Hello, hello, hello out there. It is time for your favourite internet show about the internet – IT STUFF, with yours sincerely, shi.
I’m missing my usual cohort of presenters – it is, after all, International Women’s Day so you know, I need to work twice as hard to earn the same amount of recognition.
Our topics include:
International Womens Day
RSA conference kerfuffle with women speakers
OURSA alternate conference
Questions from the audience include -
Porn and censorship
Fears in the tech world
What is a virus
The future of email
Youtube of the Month:
Naomi ‘SexyCyborg’ Wu
Sheetal ‘Tech Devi’ Chintapatla
Commercial AI can't recognise black women
J-pop girl band based on cryptocurrencies
50 Cent faked bitcoin wealth to look cool
World of Stuff:
Tascam DR-44WL - 4-track handheld recorder with Wi-Fi functionality
Yorkshire Sound Women Network are inviting all women to a free special networks meetup in Leeds on Sunday, March 25th from 9am until 5pm.
Bradford Coder Dojo is back on the 24th of March, 9:30am to noon at the Innovation Centre in Little Germany.
BCB IT Stuff recording 7 March 2018 transmission 8/9 March 2018
 Hello, hello, hello out there. It is time for your favourite internet show about the internet – IT STUFF, with yours sincerely, shi.
[1min] I’m missing my usual cohort of presenters – it is, after all, International Women’s Day so you know, I need to work twice as hard to earn the same amount of of recognition. Listeners – we have a lot to cover in the next 30 minutes so I suggest you get a strong cup of delicious hot beverage, sit tight and try not to swear so much. I’ll try to keep it tasteful. One more thing before we dig in – throughout the broadcast, I’ll be playing question roulette. For the past few weeks, BCB Radio has been holding womens radio workshops leading up to today’s broadcast. During the Radio Venus workshops, I’ve been asked some questions about tech in general so I’ll be playing them out randomly throughout the show.
[2 min] Question roulette time!
Q1 – I’m afraid I have bad news – there is no technical solution. This is fundamentally a people problem – it’s like asking, “ My son is about to have conversations with people. How do I stop him from having bad conversations with people?”
Obviously, one way is to stop him from having conversations with anyone ever, except when you’re present – so that you can monitor and control the conversation to your liking. I mean, have you seen that Black Mirror episode?
Teaching and talking to your kids might seem the obvious solution to this problem and I think it’s important not to single out communication using technology from any other form of communication. Just because it’s ‘tech’ does not mean there is a magic fix to the same problems you would have if it wasn’t ‘tech’. Again, I will bring up the Black Mirror episode – as humans, we are fixated on fixing things – in this case, social problems with rules. Rules that we have been trying to apply to social situations for thousands of years. Technology is not magic, it’s still governed by the same rules, the same people and the same problems. So to summarise, there is no magical technical solution – just talk to your kids.
Group discussion here.
[6 min] First up, we have the RSA kerfuffle. What’s this then? It says here - the RSA Conference is one of the world's largest cybersecurity gatherings. It takes place in San Francisco and around 45,000 people attend each year. So what’s new about this year? Apparently, women speakers. They don’t seem to exist – nobody knows where they are or if they are even out there. Let’s face it, this isn’t the first conference to do this. It’s such an issue that we have websites like, ‘Gender Avenger’ - A community that ensures women are represented in the public dialog. On their website and social media presence, Gender Avenger calls out conferences and events that lack diversity in their panel of speakers. It’s a great cause but more importantly, it highlights how much this happens so often.
[7 min] So back to RSA – turns out a group of women and their allies have organized an alternate conference to run at the same time and in the same city. ‘Our Security Advocates Conference’ or OURSA will be held about a mile from the original conference and there will be a live feed as well so everyone can take part.
[8 min] Question roulette time!
Q2 – Let’s talk about robots – or in this case, we all know it’s about AI or Artificial Intelligence. The way people are talking about ai right now is similar to the way computers were spoken about in the 1960s - ‘fear of the unknown’ and the ‘possibility that these new robot computer overlords’ will know everything and be right all the time and take over the planet. Are these fears justified? Sure – the same way any fear of the unknown is justified. The best way to deal with it, is to make it known, to understand what’s going on and to make sure you personally take as much control over the future as possible. For instance, social media – I can’t stand the thing so I don’t use it.
In the tech world, people are relatively unafraid of technology going too far. The biggest fear stems from politicians and corporations using technology for great evil and the rest of the world not understanding that it’s evil until it’s too late. I can safely say, that’s the general fear shared amongst all techies.
