Bookmarked Rise of the machines: has technology evolved beyond our control? by James Bridle (the Guardian)
Technology is starting to behave in intelligent and unpredictable ways that even its creators don’t understand. As machines increasingly shape global events, how can we regain control?
In an extract from James Bridle’s new book New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future, he discusses the evolution of the machine. This includes the place of the cloud, algorithmic interactions within the stock marker, the corruption of the internet of things and incomprehensibility of machine learning. Bridle believes that we need to reimagine how we think about technology:

Our technologies are extensions of ourselves, codified in machines and infrastructures, in frameworks of knowledge and action. Computers are not here to give us all the answers, but to allow us to put new questions, in new ways, to the universe

This is a part of a few posts from Bridle going around at the moment, including a reflection on technology whistleblowers and YouTube’s response to last years exposé. Some of these ideas remind me of some of the concerns raised in Martin Ford’s Rise of the Robots and Cathy O’Neil’s Weapons of Math Destruction.

Watched Lessons from the Screenplay from YouTube
With Lessons from the Screenplay, I make videos that analyse movie scripts to examine exactly how and why they are so good at telling their stories. Part educational series and part love letter to awesome films, Lessons from the Screenplay aims to be a fun way to learn more about your favourite films and help us all become better storytellers.
In this YouTube channel, Michael Tucker breaks down the art of film and scriptwriting. A useful resource for breaking down various techniques associated with storytelling. Australian Centre for the Moving Image and Amazon provides some other useful resources associated with films and storytelling.

via Kevin Hodgson

Liked Why everyone is talking about Childish Gambino's by Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing)

Clearly we're at a stretched-thin moment of tension about race, inequality and gender in America and elsewhere. It's much harder to explain why we like something than why we hate it, and to be honest, I'm at a loss for words. I've been watching this all week, hoping I'd find some way to express what I'm seeing there that keeps me coming back. I never found it. But I just watched it again.

For something different, see this pixelated recreation of the music video.
Listened Hey! Algorithms, leave them kids alone: Chips with Everything podcast by Jordan Erica Webber from the Guardian
Jordan Erica Webber looks into reports that YouTube Kids might create an algorithm-free platform


This is an interesting discussion of YT Kids and the role of algorithms. This is an issue that came to light through James Bridle’s post last year.

I must admit that I still use the YT Kids app sometimes. For example, the other day my daughter wanted to watch a song from Little Mermaid. I used the app and it was interesting what I found:

A response from the YT Kids algorithm

It made me think about how that result may have been produced. I listened to the song. It was fine. It was basically a song inspired by The Little Mermaid. I just wonder why horror was allowed through.

In this presentation, Austin Kleon considers the question of “How to keep going” He answers this with ten points:

  1. Everyday is Groundhog Day
  2. Build a ‘bliss station’
  3. Forget the noun, follow the verb
  4. Make gifts
  5. The ordinary + extra attention = extra-ordinary
  6. Art is FOR life
  7. You’re allow to change your mind
  8. When in doubt, tidy up
  9. Demon’s hate fresh air so take a walk
  10. Spend time on something that will outlast you

I find Kleon one of those writers (and artists) who you can come back to again as a point of reflection.

Image via “Happy Little Trees” by nolnet https://flickr.com/photos/nolnet/5589665399 is licensed under CC BY-NC
Quote via Austin Kleon ‘How to Keep Going’

It was in Oct. 2016, in Berlin, during Michelberger Music. Between each show of the festival, we were kidnapping a person in the audience, which we were taking to a secret room where an artist was waiting. Between the two of them, a unique experience : a One To One concert.

There were seven performances recorded, featuring artists such as Bon Iver:

And Damien Rice:

There is something about the space of these performances that is really captivating. I imagine that watching these performances would be hard.

Bookmarked Opinion | YouTube, the Great Radicalizer by Zeynep Tufekci (nytimes.com)
In effect, YouTube has created a restaurant that serves us increasingly sugary, fatty foods, loading up our plates as soon as we are finished with the last meal. Over time, our tastes adjust, and we seek even more sugary, fatty foods, which the restaurant dutifully provides. When confronted about this by the health department and concerned citizens, the restaurant managers reply that they are merely serving us what we want.
Zeynep Tufekci highlights the problems with YouTube’s algorithm. There is a bias built in to support inflammatory content. In response to the post, Clive Thompson explains it this way:

It’s not that Youtube radicalize politics specifically. It radicalizes everything, and politics just gets swept along in the slurry of zomg.