Take control of your voice assistant, with Project Alias

Take control of your voice assistant, with Project Alias Bjørn Karmann
From artist Bjørn Karmann, Alias is perhaps the first decent attempt to permanently intercept the way in which voice assistants, such as Alexa/Echo and the Google Assistants, work. As we all know, such devices are handy to have around the home but are a trade off for user privacy. These devices are essentially passive snoopers: recording machi...
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Technology is going to weaponise identity politics

Technology is going to weaponise identity politics
P olitics is increasingly dominated by the 'struggle for recognition' – different social groups (genders, ethnic and religious groups, rural and urban dwellers) clamouring to be treated with respect and dignity in the eyes of others. Many feel forgotten, and they're increasingly angry about it. But identity politics is not going to peak with the el...
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Images right now: new exhibition explores the interrelationship between visual culture and the Internet

Images right now: new exhibition explores the interrelationship between visual culture and the Internet "Five Years of Captured Captchas", Sebastian Schmeig and Sylvio Lorusso
From the Photographer's Gallery: This exhibition presents the work of 11 contemporary artists and groups seeking to map, visualise and question the cultural dynamics of 21st Century image culture. Importantly, it investigates the systems through which today's photographic images multiply online and asks what new forms of value, knowledge, meaning a...
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Exhibition on the history of LGBT gaming opens in Berlin

Exhibition on the history of LGBT gaming opens in Berlin
In a unique collaboration between the LGBTQ game archive, Berlin's computer games museum, Temple University and the Schwules Museum, the Schwules is now running an exhibition on the history of LGBTQ games and gaming. Over 30 years of gaming history is covered, spanning online communities, concepts, games themselves and even mods from fans. As ...
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Reconciling deep learning with symbolic artificial intelligence

Reconciling deep learning with symbolic artificial intelligence
In the history of the quest for human-level artificial intelligence, a number of rival paradigms have vied for supremacy. Symbolic artificial intelligence was dominant for much of the 20th century, but currently a connectionist paradigm is in the ascendant, namely machine learning with deep neural networks. However, both paradigms have strengths an...
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Web Curios 11/01/19

Web Curios 11/01/19 Rich Leigh
AND SO IT COMMENCES ANEW! The days and the nights and the work and the fear and the grind and the... NO! No more! ENOUGH! You don't need this! It's hard enough for you, isn't it, with the glow of the holidays naught but a distant memory and the unwelcome return to wageslavery, without me wanging on about how dreadful everything is.  Consider t...
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How a phone glitch sparked a teenage riot

How a phone glitch sparked a teenage riot Aftonbladet
On  a Friday night in September 1982, teenagers poured out of the Fridhemsplan metro station. First just a few dozen, then hundreds, and soon more than a thousand of them filled the station's hall, the sidewalk, and the road outside. Eventually, they walked three blocks south to Rålambshovsparken, entering the grassy Stockholm park via a concr...
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Ars Electronica launches European AI lab and call for residency

Ars Electronica launches European AI lab and call for residency Ars Electronica
Ars Electronica has partnered with twelve other art and culture organisations across the globe to create the European ARTificial Intelligence Lab. The thirteen organisations will offer artists the opportunity to develop and realise ideas which combine neuroscience, AI, and digital art. A jury comprised of members from each organisation will ev...
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Decentralised effects: how blockchain offers new possibilities in society

Decentralised effects: how blockchain offers new possibilities in society
Ignota is a new publishing house from Verso‘s communications director Sarah Shin, and the Serpentine‘s Ben Vickers. Themes covered by Ignota will include - and we quote - esoterica, thoughtforms, poetry, witchcraft, advanced technology, astrology, altered states, mysticism, gnosticism, ritual, speculation, psychedelics, metaphysics, yoga, the ...
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“No-one is at the controls“: how Facebook, Amazon, and others are turning life into a horrific Bradbury novel

“No-one is at the controls“: how Facebook, Amazon, and others are turning life into a horrific Bradbury novel
Back in the early 1970s, America was on the precipice of a new and unprecedented technological epoch. A small, square piece of plastic called the floppy disc was about to hit the market. Intel was perfecting the first microprocessors. Engineers were developing a prototype of a cell phone, the DynaTAC. Notably, a once fantastical subdivision of comp...
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A vision of the dark future of advertising

