This week we read about Google’s neural network research, Nokia’s maps, “internet addiction,” K-pop, and the gendered side of the Quantified Self.
Quotes of the week
We often think we’ve solved a problem when we’ve merely come up with good answer to the wrong question.
Both coffee and naps can improve mood; combined they’re magical.
Articles of the week
- Technology Review: Google Puts Its Virtual Brain Technology to Work
Elaborating on the story of a couple months back, in which Google’s neural network of 16,000 computers succeeded in recognizing cats on YouTube, this article gives more insight into how the operation works, what else it’s capable of, and how this variety of AI is being applied in a commercial context.
- The Atlantic: The Forgotten Mapmaker: Nokia Has Better Maps Than Apple and Maybe Even Google
While jokes about maps in iOS 6 abound, The Atlantic addresses the “third horse” in the tech company maps race, Nokia, and points out just how great of an asset these maps could be.
- New Yorker: Factory Girls
This is a brilliant piece of journalism on the making of the K-pop phenomenon and its widespread cultural influence. Along the way, it nicely puts “Gangnam Style” into context. A long, but very worthwhile read.
- Mindhacker: Why there is no such thing as internet addiction
Internet addiction, Vaughan Bell argues, is logically impossible. His fundamental argument: “‘Internet addiction’ researchers conceive of the internet as if it were a set of activities when, in fact, it’s a medium for communication. […] You can be no more addicted to the internet than you can to language or radio waves.”
- danah boyd: omg girls’ bodies are fascinating: embracing the gendered side of quantified self
A perceptive piece on monitoring hormonal cycles, and our attitudes toward gendered applications for technology. An avid self-quantifier, Danah explains how cultural norms and her own prejudices prevented her from studying this aspect of her body’s behavior earlier on, and how enlightening her findings were once she started.
In the spirit of “less, but better,” we bring you our five favorite articles of the week. What a ‘cloud companion species’ should look like, what social networks have to do with airplane seating and one ambitious extraterrestrial plan to get around SOPA are among the themes addressed. Enjoy!
Quotes of the week
When you cut into the present, the future leaks out.
– William Burroughs
We don’t get to stop yet. In fact, we probably aren’t going to stop in my lifetime. I’ve made my peace with the idea that every solution I work on, every innovation I’m part of and every exciting development I eagerly enjoy is a step on the way somewhere else. Everything we are currently doing is temporary.
– Mary Hamilton
Articles of the week
- Popular Science: German Hackers Are Building a DIY Space Program to Put Their Own Uncensored Internet into Space
In a somewhat larger-than-usual DIY project, a group of hackers and IT experts announced plans to build an alternative infrastructure for uncensored internet. Meet The Hackerspace Global Grid, a network of communication satellites that serves as the new backbone. Welcome to the future, everyone.
- BERG: Gardens and Zoos
BERG Principal Matt Jones presents a good overview of the thinking behind their current work. A good briefing on AI, UI and a lot of other design-based concepts.
- The Verge: KLM to let airline travelers choose seating partners based on social media profiles
Dutch airline KLM is taking some of the surprise out of air travel with Meet & Seat, a new program that will let passengers pick who they sit next to using social networking tools. This might turn out great or really quite annoying, but we expect to see more programs like this soon.
- Fast Company: This Is Generation Flux: Meet The Pioneers Of The New (And Chaotic) Frontier Of Business
Excellent article about the way the world is changing with increasing speed, and in increasingly chaotic ways: “The next decade or two will be defined more by fluidity than by any new, settled paradigm; if there is a pattern to all this, it is that there is no pattern. The most valuable insight is that we are, in a critical sense, in a time of chaos.”
- Big Spaceship : 2011: What We Learned
In a pretty neat summary of learnings of the last year, the Big Spaceship teams reflects on the day-to-day agency work as well as a litmus test for quality, cutting out distractions, the merits of offline time and saying “I don’t know” more often.