NEWS FOR SMART DATA-DRIVEN AUGMENTED CREATIVE PEOPLE
Hi Folks – Welcome to your latest dose of luxury reading for smart, data-driven, augmented, creative people.
As Always, Change the World! Brendan Harkin
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“The world of the future will be an even more demanding struggle against the limitations of our intelligence, not a comfortable hammock in which we can lie down to be waited upon by our robot slaves” Norbert Wiener, The Human Use of Human Beings: Cybernetics and Society.
Speaking of automation, here’s a great explanation of how IBM Watsom uses video processing, voice-to-text, and concept extraction to make video automatically searchable using the TED talks as an example. (Vid: 4:36) Meanwhile at Facebook, “We think video understanding is going to be ridiculously impactful, because if you go back in time and you think about the News Feed — even before photos were that prevalent — it was mostly text, and so that was the content you needed to understand in order to rank [people’s feeds],” says Joaquin Candela, Director of Applied Machine Learning. “We’re at a point now where we’re pretty good at understanding photos, but now there’s video,” Candela added. “You even have live video, and the question becomes, well, how fast can you figure out what’s going on in this video?” I’m sure there will no privacy issues or concerns. One example he gives is identifying Facebook users “at a rally” in real-time. Nothing to worry about there, right?
Not to worry, the FCC just made it legal for your ISP to sell your search history to anyone. Expect to see databases of online gamblers, porn users, ecommerce users by volume or segment, and so on all for sale to whoever wants to buy them – with every kind of segmentation: age, zip code, gender, etc. Wonderful. ISPs can also sell any information they want from your online activity and mobile app usage — financial information, medical information, your children’s information, your social security number — even the contents of your emails. They can even sell your geolocation information. That’s right, ISPs can take your exact physical location from minute to minute and sell it to a third party. So, here’s how to encrypt your entire life in less than an hour, and here’s to install a VPN for free in ten minutes (and why you urgently need one) – thanks to QuincyLarson at freecodecamp.com. Or this simple browser extension that makes it much harder to build a profile about you.
Creative Review has just released an entire issue on AI with beautiful graphics (of course!) and great writing covering all kinds of the relationships between AI, bots, robots, automation and questions of creativity, design, and writing. Highly Recommended.
“Intelligence is composed mostly of imagination, insight, things that have nothing to do with reason” Vivienne Westwood.
As “software eats the world”, governments and new laws will start to become more like writing software — embedded within applications as computer code. As technology evolves, interpreting the law itself will become more like programming software. But there is more to this shift than technology alone. The fact is that law is both deeply opaque and unevenly accessible. The legal advice required to understand both what our governments are doing, and what our rights are, is only accessible to a select few.
Maciej Ceglowski has outlined six privacy rights that web surfers deserve in the age of tracking cookies and programmatic-ad buys. 1) The right to download: you should be able to obtain the information that has been collected about you. 2) The right to delete: you should be able to delete said information from those services. 3) Limits on behavioural data: the number of signals that companies collect on any given web page is shockingly high. 4) The right to go offline: Internet of Things devices like smart TVs shouldn’t need to have internet access to perform basic functions. 5) Less invasive ad-tracking: Ad-tracking, Ceglowski argues, should only be based on the content the ad is placed against, and what the site you are visiting knows about you, and 6) Lastly, there should be legitimate consequences for violating these principles, ones that should make companies fearful of violating them.
Here’s a snip from just one of the articles: “Adobe … already runs what it calls its Product Improvement Program. Designed “to understand and anticipate customer needs to deliver world-class products and solutions”, the scheme is voluntary. Users who sign up to it allow Adobe to collect data on how they use its software: how they carry out various tasks, what shortcuts or scripts they might use, what kind of images they are looking for and how they are using them and so on. Adobe says that “information collected will be used to develop new features and improve Adobe products”. Fair enough. But with machine learning, it becomes possible to take the next logical step in the process – observation becomes replication and then automation. The more such systems learn about how, for example, a designer employs certain steps and routines to get from A to B, the better able they are to do the work themselves”. The piece is called “AI and the Creatives Complicity in their Own Extinction“.
The New Romance show at Columbia University in New York is the product of a collaboration between film director Liam Young and writer Tim Maughan. The exhibition features three films that extrapolate current trends in technology to create near-future sci-fi settings; each film tracks a different kind of romance to explore how technology might shape human relationships and architecture. Gorgeous compelling short videos. Might as well throw in our friend Keiichi Matsuda’s seminal Augmented Reality video – still years ahead of its time: Hyper-reality.
This June, London’s Barbican Centre launches Into The Unknown: A Journey Through Science Fiction. The exhibition of art, design, film and literature, curated by historian and writer Patrick Gyger, will explore science fiction as an experimental genre. It’ll include more than 200 books, original manuscripts and typescripts, contemporary and existing art works, 60 film and TV clips, unseen footage, adverts, concept art, film props, comics, video games and robots.
“Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit” Oscar Wilde.
Beautifully written, thoughtful, and sensitive essay by UK novelist Hari Kunzru on his search for the “Authenticity of the Blues” on a trip through the South of the US. Great writing, and of course there would be no Led Zepplin, no Rolling Stones, and no Beatles without black American Blues and Rock n’ Roll. Those English artists had to be sued repeatedly to get paid for intellectual property rights. Can I give you an idea how much money is involved: about 5 years ago, Eric Clapton sold a single Matisse painting in New York for USD$62 Million.
Please don’t disgust me that George W. Bush is some rehabilitated painter: he’s a war criminal. Under the laws established at Nuremburg, he would be hung. Hitler was a painter too. All that death and destruction – for what, can anyone tell me please? Except that astronomical amounts of money got shifted around. I notice that in Bush’s “Portraits of Courage”, there’s no self-portrait.
BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Thank g-d for some relief from all of that, and let’s visit some beautiful people who have birthdays this week:
Rock-side: Angus Young: Gotta put this in here: filmed in the main streets of my home town in Melbourne – “It’s a Long Way to the Top”: one of the most definitive rock songs of all time; Perry Farrell from Jane’s Addiction – Been Caught Stealing, one of the funniest MTV videos ever; Dave Hill from Slade with this epic cover of John Sebastian’s “Darling Be Home Soon” – think Slade is Old School? They’ve been name-checked as influences by Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Sex Pistols, the Ramones, the Clash, Kiss, and Oasis – “I know that the time I spent confused / Was the time that I spent without you”).
Frank Lloyd Wright’s birthday is worth mentioning if only because of his tremendous influence.
But let’s finish up with the birthdays of two great protest poets (where are they these days?): Gil Scott-Heron’s The Revolution Will Not Be Televised (i.e., it will be censored), and the beautiful Marvin Gaye and his trenchant anti-Vietnam war song, What’s Goin’ On?