Welcome to Reading List, a weekly collection of great tech reads from around the web. This week explores the early days of online music piracy, the implications of America’s military drone base in Germany, the potential pitfalls of artificial intelligence, and more! Enjoy.
- The story of Benny Glover, the small-town North Carolinian whose day-job involved packaging Jay-Z and Dr. Dre albums for public consumption, at the height of the record industry’s profitability. But Glover’s role in shaping the music industry ran far beyond factory walls: In may ways, he was Patient Zero of the Internet music piracy epidemic. [The New Yorker]
- Liberty Reserve was like PayPal for the unbanked, but was it also a global money-laundering operation? Jake Halpern investigates. [The Atlantic]
- A leaked US intelligence document reveals that Ramstein, Germany serves as the high-tech heart of America’s military drone program. The revelation places the German government, some of whom consider US drone strikes against al Qaeda illegal, in an awkward position, to say the least. [The Intercept]
- A short survey called “Static 99” uses questions about a sex offender’s past to predict the likelihood of future crimes. Critics contend the test is being tragically abused, by giving authorities the permission to keep “high risk” people locked up in psychiatric facilities, essentially forever. [BuzzFeed]
- In advance of last week’s Boston Marathon, city officials declared a “No Drone Zone.” To enforce that ban, the city enlisted Brian Hearing, whose DroneShield system uses advanced acoustics to detect unauthorised bots. But dealing with the rogue bodies presents another challenge entirely. [Motherboard]
- Computer scientist Stuart Russell has spent a long time contemplating the powers and dangers of artificial intelligence. In this exclusive interview, Russell discusses the nature of intelligence and the challenges of safely replicating it in machines. [Quanta Magazine]
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