Category: internet

A shed the size of a town: what Britain’s gian…

A shed the size of a town: what Britain’s giant distribution centres tell us about modern life:

Simple as they may look, distribution centres are sophisticated structures. The machinery that moves stuff around is constantly evolving. Their playing field-sized floors have to be exceptionally level, as small unevenness could cause the high fork-lift trucks they use to lean unacceptably at the top. Years of competition have made their structure as spare and economical as can be. Architects such as Chetwoods have to reconcile all this with the wishes of users (who might want something tailored to their needs) and of investors, who will want a structure to be adaptable to future users.It is tempting to say that these buildings make the internet visible, except that their visibility is strictly limited. Sometimes they get into the news when reporters, posing as warehouse workers, bring news of working conditions inside. You can get a glimmer on Google, for example from employee reviews of Primark’s warehouse, which sits like an acropolis on a raised earthwork in Northamptonshire: “they’re treating a people like nothing,” says one in imperfect English; “they beautiful lied on induction how much they cares about worker, don’t believe them.” The buildings, however, remain notably blank, giving almost no clue of their busy inner lives.

Some users and owners are dismissive of press inquiries to a degree unusual in big, public relations-conscious companies. Tesco refused a request to see inside their Dirft base, which was possibly not surprising, but also to answer simple questions, such as: what are its dimensions?

For the writer Carolyn Steel, whose book Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Livesexamines the relationship of society to food, this secrecy is the antithesis of the more public processes by which food once progressed from field to market to kitchen to plate. “The exchange of food used to bring people together,” she says. “Now the process is designed to exclude the human”. But distribution centres manifest the world we have chosen and had chosen for us, in return for efficiency and convenience, in which a product appears in the home by ever more inscrutable magic.

Their scale and growth are a consequence of the fact that all that physicality and volume that the virtual world displaces has to go somewhere. It’s welcome that architects and developers should try to make something of them and to mitigate their impact with woods, ponds and indeed coloured bands. But, short of a dramatic restructuring of the economic, technical and social basis of the modern world, these uncompromising building types will only become more essential to our lives. The contrast between what was previously thought of as natural and urban landscape will only become more stark.

Digital Human: Series 10, Episode 1 – Sublime

We’re a little closer to texting from our brai…

We’re a little closer to texting from our brains, thanks to birds:

Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley this year set themselves an audacious new goal: creating a brain-reading device that would allow people to effortlessly send texts with their thoughts.

In April, Elon Musk announced a secretive new brain-interface company called Neuralink. Days later, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg declared that “direct brain interfaces [are] going to, eventually, let you communicate only with your mind.” The company says it has 60 engineers working on the problem.

It’s an ambitious quest—and there are reasons to think it won’t happen anytime soon. But for at least one small, orange-beaked bird, the zebra finch, the dream just became a lot closer to reality.

That’s thanks to some nifty work by Timothy Gentner and his students at the University of California, San Diego, who built a brain-to-tweet interface that figures out the song a finch is going to sing a fraction of a second before it does so.

“We decode realistic synthetic birdsong directly from neural activity,” the scientists announced in a new report published on the website bioRxiv. The team, which includes Argentinian birdsong expert Ezequiel Arneodo, calls the system the first prototype of “a decoder of complex, natural communication signals from neural activity.” A similar approach could fuel advances towards a human thought-to-text interface, the researchers say.

The Digital Human, Series 13, Episode 6 – Oracle

Some divination methods are more intimate than…

Some divination methods are more intimate than others :/

5 Amazing Things Big Data Helps Us To Predict …

5 Amazing Things Big Data Helps Us To Predict Now — Plus What’s On The Horizon:

Big data is predicting things about your life almost every minute of your day — whether you’re aware of it or not.

Amazon is predicting what else you might like to buy every time you shop. Netflix is predicting what you might want to watch. Google is predicting how you will respond to your emails. And Match.com and other dating sites are even trying to predict who you might fall in love with.

These predictions have become so ubiquitous that we don’t always even notice them any more. But data analysts are working on predicting much more important outcomes than the next show you’ll binge watch, with some very exciting results…

The Digital Human, Series 13, Episode 6 – Oracle

Forecasting the fashion future: Big Data comes…

Forecasting the fashion future: Big Data comes to rescue fashion designers! – Big Data Made Simple – One source. Many perspectives.:

For years, fashion industry has had previous data and intuition at its disposal to predict customer demands which is now becoming quite irrelevant considering the fast-changing fashion trends and the tough competition in the market. More so, with more and more people getting brand conscious, it is becoming tougher for aspiring fashion designers to make a place on the mannequins. But they need not worry; Big Data is here to save the budding talent!

