Source: The Distributed Post, Apr 2018
Source: The Atlantic, Apr 2018
… the basic means of communicating scientific results hasn’t changed for 400 years. Papers may be posted online, but they’re still text and pictures on a page.
The Watts-Strogatz paper described its key findings the way most papers do, with text, pictures, and mathematical symbols. And like most papers, these findings were still hard to swallow, despite the lucid prose. The hardest parts were the ones that described procedures or algorithms, because these required the reader to “play computer” in their head, as Victor put it, that is, to strain to maintain a fragile mental picture of what was happening with each step of the algorithm.
Victor’s redesign interleaved the explanatory text with little interactive diagrams that illustrated each step. In his version, you could see the algorithm at work on an example. You could even control it yourself.
the whole problem of scientific communication in a nutshell: Scientific results today are as often as not found with the help of computers. That’s because the ideas are complex, dynamic, hard to grab ahold of in your mind’s eye.
… to create an inflection point in the enterprise of science itself.
In the mid-1600s, Gottfried Leibniz devised a notation for integrals and derivatives (the familiar ∫ and dx/dt) that made difficult ideas in calculus almost mechanical. Leibniz developed the sense that a similar notation applied more broadly could create an “algebra of thought.” Since then, logicians and linguists have lusted after a universal language that would eliminate ambiguity and turn complex problem-solving of all kinds into a kind of calculus.
As practitioners in those fields become more literate with computation, Wolfram argues, they’ll vastly expand the range of what’s discoverable. The Mathematica notebook could be an accelerant for science because it could spawn a new kind of thinking.
To write a paper in a Mathematica notebook is to reveal your results and methods at the same time; the published paper and the work that begot it. Which shouldn’t just make it easier for readers to understand what you did—it should make it easier for them to replicate it (or not).
With millions of scientists worldwide producing incremental contributions, the only way to have those contributions add up to something significant is if others can reliably build on them. “That’s what having science presented as computational essays can achieve,” Wolfram said.
Pérez admired the way that Mathematica notebooks encouraged an exploratory style. “You would sketch something out—because that’s how you reason about a problem, that’s how you understand a problem.” Computational notebooks, he said, “bring that idea of live narrative out … You can think through the process, and you’re effectively using the computer, if you will, as a computational partner, and as a thinking partner.”
A federated effort, while more chaotic, might also be more robust—and the only way to win the trust of the scientific community.
It’ll be some time before computational notebooks replace PDFs in scientific journals, because that would mean changing the incentive structure of science itself. Until journals require scientists to submit notebooks, and until sharing your work and your data becomes the way to earn prestige, or funding, people will likely just keep doing what they’re doing.
When you improve the praxis of science, the dream is that you’ll improve its products, too. Leibniz’s notation, by making it easier to do calculus, expanded the space of what it was possible to think.
Source: MIT, Mar 2018
“Today we set out to answer two big questions, says President Reif. “How does human intelligence work, in engineering terms? And how can we use that deep grasp of human intelligence to build wiser and more useful machines, to the benefit of society?”
Source: IAPP, Apr 2018
The bloc’s General Data Protection law, which will come into effect in a few months’ time, says people must be able to demand that their personal data is rectified or deleted under many circumstances. …
Altering data “just doesn’t work on a blockchain,” said John Mathews, the chief finance officer for Bitnation a project that aims to provide blockchain-based identity and governance services, as well as document storage. “Blockchains are by their nature immutable. The GDPR says you must be able to remove some data, so those two things don’t square off.”
For blockchain projects that involve the storage of personal data, these two facts do not mix well. And with sanctions for flouting the GDPR including fines of up to €20 million or 4 percent of global revenues, many businesses may find the ultra-buzzy blockchain trend a lot less palatable than they first thought.
The GDPR is a new regulation, and EU laws tend to last for a long time before revision — the Data Protection Directive that preceded the GDPR was drafted way back in 1995.
“Certain technologies will not be compatible with the GDPR if they don’t provide for [the exercising of data subjects’ rights] based on their architectural design,” Albrecht insisted. “This does not mean that blockchain technology in general has to adapt to the GDPR, it just means that it probably cannot be used for the processing of personal data. This decision is the responsibility of every organization that processes personal data.”
Related Resource: CoinCenter, Apr 2018
Under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation, companies will be required to completely erase the personal data of any citizen who requests that they do so.
For businesses that use blockchain, specifically applications with publicly available data trails such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, truly purging that information could be impossible. “Some blockchains, as currently designed, are incompatible with the GDPR,” says Michèle Finck, a lecturer in EU law at the University of Oxford. EU regulators, she says, will need to decide whether the technology must be barred from the region or reconfigure the new rules to permit an uneasy coexistence.
the better conception may be to see the new law as incompatible with the reality of open blockchain networks. That is to say, the GDPR presumes that there will be central intermediaries that can ‘erase’ information, but the world is trending toward ever more decentralized and immutable technologies. While firms may alter their behavior to comply with the new law, decentralized networks are global and unowned and won’t change.
The result of the law, then, may be that Europe is closing itself off from the future of the Internet to its detriment.