🤷🏻‍♀️ Unprecedented Demands

Unprecedented: a politically motivated ransomware attack! | Meta are building a supercomputer and giving up Diem | Microsoft acquires Activision

🤷🏻‍♀️ Unprecedented Demands

THROWBACK! I sent this newsletter using MAIL MERGE, isn’t that cool?*

This week was sort of okay I guess 🤷‍♀️. There's just a lot going on:

  • Ransomware! That thing I love to hate! But this week, a group of hackers in Belarus used it to actually try and help people, instead of to get rich — unprecedented!
  • The fight to be the biggest, best, and most destructive continues as Meta boast about their new supercomputer.
  • Microsoft has acquired Activision Blizzard, so I guess now it will be called ‘Pepsi presents Microsoft Activision Blizzard, by Snoop Dogg & EE’

*Not only is it not cool, it’s also not true because that would be psychotic.

🤖 ‘Hmm needs more AI’

Actually, here’s the thing about that: the last thing we need is more AI. Meta disagrees — they have built a huge AI supercomputer to show the world just how much more AI they can add to our dull, pitiful lives. Their AI super computer will have [insert large number here] GPUs powering it, which is slightly more than [insert main competitor here] has in their stupid big computer.

Why do we need an AI supercomputer at this scale? Well if you read their blog post (linked above), you’ll see that their answer to that EXACT question is four paragraphs of fluff, neatly shrouding one simple reason: because they can.

🙄 In case you’re curious, here’s what the supercomputer will do:

  • Train new, larger than ever before language models to develop tech that can translate language in real time so you can ‘connect’ with from all over the world in the metaverse, while you slowly asphyxiate on the dwindling amounts of breathable air in our atmosphere.
  • Give Meta an excuse to show off about how many big numbers they have in their limited vocabulary while they train AI systems that has “more than a trillion parameters on data sets as large as an exabyte.”
  • Destroy farmland and take water away from drought-ridden communities so that they can accommodate the complex needs of their precious new computer.

Anyway if it wasn’t already clear — I am not a fan of this computer. But, just like everything else Big Tech firms do, I don’t have any control over it. Thank god I have this newsletter, the final prison for my endless complaining (thank you for reading...).

🚂 Finally, ransomware is used for something worthwhile

I’m going to be honest, my various news feeds are so dominated by tech news (this is my own doing) that I hardly ever consume any news about The Real World. Well, this week the two converged, so I was FORCED to engage in global politics (yuck). Anyway, look at this tweet:

🪁 What the flying fart is going on? It’s no secret that Russia have been wanting to invade Ukraine for ages now, but maybe the slightly less obvious thing was that they were using Belarus as a tactical weapons storage unit by ferrying in guns and troops on trains.

So, the Belarusian Cyber-Partisans had (quite understandably) had enough of their country being used as a glorified Russian barracks, and therefore did a ransomware on the train lines on Monday, shutting them down. While it’s still unclear if these demands are even going to be met, one important thing sticks out: the attackers are not demanding money, and when it comes to ransomware, this is without precedent.

I’ve written about the state of ransomware a bunch of times now, including listing it as one of the keys to our own undoing. Because, as we’ve seen over and over again, if hackers are only in ransomware for the money, they will attack critical infrastructure (including hospitals), without batting an eyelid.

So here’s what I think, and perhaps you agree: when ransomware is used to free political prisoners and to stop another country from using your land as a giant bucket for military equipment, I’m pretty into it. When ransomware is used so that ten or so idiots can score some bitcoin, I don’t like it at all.

🌮 I couldn’t decide what to write about out of these — sorry

💸 Looks like Meta is finally dropping that horrible cryptocurrency idea of theirs, and selling the the tech for Diem, literally the only cypto coin that ever actually scared regulators and banks.

🤡 Meta are also changing the name of the Oculus Quest to the Meta Quest because you can’t spell ‘global tech super power’ without the word Meta, apparently.

🕹️ That brings us neatly to Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision — this is a giant power-grab for influence over the metaverse, something that Satya Nadella (and everyone else who stands to benefit) says will be built and used in a ‘decentralised’ way. Give me a fucking break.

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