Saturday, September 15, 2007

Credit Crunch - Will this lead to recession?

Northern Rock the UK's fifth-largest mortgage lender, has asked The Bank of England to provide emergency financial support. This has made the Newcastle-based firm the highest-profile UK victim of the global credit crunch, triggered by the sub-prime mortgage crisis in the US. But the question is how many more to come? Following the widespread losses made by investors in loans to US homebuyers with poor credit history, the so-called sub-prime loans, banks and investors who have had their fingers burned have become wary of buying any mortgage debt.

As financial times stated: “When the patient is in seizure and the extremities are starting to turn blue it is not the time to worry about the patient’s longer-term dietary plans or about undesirable side-effects of the current treatment. Yet I fear this is what central banks will do. The next set of steps had better be convincing and decisive, otherwise a much wider financial implosion and economic recession will become very likely.”

How will it affect the jobs in the city? Will we see a slowdown? Lets wait and watch

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Artificail Intelligence - Machines taking over?

Continuing from m earlier discussion about Artifical Intelligence, i found the following from one fo the technology writers who went to the Singularity Summit

Singularity Institute Research Fellow Eliezer Yudkowsky explained over the weekend at the Singularity Summit why many believe that machines will eventually be smarter than their makers. The stunning progress in packing more computation power onto silicon chips, married with software designers’ increasing ability to take advantage of this power, virtually guarantees that machines are progressing faster than humans are. One day, machines will start building themselves, he predicted. And at that point, humans will certainly no longer be the smartest creatures in the room.

All that conference goers could agree on is that life with machines won't be the same. And even if the machines that take over from the geeks are friendly, these new masters of the universe may not serve pinot noir.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Artificial Intelligence - Where are we heading to?

Recently the Singularity Summit was held in San Francisco and it was attended by record number of people.

I had been reading quite a lot on the Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence recently. The singularity institue exists to confront the new world of Artificial Intelligence, both the opportunity and the risk. I have been interested in this field since 2003, when i took a module on AI in my Computer Science degree and thus have my own views to share.

Do you think the machines can take over mankind someday? - Well currently i cant imagine something like that. However i can imagine computers taking over most of our jobs. People worry about competing for jobs with people from Mexico or from China, but what about competing with computers for jobs? People will be friends with robots who tend to understand them better than other humans!!! It will be robots who will make decisions as to when are we supposed to sleep, when are we supposed to eat and what are we supposed to like. Now that seems scary right. I think in 20 -25 years time we might also have the first Human-Robot relationship(partners/marriage). In short, robots will be good enough to replace humans for almost everything.

Robots are already to the level of rather dumb/stupid pets. Given moore's law, they will be to the level of smart pets within three to five years... That much is just simple exploitation of systems that have already been developed... This is such deep stuff, and there is so much of it that it will really take a human+ intelligence to fully use the data that we have now, much less the data that we will generate before we are able to create that human+ intelligence.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Increase in spam in gmail

In the last few weeks or so, I've noticed a marked increase in the number of spam emails that are making it into my Gmail. All are filtered to the spam folder though, but I still dont like it as the number has gone up sharply.

I used to get maximum of 3 to 4 spam mails in my spam folder in a week. However nowadays i receive 15-20 spam emails everyday. I dont know what is the reason behind this sudden increase or if others are also facing this situation recently. I tried searching on the internet but no related events have been reported by anybody.

One possible reason could be the fact that i registered on facebook around the same time and then suddenly i noticed the increase in spam. Is it something related to facebook? Are spammers getting hold of my email address from facebook? I wont be surprised actually as i have already started receiving job adverts/mails from agencies through facebook!!!

Let me know if anybody else faces the same situation.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Tiger Beer Singapore Chilli Crab Festival - Bricklane

Today i went to the Tiger Beer Singapore Chilli Crab Festival at bricklane. I had heard so much about bricklane, but never been there. So i othught it was a good chance to go there.

I tried the Singapore's unofficial national dish (crabs!!! - you would have guessed by now), as well as other regional specialities such as Hainanese chicken rice, char kway teow and laksa.

You could even get henna tattoos there, watch Chinese dragon dancing and browse market stalls at this event organised by the Singapore Tourism Board.

Morveover walking around bricklane made me feel that it was quite similar to Camden Market. There were artists, musicians and lots of junk stuff being sold and bought. It was a nice expereince to see another aspect of life and ponder over it.

Still thinking about it actually.....