A vision of the dark future of advertising
It's obvious that in 50 years the amount of data collected about us will be much, much larger than it is now. By the middle of the century, all of us will leave a comprehensive, high-definition, information-rich digital exhaust everywhere we go. As the cost of adding computer chips to objects falls, our baby monitors, coffee machines, Fitbits, ener...
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Tech giants need to take more responsibility for the advertising that makes them billions

Tech giants need to take more responsibility for the advertising that makes them billions
Last week I was followed around the Internet by a pair of shoes. I had looked at them online as a gift for my father-in-law, but he didn't like them, and neither did I. Yet no matter what site I visited, there they were, staring at me in their full moccasin glory. Digital advertising can be really annoying, but it can also be dangerous. It has rece...
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Facebook tracks you, even if you don't have a Facebook account

Facebook tracks you, even if you don't have a Facebook account Frederike Kaltheuner, Christopher Weatherhead
At the 35th Chaos Computer Club conference (35C3) in Berlin , Frederike Kaltheuner and Christopher Weatherhead of Privacy International demonstrated that by offering integration into Facebook, 61% of Android apps share data with FB - whether you like it or not. Through FB's Business Tools  offering of APIs and analytics services, dev...
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I used to write for "Sports Illustrated". Now I deliver packages for Amazon

I used to write for "Sports Illustrated". Now I deliver packages for Amazon Prakash Maru
Holiday parties were right around the corner, and I needed a cover story. I didn't feel like admitting to casual acquaintances, or even to some good friends, that I drive a van for Amazon. I decided to tell them, if asked, that I consult for Amazon, which is loosely true: I spend my days consulting a Rabbit, the handheld Android device loaded with ...
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How much of the Internet is fake? Turns out, a lot of it, actually

How much of the Internet is fake? Turns out, a lot of it, actually
In late November, the Justice Department unsealed indictments against eight people accused of fleecing advertisers of $36 million in two of the largest digital ad-fraud operations ever uncovered. Digital advertisers tend to want two things: people to look at their ads and "premium" websites — i.e., established and legitimate publications — on which...
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James Bridle: How can we break the Brexit deadlock? Ask ancient Athens

James Bridle: How can we break the Brexit deadlock? Ask ancient Athens
In the central marketplace of ancient Athens, around 350BC, there stood a machine called the kleroterion. This was a six-foot-high slab of stone that had a series of slots on the front, and a long tube bored down from the top to the base. Those up for selection for the various offices of state would insert metal ID tags, called pinakia, into the sl...
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Ray Kurzweil's predictions for 2019: how accurate will they be?

Ray Kurzweil's predictions for 2019: how accurate will they be? JD Lasica, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/jdlasica/271056457
In 1999’s The Age of Spiritual Machines, Ray Kurzweil predicted technological achievements which would be commonly available within first-world societies every ten years. Kurzweil’s predictions go up to 2099, so as it’s coming up to a year with a 9 at the end, now is time to revisit his predictions for 2019, and to see where we are with them a...
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Machine politics: The rise of the internet and a new age of authoritarianism

Machine politics: The rise of the internet and a new age of authoritarianism
"The Goliath of totalitarianism will be brought down by the David of the microchip," Ronald Reagan said in 1989. He was speaking to a thousand British notables in London's historic Guildhall, several months before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Reagan proclaimed that the world was on the precipice of "a new era in human history," one that would bring...
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The end of the ad-supported web

The end of the ad-supported web Aus, CC licence https://www.flickr.com/photos/auz/4511786504
For the last 20 years, every consumer-oriented application, service or content platform used "ads" as its default business model. Like always, the road to hell has been paved with good intentions: we assumed that the mostly innocuous billboards could be transposed to the web… but these banner ads quickly became endless trojan horses into our privac...
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What AIs teach us about organisational culture

What AIs teach us about organisational culture
One of the fascinating features of artificial intelligence is how much it tells us about ourselves, but it is the way we train AIs in rules-based systems that can teach us the most about organisational culture. Victoria Krakovna, a research scientist at DeepMind has put together a master list of AI "specification gaming" examples — AI training expe...
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