Precis- 15.10.2021

Simply a refresh – Precis offers a short take of the day’s most compelling stories/ narratives (as they happen).

panoramic photography of alps
Photo by Tim Gouw on

Louis Pouzin discusses the early days of the internet

One of my colleagues introduced me to [Professor Fernando J.] Corbató, who was an American working at MIT and who was heading a new team working on time-sharing [1]. Time-sharing was a totally new concept of using machines simultaneously with several people. There were two other places in the U.S. where they were also preparing for some time-sharing, but much more limited because you had to use only one particular language. While I was working on Corbató’s project, you could use a machine entirely for what it was built — I mean to use the physical machine with any language or any compiler you would like.

India needs tech moonshots to power $10 tn ai-driven economy

The next 15 years are going to be critical for India’s growth story. We will have an opportunity to combine demographic dividend with artificial intelligence (AI)-driven hyper-innovation, in which 50 billion smart things (machines and devices) will combine with billions of connected humans. Unlike previous innovation cycles, the AI wave is different in which rapid technology innovation (combination of AI, Robotics, 5G and Quantum technologies) will occur together with business model innovation (digital intangibles-driven experience economy).

Steven Pinker Thinks Your Sense of Imminent Doom Is Wrong – The New York Times

Do you see any irrational beliefs as useful? Yeah. For example, every time the media blames a fire or a storm on climate change, it’s a dubious argument in the sense that those are events that belong to weather, not climate. You can never attribute a particular event to a trend. It’s also the case, given that there is an availability bias in human cognition, that people tend to be more influenced by images and narratives and anecdotes than trends. If a particular anecdote or event can in the public mind be equated with a trend, and the impression that people get from the flamboyant image gets them to appreciate what in reality is a trend, then I have no problem with using it that way.

Protecting freedom of academic inquiry | Financial Times

This is a complex area since the boundaries of acceptable speech constantly evolve. That is especially true of the trans debate, which is new to many people and so attempts to stifle debate are seen as particularly harmful. Still more complicated is that the hottest argument in this area centres on whether the advance of trans rights diminishes the rights of women.

No side is served well by this. But if the campaign for trans rights becomes a debate over cancelling academics then it is the trans community that will lose out. The most powerful argument comes from the experiences of ordinary trans people. This campaign, like other civil rights arguments, will be won with cool reason and an appeal to common humanity and decency.

New Zealand council ends contract with wizard after two decades of service | New Zealand | The Guardian

The official Wizard of New Zealand, perhaps the only state-appointed wizard in the world, has been cast from the public payroll, spelling the end to a 23-year legacy

The Wizard, whose real name is Ian Brackenbury Channell, 88, had been contracted to Christchurch city council for the past two decades to promote the city through “acts of wizardry and other wizard-like services”, at a cost of $16,000 a year. He has been paid a total of $368,000.

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