technology

‘No, everything stays, doesn’t it? Everything.’ –Flaubert

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Before you hand over your number, ask yourself: Is it worth the risk? […]

Your phone number may have now become an even stronger identifier than your full name. I recently found this out firsthand when I asked Fyde, a mobile security firm in Palo Alto, Calif., to use my digits to demonstrate the potential risks of sharing a phone number.

He quickly plugged my cellphone number into a public records directory. Soon, he had a full dossier on me — including my name and birth date, my address, the property taxes I pay and the names of members of my family.

From there, it could have easily gotten worse. Mr. Tezisci could have used that information to try to answer security questions to break into my online accounts. Or he could have targeted my family and me with sophisticated phishing attacks.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

image { Bell telephone magazine, March/April 1971 }

Just a whisk brisk sly spry spink spank sprint of a thing theresomere, saultering

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An artificial intelligence system should be recognised as the inventor of two ideas in patents filed on its behalf, a team of academics says.

The AI has designed interlocking food containers that are easy for robots to grasp and a warning light that flashes in a rhythm that is hard to ignore.

Patents offices insist innovations are attributed to humans - to avoid legal complications that would arise if corporate inventorship were recognised.

The academics say this is “outdated”.

{ BBC | Continue reading }

enamel on linen { Christopher Wool, Untitled, 2007 }

You’re up, you’ll get down. You’re never running from this town.

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We analyzed over one million posts from over 4,000 individuals on several social media platforms, using computational models based on reward reinforcement learning theory. Our results consistently show that human behavior on social media qualitatively and quantitatively conforms to the principles of reward learning.

{ PsyArXiv | Continue reading }

image { Dissecting Reinforcement Learning }

I was shift and shuft too, with her shester Mrs Shunders

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A few months ago, I started hearing about something called Superhuman. It’s an invitation-only service that costs $30 a month and promises “the fastest email experience ever made.” Marc Andreessen, the influential venture capitalist, reportedly swore by it, as did tech bigwigs like Patrick and John Collison, the founders of Stripe. The app was rumored to have a waiting list of more than 100,000 people.

“We have the who’s who of Silicon Valley at this point,” Superhuman’s founder, Rahul Vohra, told me in an interview. The waiting list is actually 180,000 people long, he said, and some people are getting desperate. He showed me a photo of a gluten-free cake sent to Superhuman’s office by a person who was hoping to score an invitation.

“We have insane levels of virality that haven’t been seen since Dropbox or Slack,” Mr. Vohra added.

Last month, Superhuman raised a $33 million investment round, led by Mr. Andreessen’s firm, Andreessen Horowitz. That valued the company at roughly $260 million — a steep valuation for an app with fewer than 15,000 customers, but one apparently justified by the company’s trajectory and its support among fans, which borders on evangelical. […]

I spent several weeks testing it out. And it turns out that the hype is mostly justified, at least if you’re the kind of person who can spend $30 a month to get your inbox in order. […]

Some of the app’s features — such as ones that let users undo sending, track when their emails are opened and automatically pull up a contact’s LinkedIn profile — are available in other third-party email plug-ins. But there are bells and whistles that I hadn’t seen before. Like “instant intro,” which moves the sender of an introductory email to bcc, saving you from having to manually re-enter that person’s address. Or the scheduling feature, which sees that you’re typing “next Tuesday” and automatically pulls up your calendar for that day.

{ NY Times | Continue reading }

OMG SHUT UP AND TAKE OUR MONEY

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{ Horns are growing on young people’s skulls, caused by the forward tilt of the head. Phone use is to blame, research suggests. | Washington Post | No, Teenagers Are Not Growing ‘Skull Horns’ Because of Smartphones | Time }

Our shades of minglings mengle them and help help horizons

Grow Your Own Cloud is a new service that helps you store your data nature’s way — in the DNA of plants.

We are at the forefront of the development of a new type of cloud, one that is organic, rather than silicon, and which emits oxygen rather than CO2.

{ GrowYourOwn.Cloud | Continue reading | Thanks Tim}

HELP US VALIDATE THE HIGH OPINION WE HAVE OF OURSELVES

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YouTube’s most lucrative channel in the UK did not feature a pop superstar, a legendary rock band or the biggest TV show around . . . but a child from Lancashire.

Gabriella — or Gaby, as she is known to her 12m-plus subscribers […] could be pulling in between £2,100 and £40,000 a day, depending on daily views, with earnings of up to £1m a year. […]

To novices like me, YouTube’s advertising system is incredibly complex and opaque. Fundamentally, the more popular you are, the more advertisers are prepared to pay. But you need to clock up 4,000 hours of viewing time for your videos in a year and have at least 1,000 subscribers to qualify for the Google Partner Programme, which provides a share of ad revenue.

Vloggers who choose cost-per-month advertising get a share ranging from 5p to £7 for every 1,000 “monetised” views — that is after YouTube takes 45 per cent. Only 40 per cent to 60 per cent of overall views are deemed worthy of advertising spending, based on various factors such as the location of the viewers and their level of “ad engagement”, that is, how much they skip or click on ads. […]

Competition on YouTube is brutal, with more than 450 hours of video uploaded every minute. Most of the experts who spoke to the Financial Times agreed that one or two videos a week was the bare minimum now required for success. Dan Middleton, a British gaming star who earned £25m last year, recently admitted working 12-hour days to post daily videos and stay ahead of the algorithm, which was recently tweaked to reward busier creators. Just missing a day can drastically reduce your views, subscribers and overall revenue.

