I just stumbled on this old post of mine from 2008 where I predicted that a supercomputer would be faster than a human brain by 2012.
This was based on Hans Moravec’s suggestion that the human brain has a processing capacity of 10 quadrillion instructions per second (10 PFLOPS).
At the time I said:
In comparison, it was announced today that the fastest supercomputer in the world, called Roadrunner and devised and built by engineers and scientists at I.B.M. and Los Alamos National Laboratory, is capable of handling 1.026 quadrillion calculations per second (1.026 PFLOPS).
As of 2012, the world’s fastest supercomputer was the “Titan,” a Cray XK7 system installed at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Titan achieved a performance level of 17.59 petaFLOPS (quadrillions of calculations per second). So I was right – it was almost twice as fast as the estimate of the human brain.
But compare that to the fastest supercomputer in the world right now which is the Frontier system out of Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) which can achieve 1.194 Eflop/s (Quintillions of FLOPS).
Both terms, PFLOPS and Eflop/s, refer to a unit of computing performance. The acronym FLOPS stands for “FLoating point Operations Per Second,” which is a measure of a computer’s performance, especially in fields of scientific calculations that make heavy use of floating-point calculations.
“P” in PFLOPS stands for peta, which is 10^15, and “E” in Eflop/s stands for exa, which is 10^18. Therefore, 1 PFLOPS equals 10^15 FLOPS, and 1 Eflop/s equals 10^18 FLOPS.
So, if we translate these units:
- 10 PFLOPS = 10 * 10^15 FLOPS = 10^16 FLOPS
- 1.194 Eflop/s = 1.194 * 10^18 FLOPS
Therefore, 1.194 Eflop/s is significantly larger than 10 PFLOPS, more precisely it is 1.194*10^2 or about 119.4 times faster than the human brain.
Of course, we’re talking about supercomputers here, but today a single Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 chip (retails for about AUD$3000) can achieve a performance of 69.7 teraflops (TFLOPS), which makes the human brain about 143 times faster than a single 4090 – in terms of pure processing speed. But string tens of thousands 4090’s together, and you get ChatGPT.
I went on in my old post to wonder why there wasn’t more talk about AI in the mainstream media and by world governments. Then I said
It reminds me of a chat I had with Australian SF author Damien Broderick over dinner about ten years ago. I asked him when he thought these subjects would be discussed by the general populace. He replied “when it’s way too late to do anything about it”.
And look at us now, running around like chickens with our head chopped off trying to work out how to regulate AI. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
One of the downsides of technology is that it makes it easier for bad people in distant lands to do bad things. A couple of years ago we got hacked and learned some good security lessons as a result. They might help you avoid finding yourself in a similar situation.
A couple of years ago, my mobile phone number and Chrissy’s mobile phone number were both fraudulently ported to another carrier – meaning somebody set up fake accounts with a phone carrier in our names, then requested that new carrier transfer our numbers over from our existing carrier. This is known as “number portability” and was set up years ago to make it easy for people to change service providers. Of course when they did that, nobody foresaw the day when mobile numbers would be used as authentication for bank accounts, etc. All they needed to provide to port our numbers was our mobile number, name, DOB and address. Pretty easy information to get, especially if they have access to your Facebook profile, etc. The number gets ported over to the new carrier within minutes and our phones were left with “SOS Only”. No signal. No carrier. If you’re lucky, you get a SMS message just before it happens. Chrissy got one – I didn’t. But it wouldn’t have mattered anyway, because we were camping and didn’t have much reception.
Once the hackers have access to your phone number, then any account where you have 2-factor authentication (2FA) connected to that number (eg bank accounts, email accounts, Dropbox, any cloud service) can be lost minutes later. The process is simple. They try to login to your online account (which requires them to know your email address or bank account number) – and check the “Forgot Password” box. That generates a six digit code which is sent to the mobile number as a text. They enter that number online and then create a new password. They can also change the email address on the account, the security questions, etc. And, of course, empty the bank accounts – which is what they did to us.
