2016年7月31日 星期日

John Kerr, Chronicler of Freud-Jung Rift, Is Dead at 66


John Kerr in an undated photo. CreditNadine Desautels
John Kerr, an editor, literary muse and confidant for a generation of Freudian scholars and the author of “A Most Dangerous Method,” the book that became the basis for a play and a movie about the famous feud between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, died on July 18 in Portland, Me. He was 66.
His brother Gil said the cause was complications of lung cancer.
Mr. Kerr was a graduate student in psychology at New York University when he discovered the subject that would become the touchstone of an influential scholarly life. The screenwriter Paul Schrader, of “Taxi Driver” fame, had been looking for a research assistant to develop a script about the contentious relationship between Freud and Jung, and Mr. Kerr signed on.
Later, in 1981, Mr. Schrader abandoned the project, but his assistant dug in and made the work his dissertation. Mr. Kerr turned the project into a book, “A Most Dangerous Method” (1993), that drew on private letters of Jung and Freud, who had been a mentor to Jung. Mr. Kerr argued that the falling out between the two theorists and former friends was due in part to a woman, the analyst Sabina Spielrein, with whom Jung had an affair.
The book inspired the 2002 play “The Talking Cure” by Christopher Hampton, who also wrote the screenplay for “A Dangerous Method,” the 2011 film adaptation directed by David Cronenberg.
Mr. Kerr’s interest in the relationship had initially led him to join a seminar at Cornell University exploring the history of psychiatry and psychoanalysis. There, he met a medical historian, Paul E. Stepansky, who soon hired him as an editor at The Analytic Press, a book publisher that through the 1980s and 1990s functioned as part incubator, part finishing school for books written by therapists.
“He was a dazzling intellect, and the two of us ran the place with a staff of five or six,” Dr. Stepansky said. “I would give him manuscripts to review, and the reviews were these wide-ranging meditations, stylistic gems, with commentary that was often more illuminating than the manuscript itself.”
Viggo Mortensen, left, as Sigmund Freud and Michael Fassbender as Carl Jung in “A Dangerous Method.” The 2011 film was based on research and a book written by John Kerr about the theorists’ relationship and falling out. CreditSony Pictures Classics, via Photofest
In one, Mr. Kerr identified the sinkhole into which so many Freud critics have fallen. “I think Freud writes so well, and writes his particular brand of theoretical gobbledygook so especially well,” Mr. Kerr wrote, “that all his would-be detractors are forced to go laboring after him with half his speed and one-tenth his grace.”
Word about his reviews got around, and aspiring authors gravitated to him.
“I knew nothing of French history and culture when I wrote the chapter of my book on psychoanalysis in France during the Shoah,” Emily Kuriloff, the director of clinical education at the William Alanson White Institute of Psychiatry, Psychoanalysis & Psychology in Manhattan, wrote in an email. “He was a treasure trove of facts and ideas.”
John Michael Kerr was born in Washington on Jan. 31, 1950, and grew up in Larchmont, N.Y. His father was the prominent New York drama critic Walter Kerr; his mother, Jean Collins Kerr, was a magazine writer whose best-selling book about raising six children, “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies,” became a movie and a TV show.
In addition to his brother Gil, Mr. Kerr is survived by two other brothers, Colin and Greg, and a sister, Kitty Kerr Mahin. His eldest brother, Chris, died in 2010.
After graduating from Portsmouth Abbey School in Rhode Island, Mr. Kerr received a degree in political science at Harvard before entering N.Y.U.’s graduate psychology program. He never got his doctorate — he had neglected to pay the registration fee, he later said — but nevertheless became a visiting scholar at Cornell, Harvard, the Austen Riggs psychiatric treatment center in Stockbridge, Mass., and the William Alanson White Institute.
“He was a true scholar and intellectual, interested in ideas, interested in conversation, interested in everybody,” said Dr. Jack Drescher, a psychiatrist in New York. “Everyone in the world of psychoanalytic scholarship knew him.”
Colleagues recalled him as generous with his guidance, both scholarly and otherwise.
“We would be talking on the phone about some abstract point of metapsychology,” said Dr. Stepansky, “and he would say, ‘Sorry, I’ve got to get to the tavern; the baseball game’s about to start, and my blind friend Tony relies on me to provide the play-by-play.’”

