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Contextual oops

Let’s start with a story. This might be my favorite story in all the annals of geekdom, which is saying something for someone whose literal job is “purveyor of geeky stories.” On March 1, 1990, in AG’s beloved hometown of Austin, Texas, the United States Secret Service raided a “suspected ring of hackers.”

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It was a full-on, TV level bust: armed agents broke locks, tore up files, carted off computers, even did that “simultaneous raid so the masterminds can’t get word to their button men” thing at the home of one of the people involved. Hooray! The cops beat the bad guys! Not so much.

Right reason, wrong time

Three years and a court decision later, the Secret Service had to fess up: they’d raided a game company. A tabletop game company. As in paper and dice, neither noted for being connected to the Internet. They weren’t hackers. At all. They’d written a game about hackers, and in the grim darkness of 1990, the Secret Service was fuzzy on the difference. That poor guy who got his very own private raid? He wrote their cyberpunk setting, and had dared to do research on the subject.

That’s as close as anyone there got to l33t h4x0r doings, and it turned out to be close enough for armed cops in a private citizen’s living room without an invitation.

There’s a halfway happy ending to that story, involving money paid to the company, an epic tonguelashing from a circuit court judge, and the founding of the leading advocacy organization for digital privacy rights, but the point is the Secret Service. Their actions weren’t malicious. Stupid, yes. Hilarious in hindsight, absolutely. Catastrophic to a small business innocent of any wrongdoing, big time. But they thought they were doing the right thing. They just Did It Wrong.

Doing It Wrong

As AI saturates our lives, I reflect, as I often do, on Doing It Wrong. Fundamentally, that ridiculous case came down to a misunderstanding of context. The Secret Service didn’t have the background or expertise to differentiate between hacking and a game about hacking. That’s absurd, that’s their job, but they didn’t.

Hacking, at least most hacking, is still a bad thing.

As simultaneously hilarious and horrible as it is to pull the equivalent of yanking a guy off his couch and charging him with murder for shooting someone in “Call of Duty,” shooting people is generally undesirable outside a fictional context.

Does AI know that?

Can AI make the distinction between “die, [expletive here]” in your favorite combat simulator and “die, [expletive here]” when an unpleasant person attempts to end the pizza guy with a fork? Because the Secret Service couldn’t, and they were human. Humans are pre-built for context. Computers have to be made that way, and it’s usually really hard. That’s a shade worrisome, what with AI growing like kudzu and the data it collects being used for everything from market analysis to, yes, murder investigations.

So consider this a gentle reminder that even the smartest computer is still fundamentally a box of switches.

Zero and one, off and on, puts certain limitations on a binary system’s ability to comprehend the complex, subjective, frankly weird human condition. Getting AI to understand context is a top priority for some of the best minds in computer science, but while they’re working we h. sapiens will have to double down on patience and nuance, because one of our most pervasive tools won’t be very good at either. They may never be as good at it as we are, though three years ago I’d have said that about go.

Mind your audience

For at least the next few years, everyone from multinational corporations and national governments down to the data junkies and media consumers reading this article will need to exercise some extra caution when it comes to AI and its assessment of people and their doings.AI doesn’t understand us quite yet.

It is, if not blind, at least a little nearsighted when it comes to context, which is basically the most important human thing.Click To Tweet

We’re going to have to keep doing that part ourselves. Fail in this, and you risk becoming your own hilarious Doing It Wrong cautionary tale. Nobody wants that.

This story originally ran on July 26, 2017.



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2014 Acura RLX Tech Pkg in Prince Frederick, MD | Washington Acura RLX

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  • VIN: JH4KC1F52EC000160
  • Stock #: 0N26149A
  • Model Code: KC1F5EKNW
  • Mileage: 118,333

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  • Prince Frederick Ford
  • Routes 4 and 231
  • Prince Frederick, MD 20678

Vehicle Description

***In stock at WALDORF TOYOTA. Please call to confirm availability as inventory changes daily., **MARYLAND STATE INSPECTED AND PASSED. Clean CARFAX. 2014 Acura RLX w/Technology Package FWD 6-Speed Automatic 3.5L V6 SOHC VTEC 24V Recent Arrival! 20/31 City/Highway MPG

We have over 500 VEHICLES to choose from at any given time. Visit our website www.waldorftoyota.com to see the NEWEST selection every day! PLEASE CALL 1.301.843.3700.

