Archive for the ‘Media’ Category

#1,569 – DeepCom

A few months ago I wrote about my desire to have Artificial Intelligence share, like, and comment on social media postings.  My rationale was simple.  Since we’re all busy being content creators – blogging, tweeting, creating YouTube and TikTok videos, snapchatting, posting pictures on Instagram, etc. there’s no one left to consume all that content.  Legitimately great work goes unnoticed; lost in a sea of information that overwhelms us during a daily deluge of data.

Artificial Intelligence could help with that.  Get the ball rolling so that posts have a better chance of going viral.  Or at the very least make it so that content creators never have to feel down that nobody likes their work.  As far as they are concerned everything they’ve done would have been noticed.  No way to tell the difference if humans or AI were the ones who were liking, sharing, and commenting on it.

Considering that we all crave likes and attention, rewards that create a self-sustaining positive feedback loop that make us want to post even more content, creating a way to ensure that we always enter into that  loop seems like a good idea.  Especially, when you consider that most algorithms, product reviews on Amazon, say, or Google search results, rely on activity to determine how prestigious and how trustworthy something is.  The more page views, the more articles that link back to it, the more activity that something has, the higher it ranks.  If that’s how the game is played then maybe we should game the system.  Artificially enhance our profile to meet those thresholds, to make it so that everyone gets noticed.

Well, as it turns out my wish came true as there is now an algorithm known as DeepCom that is capable of generating realistic sounding comments on articles as a way of kickstarting conversations.

According to Futurism, “Compared to other comment-generating algorithms that focus just on a news article’s keywords or headline, DeepCom’s output was far more realistic.

The research paper provides a case study where DeepCom commented “the rockets are going to have a lot of fun in this series” on a news article about the Houston Rockets, for instance — while the other algorithms spewed out nonsense that would have immediately been flagged as spam.”

Some people are critical of this idea saying that it just generates even more noise on the Internet, making the problem that it is trying to solve even worse.  But I think the idea has merit for all of the reasons that I listed earlier.  For being overwhelmed by comments isn’t the problem.  It’s being underwhelmed by your feedback that is.

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Is DeepCom the Greatest Idea Ever?

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Not all libraries contain literary works.  Some contain works of art.  Or at least the Brooklyn Art Library does.  For here resides a place where artists’ sketchbooks gather from all over the world as a means of documenting the human experience and providing inspiration to all who are lucky enough to gaze upon its collection.

According to Atlas Obscura:

“The Brooklyn Art Library houses the Sketchbook Project: a collaborative library of artists’ sketchbooks that’s grown every year since 2006. The Library opened in its current location in 2010 and soon featured more than 10,000 books from 104 countries on six continents.

Today the library is home to almost 34,000 separate sketchbooks, from some 70,000 contributors in over 135 countries. And the project is not only open for people to contribute to, but also for people to browse.  For consideration in the project, prospective contributors can visit the library or the project’s website and sign up to receive a blank sketchbook.

When they are added to the library, each sketchbook is given a unique barcode and can be identified by artist, region, or even material. Visitors can come to the library and find amazingly unique, often improvised works from artists around the globe.”

But that’s not all.  Each participating sketchbook can also be digitized for an added fee, ensuring that it can live on forever in ephemeral or digital form.  The sketchbooks will also become something of a nomad, traveling around the globe while appearing in a minimum of at least three different cities at various popup exhibits, so that everyone, not just those who live in or visit Brooklyn, can enjoy their greatness.  In fact, artists even get notified every time someone checks out their sketchbook, which as they say, is a hell of a lot more rewarding than just receiving a lonely like on a social media platform.

Personally, I think this is the one of the greatest ideas of all-time.  Especially given the fact that anyone, even little old me, can contribute to it.  There’s no criteria for submitting.  No jury that you have to impress for inclusion.  The suggested themes don’t even have to be adhered to.  When it comes to sketching the only limits are those imposed by your own imagination.

As someone who has filled up dozens of notebooks with ideas it’s comforting to know that there’s a place where all of my random rants, ruminations, and ramblings along with all my doodles and drawings can be captured and appreciated by others.  My biggest fear of having all of my knowledge lost before I had to chance to share it is now a non-factor.  Soon the latest iteration of my vaunted Book of Ideas can join this impressive artistic collection where it can be immortalized, available for anyone to stumble upon or seek out for decades to come.  In this way, the Sketchbook Project is like an Artistic Internet, a platform for underappreciated artists to get discovered and for regional techniques to find a wider audience.  A free-flowing exchange of ideas and information.  But more than providing a roadmap for where we’re going it’s also a way for us to see where we’ve been.  A record of all the artistic renderings, sketches, markings, and meanderings of all those who came before us.  A constantly shifting guide for all those who have yet to put pen to paper or brush to canvas, who have yet to make their mark.

I only wish that this project had always existed, stretching back for thousands of years.  How great would it be if you could check out some of Leonardo Da Vinci’s codices, Shakespeare’s notes, or Jules Verne’s rough drafts.  Or if the collection included patent drawings or movie storyboards for some of our most famous inventions or greatest movies.  A definitive history of creativity, if such a place existed, would be a national treasure.  More valuable than all the gold locked away in Fort Knox.  Sadly, such a place can’t exist.  But the next best thing can. A definitive guide to artistry since 2006.  In a way, what this project is doing then, without even realizing it, is creating a time capsule of sorts.  A way for us to save the inner workings of the human mind for posterity, for future anthropologists to study hundreds of years from now as they wonder what life was like for the people of the 21st century.  What they’ll find, I’m sure, are lives filled with meaning.  Lives worth living.

