The Turing Test is often used as a benchmark for establishing the humanity of artificial intelligence and the media was frothing at the mouth last year when a chatbot called Eugene Goostman posed as a 34-year-old boy from Odessa and supposedly passed the test by convincing 33 percent of the participants they were conversing with a human. There’s no doubt machines are getting smarter (or, at least, getting better at answering questions). So can you tell the difference between human and robot writing? Find out by taking a test created by The New York Times.
The robots are here. And they’re increasingly doing the jobs of humans. Recently, there’s been a bit of chat over AP’s decision to get computers to write some business stories and writing in Wired last year Kevin Kelly surmised that “before the end of this century, 70 percent of today’s occupations will likewise be replaced by automation”, just as they were over the industrial revolution. Jono and Ben took this idea and ran with it for a recent skit that shows expendable labour getting their own back on technology. And with some studies showing TV is still very strong and others showing ‘screen-stacking’ is increasingly prevalent, there’s a rather self-aware scene at the end.
The government recently gave SkyCity the right to operate a few extra pokies in exchange for building a new convention centre. More than a few commentators were aghast at the decision to increase the number of filthy money suckers and concerned about the impact it might have on low-income families. But please, won’t someone think of the rich people? What impact will more conventions have on them? Turns out there are some similarities between the two groups because in an article in Wired magazine about the rise of meditation and mindfulness in Silicon Valley, it described another, some might say even more insidious addiction that is becoming increasingly prevalent in some areas of the business community.
Wired magazine celebrated its 20th anniversary recently with a special issue dedicated to “the people, their companies, and their ideas that have shaped the future we live in today”. Anyone interested in where we are now and how we got there would be well-advised to give it a squizz. And anyone hoping to get a glimpse at what the golden age of magazines looked like would be well-advised to check out the story of how Wired came to exist.
In a world where digital trickery is de rigueur, ‘traditional’ mediums like magazines are often seen as offering fewer creative opportunities. There are restrictions, of course, but great ideas often emanate from restrictions (Steinlager’s ‘We Believe’, for example). And to celebrate its 20th anniversary—and to show the level of engagement it has with its readers—Wired created a brilliant Easter egg hunt.
Over the past few years, there have been numerous attempts to make magazines more interactive. Sadly, most of those attempts tended to revolve around gimmicky, impractical augmented reality stunts, where a magazine might be held up to the computer screen and a photo ‘comes to life’. There was already a medium for this: it was called video. And there was plenty of it on that thing called the internet. But for the first time in a long time, if some of the app demonstrations deliver what they promise, the integrated digital content soon to be offered up appears to offer actual benefits to everyone involved in the process—the readers, the advertisers and, if the money starts coming back, the publishers.