A Blog by Jonathan Low


May 27, 2018

How the Entire Internet Became a Dating Site

People employing their passions to drive, well, their passion. JL

Emma Court reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Disenchanted or just plain turned off by online dating, people are finding love and romance in other corners of the internet. Platforms designed for networking, gaming, blogging, answering questions and even making lists are doing unintended double duty as matchmakers.

Holograms Are No Longer Science Fiction. But Then What?

Movies and science fiction have shaped human expectations - often unrealistically -about many forms of technology. But those expectations are also driving the next generation of applications. JL

Dave Hall reports in The Guardian:

Like the 3D TV, we’re far, far away from the sort of color, resolution and contrast required to push these images beyond mere novelty. But holograms have a future in the fields of remote surgery and telecom. We are already using 3D technology, from autocad and ultra-realistic remote conferencing, to medical technology that allows surgeons to operate remotely or students to learn anatomy.

What Ad History Says About the Future of Fake News

Why it will grow - and become less effective over time. JL

Austan Goolsbee comments in the New York Times:

Fake news will spread, despite efforts to rein it in. Political campaigns in the United States will spend $8 billion on advertising in 2018 - less than 1/25th of total advertising spending for the year, and new technologies are likely to be deployed more frequently on consumers than voters. (But) the history of advertising teaches that when people get used to ads, the ads stop working. Researchers have a term for it: advertising wearout. “The overall persuasiveness of an ad declines exponentially” the more consumers are exposed to it.

To Build Truly Intelligent Machines, Teach Them Cause and Effect

Because once they can ask 'why' and understand the answer, they are on their way to the true nature of intelligence - and reason. JL

Kevin Hartnett reports in Quanta:

Instead of the mere ability to correlate fever and malaria, machines need the capacity to reason that malaria causes fever. Once this causal framework is in place, it becomes possible for machines to ask counterfactual questions — to inquire how the causal relationships would change given some kind of intervention - a 21st-century version of the framework that allowed machines to think probabilistically.

May 26, 2018

How Self Driving Cars Will Reshape Cities

Comprehensively. JL

Aarian Marshall and Alex Davies report in Wired:

For the past century, the personal car has dominated that arena, shaping the streets and environments around it. Roads are straight and wide for faster travel;
intersections are regulated to protect distracted humans; businesses are located near open spaces for better parking. As cars start to drive themselves, we have some ideas for how urban planners of the future might reimagine those outdated layouts—and transform the city into a joyful mess of throughways and byways optimized not for cars but for people.

Yes, Alexa Needs To Come Clean About How Much It's Recording

Just assume everything is being recorded and you wont be surprised. JL

Geoffrey Fowler reports in the Washington Post:

These devices are always “awake,” passively listening for the command to activate, such as “Alexa,” “O.K. Google,” or “Hey Siri.” The problem is they’re far from perfect about responding only when we want them to. How often do these devices go rogue and record more than we’d like them to? Neither Google nor Amazon immediately responded to my questions about false positives for their “wake words." But anyone who lives with one of these devices knows it happens.

Why Does the Internet Suck?

The internet is still relatively young and humanity has not yet figured out how to optimize it. That process is going to take awhile. And those currently using it may not live to see its golden age. JL

Joe Sternberg reports in Adweek:

Ones and zeroes don’t lie like humans do. The internet is a prime example of how an infallible technology butts up against the fallibility of man. So it is perhaps unsurprising that the internet, as it stands, is broken.The heart of the problem is we have met the enemy and he is us. People make up the internet. We developed a technology that enables communication in ways that humanity never dreamed of, but we’re screwing it up because we can’t learn to trust each other.