2016年7月26日 星期二


蘋論:機器人 就業終結者






October 8, 2015 6:08 pm

The human cloud: A new world of work

Nestled in his “man cave”, a room crammed with cardboard boxes and fishing lures in his Rhode Island home, Set Sar is earning money by letting a company track the tiniest movements of his eyeballs through his computer’s webcam.
About 10,000 miles away, Adi Nagara is hiding from the heat in his air-conditioned bedroom in Jakarta, researching an Indonesian industry for a consultancy firm. Though they are doing different tasks for wildly different sums on different sides of the world, the two men are connected. They are both members of the “human cloud”.
Some of these tasks are as simple as looking up phone numbers on the web, typing data into a spreadsheet or watching a video while a webcam tracks your eye movements. Others are as complex as writing a piece of code or completing a short-term consultancy project.Employers are starting to see the human cloud as a new way to get work done. White-collar jobs are chopped into hundreds of discrete projects or tasks, then scattered into a virtual “cloud” of willing workers who could be anywhere in the world, so long as they have an internet connection.
The uniting factor is that these are not jobs but tasks or projects, performed remotely and on-demand by people who are not employees but independent workers. Much of it is, in effect, white-collar piecework. Employers spent between $2.8bn and $3.7bn globally last year on payments to workers and the online platforms that act as intermediaries in the human cloud, according to a recent Staffing Industry Analysts report.
To its champions — the people who run platforms and others who believe we are on the threshold of a flexible work revolution — the human cloud promises to eliminate skill shortages, ease unemployment black spots and create a global meritocracy where workers are rewarded solely for their output, regardless of their location, education, gender or race. Some even say it could return us to the age of the cottage industry, before we crammed into factories or offices and lost control over our work.
Chart: human cloud data
“What we see today is people taking ownership again of the means of production, because you just need a computer, your brain and a wifi connection to work,” says Denis Pennel, managing director of Ciett, the international lobbying organisation for private employment agencies. “So actually, Marx should be very happy!”
Critics turn to history for their analogies too, but they talk of dead-eyed operatives on production lines, not happy artisans. In the human cloud they see a wild west of unregulated virtual sweatshops, breaking down service sector work into its constituent parts, making people compete in a worldwide race to the bottom. “It makes Adam Smith’s famous division of labour in pin-making look modest,” says Guy Standing, an academic and author of several books about the “precariat” and the growth of insecure work.

Turkers and nerds

Whether the human cloud is more utopia or dystopia depends, at least in part, on where exactly in its hierarchy you find yourself.
Mr Sar is near the bottom, as he readily admits. “We’re just getting crumbs as far as what we’re getting paid for it,” says the 29-year-old from Providence, capital of America’s smallest state.
He joined the human cloud through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, a site run by the online retailer where “requesters” pay “Turkers” to do simple microtasks that humans are still marginally better at than computers, such as transcribing audio clips, filling in surveys or tagging photos with relevant keywords. The name Mechanical Turk refers to a fake chess-playing machine from the 18th century that fooled onlookers into believing it was an automaton when in fact there was a person hiding inside. Amazon — whose tagline for the platform is “artificial artificial intelligence” — calls the jobs on offer “human intelligence tasks”, or HITs. Many of them only pay a few cents apiece.
Chart: human cloud data
On a good day, Mr Sar would earn about $5 to $7 an hour by doing batches of HITs in his free time (he also has a job in a warehouse). But after Amazon increased the fee it charged “requesters” to post HITs to 20 per cent of what they pay workers, he says HITs dried up and pay rates dropped. “Now we as workers have to be competing against other workers to grab these good HITs.” Lately he has discovered a newer site, Sticky Crowd, which shows him videos and web pages and uses his webcam to track exactly what he looks at and what he ignores — useful information for advertisers. The pay is better: a dollar for every 2-3 minutes of eye-tracking.
Not all the work on offer is so futuristic. Take the cloud call centres that assemble armies of “independent agents” who work from home, pay for their own phone and internet, and only get paid when they are actually on a call. The average “talk-time rate” at one large cloud call-centre is $0.25 per minute, though some clients also offer sales commission.
Further up the hierarchy are platforms like UpworkFreelancer and People per Hour, which feature more skilled tasks such as copywriting, IT and design work. Upwork, formed last year by a merger of two large platforms, is now the behemoth of the human cloud, processing about $1bn worth of payments from employers to workers last year (of which it takes a 10 per cent cut). The company took 10 years to reach $1bn, but reckons it will reach $10bn in another six. “It’s a thing that takes a long time at the beginning,” says Stephane Kasriel, its chief executive. “Then at some point it hits a tipping point, it becomes mainstream.”
Some of these sites invite workers to “bid” for the tasks on offer — specifying how quickly and for what fixed price they could do the work. Others offer payment by the hour. In most cases, employers and workers give each other star ratings after they finish a task, much like on eBay or Airbnb, allowing them to build a track record. Reputations are important: human cloud platforms know they need to link employers with good workers to encourage return visits, so many are starting to use “big data” algorithms to recommend certain workers for certain gigs.
People per Hour has set up a sister site, SuperTasker, which uses a smaller group of pre-screened workers to do fixed tasks in a fixed period of time for a fixed price: a 400-word blog post delivered in three hours costs $45, for example. Xenios Thrasyvoulou, the company’s founder, calls this “SKUs for work”. SKUs are stock keeping units — retailer shorthand for indistinguishable products.
Chart: human cloud data
Yet at the top of the human cloud’s hierarchy, “standardisation” is a dirty word. “It’s not a commodity — clients don’t choose on price,” says Daniel Callaghan, chief executive of UK-based MBA & Company. His platform, like US rival HourlyNerd, links companies with “consultants on demand”. Other specialist sites include Topcoder for computer programmers and Upcounsel for lawyers.
Consultants on MBA’s platform charge between £250 and £4,800 a day (then MBA adds its fee of 20 per cent). Mr Nagara, who is 30, is one of the platform’s consultants; he used to work for Australian investment bank Macquarie but moved back to Indonesia for family reasons. He reckons he earns more from his daily rate than he would as a full-time employee — though he sacrifices the security and benefits, a trade-off his parents do not understand. “They stayed with one company for decades, so when they see me being unemployed every two months they think ‘Jesus!’ They probably think I’m a disaster!”

