In a world awash in information, the curator is king



A sci-fi novelist on what he learned writing a trilogy of speculative novels that extrapolate how feeds shape our lives, politics, and future

Feeds shape our world. Google uses hundreds of variables to determine the search results you see. A complex statistical engine produces your personalized Netflix queue. Facebook uses everything it knows about you and your friends to build your timeline. Your credit score is compiled from third-party data brokers. Taylor Swift uses facial recognition software to identify stalkers at concerts. Even these Herculean efforts are dwarfed in scale by the Chinese social credit system that will integrate data from many disparate public and private sources.

Feeds are inevitable to the extent that they are useful. Every minute of every day, 156 million emails are sent, 400 hours of video are uploaded to Youtube, and there are 600 new page edits to Wikipedia. There is so much more information than we can possibly digest, and feeds are the imperfect filters that we use to try to distill what we want from all that’s out there. But their imperfections generate horrendous side effects, like unjust parole decisions made on the basis of racially biased data. And even more fundamentally, the sheer scale of feeds, and their incomprehensibility to most users, give their masters enormous hidden power.

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Separating the hype from reality surrounding artificial intelligence

AI hype-reality 1

With all the attention Artificial Intelligence (AI) attracts these days, a backlash is inevitable – and could even be constructive. Any technology advancing at a fast pace and with such breathless enthusiasm could use a reality check. But for a corrective to be useful, it must be fair and accurate.

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In the future artificial intelligence will write bestseller fiction

robot author

Robots will write stories that read as if they were written by a human.

Kris Hammond is chief scientist and co-founder of Narrative Science, a company with an artificial intelligence product called Quill that can turn data into stories that read as if they were written by a human.



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2010 Bulwer-Lytton Bad Fiction Contest Winners

Bad Fiction Comes In All Colors
San Jose State University’s Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest is for the worst possible opening line for a novel. Entrants don’t have to actually write the novel — just the first line. Here’s this year’s winning sentence by Molly Ringle of Seattle:

For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss–a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil.

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College Campus Divided Over Bible For Porn Campaign


It’s part of a campaign called ‘Smut for Smut’ sponsored by the student group, ‘Atheist Agenda.’ “We are comparing their religious text to pornography..” says group member Carlos Morales.

Collecting more than just the bible, this group accepts anything containing religious text. In return, students ages 18 or older receive pornography.

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Make One / Get One – Audiobook Science Fiction Challenge

SFFaudio has just announced their 4th Annual Make an Audiobook, Get an Audiobook Challenge. They have twenty Science Fiction and Fantasy titles of public domain and Creative Commons novels that they’d like to see freely available as audiobooks on the internet. They’re looking for participants to commit to recording and editing the sound files and then making them available online. At that point they will get to choose a free audiobook for a prize. But the real prize is the satisfaction of creating a creative work that can be shared with all. Previous SFFaudio Challenges have generated some great audiobooks of classic and obscure titles that would otherwise be unavailable in audio.

Teen Sexual Behaviors Influenced By Adult TV Watched In Childhood

Earlier Sexual Activity Among Teens Related To Adult Content TV Watched During Childhood 

Children who watch adult content tv may become sexually active earlier in life

Early onset of sexual activity among teens may relate to the amount of adult content children were exposed to during their childhood, according to a new study released by Children’s Hospital Boston. Based on a longitudinal study tracking children from age six to eighteen, researchers found that the younger children are exposed to content intended for adults in television and movies, the earlier they become sexually active during adolescence. The findings are being presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies meetings on Monday, May 4 in Baltimore.

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