[10 min] Youtube of the Month
Naomi ‘SexyCyborg’ Wu https://www.youtube.com/c/SexyCyborg
“I'm a Maker and Web developer from Shenzhen, China. I like to show what life here is like here and sometimes post small projects that I'm working on.”
Sheetal ‘Tech Devi’ Chintapatla
“I'm an Engineering student and very much interested in Electronics and Tech. So, I'll be making videos on simple and useful electronic projects.”
[13 min] Question roulette time!
Q3 – Digital literacy is as important as literacy. In fact, it’s impossible to be digitally literate without knowing how to read and write. It is the absolute minimum to function in modern society – we have libraries and community centres that are encouraging people to come in and use their facilities. These very places are equipped with trained professionals to help the general public to learn. I see no reason why anyone should feel left out anymore than they would feel left out for being illiterate. If anything, I think these initiatives should be better marketed to the people who would greatly benefit from it.
[15 min] Singularity Watch
Thank you for tuning in to IT STUFF on International Womens Day! You are listening to BCB Radio 106.6FM
New studies and research conclude that commercial artificial intelligence is great at picking out white men, but not quite so when it comes to black women. So what are the implications? Face it, we know big brother is remotely watching the great sea of faceless conspirators out there for our very own safety, right now, this very moment. What can make this process even better? Even more efficient? Algorithms, of course!
Researchers argue that this software is “very likely” to be used for identifying criminal suspects. One error could result in dire consequences, people wrongfully accused of a crime or misidentified from security footage.
So what now? Greater transparency. Companies are to provide information on the demographic and phenotypic images used to train AI models as well as reporting performance levels for each different subgroup. Besides, AI systems are only as effective as the data they’re trained on. Bad training data can lead to higher error rates and biased decision making, even when the underlying model is sound.
[17 min] Question roulette time!
Q4 – A virus is malicious code designed by a human. We need to understand that a virus is not self aware - it has not manifested itself out of a computer. A virus is written by a person to do bad things on purpose. Bad things like deleting files – deleting files is a normal thing to do but here, some thing is deleting your files without your consent.
Now why do we call it a virus? Well, as well as doing bad things, it also tries to make copies of itself and send itself to other people’s computers. Sound familiar? Yes, like a virus you can catch that makes you sick, a computer virus has the ability to replicate itself and infect other people!
[18 min] Bitcoin Watch
A quick one this time on a couple of things that have something in common – music. Pop music to be exact. Each member of the J-Pop girl band, 'Virtual Currency Girls' – or Kasotsuka Shojo in Japanese – is named after a different cryptocurrency. Wearing metallic wrestling-style masks and frilly maid outfits, they dance and sing about virtual markets with their debut single warning listeners to be aware of fraud and to maintain their security online.
In other news, 50cent is bankrupt. A month ago, 50cent was reported to have $8million in bitcoin earnings he had forgotten about – allegedly from album sales that were bought with bitcoins from fans. Turns out, 50cent has no clue what bitcoin even is and was only saying things to make him look cool. Groan.
[19 min] Question roulette time!
Q5 – Emails are a fundamental bit of the internet that’s virtually impossible to get rid off. It’s very hard to sign up to social media type things without an email address so at the very least, you’ll need one as your identity online even if you don’t use it. If it does get replaced, then you’ll have exactly the same problems with the thing that replaces it – too much spam, unsolicited messages etc – I mean, I didn’t use to get cold calls and SMS spam on my mobile phone but now it’s the only thing I get. I’m looking at you, unnamed local clinic. I mean, thank you for updating me about vaccinations and flu jabs but a few texts a day about it will only make me block these helpful messages.
[21 min] Shi’s World of Stuff
[25 min] Local Events
Before we end the show, a couple local tech events for the whole family.
The Yorkshire Sound Women Network are inviting all women to a free special networks meetup in Leeds on Sunday, March 25th from 9am until 5pm. There will be special speakers and an opportunity to hear a summary of last year’s activities, followed by a round table discussion on sonic work.
Bradford Coder Dojo is back on the 24th of March, 9:30am to noon at the Innovation Centre in Little Germany. If you’re a family interested in coding and technology but don’t know how, come join us.
For both events, go to Eventbrite and search for Yorkshire Sound Women Network or Bradford Coder Dojo respectively.
Thank you for joining me, I’ll see you again next month with the usual band of suspects. I leave you now with Grimes.
[25 min 52 sec] MUSIC
GRIMES - REALiTi 4:24
Broadcast 8th & 9th March 2018