ISSUE 1.49

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Uncanny Valley Jumping

Lovebots, a robot being granted citizenship, crossing the uncanny valley, neopets, and more.

Hi there! Have a track for this newsletter: Baths - Ocean Death. It sounds simple at first but becomes unexpectedly intense, powerful, and verved with emotion. Great for contemplating the increasingly human-like expression of robots. I can't wait until androids are making electronic music.


Love in the Time of Robots

"Hiroshi Ishi­guro builds androids. Beautiful, realistic, uncannily convincing human replicas. Academically, he is using them to understand the mechanics of person-to-person interaction. But his true quest is to untangle the ineffable nature of connection itself." A great long read on a man's dedication to reverse-engineering humanity, in order to reproduce it. 'Cause if you can't be fooled into thinking a thing is human, you can't trust it. (I mean, there are some implications here on the respect we have for non-human things here too, aren't there?)


A robot that once said it would 'destroy humans' just became the first robot citizen

Mostly a publicity stunt with what must be a set of fairly canned responses, but it's pretty wild symbolic showing, hopefully one that will keep the robots from completely destroying us when they take over.

OK, OK, again, I keep going back and forth on this AI singularity thing. I can't tell if we're going to die horrible deaths because the robots will attain superhuman consciousness and intellect and then paperclip us, or if it's just going to be something lame and boringly apocalyptic like climate change. How tedious would that be?


Blade Runner 2049: Richard Clegg

This is definitely a more technical article/interview on the work done to render Rachael in Blade Runner 2049, which is interesting because of the complete and totally incredible jumping of the uncanny valley. I haven't seen the new Blade Runner yet, but just from the stills this looks completely convincing. Wild! Granted, it sounds like it's still a ton of work to pull off in such high-fidelity. Good. (But for how looong? :ghost:)


'Neopets': Inside Look at Early 2000s Internet Girl Culture

I wasn't particularly aware that Neopets was an important part of "girl culture" until this article, but it makes sense: Neopets was an incredibly open world that allowed for a tremendous amount of personal expression and customization. Heck, the Neopets store pages even let you use custom HTML--that was my first introduction to web development, at a tender age. Not just that, but I actually met my best friend on Neopets on the roleplaying forum when we were 10 years old, and we're still friends to this day. So, thanks, Neopets!


The People Who Think Outside Is an Immersive Video Game

I love /r/outside. The idea of dressing up the entire world as a game is... well, perhaps a little infantile (to those of us without *any joy whatsoever*), but a surprisingly interesting mental model for assessing reality and having some fun while you do it. Besides being a source of incredibly clever jokes, it's also a great way to set goals, rationalize the unfairness of reality, interface with questions of metaphysics, and take "the grind" a little bit more lightly.


Amazon Key is a new service that lets couriers unlock your front door

Cue lots of Twitter jokes about Amazon Murder, Amazon dressing you in the pajamas you ordered in your sleep, etc. This is a pretty alarming (but obvious and logical) next step for corporations to get ever closer and closer until they're implanted into your brains and product placement is beamed into your brains and you have to pay microtransactions to not think in ad slogans constantly and