[04-26-17] The WGAN Morning News
Also, shared Cadillac’s announce at the New York Auto Show to beat Tesla, as it joins the self-driving community.
- Robert Taylor, Innovator Who Shaped Modern Computing, Dies at 85
- Cadillac has a secret weapon in its quest to beat Tesla at self-driving
- Shiny new things: The best of the best at the New York Auto Show
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Airing date: 04/26/2017
Robert Taylor Father of the Internet Dies – Cadillac Passes Tesla with New Automation Technology
Craig Peterson: We all know Al Gore invented the internet right? Well, of course, he didn’t. There are a lot of people involved. He might have gotten involved with the funding but at any rate we had, probably, the guy that… he was most responsible, not just the internet, but for our Windows computers, our Macintosh computers. Just incredible guy. He passed away this week. So we talked about him. And we also are talking about the new technology Cadillac just released at the auto show that is putting Tesla to shame. Autonomous vehicles from Cadillac. Once again, the U.S. is leading the way.
Ken Altshuler: Well great theme song. Please welcome in, as we do every Wednesday at this time, Craig Peterson, our tech guru. Good morning Craig. How are you?
Craig: Hey good morning. Doing well gentlemen.
Ken: So, tell me, who is Robert Taylor? And what did he do for computing that we should honor him for now that he has passed away?
Craig: Oh this is amazing. You know there’s very few people over the years that have made major, major changes in computing. Grace Hopper is one of them. She was just amazing. Inventing computer languages. Whole concepts no one had ever really thought about before. It’s incredible. But Robert Taylor, who just passed away as you mentioned here, 85 years old, had been involved for decades and decades. He was over at ARPA, which became DARPA, which is the Advanced Research Projects Agency. And he helped bring us from the days of computer cards to computer terminals to what we have today called the internet. This guy was over at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, which we used to call PARC all of the time. One of the major guys who was involved with how we used computers today. He played a vital role in the invention of the computer mouse, a graphical user interface. He was over at NASA in ’61, at the dawn of this whole space age that we have today. He was over at SRI International, Stanford Research Institute. Again, he ran these projects. He was a major contributor. It’s just crazy when I think back at this guy and everything he did. And I pulled out some pictures of some of the computers from way back then. Kids using the Xerox Alto, A-L-T-O, that’s the name of the predecessor to the Macintosh, which also was taken by Bill Gates and became Windows. That Windows interface. This guy, born February, 1932 in Dallas, Texas. And he was adopted later on about a month later by a reverend. Just grew up to change everything. He drove it. He fought for the money. He fought for the funding at these different research institutions he worked for because he believed in the advancement of technology. And how many people have heard of him before?
Matt: Now Craig, maybe it was fake news at the time, but I recall growing up and I thought Al Gore invented the internet. I have never heard of Robert Taylor until this morning. Well, how much did he help Al Gore in inventing the internet?
Craig: Well, Al Gore later on went back to change his statement, well I didn’t invent it. But I helped to fund it. So yeah. Al Gore, not so much. I got involved with the internet back in 1981 and I met Robert Taylor back in the day when I was doing some consulting work for Digital Equipment Corporation. And I was just, you know, awestruck when I met this guy. So I remember it all pretty well. And yeah, Al Gore, other than promoting it in the senate, because remember the ARPANET, the predecessor to the internet, you might not now, was designed for research community in the universities and government contractors could share information and could share computing resources because it was so expensive. So if you had computers at your college university that was working on federal government grants you could now share that with someone else, use someone else’s because now we have that network. And it wasn’t until September, 1991, when we could finally use this now renamed internet, formerly ARPANET, we could now use it for commercial purposes. Before that you couldn’t, John. Not at all.
Matt: Now that actually might be a good segue to a story about Facebook. Facebook started as a product available just at colleges and universities. Now obviously it’s widely available. Can you maybe tell us a little bit on Facebook’s latest crackdown?
Craig: Yeah. This is interesting. Fake news is all the news nowadays. And Facebook is trying to crackdown on this. The way happens, do you guys watch Homeland on Showtime?
Ken: Yeah. I love it.
Craig: Well, have you seen they’ve got this Alex Jones-y character on this season? And this is a guy who’s running a whole boiler room of people.
Ken: I thought that was Steve Bannon actually. Wasn’t that?
