Logs, Links, Life and Lexicon


Scary Stuff

Today I stumbled an extremely disturbing article that hit the mainstream. At least the “Wired” mainstream.

In early August, the enterprise security firm Armis got a confusing call from a hospital that uses the company’s security monitoring platform. One of its infusion pumps contained a type of networking vulnerability that the researchers had discovered in a few weeks prior. But that vulnerability had been found in an operating system called VxWorks—which the infusion pump didn’t run.

Today Armis, the Department of Homeland Security, the Food and Drug Administration, and a broad swath of so-called real-time operating system and device companies disclosed that Urgent/11, a suite of network protocol bugs, exist in far more platforms than originally believed. The RTO systems are used in the always-on devices common to the industrial control or health care industries. And while they’re distinct platforms, many of them incorporate the same decades-old networking code that leaves them vulnerable to denial of service attacks or even full takeovers. There are at least seven affected operating systems that run in countless IoT devices across the industry.

“It’s a mess and it illustrates the problem of unmanaged embedded devices,” says Ben Seri, vice president of research at Armis. “The amount of code changes that have happened in these 15 years are enormous, but the vulnerabilities are the only thing that has remained the same. That’s the challenge.”

Translation. This means that most systems that are used for your medical care are being hacked as I write this. If not now, soon.

Further, this is not a manageable problem. It gets scarier. If hospitals and ICR units were to throw out their existing hackable systems and replace the with BRAND NEW product. They would still be hackable. While there has been enormous change in the usability and the functionality of these devices in short periods of time, security is ALWAYS and after-thought. Nobody wants to pay for security. It should be included.

It’s not. It will never be.

It’s called Biohacking. Adding security to BioTech to prevent Biohacking ( and everything else) is an Identity Problem. We need and Identity Metasystem (as Phil Windley so articulately outlines.)

Here is the disconnect. Identity is complicated and highly political. All the big boys (Google, Microsoft, Apple, Facebook [I would add IBM but the don’t matter anymore]) want to “own” your identity. Silliness. It will never happen.

In the meantime, we are all at high risk.

You think Biotech is the only problem? Think again.

It goes on forever.

Try cell phone systems. Not cell phones. But cell phonetech. The towers. The system that your phone uses for seamless connectivity. It will be hacked. Not if. But when.

One of the touted benefits of iOS 12 is a new feature built into the system: Screen Time.

Screen Time is designed to help you manage the time you spend in front of your mobile device.

I fell for it. I admit.

I believed the hype that is telling us that we are globally out of control—duped by our smart phones.

Here is an example of the pervasive sentiment:

How to use Apple’s new Screen Time and App Limits features in iOS 12
Apple is making it easier than ever to cut back on app overload

We are being sold that we need to cut back on our use of social media and technology. This has become a common belief.

Like I said, I fell for it. I cringe when Screen Time reminds me every week how much time I spend on my mobile devices.

But something just doesn’t feel right to me about the whole idea that technology is bad for you.

Then I stumbled on a book that resonates with how I feel and think about technology and popular culture.

Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today’s Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter—Steven Johnson

This book has completely changed how I feel about Screen Time. I now revel in the numbers. We will need to change how we think about technology and popular culture—everything we know is wrong.

This is not a new book—2006. So, some of the references are stale, especially in light of what is happening in our culture right now. But if he were to go back and rewrite sections of the book to reflect what is happening now with social media, his case would just be stronger.

The Sleeper Curve

Mr. Johnson introduces the concept of the Sleeper Curve.

The Sleeper Curve: The most debased forms of mass diversion—video games and violent television dramas and juvenile sitcoms—turn out to be nutritional after all. For decades, we’ve worked under the assumption that mass culture follows a steadily declining path towards lowest-common-denominator standards, presumably because the “masses” want dumb, simple pleasures and big media companies want to give the masses what they want. But in fact, the exact opposite is happening: the culture is getting more intellectually demanding, not less.


The rest of the book makes the case why the hypothesis has merit.

This works for me on an abundance of levels.

I haven’t made the complete transition yet, but I finally found some language and discussion that is in alignment with how I feel.

AI Will Save the World

There, I said it. We are on the fertile verge of understanding how to use AI to our benefit like never before. To astronomically increase our ability to increase—not just our intellectual intelligence—but our emotional and social intelligence.

People often ask me about the future of AI. Most people believe AI is dangerous and will cause irreparable damage to humanity.

The exact opposite is happening. AI—more specifically AEI—will be a tool humanity uses to increase emotional and social intelligence like we have never imagined.

Something very unusual happened this year at IIW. Phil invited a “keynote” speaker.
This is very much not in line with the unconference format, but it worked.
Kim Cameron is seen as a visionary concerning Identity and published the 7 laws of identitya few years back.

He updated them to 10 laws. He hasn’t posted them to his blog yet. I hope he does soon.

January 2020
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