“The web isn’t magic. It’s not some faraway place we just ‘connect’ to, but a vast and complex system of computers, connected by actual wires under the ground and the oceans. Every time you open a website, you’re visiting a place where that data is stored.”
A word from our host
Hello there. You might have noticed that all the previous posts were published in rapid succession. That’s because I’ve been busy importing some of the research posted elsewhere (mostly here and here and here). That’s done. So from now on, notes will come to this stream first and you’ll get the inside scoop on whatever is grabbing my attention at the moment. Isn’t that great?
Netflix has a server architecture that currently serves a pretty high percentage of all of the internet’s traffic, due to their streaming video service.
One of the most interesting things about their server architecture is that they routinely attack their own systems. They have a tool called Chaos Monkey that randomly disables their own production instances to make sure they can survive that common type of failure without any customer impact.
“Data mining, on the scale now practiced by Google and the NSA, is the realization of what Alan Turing was getting at, in 1939, when he wondered “how far it is possible to eliminate intuition, and leave only ingenuity,” in postulating what he termed an “Oracle Machine.”
“Without humans inhabiting their guts, technological systems cannot process much of the arbitrariness of the world (Amazon’s Mechanical Turk illustrates this most dramatically at scale).”
Computers were invented as crypto-ware and spy-ware and control-ware. That’s what Alan Turing was all about. That’s where computing came from, that’s the scene’s original sin, and also its poisoned apple.
It’s a wrestling match of virtuality and actuality, an irruption of the physical into the digital.
Samsung Smart TV 2013 (UK)
Money & Speed: Inside the Black Box documentary about the flash crash of 2010 by Marije Meerman. Via algopop.