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What I did on my summer vacation

Quin Finnegan on Rediscovering Pokémon

Yikes! It’s tough reading all that Heidegger when nefarious creatures like this show up in your living room …
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But having ably disposed of “Gastly”, he’s now taking the offensive—hunting for more of these hobgoblins born of technology and our ever-shrinking minds. IMG_0896

And taking in an architecture lesson or two along the way.
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Lollipop and the Liturgy

This reminds me of this.

Land Line

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Watson Has No Sense of Humor

Teaching IBM’s Watson the meaning of ‘OMG’

The scientific test to gauge if a computer can “think” is surprisingly simple: Can it engage in small talk? The so-called Turing test says a computer capable of carrying on a natural conversation without giving itself away can be considered intelligent. So far, no machine has made the cut.

Eric Brown, a research scientist with IBM (IBM), is charged with changing that. The 45-year-old is the brains behindWatson, the supercomputer that pummeled human opponents on Jeopardy! in 2011. The biggest difficulty for Brown, as tutor to a machine, hasn’t been making Watson know more but making it understand subtlety, especially slang.

It seems like an even better version of the Turing Test would be based on whether the computer could make the humans LOL. I did a bit of light Googling to see if there had been a test conducted along those lines and found this article from 2008, in which one computer told the following joke:

Roberts said Elbot worked by catching some of the judges off-guard with provocative answers or impishly hinting that it was, in fact, a machine.

“Hi. How’s it going?” one judge began.

“I feel terrible today,” Elbot replied. “This morning I made a mistake and poured milk over my breakfast instead of oil, and it rusted before I could eat it.”

Roberts also said Elbot tried to dominate the conversation to keep it from wandering into areas it was not properly programmed to handle.

Sounds to me like Elbot has better social skills than I do. (zing!)

Then I hopped over to Cleverbot to see if it could recognize random allusions to high-minded fare, and incorporate them into jokey banter. Transcript:

User: Schenectady. (I always like to lead with a word that is inherently funny.)

Cleverbot: Ist das dein name? (Is Cleverbot being snarky or does it think I’m speaking German?)

User: Yes.

Cleverbot: Hi, Kara. Then you must me a girl. Nice to meet you. I’m a girl too.

User: What? That makes no sense.

Cleverbot: But we’re married. (Admittedly, this is not a terrible response to the comment ‘That makes no sense.’ Also: is Cleverbot making a reference to current events?)

Then I tried again.

Cleverbot: Who is going to speak first?

User: I speak for the trees.

Cleverbot: Yes but out of context. (Good comeback, Cleverbot!)

User: Have you not read the Lorax?

Cleverbot: No.

User: Then you wouldn’t recognize my allusion, which is too bad. I hope this makes for a good blog post. We need more traffic. Then again, there’s always money in the banana stand. (The ultimate test: has Cleverbot memorized transcripts from Arrested Development?)

Cleverbot: That would be you.

User: BURN! Well played, Cleverbot.

Cleverbot: Too true, too true.

Si Deus pro nobis, quis contra nos?

(Anglica)

Resistance is futile.

https://korrektivpress.com/2012/10/21109/

Heh.

Well, of course:

“As [Jobs’] life wound down, and cancer claimed his body, his great passion was designing Apple’s new, three-million-square-foot headquarters, in Cupertino. Jobs threw himself into the details. ‘Over and over he would come up with new concepts, sometimes entirely new shapes, and make them restart and provide more alternatives,’ Isaacson writes. He was obsessed with glass, expanding on what he learned from the big panes in the Apple retail stores. ‘There would not be a straight piece of glass in the building,’ Isaacson writes. “All would be curved and seamlessly joined. . . . The planned center courtyard was eight hundred feet across (more than three typical city blocks, or almost the length of three football fields), and he showed it to me with overlays indicating how it could surround St. Peter’s Square in Rome.’”

“The librarian shall have charge of the library…”

Alan Jacobs on Christianity and the Future of the Book

Articles by Alan Jacobs are always worth reading, and I think I’ve enjoyed this one from the The New Atlantis more than any other.

Consider, for instance, the variety of writing technologies discernible just in the Old Testament: the “brick” on which Ezekiel is commanded to inscribe an image of Jerusalem (4:1), the “tablet” used by Isaiah (30:8) and Habakkuk (2:2), the stone on which the Decalogue is inscribed (Ex. 24:12, Joshua 8:32). The styli used by Isaiah (8:1) and Jeremiah (17:1) may have been used to write on metal. Clay tablets were kept in jars (Jeremiah 32:14) or boxes (Exodus 25:16, 1 Kings 8:9). But the Scriptures themselves, it is clear, were typically written on papyrus scrolls and kept in cabinets.

And then along came the codex, compared to which even Gutenberg’s newfangled printing device was technologically something of an afterthought—Codex 1.1, if you will. So the question now is: What do all these iPads and Kindles portend? All in all, just another brick? Or is there something more revolutionary afoot? What will be required of this generation?

Read the whole thing here.