Things of note for the week ending Friday July 15th, 2016.
It’s 00:24 on a Friday night / Saturday morning and I’m just sitting down to write this week’s FToF. It’s been a long week. Two days leave at the start, a day in the office in the middle, then a two day client workshop. Basically: attempting to fit five days’ work in one day. You know how it is. I’m taking a break from my inbox to write this to you, now.
To that end, this week’s edition will be swift (I think – I haven’t written it yet) and full of random interesting bits for you to go off and read at your leisure. If you want to do something for me this week, then by all means RT this Tweet so others may find this newsletter.
Finally, before we crack on, the word ‘Pokémon’ appears only once in this publication – and that was it. I think you’ve read your fair share of hot-takes this week and I’m not about to add to them.
1. THIS WEEK IN CHATBOTS
I’ve been building chatbots lately. I’ve built one for the office (still in beta – but early tests are good) and I’m in the middle of building one for my department. In short: they’re great. I’ll tell you more about them hopefully in a couple of weeks (when we start talking publicly* about them) but in the meantime, go and look up some chatbot-building services.
They’re really, really interesting.
In the interim, here are a couple of chatbot-related pieces that I’ve read this week.
First is ‘The Humans Hiding Behind the Bots‘ –
Amy Ingram, the artificial intelligence personal assistant from startup X.ai, sounds remarkably like a real person. The company designed her to take on the mundane tasks of scheduling meetings and e-mailing about appointments. If a bot had access to your calendar and was cc-ed on correspondence, why couldn’t it do the work for you? After she made her debut in 2014, users praised her “humanlike tone” and “eloquent manners.” “Actually better than a human for this task,” a beta tester tweeted. But what most people don’t realize about this artificial intelligence is that it isn’t totally artificial: Behind almost every e-mail is an actual human—someone like 24-year-old Willie Calvin.
Awww yeah. that’s right. Some of those bots out there, they’re human.
Second up is ‘K I get Uber‘ – I’m pretty sure someone sent this to me and I’ve forgotten who (sorry) but this is less human-as-bot more human-wowed-by-bot. If you’re unclear of how bots will / can / are already changing the world we live in, read this piece from MG Siegler.
*when we do, I’ll publish the drafted post I have called something like ‘X things I’ve learnt while building my first chatbot’ -it’s a hoot!
2. SOUTHERN RAIL TYCOON
Called ‘Southern Rail Tycoon’, this browser-based game (mobile-optimised – while you wait for your train to arrive) allows you to play the role of Southern Rail and your objective is to CANCEL ALL TRAINS.
Amazing. So cynical. So perfect.
3. SNAPCHAT AND THE ART OF UPSTREAMING
A good thought piece on why (and how) Snapchat is becoming the default camera for many phone-owners.
I know a smart woman named Kate. Kate made a tumblr. It is amazing. Go look.
What’s it about? Clue’s in the name.
5. HOW GHOSTBUSTERS BECAME GHOSTBUSTERS
I’ve not seen the new film yet (and I might – early reports are good) but this 9min look at How [the original] Ghostbusters Became Ghostbusters uses the screenplay as the central analysis and builds out exactly how it became the film that we all know and love. Specifically looking at the PREMISE as the DESIGNING PRINCIPLE.
Bonuses this week are as follows:
- Norse isn’t new but I’ve been looking into it this week. It’s a live map of all the cyber attacks going on in the world right now. Go. Watch.
- Overnight Success.
- This Mother Jones piece ‘My four months as a Prison Guard‘ is a HUGE read and incredible. Read it.
- I went viral again this week. Not for being witty (this time). Simply for just sharing something. The interesting part is that the super-sharing numbers went nuts on both Twitter and Facebook (as opposed to just the former). Things take a turn for the weird when, and this is new for me, because my post went nuts on FB (2000+ shares) I had about 50+ friend requests from complete strangers. This is very, very strange. But apparently standard for this kind of situation. Who knew?
- This Law Professor’s response to a BLM ‘complaint’ is timely and relevant. Read it.
It’s 01:24 and I’m signing off.
PS. If you get this via email, hit reply and tell me something exciting.