AI, discovery, and censorship

My news feed put up an interesting pair of articles about applications of AI to what might be called knowledge discovery.

The first was an article by Adrienne Lafrance about the search for another Antikythera mechanism.  The Antikythera mechanism is an astronomical computer made in Hellenistic Greek times and found in a shipwreck off the island of Antikythera in 1901.

Speaker-battery combo for electric bike

Emma Tucker at Dezeen writes about a new feature of the "Angel" electric bicycle by Noordung.  The Angel is a high-end electric bike clearly meant to appeal to an exclusive market, at the exclusive price of €9,760 each.

The alcohol patch

When you hear the term alcohol patch, what do you think of?  An imaginary place more adult than the Cabbage Patch?  Wrong!  A patch that slowly releases alcohol into your bloodstream?  Getting warmer!

As Mike Hanlon describes it in New Atlas, the ONUSblue alcohol patch is a sensor that rests on a person's skin and monitors their blood alcohol level:

Predictive policing and ghetto avoiding

Logan Koepke has written an interesting article at Slate about the nature of predictive policing.  Predictive policing involves the use of computer algorithms to assign police coverage to a given region on the basis of anticipated risk of crime. 

Bringing back US manufacturing work?

One of the promises driving support for Donald Trump in the recent U.S. election was his promise to bring back manufacturing work.  Many Americans have seen their industrial jobs disappear without much prospect of return.  They and Trump blame globalization for moving these jobs overseas.  Thus, changes in trade policy are touted to bring them back.

Digital Dependencies: How we upload and offload ourselves

A panel discussion by three UWaterloo professors is set to take place that would be of interest to readers of this blog.  The speakers and topics are as follows:

Aimée Morrison (English) 

Loneliness and social media: What does it mean, and not mean, to have ‘Friends’ online?

When innovation precedes knowledge

One theme raised in our STV 202 class is that acquisition of information may precede practical knowledge of what to do with that information.  This issue is especially noticeable in health, where it has become very easy to track people's vital statistics but not so easy to know how to use the results to benefit them.

Think of any commercial fitness tracker you can name.

Should people be made to do without their smartphones sometimes?

An interesting article by Alice Hopton on CBC news discusses when people might be required to do without their smartphones.

The article describes Yondr, a small pouch in which smartphones may be locked during concerts, classes, and other social gatherings.  Yondr's inventor, Graham Dugoni, argues that some people's habit of recording concerts, rather than just experiencing them unfiltered, undermines the point of such events, which is:

Does fake news swing elections?

As Scott recently point out, the recent U.S. election has been characterized by a deluge of fake news.  A concern about this phenomenon is that it distracts from the real news and entrenches readers in their prejudices through confirmation bias

Do bots win elections?

As we contemplate the fallout of the election of Donald Trump as U.S. President, it is interesting to consider the rising influence of social media in modern politics. 

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