    • Body-Colored Door Handles
    • Body-Colored Front Bumper w/Chrome Bumper Insert
    • Body-Colored Power w/Tilt Down Heated Side Mirrors w/Convex Spotter, Power Folding and Turn Signal Indicator
    • Body-Colored Rear Bumper
    • Chrome Side Windows Trim and Black Front Windshield Trim
    • Clearcoat Paint
    • Express Open/Close Sliding And Tilting Glass 1st Row Sunroof w/Sunshade
    • Fixed Rear Window w/Defroster
    • Front Windshield -inc: Sun Visor Strip
    • Galvanized Steel/Aluminum Panels
    • Laminated Glass
    • LED Brakelights
    • Light Tinted Glass
    • Metal-Look Grille
    • Perimeter/Approach Lights
    • Programmable Projector Beam Led Low/High Beam Daytime Running Headlamps w/Delay-Off
    • Spare Tire Mobility Kit
    • Speed Sensitive Rain Detecting Variable Intermittent Wipers
    • Tires: P245/40R19 98W High-Performance All-Season
    • Trunk Rear Cargo Access
    • Wheels w/Silver Accents
    • Wheels: 19″ x 8″ Aluminum-Alloy -inc: noise reducing design

    • 2 12V DC Power Outlets
    • 2 LCD Monitors In The Front
    • 2 Seatback Storage Pockets
    • Acuralink Real-Time Traffic Real-Time Traffic Display
    • Air Filtration
    • Analog Display
    • Audio Theft Deterrent
    • Bench Front Facing Rear Seat
    • Bluetooth Handsfreelink Wireless Phone Connectivity
    • Cargo Features -inc: Spare Tire Mobility Kit
    • Cargo Space Lights
    • Carpet Floor Trim and Carpet Trunk Lid/Rear Cargo Door Trim
    • Compass
    • Cruise control w/steering wheel controls
    • Day-Night Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror
    • Delayed Accessory Power
    • Digital Signal Processor
    • Driver And Passenger Door Bins
    • Driver And Passenger Visor Vanity Mirrors w/Driver And Passenger Illumination
    • Driver Foot Rest
    • Driver Seat
    • Fade-to-off interior lighting
    • FOB Controls -inc: Trunk/Hatch/Tailgate, Windows and Sunroof/Convertible Roof
    • Front And Rear Map Lights
    • Front Cupholder
    • Full Carpet Floor Covering -inc: Carpet Front And Rear Floor Mats
    • Full Cloth Headliner
    • Full Floor Console w/Covered Storage, Mini Overhead Console w/Storage and 2 12V DC Power Outlets
    • Heated Front Sport Bucket Seats -inc: driver’s and front passenger’s 12-way power seat including 4-way lumbar
    • HomeLink Garage Door Transmitter
    • HVAC -inc: Underseat Ducts and Console Ducts
    • Illuminated Locking Glove Box
    • Integrated Navigation System w/Voice Activation
    • Interior Trim -inc: Simulated Wood/Metal-Look Instrument Panel Insert, Simulated Wood/Metal-Look Door Panel Insert, Simulated Wood/Metal-Look Console Insert and Metal-Look Interior Accents
    • Leather Gear Shift Knob
    • Leather/Metal-Look Steering Wheel
    • Leatherette Door Trim Insert
    • Manual Anti-Whiplash Adjustable Front Head Restraints and Manual Adjustable Rear Head Restraints
    • Outside temp gauge
    • Passenger Seat
    • Perimeter alarm
    • Power 1st Row Windows w/Front And Rear 1-Touch Up/Down
    • Power Door Locks w/Autolock Feature
    • Power Rear Windows
    • Power Tilt/Telescoping Steering Column
    • Proximity Key For Doors And Push Button Start
    • Radio w/Seek-Scan, In-Dash Mounted Single CD, Clock, Steering Wheel Controls, Voice Activation and Radio Data System
    • Radio: Acura/ELS Studio Premium Audio System -inc: hard disk drive (HDD) media storage, 14 speakers, Song By Song, Aha compatibility, HD Radio, XM Radio, Pandora compatibility, USB audio interface w/iPod integration, Bluetooth streaming audio, MP3/auxiliary input jack and Speed-sensitive Volume Compensation (SVC)
    • Rear Cupholder
    • Rear HVAC w/Separate Controls
    • Remote Keyless Entry w/Integrated Key Transmitter, 4 Door Curb/Courtesy, Illuminated Entry, Illuminated Ignition Switch and Panic Button
    • Remote Releases -Inc: Power Cargo Access and Power Fuel
    • Seats w/Leatherette Back Material
    • Sliding Front Center Armrest and Rear Center Armrest w/Pass-Thru
    • Systems Monitor
    • Tracker System
    • Trip computer
    • Valet Function
    • Voice Activated Dual Zone Front Automatic Air Conditioning
    • Window Grid Antenna
    • XM Radio -inc: Note Function music-reminder, XM services require a subscription after 90-day trial period, Subscriptions governed by SiriusXM Customer Agreement; see www.siriusxm.com, If you decide to continue your XM service at the end of your complimentary trial, the plan you choose will automatically be renewed and you will billed at then-current rates unless you call XM at 1-800-967-2346 to cancel, Fees and programming subject to change, Available only to those at least 18 years of age in the 48 contiguous United States and D.C

