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The Quality of Auto-Generated Code

Kevlin Henney and I were riffing on some ideas about GitHub Copilot, the tool for automatically generating code base on GPT-3’s language model, trained on the body of code that’s in GitHub. This article poses some questions and (perhaps) some answers, without trying to present any conclusions. First, we wondered about code quality. There...

Radar trends to watch: October 2021

The unwilling star of this month’s trends is clearly Facebook. Between reports that they knew about the damage that their applications were causing long before that damage hit the news, their continued denials and apologies, and their attempts to block researchers from studying the consequences of their products, they’ve been in the news almost every...

Ethical Social Media: Oxymoron or Attainable Goal?

Humans have wrestled with ethics for millennia. Each generation spawns a fresh batch of ethical dilemmas and then wonders how to deal with them. For this generation, social media has generated a vast set of new ethical challenges, which is unsurprising when you consider the degree of its influence. Social media has been linked to health...

2021 Data/AI Salary Survey

In June 2021, we asked the recipients of our Data & AI Newsletter to respond to a survey about compensation. The results gave us insight into what our subscribers are paid, where they’re located, what industries they work for, what their concerns are, and what sorts of career development opportunities they’re pursuing. While it’s sadly premature...

Radar trends to watch: September 2021

Let’s start with a moment of silence for O’Reilly Author Toby Segaran, who passed away on August 11, 2021.  Toby was one of the people who got the Data Science movement started. His book, Programming Collective Intelligence, taught many how to start using their data. Throughout his career, he mentored many, and was particularly influential in mentoring...

Rebranding Data

There’s a flavor of puzzle in which you try to determine the next number or shape in a sequence. We’re living that now, but for naming the data field.  “Predictive analytics.” “Big Data.” “Data science.” “Machine learning.” “AI.” What’s next? It’s hard to say.  These terms all claim to be different, but they are very much the same.  They...

A Way Forward with Communal Computing

Communal devices in our homes and offices aren’t quite right. In previous articles, we discussed the history of communal computing and the origin of the single user model. Then we reviewed the problems that arise due to identity, privacy, security, experience, and ownership issues. They aren’t solvable by just making a quick fix. They require a huge...

Defending against ransomware is all about the basics

The concept behind ransomware is simple. An attacker plants malware on your system that encrypts all the files, making your system useless, then offers to sell you the key you need to decrypt the files. Payment is usually in bitcoin (BTC), and the decryption key is deleted if you don’t pay within a certain period. Payments have typically been relatively...

Radar trends to watch: August 2021

Security continues to be in the news: most notably the Kaseya ransomware attack, which was the first case of a supply chain ransomware attack that we’re aware of. That’s new and very dangerous territory. However, the biggest problem in security remains simple: take care of the basics. Good practices for authentication, backups, and software updates...

Communal Computing’s Many Problems

In the first article of this series, we discussed communal computing devices and the problems they create–or, more precisely, the problems that arise because we don’t really understand what “communal” means. Communal devices are intended to be used by groups of people in homes and offices. Examples include popular home assistants and smart displays...

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