"Maybe someone liked my stuff."

You are the product of the attention economy


Fri, May 26th, 2017 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Vice, your attention is a valuable commodity traded on the internet: the more attention a site has, the more effective the advertising, the more money it can generate from charging advertisers. In order to keep users engaged, Facebook (and all the sites the social media giant owns), has designed its interactive environments to be as addictive as a casino's slot machine, in order for users to get their fix of feeling "connected, validated, and liked."

The easiest way to understand this term is by imagining a slot machine. You pull the lever to win a prize, which is an intermittent action linked to a variable reward. Variable meaning you might win, or you might not. In the same way, you refresh your Facebook updates to see if you've won. Or you swipe right on Tinder to see if you've won.

This is the most obvious way…


"You could be targeted for ads for things you don’t even realize that you like."

Facebook has not ruled out the ability of using its neural interface for advertising


Thu, May 25th, 2017 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

While Instagram has been labelled as the "most harmful social network for your mental health," Facebook's neural interface — a system that would allow a user to communicate on Facebook using just their thoughts — may or may not be used for advertising purposes. The company won't commit to an answer, but if Facebook's track record is any indication, the privacy implications raised by the article are not far fetched.

“I worry a little about whether we’ve given enough thought about what it means to no longer have control over a zone of privacy,” Dr. Eran Klein, a neurology professor at Oregon Health and Sciences University and neuroethicist at the Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering, told me. “One of the things that makes us human is we can decide what stays in our mind and what comes from our mouth.”

Any inadvertent spillover from our inner monologues to…


"The machine had gotten inside the human’s head."

20 years ago, Deep Blue beat world champion chess player Garry Kasparov


Wed, May 24th, 2017 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

On BackChannel, Steven Levy looks at the "indelible dot on all timelines of AI progress" when on February 1997, IBM's Deep Blue would defeat world champion chess player Garry Kasparov. Levy argues that the historical moment was really not about a game of chess played by a computer but, ultimately, what he morbidly referred to as "the brain's last stand".

The turning point of the match came in Game Two. Kasparov had won the first game and was feeling pretty good. In the second, the match was close and hard fought. But on the 36th move, the computer did something that shook Kasparov to his bones. In a situation where virtually every top-level chess program would have attacked Kasparov’s exposed queen, Deep Blue made a much subtler and ultimately more effective move that shattered Kasparov’s image of what a computer was capable of doing. It seemed to Kasparov—and frankly,…


Smart Solar Panel Window Blinds



Tue, May 23rd, 2017 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Currently seeking your financial support on Kickstarter, SolarGaps are sun-tracking photovoltaic solar panel window blinds capable of generating up to "00W-150W of renewable energy per 10 sq. ft. (~ 1 m2) of a window," which may make them particularly appealing for those that won't or can't install solar panels on their roof.

Simply mount SolarGaps on the wall over your window using the brackets provided or install them on the outside of your home.

Then plug SolarGaps into a power outlet and lower your energy bills by feeding electricity back to the grid. Any energy surplus can either be stored in batteries or be sold to your power utility.


“You become more difficult for an algorithm to understand, market to, or manipulate.”

Purposely create meaningless meta-data


Mon, May 22nd, 2017 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

After the recent decision of the FCC to kill customer's private data — which if collected and sold is probably far more valuable than just providing an internet connection — the Noiszy plugin promises to dilute its value by "leaving misleading tracks."

Noiszy is a browser plugin that creates meaningless web data - digital "noise."

It visits and navigates around websites, from within your browser, leaving misleading digital footprints around the internet. Noiszy only visits a list of sites that you approve, and only works when you turn it on. Run Noiszy in the background while you're working, or start Noiszy when you're not using your browser, and it sends meaningless data to these sites for as long as you let it run.

This meaningless data dilutes the significance of your "real" data, by creating a campaign of misinformation. You become more difficult for an…


AI Inception

Using an AI system to create a better AI system


Sun, May 21st, 2017 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

According to Futurism, the Google I/O '17 conference has brought to light the AutoML, an artificial intelligence system that is capable of creating better versions of itself. More disturbingly, it is able at making AI systems better than anything created by a human Google engineer.

“In our approach (which we call ‘AutoML’), a controller neural net can propose a ‘child’ model architecture, which can then be trained and evaluated for quality on a particular task,” the company explains on the Google Research Blog. “That feedback is then used to inform the controller how to improve its proposals for the next round. We repeat this process thousands of times — generating new architectures, testing them, and giving that feedback to the controller to learn from.”


