You know that Uber tracks your mobile phone location for 5 minutes after you’ve finished your ride right
JANUARY 9th – ISSUE #4
NEWS FOR SMART DATA-DRIVEN AUGMENTED CREATIVE PEOPLE
Dear Reader – Welcome to your weekly round-up of news you need to know – for smart, data-driven, augmented, creative people.
Change the world! Brendan Harkin
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“It has yet to be proven that intelligence has any survival value”Arthur C. Clarke
We’re attending the AI Showbiz event in Los Angeles this week – the world’s first conference on the intersections between Artificial Intelligence and the Entertainment Industries. We’ll also be video interviewing many of the great keynote speakers. You can attend online for just USD$29.00 which gets you 12 hours of live broadcast as well as access to the archived content. That’s seriously good value conjoing two of the most exciting digital industries.
The New York Review of Books are running a series on ‘Consciousness‘ – a discussion between Ricardo Manzotti (Philosophy of Mind, Computer Science, Robotics) and Tim Parks (Professor of Literature and Translation).
The poster child for the recent surge in interest in AI: Twitter’s acquisition of London-based machine learning startup Magic Pony Technology, announced earlier this month. If you look at the deal primarily as an “acquihire,” Twitter is reportedly paying $13 million per machine-learning PhD.
The behind-the-scenes machine learning story of how Google Translate went from patchy but useful to outstanding. An example of the Great AI Awakening.
Speaking of governments, having worked at senior levels I’ve developed a healthy respect for people who want to put a broom through the place on a regular basis. Here’s the Australian bureacrats idea of an automated ‘smart’ system – threatening the poor, the unemployed, the weak and the disabled with robo-debts they don’t have. Earlier, they completely screwed up the entire online national census process, held once every five years. All run with the assistance of, god help us, the Digital Transformation Office.
When Money becomnes Data: the Indian government unilaterally banned the two most common cash denominations in India as the first step toward an enforced ‘digital currency economy’. Here’s a perspective charging that “Imposing the digital economy through a “cash ban” is a form of technological dictatorship, in the hands of the world’s billionaires”.
“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”Philip K. Dick
Tilt Brush Artist in Residence program (AiR). Graffiti artists, painters, illustrators, graphic designers, dancers, concept artists, creative technologists and cartoonists have all brought their passion and talent to create some amazing art.
The use of facial recognition software for commercial purposes is becoming more common, but, as Amazon scans faces in its physical shop and Facebook searches photos of users to add tags to, those concerned about their privacy are fighting back.
Speaking of privacy, Cephalopods are fantastically adapted creatures of privacy and camoflage – way beyond our comprehension. Encountering an octopus in the wild, as Peter Godfrey-Smith argues in his fascinating book, “Other Minds,” is as close as we will get to meeting an intelligent alien. Watch this amazing youtube video, or read this book.
Partisan Thesaurus uses one machine learning algorithm that’s been fed two separate bodies of text. One corpus is composed of liberal texts, including writing by Joseph Stiglitz and Jon Stewart and interview transcriptions from Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, while the other is made up of conservative texts, including books by Ann Coulter, Ayn Rand, and Ronald Reagan, as well as transcriptions from interviews with Donald Trump and Chris Christie.
Vale John Berger who passed away this week. Susan Sontag says of him “not since D.H. Lawrence has there been a writer who offers such attentiveness to the sensual world with responsiveness to the imperatives of conscience”. Here’s a preiceless hours discussion between the two on The Art of Storytelling. The whole first episode of Ways of Seeing (with its stunning opening scene that simply must have influenced John Lydon and the Sex Pistols, and a million others! 30 mins). Still, I can’t believe how many obituaries, even decent ones, feel the need to make some critical point from some superior moral ground (contains full episode two 28 mins). There’s only one way to approach John Berger’s work, and that’s to listen and learn.
“How China is preparing to dominate the future and why we should hope it succeeds”. A reasonable snapshot of China today, including “Everyone is an entrepreneur, creativity of the masses” (大众创业，万众创新)
I thought Dave Eggers book The Circle about a composite Google, Facebook, Apple SF/Bay Area kinda company didn’t quite work because, in my opinion, the central female character wasn’t plausibly realised. A middle-aged writer guy ventriloquizing the experiences of a young woman. But the film looks a whole lot way better!
The best design books have the power to spark new thoughts, theories, ideas, and opinions. Here is a lovely and beautiful diverse collection of 19 such books, published in the past year. Here you’ll find everything from black-and-white photos of Brutalist buildings, to heady essays on graphic design’s role in society, to pretty doodles.
“Language is the House of Being” said Heidegger. Here’s a great (long) article from The Economist on the centrality of the relationship between language and technology in AI and machine learning: i.e., any-language-to-any-language translation, speech recognition, conversational bots, speech synthesis. “What are you talking about”? Answering that simple question is profoundly complex.