    • 150 amp alternator
    • 18.5 Gal. Fuel Tank
    • 4.25 Axle Ratio
    • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes w/4-Wheel ABS, Front Vented Discs, Brake Assist, Hill Hold Control and Electric Parking Brake
    • 72-Amp/Hr Maintenance-Free Battery w/Run Down Protection
    • Automatic Ride Control Suspension
    • Double Wishbone Front Suspension w/Coil Springs
    • Electric Power-Assist Speed-Sensing Steering
    • Front And Rear Anti-Roll Bars
    • Front-wheel drive
    • Gas-Pressurized Shock Absorbers
    • Multi-Link Rear Suspension w/Coil Springs
    • Quasi-Dual Stainless Steel Exhaust

    • ABS And Driveline Traction Control
    • Airbag Occupancy Sensor
    • Back-up camera
    • Blind Spot Sensor
    • Curtain 1st And 2nd Row Airbags
    • Driver knee airbag
    • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
    • Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
    • Emergency Sos
    • Forward Collision Warning
    • Lane Departure Warning
    • Outboard Front Lap And Shoulder Safety Belts -inc: Rear Center 3 Point, Height Adjusters and Pretensioners
    • Rear child safety locks
    • Side Impact Beams
    • Tire Specific Low Tire Pressure Warning
    • Vehicle Stability Assist Electronic Stability Control (ESC)

