I'm done with my guest posting this weekend, and very happy for the opportunity to engage with everyone from this side of the blog. I'm still a concerned that too many people here have gotten the wrong idea about what I'm hoping to accomplish with my new book
. Something about being told to "Program or Be Programmed" has come off as alarmist or negative, which is not my intent.
I do think most people in a digital age would be better off with some knowledge of programming, or at least some awareness that it exists: that there are many ways of doing things, and that the systems we use have been created by people and institutions with their own agendas. Money and banking are great examples of systems that look like they're just here, but were actually carefully devised long ago to serve the agendas of people other than most of us. (There used to be many other forms of money that lived alongside central currency - just as we might someday be able to say there were other kinds of operating systems that lived right alongside Google's iPad.)
So as a parting and aggregating effort to make the positive and ultimately Boingish point about the possibilities for mutation offered by a digital technology to the kind of smart and open society BoingBoing explicitly supports, here's a link to another excerpt from the book, posted over at Reality Sandwich
It has been a pleasure and challenge to write for and engage with you. Thanks. And special thanks to Mark for hosting me, David, and Xeni for fixing my posts, and Cory for fixing my brain. As always,
Our screens are the windows through which we are experiencing, organizing, and interpreting the world in which we live. They are also the interfaces through which we express who we are and what we believe to everyone else. They are fast becoming the boundaries of our perceptual and conceptual apparatus; the edge between our nervous systems and everyone else's, our understanding of the world and the world itself. And they have been created entirely by us.
But -- just as we do with religion, law, and almost every other human invention -- we tend to relate to digital technology as a pre-existing condition of the universe. We think of our technologies in terms of the applications they offer right out of the box instead of how we might change them or even write new ones. We are content to learn what our computers already do instead of what we can make them do.
More at Reality Sandwich
The Nightmare Machine is an MIT project to use machine learning image-processing to make imagery for Hallowe’en.
The Stormtrooper Decanter is on back-order, but you can pre-order one from the next batch for £22 — it’s based on Andrew Ainsworth’s original movie helmet moulds from 1976, and will provide endless opportunities to point to lowball glasses and say things like “aren’t you a little short for a Stormtrooper drink?” (via Bonnie Burton)
Yahoo has released a machine-learning model called open_nsfw that is designed to distinguish not-safe-for-work images from worksafe ones. By tweaking the model and combining it with places-CNN, MIT’s scene-recognition model, Gabriel Goh created a bunch of machine-generated scenes that score high for both models — things that aren’t porn, but look porny.
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