Opportunities and costs

While many workers on these specialist sites are young and fleeing the corporate grind or topping up incomes, others are capitalising on a lifetime’s worth of knowledge. Nasa, the US space agency, once posted a challenge to find an algorithm that could predict solar flares: the winner (who Nasa paid $20,000) was a retired radio frequency engineer.


Latin America’s biggest economy is in recession, the political elite is engulfed in a huge corporate scandal and the president faces impeachment in a move that could bring the country to a standstill, reports Joe Leahy
It is not hard to see the promise of the human cloud for employers, who frequently complain about skills shortages and a lack of skilled migrant workers.
Mr Callaghan says the human cloud will make such problems disappear. “You can now get whoever you want, whenever you want, exactly how you want it,” he says. “And because they’re not employees you don’t have to deal with employment hassles and regulations.”
That is particularly useful for fast-growing start-ups. Dom Bracher, a 22-year-old founder of UK-based mobile marketing company Tapdaq, uses developers and designers in Scandinavia and central Europe. “There’s no need for someone to be in the same city as you,” he says.
Susan Lund, a partner at the McKinsey Global Institute, says the human cloud can improve social mobility, too, since it allows people to amass hard evidence of their abilities regardless of the formal qualifications on their CVs.
“For somebody who doesn’t have a degree from a top university or even a degree at all, accumulating those ratings is very important — to be able to say I’ve done X hours of coding and my average rating was Y — that’s very powerful,” she says.
Chart: human cloud data
The other consequence of work moving online is that more people should be able to do it: the housebound or people in locations where job opportunities are scarce.
The flipside is that workers in places where the cost of living is lower can undercut their peers in more expensive countries. “You can have someone in Gothenburg competing against someone in Dakar,” Prof Standing says.
Plenty of IT and call-centre work has been outsourced to countries like India but Prof Standing believes the next wave of “silent offshoring” will be more devastating for wages and conditions in the developed world.
It is hard to test this hypothesis, since most human cloud platforms are not listed and only disclose their data selectively. Still, a lot of work appears to gravitate to low-cost countries with skilled workforces: Upwork’s biggest markets after the US by worker earnings are India, the Philippines, Ukraine and Pakistan.
But Mr Sar and Mr Nagara are evidence that the picture is complex: low-paid work does not always drift east and high-paid work does not always drift west.

Contractors or staff?

Perhaps the thorniest problem of all for the human cloud is one that has also plagued Uber, the taxi app: when should an independent worker actually be classed as an employee?
Human cloud platforms usually classify workers as self-employed, which frees them from the requirement to pay minimum wages, employer taxes and benefits like sick pay.
But lawyers and workers are challenging them: last year a cloud platform called Crowdflower offered more than $500,000 to settle a US class action lawsuit from workers who said they were really “employees” and were therefore owed the minimum wage.
Most countries’ legal systems are struggling to keep up with these new forms of work. “In these arrangements, there’s really more than one employer — the law can’t grapple with this,” says Jeremias Prassl, a law professor at Oxford university.
Jonas Prising, chief executive of ManpowerGroup, an employment agency, predicts policymakers will impose more regulations on the new platforms soon.
“Who is taking care of these individuals? Who is providing the security in terms of taxation and social security? Who is doing the work is not known, who is paying the tax is not known, the age of the people doing the work is not known,” he says.
For all that, it can be a false comparison to contrast “insecure” human cloud work with “secure” traditional jobs — particularly at the bottom of the economic ladder.
Mr Sar has a job in a warehouse, but like many low-paid employees in developed countries, his rights and protections have been hollowed out. He is employed arm’s-length by an agency, which means he can be fired on the spot and is ineligible for many benefits. In the warehouse he wears an earpiece called “The Jennifer unit”, a robot in his ear that tells him what to do and tracks his performance and his downtime.
The human cloud might not pay much, it might be monotonous, but it gives him a sense of control. “Growing up through the years I’ve always worked for someone else. You’re treated as a number and not a human,” he says.
But his work in the cloud is different. “I can stop whenever I want. I can take a break, or eat something,” he says. “The idea of being my own boss is what really attracted me.”

