I’ve heard about the wonder that is Google’s AutoDraw.com – an artificial intelligence (AI) based program that can supposedly decipher basic drawings. From Google’s P.R department: “AutoDraw is a new kind of drawing tool. It pairs machine learning with drawings from talented artists to help everyone create anything visual, fast.”
Well fast it is, but accurate? Not so very. Armed with four cans of beer and a trackpad, I thought I’d give it a try. I was in some ways impressed, in some ways not. Please note that in the spirit of fairness, I have chosen to post the algorithm’s first semi-accurate guess next to my inebriated touchpad-drawn doodles.
Continue reading “The Rise of the Machines?”
The Guardian has published an undoubtably terrifying investigation into Cambridge Analytica (CA), the ‘Big Data‘ analytics company who allegedly “hijacked” the democratic process to ensure that outcomes of the Brexit EU Referendum and the 2016 American Election. And they accomplished this by using data primarily sourced from the online interactions between users on social networks including Facebook.
According to the article, CA – a company with links to the former Brexit leader Nigel Farage, American President Donald Trump, and Trump’s controversial senior adviser Steve Bannon – offered to help the Brexit campaign with its use of “psychological warfare” (or “psyops” for short).
Continue reading “Thinking of Quitting Facebook? How the Powerful may be Using Big Data Against You”
Hazar! The ignorati who converted the British Parliament speaker’s box into a drop-toilet, and the Whitehouse into a moonshine distillery, have failed to storm the Bastille. The Guardian reports:
“The pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron has won the French presidency in a decisive victory over the far-right Front National leader, Marine Le Pen, and vowed to unite a divided and fractured France…Macron, 39, a former economy minister who ran as a “neither left nor right” independent promising to shake up the French political system, took 65.1% to Le Pen’s 34.9%, according to initial projections from early counts.
His victory was hailed by his supporters as holding back a tide of populism after the Brexit vote and Donald Trump’s victory in the US election.”
I, for one, am happy to see that our planet’s descent into a nationalist, fascist shit vortex floating through space is no longer a forgone conclusion. What are your thoughts?
The Mercury has reported on the 40th anniversary (you read that correctly… 40 years) of the first spam email.
“Almost 40 years ago, on May 1, 1978, Gary Thuerk, a marketer for Massachusetts’ Digital Equipment Corporation, wrote the very first email advertising message to more than 400 users of the system called Arpanet, an early iteration of the Internet. He was reportedly trying to flag the attention of the burgeoning California tech community. He hit send a few days later. As you might suspect, the backlash was almost instantaneous.”
In 2017, Spam is no longer a perhaps annoying but friendly call out to like-minded tech folk, nor is it confined to the basements of University dorms. It is mostly insidious in its nature and it plagues our home computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones and anything we do under the title of “social networking”. It is arguably the great grandfather of the Nigerian Prince Scam, phishing, malware and the estimated 40-to-73% of messages sent daily, counting for terabytes upon terabytes of shit clogging up the arteries (much like its mystery-meat counterpart) of our global communications networks.
The authority on nerd, Space.com, has published a list of its Best Science Fiction novels for all ages.
I am mainly a reader of non-fiction, so when it comes to fiction of any kind, I am no connoisseur. But my personal favorite sci-fi novel is The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, which tells the tale of an interstellar war faught between man and a race called the “Taurans”; the novel is also a strong metaphor for the sense of alienation felt by returning Vietnam War veterans (Joe Haldeman was wounded and received a Purple Heart in the war), which perhaps also feeds my inner history nerd.
What are your thoughts on Space.com’s list? Feel free to post your personal list below:
“The World Video Game Hall of Fame — located in Rochester, New York at the Strong Museum of Play — has announced its third class of games to be honored with induction: Donkey Kong, Halo: Combat Evolved, Pokémon Red and Green, and Street Fighter 2″…. “The other eight 2017 finalists were Final Fantasy 7, Microsoft Windows Solitaire, Mortal Kombat, Myst, Portal, Resident Evil, Tomb Raider and Wii Sports” (polygon.com).
The first time that I saw Donkey Kong was on a black and white Rank Arena TV set and a console both built almost entirely out of wood. It is my earliest memory of seeing a video game. And I will never forget the rush of elation that I felt when I landed my first dragon punch in Street Fighter 2.
I have tried, but I cannot find rhyme or reason in the strobe-lit visual base-colour cacophony that is Pokemon. And to be honest, I’ve felt somewhat of an indifference towards first-person shooters since my mind exploded on my first play through of the original shareware Doom.
What game would you have inducted? And if it isn’t already in this list, tell us why the hell it should be.