Well, this an interesting format experiment—the latest Black Mirror just dropped, and it’s a PDF.
A deep dive into Pixar’s sci-fi masterpiece, featuring entertaining detours to communist propaganda and Disney theme parks.
This is a rather beautiful piece of writing by Tom (especially the William Gibson bit at the end). This got me right in the feels:
Web 2.0 really, truly, is over. The public APIs, feeds to be consumed in a platform of your choice, services that had value beyond their own walls, mashups that merged content and services into new things… have all been replaced with heavyweight websites to ensure a consistent, single experience, no out-of-context content, and maximising the views of advertising. That’s it: back to single-serving websites for single-serving use cases.
A shame. A thing I had always loved about the internet was its juxtapositions, the way it supported so many use-cases all at once. At its heart, a fundamental one: it was a medium which you could both read and write to. From that flow others: it’s not only work and play that coexisted on it, but the real and the fictional; the useful and the useless; the human and the machine.
Prompted by his time at Clearleft’s AI gathering in Juvet, Chris has been delving deep into the stories we tell about artificial intelligence …and what stories are missing.
And here we are at the eponymous answer to the question that I first asked at Juvet around 7 months ago: What stories aren’t we telling ourselves about AI?
A thoroughly entertaining talk by Andy looking at the past, present, and future of robots, AI, and automation.
The transcript of Josh’s fantastic talk on machine learning, voice, data, APIs, and all the other tools of algorithmic design:
The design and presentation of data is just as important as the underlying algorithm. Algorithmic interfaces are a huge part of our future, and getting their design right is critical—and very, very hard to do.
Josh put together ten design principles for conceiving, designing, and managing data-driven products. I’ve added them to my collection.
- Favor accuracy over speed
- Allow for ambiguity
- Add human judgment
- Advocate sunshine
- Embrace multiple systems
- Make it easy to contribute (accurate) data
- Root out bias and bad assumptions
- Give people control over their data
- Be loyal to the user
- Take responsibility
I can forgive our answer machines if they sometimes get it wrong. It’s less easy to forgive the confidence with which the bad answer is presented, giving the impression that the answer is definitive. That’s a design problem.
The Robot Life Survey is an alternative-history from design company After the flood, where mechanical intelligence is discovered by man, noted and painted for posterity and science.
Absolutely brilliant stuff from Mandy (again). A long hard at today’s tech industry’s narrow approach to bots and artificial intelligence compared to some far more interesting and imaginative approaches in fiction:
- Ann Leckie’s superb Imperial Radch series,
- Kim Stanley Robinson’s Aurora, and
- Alex Garland’s Ex Machina.
So in addition to frightening ramifications for privacy and information discovery, they also reinforce gendered stereotypes about women as servants. The neutral politeness that infects them all furthers that convention: women should be utilitarian, performing their duties on command without fuss or flourish. This is a vile, harmful, and dreadfully boring fantasy; not the least because there is so much extraordinary art around AI that both deconstructs and subverts these stereotypes. It takes a massive failure of imagination to commit yourself to building an artificial intelligence and then name it “Amy.”
Mappa Mundi Rubrum.
Print out the plans, fold and glue/sellotape the paper together, and you’ve got yourself the best sci-fi robots in recent cinema history.
This nifty place in Brighton is just down the street from me:
Our classes allow kids to get creative with exciting, cutting-edge technology and software.
See that helmet? That’s my helmet. Jim borrowed it for this video.
And now I think that the Future Friendly posse has a theme song.
I, for one, welcome our autonomous swarming robot overlords.
Wonderful musings from Matt on meeting the emerging machine intelligence halfway.
Electronic rock songs about anger, loss, frustration, love, the surveillance state, the Iranian election, uranium enrichment, Twitter, gene therapy cures for AIDS, the financial crisis and World of Warcraft.
Just imagine the world we would be living in if it weren’t for the warnings given to us by these film-makers.
Best. Robots.txt file. Ever.
Scroll to the bottom to see a nice robots-into-zomies effect.