作者:日經中文 2015-09-28 日經中文



2015年6月下旬,在日本東京某餐廳內,北野笑著説:「如今機器人已滲透到社會生活中,形成了我們所期待的商業模式」。1998年,作為日本科學技術振興機構的創造科學技術推進事業(ERATO)的一環,「北野共生系統項目」啟動。加入該項目的技術人員在之後紛紛開創了新事業,他們被叫做「ERATO Founders(創業者們)」。




曾用於「PINO」製造的技術如今已遍地開花。進軍土木工程領域的iXs Research公司代表山崎文敬(40歲)研發高速公路的橋樑檢測機器人。擔任技術控制的是37歲的遠藤謙。他與原田徑運動員為末大等人共同創立了Xiborg公司,研發用於體育競技的機器人假肢。

機器人公司RT的代表中川友紀子(44歲)曾在北野的帶領下從事畫像識別技術的應用工作,研發出全球首個採用「安卓系統」的雙腳步行機器人。同時,中川也參與了法國阿爾德巴蘭公司開發的人形機器人「NAO」的銷售工作。阿爾得巴蘭也是人形機器人「pepper」的研發公司。著名機器人領域投資人、原谷歌高層安迪・羅賓(Andy Rubin)也是中川的朋友。

日本Flower Robotics公司社長松井龍哉(46歲)師從建築師丹下健三,作為設計師參與了「PINO」的研發。他希望設計出「可以融入家庭的機器人」。Flower Robotics是2015年7月下旬在中國舉辦的「RoboCup機器人世界盃賽」的贊助商,開始表彰設計精良的機器人。


作為「pepper」的原型,「NAO」在機器人世界盃賽中積累了技術經驗。美國Kiva Systems公司被亞馬遜(amazon.com)收購後,為其物流倉庫提供機器人技術支持。Kiva Systems創始人拉菲羅·安德烈(Raffaello D'Andrea)也認為:「NAO在比賽中積累了技術」,該公司是目前全球最先進的無人機製造商之一。






2016年7月25日 星期一

The Last Mile of IoT: Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The only way to keep up with the IoT-generated data and gain the hidden insights it holds might be using AI. (Partner content via OpenMind)
IoT expert Ahmed Banafa analyzes the last mile of the Internet of Things

2016年7月21日 星期四

Join me...

‪#‎TBT‬: In honor of Team USA's second consecutive win at the International Mathematical Olympiad, Coach Po-Shen Loh explains the most beautiful equation in math.
More about the team: http://cmu.li/CNb7302t0vG

In the US, microbe-enhanced cotton is already growing in five different states.
Researchers are fiddling with the plant equivalent of gut bacteria.

Women who'd not had a period in five years are now menstruating again after their ovaries were rejuvenated

Simon Ramo, the R in TRW Inc.,

參考 約1958年合併成的TRW公司:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRW_Inc.
Simon Ramo, a force of nature in 20th century electronic engineering. He graduated from CalTech at 23 with two PhDs and got his last patent at 100. In between, he kept busy.
Ramo’s seminal contributions to engineering spanned decades

2016年7月20日 星期三

神威 Sunway的強弱: The 93-petaflop Sunway TaihuLight


Exascale computing refers to computing systems capable of at least one exaFLOPS, or a billion billion calculations per second. Such capacity represents a thousandfold increase over the first petascale computer that came into operation in 2008.

“They produced a processor that can deliver high-arithmetic performance but is very weak in terms of data movement"—Jack Dongarra, University of Tennessee
The powerful Sunway TaihuLight supercomputer makes some telling…

神威·太湖之光- 维基百科,自由的百科全书



China's New Supercomputer is World's Most Powerful

The 93-petaflop Sunway TaihuLight takes the top ranking

原子級硬碟新科技,一平方公分可存 10TB 資料:Scientists pave the way for large-scale storage at the atomic level

Individual atoms offer ultra-dense information storage

15 年前,你的機械硬碟還裝不了幾部電影,今天,科學家把資料寫入技術推向原子級別。 18 日,8 位來自荷蘭代爾夫特理工大學的學者聯合在 Nature Nanotechnology…

2016年7月18日 星期一


日人祖先台灣來 重現草船渡海