Unbelievable but true, Big Data is becoming an important part of one of the most intuition-based and unpredictable industry. In a world where clothes become outdated with the release of a new movie or the latest fashion week, even biggies like Burberry and Ralph Lauren have resorted to Big Data analysis. The runway at the fashion week, the latest edition of Cosmopolitan — are all losing their charm; designers these days release photos of their exclusive collections on Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest) which helps them know the trends and people’s response much before the curtain-raiser. Sentiment analysis through collection of the responses (likes, shares, comments, re-tweets) helps the industry to analyse every aspect of consumers demand— from the most loved colour to the most acceptable fit…

The Digital Human, Series 13, Episode 6 – Oracle

Unanimous A.I. Uses Human Swarms to Make Scary…

Unanimous A.I. Uses Human Swarms to Make Scary-Accurate Predictions:

If ants, birds, fish, and bees can pool their collective intelligence to make decisions, why can’t humans? The collective intelligence manifests itself in colonies, flocks, schools, and swarms, something that biologists refer to as “swarm intelligence.” So, why can’t humans form their swarms? That’s the question that guides Louis Rosenberg, founder and CEO of Unanimous A.I.

The basic technology that underlies the platform is what we call swarm A.I., because it’s modeled after swarms in nature. There are two forms of intelligence in nature: There’s neurological intelligence, and there’s swarm intelligence. Neurological intelligence is a system of neurons where an intelligence emerges that’s way smarter than any of the single neurons, and a swarm intelligence is one level up. It’s a system of brains that work together and are smarter than any of the individual participants. We model systems after how swarms work in nature and we enable groups of people to amplify their intelligence by thinking together as a system.

The Digital Human, Series 13, Episode 6 – Oracle

Ancient prophecy: oracles and the gods

Ancient prophecy: oracles and the gods:

An oracle was a gateway to knowing the will of the gods, a cosmic information super highway for understanding what lay ahead. The most famous oracle was the priestess of the temple of Apollo at the sanctuary of Delphi.

So important was this sanctuary and its oracle that Delphi even became known as the omphalos – the belly button – of the ancient Greek world. Individuals, cities and kings would come from across the ancient world to put their questions about their future plans to the Delphic oracle and wait to receive a response about what the gods thought of them.

Delphi became so busy that long queues would form on the certain days of the month on which the priestess could be consulted and, in later times, several oracular priestesses would operate at once. But consultants had to be careful how they interpreted the, often unclear, answers of the oracle.

King Croesus of Lydia (modern-day south-western Turkey) asked the oracle whether or not he should go to war on his neighbouring kingdom. The oracle replied that if he went to war, a great kingdom would fall. Croesus interpreted this as being his enemy’s… it turned out to be his own.

But Delphi was not the only site of oracular consultation in ancient Greece. In north western Greece was the oracular site of Dodona, where consultants wrote their questions on small lead tablets, which still survive today. In the deserts of Egypt, at the oasis of Siwah, lay the oracle of Ammon, which Alexander the Great make the journey to visit during his conquests.

And if a long journey wasn’t an option, then the ancient Greeks could consult one of the many ‘chresmologoi’ or ‘manteis’ (‘oracle-sellers’ and ‘seers’) who lived in the cities or travelled with armies, and who promised (for a fee) to translate the will of the gods by reading the signs of animal entrails, the flight of birds, the ripples of water or by using books of prophecy amongst a myriad of other mechanisms.


The Digital Human, Series 13, Episode 6 – Oracle

Kate Darling – Ethical issues in human-robot…

Kate Darling – Ethical issues in human-robot interaction

RIP Hitchbot 🙁

The Digital Human, Series 13, Episode 3 – Visage

How Human Do We Want Our Robots To Look?

How Human Do We Want Our Robots To Look?:

Let’s say you’re getting a robot butler. (Congratulations on your purchase, future-dweller!) You can choose between three models for your new _Jetsons-_style Rosie robot: a clearly robotic machine, maybe even a cutesy one, like Wall-E; a more humanoid, personish ‘bot, like the android from Metropolis; or a robot that looks just like a real human being. Which do you pick?

The Digital Human, Series 13, Episode 3 – Visage

Robotic society seems very polite tbh… …

Robotic society seems very polite tbh…

The Digital Human, Series 13, Episode 3 – Visage