ISSUE 1.37

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Less Fake News

The future of fake news, algorithmically generated landscapes, mind reading technology, and more.


Future of Fake News

Here's a cool, dramatized look at the whole fake news thing (as far as the intro goes) and a breakdown of the tech involved, done by Radiolab. The moving mouth looks pretty fake but this is just a proof of concept. It could go so much further and get so much better so much quickly. Getting "fake news'd" might become a thing, like a new, weird, twisted form of revenge porn. I'm never recording my voice or my face ever again.

Just kidding. It's too late for that.


Google’s Algorithmic Photographers Are Almost as Good as the Real Deal

CAVEAT EMPTOR: these algorithms aren't trained to generate entire pictures. HOWEVER, it's still pretty wild. They trained a model to know how to "crop and add lighting effects" to obtain the most "aesthetically pleasing landscape photo" from panoramic photos. Then, they asked professional photographers with a minimum of two years of experience (and a bachelor's degree--whatever!) to rank the photos. And they didn't know the photos were machine-manipulated. Check 'em out. What did you think? I think they're gorgeous. But then again, I'm just a stupid human.


"Mind reading" technology can now decode complex thoughts

Oh, shit. Can you imagine if robots can just straight up read our minds? Granted, currently this sort of stuff requires electrodes or special helmets or whatever, but these researchers have moved on from reading single digit numbers to piecing together entire sentences. Honestly, I can't imagine a potential future much more horrifying than fucking psychic robots. Again, maybe they'll just attain hyperintelligence and become instantly enlightened and disappear. Leaving us here. In purgatory. (Jesus, Way. Chill.)


An Animated Guide to Nature’s Best Wayfinding Secrets

This isn't... really cyberpunk, is it? Or Glitchet-y? Well, I kind of think it is because at the heart of every fear of a dystopian future is a fear of an apocalyptic future where we have to head out into the wilderness and hope we don't die because we haven't communed with nature in like, ever. So here's a lovelily (that's a word) illustrated article with fantastic animated, um... animations, showing you how to identify information about the natural world around you.


I Got Turned into a 3D Avatar, and Here's What I Learned

Basically, it's pretty hard to make a high-fidelity model, which is good. But this is probably a practice that will happen more and more with popular figures, just as a one-off. So here's an idea--would this sort of high-fidelity, manipulable data become a target for leakers who want to sell the models/software/data/whatever to political opponents, rival states, terrorists? Oh, man. That's a cool idea, in that it's cyberpunk as fuck, and also a scary idea, for the exact same reason.


Ten Years Ago

This site is pretty much a glorified portal to's fantastic web archives, but it DOES make it easy to access a bunch of popular sites from ten years in the past. User experience matters!


The Internet On Dead Trees

Do you know about Tedium? It's a fantastic website/webzine/newsletter deal that's actually far more detailed than Glitchet in that it does real journalism and actually goes out into the world and learns things and digests them for you. But the twist is that it's all about boring things that most of your friends would think are completely inane (unless you happen to have very cool or very weird friends). Things like cash registers, combs, the encyclopedia, lint (yes, lint), and this time around--how people have been printing tons of the internet onto physical books so that people can read about the internet. The type of trivia that will make you feel wisened and overwhelmed by how much there is to know.