ISSUE 2.20

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The Virtual

Virtual Instagram celebrities, procedural generation, neural network painting, living (virtual?) life well, and more.

Hello! Happy day! Have a music that is very nice and lovely and chill: Frameworks - Breathing Light. Now, on to the articles.


The fascinating world of Instagram's "virtual celebrities"

Celebrities, as in, 3D models, are blowing up on Instagram as people debate whether or not they're real. They have impact, they have avatars, they appear to be perfection incarnate, and they make corporations rich. Gods aren't dead--they just moved to Instagram. I for one am interested to see more of this, and more of what can be done with this.


SIGGRAPH 2018: DeepMimic paper (main video)

This is pretty fascinating look at some animation techniques for animating 3d models with reference animations (which basically tell it what to do), at which point the ... machine learning.. something... makes it just go do it. Of course, wacky unintended failures and mistakes are included.

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Procedural map/level generation twitter thread

I love procedural generation. I love it so much, when I'm old and unable to do much physical stuff, I'll probably spend the rest of my life whittling away at supremely abstract and obscure procedural generation algorithms for video games. This is a Twitter thread about tons of different types of procedural generation for maps and levels of all kinds, which I find personally endlessly fascinating. Procedurally generate a city? Forever? Shyeah. Let's. (Also, let's build genetic algorithms that procedurally generate the procedural generation. It's procedural generation all the way down.)


The Key to Act Two

Venkatesh Rao talks about the trick to becoming a key that finds a lock--as in, becoming a person interested enough, skilled enough, and wounded enough to have a reasonable chance of fitting into a certain lifepath that you find sustaining. As opposed to missing most of everything, spiraling out of control, and spending all your seniority being miserable about the opportunities you missed because you were chasing the wrong things (or nothing).


MIT’s New Voiceless Interface Can Read the Words in Your Head

This thingy can basically read your subvocalizations (the minute movements that your facial/throat muscles make when you're reading or thinking words) and then translate them into commands for the world around you. Technology-delivered telepathy, here we come (even more)!



And, lo--here's just some classic neural network, painting, hey-take-this-thing-and-make-it-look-like-this-thing but the cool thing here is that you can superimpose an object into an existing artwork or image and then the algorithm will "neurify" (my word, trademarked, do not steal) the object into the image.