Posts Tagged: The Machines

The Problem With Relying on a Machine to Eat All Your Garbage

People drop things on the Internet and run all the time. So we have to ask. In this edition, New York Times technology writer Farhad Manjoo tells us more about what happens when you have a hi-tech electronic garbage can that keeps breaking.

Almost everything in my house is automatic/electronic in some way. But after three infrared-enabled automatic kitchen trash cans I’m done.

— Farhad Manjoo (@fmanjoo) August 25, 2014

Farhad! So what happened here?

I use machines for everything. I’m that kind of guy. I cook sous vide, I’ve got a Japanese bidet toilet with heated seats, my soap dispenser is automatic, [...]


An Entire Human Life Cycle As Dictated By Quora's Recommendation Algorithm


"Drone trade group adopts guidelines for flying in U.S. airspace"

"The Assn. for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International in Arlington, Va., has published a code of conduct for manufacturers and operators of the thousands of drone aircraft that are expected to be flying in U.S. airspace by 2015." —Oh great, sounds fine then! Drones just wanna drone. Just let them drone, everything will be fiiiiiine.


Less Human Than Human: The Design Philosophy of Apple

The late Steve Jobs is known to have been very keen on "taste." Microsoft has absolutely no taste, he said, going on to explain that by this he meant that "they don't think of original ideas, and they don't bring much culture into their product." Great products, he said, were a "triumph of taste." The exquisite taste of Jobs himself has long been a matter of doctrine in the tech world. Kevin Kelly's remarks after his death expressed the general sentiment: "Steve Jobs was a CEO of beauty. In his interviews and especially in private, Jobs often spoke about Art. Taste. Soul. Life. And he sincerely meant [...]


All Your Radiohead Tickets Are Belong to Machines!!11!

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Anonymous should really make Ticketmaster their next target. #radioheadMon Sep 26 14:21:52 via webMichael Neffheyneff

Everyone in the Radiohead demographic hates Ticketmaster so much right now. MACHINES SAY: SCALPING IS GOOD BUSINESS.


There Will Never Ever Be Jobs Again

This explains pretty much everything today! Let's break down this "why there are no jobs" article, nearly every paragraph of which is either depressing or a bit fury-inducing. Here's a one-two punch that deserves to have its dots connected:

1. "We just can’t afford to compete with countries like China on labor costs, especially when workers are getting even more expensive," says manager of company.

2. "Indeed, equipment and software prices have dipped 2.4 percent since the recovery began, thanks largely to foreign manufacturing."

Oh, I see. A supply-demand shame spiral! You can see where this is going. Anyway, then the poor manager is besieged by resumes when [...]


That Jeopardy Computer Is Actually Good For Humanity

I hope the nerds enjoyed their renaissance while it lasted because we don't need them anymore. Contrary to all the doom and gloom surrounding Watson's Jeopardy Holocaust, this win is a good thing for us ordinary humans.

Speaking as a highly qualified Trekker, I have some experience with supercomputers. The most important thing to know about supercomputers is that they're useful. You never once see Geordi LaForge break out his Quantum Physics digest or consult a treatise on Sub-Spatial Mechanics before going to work on the Warp Drive. You know why? Because, he just asks the computer and gets on with his life.


Robopoetics: The Complete Operator's Manual

Here’s a game: which of these poems was written by a human, and which by a computer?

A wounded deer leaps highest, I've heard the daffodil I've heard the flag to-day I've heard the hunter tell; 'Tis but the ecstasy of death, And then the brake is almost done, And sunrise grows so near sunrise grows so near That we can touch the despair and frenzied hope of all the ages.


Red flags the reason for pretty flags. And ribbons. Ribbons of flags And wearing material Reason for wearing material. Give pleasure. Can you give me the regions. The regions and the land. The regions and wheels. All [...]

Predator Drones Coming To Life

"Air Force mechanics have reported mysterious incidents in which the airborne robots went haywire. In March 2011, a Predator parked at the camp started its engine without any human direction, even though the ignition had been turned off and the fuel lines closed. Technicians concluded that a software bug had infected the 'brains' of the drone, but never pinpointed the problem. 'After that whole starting-itself incident, we were fairly wary of the aircraft and watched it pretty closely,' an unnamed Air Force squadron commander testified to an investigative board, according to a transcript. 'Right now, I still think the software is not good.'"


Start Getting Used To The Idea Of Being Encased In Silkworm Cocoons

"Vollrath says there are potential applications for the cocoons themselves, particularly in the developing world and potentially in car panels that are very tough and totally sustainable. The researchers are working on carbon footprint calculations but Vollrath notes that the production process is probably carbon neutral, involving a mulberry bush and worms that, unlike cattle, don't emit any methane. Further research is needed. Porter said the next stage will be to find a way to replicate the structures found in the cocoons or use them as a base material impregnated with gels as a way of developing a scalable production process." —In the future, cars will be made out [...]


