Computer Programs Are People, Too

Imag­ine the fol­low­ing sit­u­a­tion: your credit card provider uses a risk assess­ment pro­gram that mon­i­tors your finan­cial activ­ity. Using the infor­ma­tion it gath­ers, it notices your pur­chases are fol­low­ing a “high-risk pat­tern”; it does so on the basis of a secret, pro­pri­etary algo­rithm. The assess­ment pro­gram, act­ing on its own, cuts off the use of your credit card. It is cour­te­ous enough to e-mail you a warn­ing. There­after, you find that actions that were pos­si­ble yesterday—like mak­ing elec­tronic purchases—no longer are. No humans at the credit card com­pany were involved in this deci­sion; its rep­re­sen­ta­tive pro­gram acted autonomously on the basis of pre-set risk thresholds.

What The Hell Was Megadeth, Arizona?

This is the story of how an unlikely threesome—a girl, a heavy metal band and their fans — pio­neered the web at its infancy, bucked the sta­tus quo and proved that the Inter­net wasn’t a fad.

Vaccine — Decryption

Metroland — Close to Me