Available Options

  • Front Wheel Drive
  • Power Steering
  • ABS
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • Brake Assist
  • Aluminum Wheels
  • Tires – Front Performance
  • Tires – Rear Performance
  • Sun/Moonroof
  • Generic Sun/Moonroof
  • Heated Mirrors
  • Power Mirror(s)
  • Integrated Turn Signal Mirrors
  • Power Folding Mirrors
  • Rear Defrost
  • Intermittent Wipers
  • Variable Speed Intermittent Wipers
  • Rain Sensing Wipers
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Automatic Headlights
  • AM/FM Stereo
  • Premium Sound System
  • Satellite Radio
  • MP3 Player
  • Auxiliary Audio Input
  • HD Radio
  • Hard Disk Drive Media Storage
  • Smart Device Integration
  • Requires Subscription
  • CD Player
  • Steering Wheel Audio Controls
  • Satellite Radio
  • HD Radio
  • Requires Subscription
  • Bluetooth Connection
  • Power Driver Seat
  • Power Passenger Seat
  • Bucket Seats
  • Heated Front Seat(s)
  • Driver Adjustable Lumbar
  • Passenger Adjustable Lumbar
  • Pass-Through Rear Seat
  • Rear Bench Seat
  • Adjustable Steering Wheel
  • Trip Computer
  • Power Windows
  • Leather Steering Wheel
  • Keyless Entry
  • Power Door Locks
  • Keyless Start
  • Keyless Entry
  • Power Door Locks
  • Remote Trunk Release
  • Universal Garage Door Opener
  • Cruise Control
  • A/C
  • Rear A/C
  • Climate Control
  • Multi-Zone A/C
  • A/C
  • Woodgrain Interior Trim
  • Auto-Dimming Rearview Mirror
  • Driver Vanity Mirror
  • Passenger Vanity Mirror
  • Driver Illuminated Vanity Mirror
  • Passenger Illuminated Visor Mirror
  • Floor Mats
  • Keyless Start
  • Navigation System
  • Power Windows
  • Power Door Locks
  • Trip Computer
  • Pass-Through Rear Seat
  • Security System
  • Engine Immobilizer
  • Traction Control
  • Stability Control
  • Traction Control
  • Front Side Air Bag
  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Telematics
  • Requires Subscription
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Tire Pressure Monitor
  • Driver Air Bag
  • Passenger Air Bag
  • Front Head Air Bag
  • Rear Head Air Bag
  • Passenger Air Bag Sensor
  • Knee Air Bag
  • Child Safety Locks
  • Back-Up Camera

    • Brake ABS System: 4-Wheel
    • Brake Type: 4-Wheel Disc
    • Disc – Front (Yes or ): Yes
    • Disc – Rear (Yes or ): Yes
    • Front Brake Rotor Diam x Thickness (in): 12.3
    • Rear Brake Rotor Diam x Thickness (in): 12.2

    • Trunk Volume (ft³): 14.9

    • Maximum Alternator Capacity (amps): 150

    • Tons/yr of CO2 Emissions : 15K mi/year

    • Height, Overall (in): 57.7
    • Length, Overall (in): 196.1
    • Min Ground Clearance (in): 3.8
    • Track Width, Front (in): 64.3
    • Track Width, Rear (in): 64.2
    • Wheelbase (in): 112.2
    • Width, Max w/o mirrors (in): 74.4

    • Fuel Tank Capacity, Approx (gal): 18.5

    • Front Head Room (in): 37.6
    • Front Hip Room (in): 55.9
    • Front Leg Room (in): 42.3
    • Front Shoulder Room (in): 59.6
    • Passenger Capacity: 5
    • Passenger Volume (ft³): 102.1
    • Second Head Room (in): 36.9
    • Second Hip Room (in): 54.5
    • Second Leg Room (in): 38.8
    • Second Shoulder Room (in): 57

    • EPA Fuel Economy Est – City (MPG): 20
    • EPA Fuel Economy Est – Hwy (MPG): 31
    • Fuel Economy Est-Combined (MPG): 24

    • Steering Type: Rack-Pinion
    • Turning Diameter – Curb to Curb (ft): 40.5

    • Body Style: Sedan
    • Vehicle Name: Acura RLX

    • Suspension Type – Front (Cont.): Double Wishbone
    • Suspension Type – Front: Double Wishbone
    • Suspension Type – Rear (Cont.): Multi-Link
    • Suspension Type – Rear: Multi-Link

    • Front Tire Size: P245/40WR19
    • Rear Tire Size: P245/40WR19

    • EPA Classification: Mid-Size Cars

    • Base Curb Weight (lbs): 3955

    • Front Wheel Material: Aluminum
    • Front Wheel Size (in): 19 X 8
    • Rear Wheel Material: Aluminum
    • Rear Wheel Size (in): 19 X 8

  • Basic Warranty: 48 months / 50,000 miles
  • Drivetrain Warranty: 72 months / 70,000 miles
  • Corrosion Warranty: 60 months / Unlimited miles
  • Roadside Assistance Warranty: 48 months / 50,000 miles
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