Killer Robots Inside Killer Robots

Oh good, these killer drones are getting other, smaller killer drones inside them.


So Long, Space!

Today the brave and wasteful decades of the American space program as we have known it come crunching to a halt. From its beginnings as wildly adventurous jaunts to its ghastly end as porters and bellboys to the International Space Station, 30 years and 135 space shuttle missions later, we are officially Done With Space Shuttling. We'll always have our little laboratory on the Station, and corporations are happy to do our transit for us, but space is now for the Europeans, the Japanese and the Russian nerd heartthrobs—goodbye, pencil-necked cutie Sergei Volkov, you second-generation cosmonaut! Now our machines are going to go to some asteroid and to the [...]


That Can Be Our Next Headline: 21 Perfect Stories by The Machines

Using the vital new technology of That Can Be My Next Tweet, which "generates your future tweets based on the DNA of your existing messages," it's easy to discover what should come next in this very space, by analyzing our own Twitter feed.

21 How Pot Makes Gays Feel Better About 'The Pale King'

20 Darkness Falls Across The Mona Lisa: Astrologist Susan Miller Advice Column Pivot

19 Local Gay Caveman Would Be National Paper's Last Pageview

18 Eddie Murphy Just Wanted To Ignore LCD Soundsystem's Reunion

17 'Vanity Fair' Really Is a Bikini Brawl Video Made As A Guide To Richmond, VA, Circa '93


Now Computers Are Writing Lousy Jokes Like They Work For Jay Leno Or Something

Christmas crackers—traditional British holiday mini-pinatas that, when pulled apart, frequently contain tiny, crappy toys and a terrible joke (older American readers might recall the Dixie cups of their youth for comparative purposes)—just got a little easier to make… THANKS TO THE MACHINES.


When Will The Machines Start Predicting Bestsellers?

In November, Knopf bought a 900-page debut novel by Garth Risk Hallberg for almost $2 million. It’s a tremendous gamble, regardless of the book’s quality, if one that many publishers were happy to make: more than 10 houses bid more than $1 million, according to the Times. Predicting a novel’s fate in the commercial or critical marketplace is a fool’s gambit, as indicated both by works like the first Harry Potter novel, which was repeatedly rejected before becoming, well, Harry Potter, and by expensive flops like Charles Frazier’s Thirteen Moons. The novelist Curtis Sittenfeld said, "People think publishing is a business, but it’s a casino."

But what if publishers [...]


Your Lunchmeat Vs. The Machines

I don't judge what people want to put in their mouth as food, I mean, I eat at Arby's sometimes, you know? Have you ever looked at what they make into food at Arby's? That stuff has bubbles in it, seriously; I guess it's supposed to be beef-meat, but it's mostly just salty and fat-tasting, by which of course I mean delicious, in the bad-for-you way, but now they (as in Arby's) are doing this commercial where they hire this guy who is a "New York detective," and he goes and finds out that Subway* has their sandwich meats sliced ahead of time in a factory. Pre-sliced!

Seriously, can [...]


Will We Even Know if We Enter a Full-Surveillance Society?

If you're not following the Carrier IQ story, it's the flip side of the User Agreement Trust Economy. It's the modern tale: Who Secretly Owns Your Data and What Do They Do With It? For background of the story to date, here's a fairly good timeline. Carrier IQ gathers diagnostic information on some phones; it may or may not actually keylog what you type on your phone; it may or may not sometimes or always gather the passwords you enter on your phone; and, according to the FBI's refusal to release information, it may or may not have actually turned over information to law enforcement. (Carrier [...]


"Giving a bomb-hunting car artificial intelligence is a step so far unimagined"

"The Army’s latest scheme to stop homemade bombs is pretty much inspired by "Knight Rider.'" True story! Robot car hates bombs! ("We’re not making KITT," says the KITT-building company honcho, which obviously means the opposite. So this is how it all ends.)


Today Is Flag Day, Unfortunately

Did you know today was a holiday? It is. It is Flag Day, when we're all supposed to fly the American flag somewhere, in commemoration of the Second Continental Congress's June 14th, 1777 adoption of the design commonly, but, many believe, mistakenly, attributed to Philadelphian seamstress Betsy Ross. The best thing about this holiday, to me, is that it reminds me of my favorite song by the Housemartins. (That's former Housemartins singer Paul Heaton, above, performing it last year.) The worst thing about it is pretty much everything else. I don't like flags.


Who Cares If All The Birds Die? We'll Just Build New Ones!

Remember how freaked out everyone was a couple months ago about all the birds that were dying? No one cares anymore, right? That's probably because now we know that even if all the birds die, it doesn't matter. We can just make new ones that look and fly pretty much exactly the same.