Four short links: 28 December 2017

Blockchain, Patent Problems, Great Speech, and Inventor Research

By Nat Torkington
December 28, 2017
Four Short Links
  1. Ten Years In, Nobody has Come up with a Use for Blockchainyou’re relying on single-point encryption — your own private keys — rather than a more sophisticated system that might involve two-factor authorization, intrusion detection, volume limits, firewalls, remote IP tracking, and the ability to disconnect the system in an emergency. [And], price tradeoffs are entirely implausible — the bitcoin blockchain has consumed almost a billion dollars worth of electricity to hash an amount of data equivalent to about a sixth of what I get for my ten dollar a month dropbox subscription. (via Marginal Revolution)
  2. Empirical Research Reveals Three Big Problems With How Patents are Vetted (Ars Technica) — data-driven analysis that concludes: The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is funded by fees—and the agency gets more fees if it approves an application. Unlimited opportunities to refile rejected applications means sometimes granting a patent is the only way to get rid of a persistent applicant. Patent examiners are given less time to review patent applications as they gain seniority, leading to less thorough reviews.​​
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  4. Tacotron 2Our model achieves a mean opinion score (MOS) of 4.53 comparable to a MOS of 4.58 for professionally recorded speech. Software-generated speech that’s indistinguishable from human speech. Try the samples, they’re wow.
  5. The Social Origins of InventorsIn this paper we merge three datasets – individual income data, patenting data, and IQ data – to analyze the deterninants of an individual’s probability of inventing. We find that: (i) parental income matters even after controlling for other background variables and for IQ, yet the estimated impact of parental income is greatly diminished once parental education and the individual’s IQ are controlled for; (ii) IQ has both a direct effect on the probability of inventing an indirect impact through education. The effect of IQ is larger for inventors than for medical doctors or lawyers. […] Finally, we find a positive and significant interaction effect between IQ and father income, which suggests a misallocation of talents to innovation.
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