events.  [4]

   Science is elegant.

   1 https://www.spaceweatherwoman.com/
   2 WildBlue, Viasat, NordNet...
     First amateur stellite launched in 1961.

   3 https://hackaday.com/2022/06/02/the-great-euro-sat-hack-should-be-a-warning-to-us-all/
   4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamitha_Skov

   A C64 4chan Browser                            tgtimes

   The sewers of Internet in a C64?  The link appeared on
   various IRC channels such as #electronics  or  #osdev,
   and  not  one  more  word.  The investigation is open.
   1 <No_File> https://imgur.com/H36LTRV BACK 2 ROOTS!

   I Hate Modern Technology                          ig0r

   >>  The "advance of technology" is a source of excite-
    ment as well as frustration.  ig0r gives us  a  crys-
    tallised  view  of  human  stupidity offered daily by

   Modern technology sucks.  This might  be  me  behaving
   like  a  pathetic  little  angsty hipster or trying to
   LARP thinking I'm somehow cool, but  I  think  it's  a
   genuine problem.

   Planned Obsolesence

   Technology is being designed to fail.

   Apple purposefully makes batteries fail on  their  de-
   vices and solders them in such that replacing the bat-
   tery on an older device makes no  sense,  forcing  the
   customer to buy a new device.

   Lenovo's quality has gone down the shitter.  Thinkpads
   used  to be thick, bulky, and rugged such that a cave-
   man could use it in place of a club.  New models  bend
   and  creak, the hinges breaking after several years of
   use while older models still run like new.

   The reality is companies want people to consume  tech-
   nology,  not  use it.  They care about making a profit
   rather than giving users a good experience, hence poor
   quality  of  manufacturing  to  speed up distribution,
   consumption, and the filling of landfills.

   Modern Software

   Modern software is just bad.   Here's  a  few  reasons

   o It's idiot proof, in that I have little control over
     settings and configuration

   o Software has become synonymous with adware (see  Mi-
     crosoft putting ads into explorer)

   o I have to pay money for it (fuck  you,  if  I  could
     copy-paste a car I would)


   Smartphones are the most annoying  little  shits,  and
   for some reason they've become ubiquitous.

   Restaurants are starting to ditch regular menus in fa-
   vor  of QR codes to be scanned with smartphones.  Why?
   Paper is more reliable.  This is a step  backwards  in
   my  opinion.   What if I don't have a data plan?  What
   if I don't carry a smartphone?

   Also why does everything have to be an app?  Why  does
   my  passport  have  to be an app?  I'm perfectly happy
   carrying around paper ID (paper ID doesn't spy on my).

   People are idiots

   Most companies justify making technology suck more  by
   saying  it's 'easier' and more 'convenient' for normal

   Stop making easy and more  convenient.   Nobody  asked
   for that.  We were happy when technology was hard.

   Better recording of the IRC Now events          ircnow

   Here is a link with a better recording than the one in
   the previous tgtimes opus [1]

   As a teaser, here are some random contents from it:

   o Independence from Silicon Valley

   o Self-Governance with Free Software and Right to Code

   o Live demo of OpenBSD system administration from  the
     ground up.

   1 https://media.libreplanet.org/u/libreplanet/m/ircnow-of-the-users-by-the-users-for-the-users/

   MNT Pocket Reform OS support                   tgtimes

   All these laptop and portable devices come with either
   Windows, Apple iOS or OSX, Android,  sometimes  Chrome
   OS, and even more rarely Ubuntu installed upon.

   But the open hardware commnity is  rising,  and  calls
   for a change.  The MNT Pocket Reform lists more exotic
   operating systems as officially supported, [1]  or  at
   least acknoledged and listed in the front page:

   o Debian GNU/Linux

   o Support for other distributions: Arch, Ubuntu, Void

   o Plan 9 (9front)

   o Genode

   o OpenBSD (in development)

   Are we seeing a year of the open hardware laptop  com-

   1 https://mntre.com/media/reform_md/2022-06-20-introducing-mnt-pocket-reform.html

   Darknet Diaries                                tgtimes

   The mysterious Dark Net.  While not an official insti-
   tution, this hypotetical  place  built  its  very  own
   identity  through  popular culture and medias.  Famous
   and infamous, the depths of the limbos are explored in
   the  Darknet  Diaries  podcast, covering and reporting
   the day-to-day events of that suspicious eden of  sha-
   dow.  [1]

   1 https://darknetdiaries.com/

   The Modern Mechanical Turk                     tgtimes

   In  1770, long before the exploitation of electricity,
   a machine was built in the pretention of being able to
   play  Chess.   This  machine named Mechanical Turk was
   nothing more than a moving puppet actuated by a  small
   human, such as a child.  A child who is good at chess,
   that is!

   Actuating levers, the operator would make  the  puppet
   move, fooling the audience that technical advances oc-
   casionally make use of black magic.

   Amazon called a software  platform  Amazon  Mechanical
   Turk.  [1] It offers management  for  harvesting  food
   for  machine  learning:  human  description of images,
   videos, products, and other kind  of  canned  thoughts
   that machine learning can make use of to build models.

   Uber for Cyber.  Human  translators  shouting  at  ma-
   chines  the  language they got whispered through their

   Ghostworker. Noun. 1. Worker performing activity  that
     will  only  be  appreciated as data feeding an algo-
     rhithm.  2. Worker with no access to who it  provide
     work  to,  both employer and client are invisible to
     him.  [2]

   given the  very  large  scale  at  which  these  data-
   harvesting structures are deployed, it means that you,
   web user, have experienced the Google  and  Cloudflare
   "captcha" block window.  That window preventing you to
   submit a form unless you click on  all  buses,  track-
   tors, crosswalks, traffic lights... to verify that you
   are indeed a human and not a bot trying to access  the
   website.   Instead  of  prooving  its belonging to the
   mankind, at the opposite, the user  is  explaining  to
   machines  what is a bus, a tracktor, a crosswalk, or a
   traffic light.

   Here is your Great Technological Singularity  for  the
   greatest  common  entertainment:  Nothing  more than a
   moving puppet, actuated by humans,  barely  even  paid
   for it, if paid at all...  [3]

   1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon_Mechanical_Turk
   2 https://www.ghostwork.org/

   3 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mechanical_Turk

   Publishing in The Gopher Times                     you

   Want  your  article published?  Want to announce some-
   thing to the Gopher world?

   Directly related to Gopher or not,  reach  us  on  IRC
   with  an  article  in  any  format, we will handle the


   Did you notice the new layout?  We now  can  jump  be-
   tween single and double column as it is more fit: Some
   large code chunks will not fit in a two-column layout,
   but text is more pleasant to read on two columns.

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