Small wonder that “influencer burnout” is on the rise. […]

One vlogger with about 80,000 subscribers, who wished to remain anonymous, told me: “My most popular videos get six-figure views but the maximum I earn is a few hundred pounds. When I think about all the research, time, skills and promotion I put into each video, I wonder just how sustainable it can be.” […]

But YouTube advertising is not the only game in town. Creators increasingly make extra cash from influencer marketing. […]

Successful vloggers, and the agents managing their careers, can be cagey about the sums earned from influencer marketing. However, prying some numbers from leading agencies, I found that someone with at least 7m subscribers could earn about £250,000 for a sponsored video, while someone notching up 1m subscribers would command about £100,000. Even so-called “micro-influencers”, defined as having between 3,000 and 100,000 followers on any given platform, can earn between £2,000 and £50,000 for sponsored posts or videos.

{ Financial Times | Continue reading }

concrete with beehive structure, wax, and live bee colony { Pierre Huyghe, Untilled (Liegender Frauenakt), 2012 }

Ces dames préfèrent le mambo

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Behavioural patterns of Londoners going about their daily business are being tracked and recorded an unprecedented scale, internet expert Ben Green warns. […]

Large-scale London data-collection projects include on-street free Wi-Fi beamed from special kiosks, smart bins, police facial recognition and soon 5G transmitters embedded in lamp posts.

Transport for London announced this week they would track, collect and analyse movements of commuters around 260 Tube stations starting from July by using mobile Wi-Fi data and device MAC addresses to help improve journeys. Customers can opt out by turning off their Wi-Fi. 

{ Standard | Continue reading }

previously { The Business of Selling Your Location }

art { Poster for Autechre by the Designers Republic, 2016 }

‘Consciousness is nature’s nightmare.’ –Cioran

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Human-robot interaction in workplaces is a research area which remains unexplored.

In this paper, we present the results and analysis of a social experiment we conducted by introducing a humanoid robot (Nadine) into a collaborative social workplace.

The humanoid’s primary task was to function as a receptionist and provide general assistance to the customers. Moreover, the employees who interacted with Nadine were given over a month to get used to her capabilities, after which, the feedback was collected from the staff on the grounds of influence on productivity, affect experienced during interaction and their views on social robots assisting with regular tasks.

Our results show that the usage of social robots for assisting with normal day-to-day tasks is taken quite positively by the co-workers and that in the near future, more capable humanoid social robots can be used in workplaces for assisting with menial tasks.

{ PsyArXiv | Continue reading }

related { Is an Army of Robots Marching on Chinese Jobs? }

art { Hajime Sorayama }

Facebook algorithm can recognise people in photographs even when it can’t see their faces

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In Shenzhen, the local subway operator is testing various advanced technologies backed by the ultra-fast 5G network, including facial-recognition ticketing.

At the Futian station, instead of presenting a ticket or scanning a QR bar code on their smartphones, commuters can scan their faces on a tablet-sized screen mounted on the entrance gate and have the fare automatically deducted from their linked accounts. […]

Consumers can already pay for fried chicken at KFC in China with its “Smile to Pay” facial recognition system, first introduced at an outlet in Hangzhou in January 2017. […]

Chinese cities are among the most digitally savvy and cashless in the world, with about 583 million people using their smartphones to make payment in China last year, according to the China Internet Network Information Center. Nearly 68 per cent of China’s internet users used a mobile wallet for their offline payments.

{ South China Morning Post | Continue reading }

photo { The Collection of the Australian National Maritime Museum }

History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake

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Multidisciplinary studio curiosity has completed the flagship store of streetwear brand hipanda in omotesando, tokyo, combining digital and analogue features. The immersive retail interior brings together architectural elements with AR (augmented reality) and AE (augmented experience) technology in a sequence of spaces, inviting the visitor to look for the ‘host’ of the house, who is revealed through different interactive experiences, some digital and other analogue.

Curiosity has decked the hipanda store façade with the brand’s logo, which ‘jumps’ towards passersby with visual effects displayed through animations. inside, the main room features a play of light in constant motion, while the gallery space introduces products in a constant movement through AR, continually changing the presentation of the displays to bringing attention to the collection. The room’s walls are half-clad in mirrors, blurring the perception between digital and virtual.

{ designboom | Continue reading }

photo { Butcher shop specialized in game meat and poultry exhibiting a camel, Paris, 1908 }

I am the Nightrider. I’m a fuel injected suicide machine.

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After one too many snowstorms, Boston tech executive Larry Kim had had it with shoveling out his car and struggling to find parking. So in 2014 he ditched his Infiniti luxury sedan and began commuting by Uber and Lyft—at an annual cost of as much as $20,000. I would never go back to owning a car,” says Kim […]

Auto sales in the U.S., after four record or near-record years, are declining this year, and analysts say they may never again reach those heights. […] IHS sees the biggest impact of mobility services coming in China. Auto sales there plunged 18 percent in January, an unprecedented seventh consecutive monthly decline, as commuters rapidly embraced ride-hailing. Last year, 550 million Chinese took 10 billion rides with the Didi ride-hailing service. That’s twice as many rides as Uber provided globally in 2018. “Increasing numbers of Chinese are opting for mobility as a service over car ownership,” wrote Michael Dunne, CEO of automotive researcher ZoZo Go. […]

Replacing a taxi driver with a robot cuts 60 percent from a ride’s cost, making travel in a driverless cab much cheaper than driving your own car.

{ Bloomberg | Continue reading }