"How will that impact human evolution going forward?"

The end of random mutations


Sat, May 20th, 2017 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

In this episode of PBS Digital Studios, host Joe Hanson, Ph.D. looks at the impact on human evolution CRISPR will have once "nonrandom mutation and unnatural selectio" are the norm.

In part 4 of our special series on human ancestry and evolution, we look into the future. Now that genetic engineering tools like CRISPR allow us to edit our genes, how will that impact human evolution going forward? Are designer babies or eugenics around the corner? Welcome to a world of nonrandom mutation and unnatural selection.


"The most automated warehouse of its kind"

Using AI and automation to handle logistics


Fri, May 19th, 2017 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Wired has this video of the Ocado's warehouse in Dordon, north-east of Birmingham, which uses automation and AI to solve a rather gigantic issue of logistics.

The 90,000-square-metre warehouse, which opened in February 2013, is the starting point for 190,000 customer deliveries every week. Inside, more than 35 kilometres of conveyor belts shuttle plastic crates between storage shelves and picking areas.


"Low-cost solar and human-powered vehicle."

Battery-assisted electric bicycles for Africa


Thu, May 18th, 2017 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

Electrek shows off the Solar-E-Cycle, a battery-assisted electric bicycle with a built-in solar panel that not only allows travelling 50 km at 50 km/h, but can be used to "charge your phone, plug a lamp or a water pump. You can even plug a sewing machine and start a business."

But Christen’s Solar-E-Cycle is unique for also combining the concept with an actual vehicle.

The main problem is bringing the cost down enough to make it affordable. In order to achieve that, they have been using used bike frames and made several iterations. They say that the latest Solar-E-Cycles can travel up 50 km (31 miles) per day and it can reach a top speed 50 km/h (31 mph).

Furthermore, they are partnering with economic development efforts in order to finance the manufacturing of the bikes and then rent…


Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans

The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band rewritten to tell Star Wars: A New Hope


Wed, May 17th, 2017 11:00 by capnasty NEWS

A remarkable five year project, Palette Swap Ninja has rewritten The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band to tell Star Wars: A New Hope, creating a very interesting mashup honouring major pop-culture milestones for both. Download as MP3 and FLAC, or listen on SoundCloud.

This year marks two important pop-culture milestones: The 40th anniversary of Star Wars on May 25, and the 50th anniversary of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band a week later, June 1. Our new album merges both into one full-length concept album titled Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans. It’s the entire Beatles album as accurately as we could record it, only now it tells the story of Star Wars: A New Hope — in order. We sweat the details on both sides in an effort to do both cultural milestones…

May 06"It's becoming clear that as some point simulations will be indistinguishable from reality." #Philosophy
May 16"Contact could mean extraordinary things for humanity if it happens soon." #Space
Apr 21Robot Hotel #Robots
Apr 26Google's Self-Driving Cars Giving Rides to the Public #Technology
May 03"The unique DNA fingerprint of fusion genes could be their own undoing." #Health
Apr 23"You look in the mirror and see your body and your face and you think that’s you—but that’s really just the machine you’re riding in." #Future
May 04"Facebook’s public relations spin is to give the impression that such targeting is not even possible." #Advertising
Apr 28"Frozen brains could be thawed and inserted into a donor body." #Health
Apr 20Religious Loophole to Turn Lights On and Off During Shabbat #Religion
May 08"Humanity must have existed in the world of Cars at some point." #Film
Apr 29"Have you ever pondered why we itch in the first place?" #Video
Apr 17"John Deere is the largest operator of autonomous vehicles." #Driving
May 22“You become more difficult for an algorithm to understand, market to, or manipulate.”
May 24"The machine had gotten inside the human’s head."
May 25"You could be targeted for ads for things you don’t even realize that you like."
May 23Smart Solar Panel Window Blinds
May 18"Low-cost solar and human-powered vehicle."
May 17Princess Leia’s Stolen Death Star Plans
May 19"The most automated warehouse of its kind"
May 20"How will that impact human evolution going forward?"
May 21AI Inception
May 26"Maybe someone liked my stuff."
May 16"Contact could mean extraordinary things for humanity if it happens soon."
May 14Changing the Oil of Your Car is so Easy, Even a Kid Can Do It