Futurecasting, Project VoCo, Hacking, Harassment & More

theatlantic-toaster
Gif via ProSymbols/The Noun Project/Andrew McGill/The Atlantic

Welcome to the eNewletter you never subscribed to. 

Designing the Future for the Present: Futurecasting is on the rise, ya’ll. Firms like Frog and Faith Popcorn’s BrainReserve use data and research to imagine future worlds and brands’ places within them. Hopefully these futures are free from Big Brother’s watchful eyes, however, the ubiquity of hacking (see below) has me feeling v uneasy.

Project VoCo Is Creepy AF: I first heard about Adobe’s new audio app that lets users alter and create voices from a friend in the audio engineering industry. He brought up how this technology will negatively impact both audio engineers and voice actors. Other concerns come to mind as well: security threats, falsified quotes and loss of skill. While all of these possibilities are disconcerting, what really wigs me out is the ability to use Adobe’s technology to essentially steal someone’s voice. Imagine a stalker recording your voice in the check-out line and using it later to carry out delusional fetishes. Imagine never moving on from the passing of a loved one and continuing to talk to a fake version of them long after they have died. Imagine prank phone calls on steroids by using someone else’s voice to convince a listener to believe or to do something. Creepy AF, right?

I Guess I Should Come Up With Stronger Passwords, Huh: The recent cyberattacks in the eastern U.S. and beyond (not to mention the unyielding release of WikiLeaks’ hacked DNC emails) got a lot of people talking about internet security. So, The Atlantic‘s Andrew McGill decided to do a little experiment. McGill built a fake web toaster (outdated, slow or cheap processors soldered into web-connected devices) and put out a honeypot (an irresistible target that attracts and entraps hackers and the scripts they use to find vulnerable servers). Basically, McGill wanted to see how long it would take for his toaster to get hacked. He was expecting to wait days, or even weeks. But the first hack attempt came after just one hour. There were more than 300 further attempts before midnight. So what does this mean? Hackers now have the ability to literally scan the entire internet in search of vulnerable servers. The belief that you are small and insignificant when it comes to the vastness of the internet is no longer reasonable. No one can escape. We are all likely to be hacked at some point. BRB pulling a Walden.

Twitter’s Catch-22: How do you sustain a platform founded upon the belief of free speech while simultaneously trying to tame the trolls? Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross talks with BuzzFeed technology reporter Charlie Warzel to find out. Ultimately, it doesn’t sound like there’s much of a solution for Twitter harassment right now. In fact, harassment everywhere only seems to be increasing. Take, for example, this woman who was virtually groped in a VR multiplayer game. TBH I don’t know what’s more depressing: the fact that this doesn’t really seem to be that much of a concern to CEOs, or the fact that there are truly this many human beings who choose to engage in such hateful behavior.

I’m Sick of Telling You Guys Podcasts Are the Future: So I’ll let this article do it for me.

Make Your Ears Happy: Let my boo Devendra croon to you.

Stay classy, nerds.

 

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