They also took over a couple of my email accounts which, of course, they use to try to find out things like your bank account number, family details (birthdays, names, passport numbers, etc). All of which they can use for further identity theft. All of this took a few minutes from start to finish.
Fortunately we got our money back quickly (although I had to play hardball with the bank). We also got our mobile numbers back, that took a few days. And with those I could retrieve the lost email accounts.
So that’s how it happens. Here’s what I did afterwards to try to prevent it happening again.
- Remove my public mobile number from all forms of 2FA.
- Where possible, use a physical security token for 2FA for things like bank accounts. I set up new accounts with a new bank, got tokens on our accounts, and locked the accounts down so the token is required for every login. It means always having the token on my person but that’s a small price to pay.
- Where a physical token isn’t possible, try to use a Time-based One-Time Password algorithm (TOTP) authentication app, like Google Authenticator. It works for Gmail, Dropbox, Evernote, Stripe, Facebook, Twitter, PayPal, etc. You need to provide a six digit code for every login and that code is provided the app on your phone (not the mobile number on the phone). An alternative is something like Yubikey, a USB-based physical token but support for Yubikey isn’t widespread yet.
- Where I can’t use a physical token or GA, I have set up a separate, totally secret mobile number. It’s on a SIM card which is sitting in an old iPhone 4 I had lying around which surprisingly still works. It’s only purpose now is to receive 2FA texts. The number will never be made public and therefore should be difficult to fraudulently port.
Hope you find that useful. I highly recommend setting something like this up. ID Fraud is apparently a lot larger (and easier) than I previously understood.
I updated my iPad Pro and iPhone 7 Plus to iOS 11 today and noticed under Settings > Siri & Search > Evernote on the iPad this new “Use With Siri” option. I turned it on, tried a few things, but nothing worked. So I posted on the Evernote forum and DT Low gave me the secret mantra.
Hey Siri Create a note in Evernote called Testing
Hey Siri Find a note in Evernote
The first time I tried this on the iPad, Siri told me something like “I’m sorry (Dave, but I can’t do that) – you’ll need to open Evernote to continue.” So I let her do that and that’s where the experiment ended. But I tried again, invoking Siri from the lock screen, and TADA. It worked. Now I can create and search notes using Siri! I can die a happy man.
Except – the “Use With Siri” option doesn’t appear on the iPhone 7 Plus and I don’t know why.
evernote ios 11 use with siri
Update: Doh! To get it working on the iPhone I just had to update the Evernote app!
Cross posting this solution from the Evernote Support forum.
If you are trying to work out how to find and replace inside Evernote (nb: this is a MAC only solution), here’s the best current solution (as Evernote doesn’t support it natively for some unknown reason).
- CMD-A the text of the note you want to edit.
- Right Click inside the note then Services ▹ New TextEdit Window Containing Selection”.
- Then in TextEdit “Edit ▹ Find ▹ Find & Replace”.
- Then copy all and paste back over selection in Evernote.
I’ve wasted hours of the last couple of weeks trying to work out how to print 3×5 index cards from Word via my Canon MP250. I finally worked it out today and here’s how I did it.
- First of all, it’s worth knowing that the Canon Mp250 will NOT print 3×5 cards. So stop trying.
- It WILL, however print 4×6 index cards – so go down to your nearest office supplies place and buy some of those.
- Open Word and create a new document. Or just use this template I created for you.
- If you’re on a Mac, go to FILE>PAGE SETUP and select 4×6
- Copy and paste your content into this document.
- Place cards in printer vertically (ie with smallest edge at the top)
- aaaaand print!
These days I’m using index cards to memorise a bunch of things, including the opening monologue for my documentary about Jesus, the entire text of The Raven by Poe, and a bunch of random facts I want to remember. I’ve tried using Evernote as flash cards over the years, but it just doesn’t work for me. I can carry around flash cards made from index cards in my pocket or briefcase and just test myself whenever I have a few minutes. Sometimes you just can’t beat the old school methods.