Craig: It could be. I was kind of wondering for a while if it was this Ken Altshuler.
Ken: Yeah, exactly.
Craig: But I wasn’t sure. But he’s got this boiler room of all of these people. And each one of them has a couple of dozen fake identities. And the whole idea behind this boiler room, and by the way, I don’t know Ken. What do you think? There are 50, a hundred people, 200 people?
Ken: Oh easily. Yeah.
Craig: In this boiler room. It is just huge. And so they’re trying to change public opinion. And what they’re doing to change public opinion is each one of these fake identities people have has a different background, a different identity. In fact, even the good fight they’ve addressed at this season. And they go out and try and change opinion. So let’s talk about the Russians hacking the elections for instance here. One of the easiest way to do it is just like they showed on Homeland. All you need is a few hundred people who are pretending to be a few thousand people who are trying to change the opinions so they’ll all get out there. Can you believe how orange Trump was today? What a buffoon right? Or whatever the opinion they’re trying to set. Whatever tone they’re trying to set. So the places like Facebook will then pick it up saying whoa, wait a minute here now. We’ve got a few thousand people trending this story. The story doesn’t have to be real. But it can be used to influence and change an election. Now, Facebook realizes what’s going on and so they’ve changed some of their program so that if a computer detects that something is trending, they get people involved before they let it trend too much. Obviously, they don’t have enough people to look at every story, every trending story but the real major ones. So Facebook now has cracked down on these types of boiler rooms. Now, the boiler rooms that we’re talking about don’t have to be real physical people either. They could be zombies. So we’re not talking about, you know, dead voters that go to the polls every year in some places, but what we’re talking about are these computer programs that are programmed to try and influence opinion. Try and start a trend whether it’s too market a product or get somebody elected or unelected. And Facebook has really started cracking down. They’ve been closing accounts by tens, hundreds of thousands in order to try and stop these fake influencers from setting the tone and trends in news.
Ken: We’re talking to Craig Peterson, our tech guru. Joins us every Wednesday at 7:38. Final topic for discussion, Craig. We’ve talked about having automatic cars, driverless cars, or whatever. Cadillac is getting in the middle of this?
Craig: Oh wow. The world is about to change, gentlemen and we’ve talked about a little bit before. But yeah, Cadillac, what they’re doing right now is they are releasing the world’s first, fully self-driving car. Cadillac is going out and has invested heavily in mapping technology. Basically what they’ve done is it’s a New York Auto Show, they just showed this car. It has LiDAR built in. it has maps from dozens of different sources that have, down to a fraction of an inch, details of everything on every highway in the United States of America. So, if you’re driving one of these Cadillacs, and they’re charging real money for this stuff, you now have the advantage of Cadillac having wrapped a 160,000 miles of our major freeways and having built into this car the to, top technology sensors that are out there. And the idea Cadillac has is you’re not going to buy a car anymore. You’re not going to buy a Cadillac. Ultimately, they don’t want to sell you a car. They realize you’re not going to buy one. So, in New York City, as of last month, for $1500 a month you can drive a Cadillac. And it’s month to month. It includes everything. All of your wear and tear items. It includes insurance even. And they want to move it to the next step with these autonomous cars where you can say hey, I want a Cadillac to take me from the airport to the hotel to my meeting, wherever it is, and a car will just show up. So they really one-upped Tesla here on with their autonomous assist. And it is truly a hands-free driving system. It will work off of the highways as well. But Cadillac at this point wants you to take over control of the car when you get off the highway. But good for them. And good for the U.S. auto industry. By the way, we are leading worldwide right now with autonomous technologies and hopefully we’ll win that and because that’ll help with jobs and manufacturing, all the way through high tech jobs and right in Maine, you know, we’re talking earlier this morning about jobs. Right in Maine we have some of the top mapping technology companies in the world. And I hope we continue this trend. It’s really cool.
Ken: Yeah, we have DeLorme, who is now owned by Garmin right in the town I live in in Freeport, Maine.
Craig: Absolutely. And that’s part of the tech that Cadillac is licensing right now. Ken: Alright. Craig Peterson, our tech guru. You could go to http://CraigPeterson.com, get his email and all the news that is fit to read. Thanks for joining us. We’ll talk to you next week. Craig: Gentlemen, take care. Thanks John.