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Is the Sketchbook Project the Greatest Idea Ever?


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Swipe left to reject someone.  Right to match with them.  Anyone who has tried online dating is familiar with this concept regardless of their preferred app.  And yet swiping hasn’t really caught on anywhere else.  Social media apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram involve scrolling, not swiping.  Attention grabbing activity for sure.  But not nearly as addictive or fun as swiping.  Which is why dating apps gravitated towards swiping in the first place.  So, if swiping is really all that then let’s expand what we use it for.  Let’s swipe on everything.  All at the same time.

What I’m imagining then is one app to rule them all.  The one and only app that we would ever need.  A place where people could swipe for dates or jobs or to find things to do or buy.  A one stop shop for everything.  That’s because mixed in with all of your dates would be advertisements, pitches from people seeking help, coupons from local restaurants, offers to buy various products and items.  It would be a cross between Bumble, Craigslist, TaskRabbit, Facebook Marketplace, and Groupon.  Everything you need or would ever want.  All in one place.

It doesn’t have to stop at connections or offers either.  News and information could be spread through this app as well as swiping right on an article could save it to your e-reader so that you can read it later.  New songs and movie trailers could be pitched to you as well with swiping indicating whether or not you would be interested in checking them out.  The app providing invaluable immediate feedback to content creators.  A global focus group of sorts.  New emails could even get initially fed into this app allowing us to swipe left on spam mail helping to inch us closer towards inbox zero before we even open our mailboxes.

This would all happen all within the same interface.  Unlike Bumble you wouldn’t need to toggle to different modes.  Everything would be mixed together.  However, it wouldn’t be a total free for all.  Everyone’s experience would be completely different with their personal preferences and chosen topics of interests providing their unique content mix.  And yes if you are married you can completely opt out of the dating portion of the app.  No other content can be removed.  Even if you aren’t looking for a new job you’ll still receive tempting offers because, hey, you never know.

All in all, having everything you would ever need from news and advertisements to socialization and entertainment all in one place would be a real game changer, cutting down on the number of apps we would need while increasing the opportunities presented to us.

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Is Swiper the Greatest Idea Ever?

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You can’t spend a whole week talking about space and not mention Sci-fi.  The two go hand in hand as generations of NASA scientists grow up watching Star Wars, Star Trek and a host of other fare that gets them excited about going where no man has gone before and exploring galaxies that are far, far away.  Discovering non-mainstream Sci-Fi that appeals to you, that appeals to a particular niche interest that you may have, isn’t always easy though.  Thankfully, there’s a new book recommendation engine that can help with that: the Science Fiction Concept Corpus.

As Wired explains, “AI Researcher Bethanie Maples has been reading science fiction since she was given a copy of Dune at 10 years old. Still, two decades and nearly 1,000 books later, the self-described sci-fi fanatic struggles to find books that delve into her most niche interests, like the link between AI and transhumanism. So last year, while working at Stanford’s Human Computer Interaction lab, she teamed up with data scientists Eric Berlow and Srini Kadamati to create a book recommendation tool based on more than 100 salient sci-fi themes, from hyperspace to magical feminism.”

Compiled from plot descriptions, book reviews, and user generated meta data tags the Corpus is capable of scanning a collection of over 2,600 hundred books written since 1900 to make relevant recommendations. But I can do you one better with a recommendation of my own: check out James Corey’s Hugo award winning Expanse series of novels and then check out the show, one of the greatest of all-time, on Amazon Prime!

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Is the Science Fiction Concept Corpus the Greatest Idea Ever?

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I just put the finishing touches on a book about the history of innovation that clocks in at a whopping 432 pages!  That’s a lot but it pales in comparison to the 30 million page book that an Israeli startup is sending to the moon!  Known as the Lunar Library the book will serve as humanity’s knowledge backup just in case anything happens to the inhabitants of Earth.

As Futurism puts it, “Right now, a backup copy of humanity’s collective knowledge is on its way to the surface of the Moon.

The lander was built by the Israeli startup SpaceIL. It’s carrying a high-tech disc containing 25,000 books, a full copy of Wikipedia, and information on understanding Earthly languages — the equivalent, all told, of a 30 million-page tome.”

Amazingly, this isn’t the only such archive in the works.

According to CNET, “The AMF [Arch Mission Foundation] also placed a small test archive on Elon Musk’s red Tesla Roadster that was launched in the direction of Mars aboard the first Falcon Heavy demonstration mission last year. That archive consisted of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation Trilogy encoded in a disc made of quartz silica glass made to last millions of years as the Roadster orbits the sun. The AMF has also placed a solid-state copy of Wikipedia on board a cube sat from SpaceChain in low-Earth orbit.”

Eventually, the goal is to spread out this information in even more places throughout the solar system and across the cosmos ensuring that humanity will always be covered no matter where we go or what winds up happening to us.

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Is a Lunar Library the Greatest Idea Ever?


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#1,476 – Ideaism

“In many ways we have reached the fulcrum of the future. A critical point in time where our collective actions will determine whether we continue to progress forward or suddenly move backwards.

To reach our full potential we need new ways of thinking that make sense of the complexity of modern day life and improve our technological literacy. A fresh new approach that can guide us towards a better tomorrow.

In short, what we need, now more than ever, is Ideaism. A social movement built around the idea that ingenuity, innovation, and inventiveness are the keys to making the world a better place. The keys to driving the engine of change forward. The keys to ensuring that progress continues and that we soar to new heights as a species.”

That’s the synopsis from Ideaism, the book that I wrote about the history of innovation.  Part autobiography/part analysis of where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re headed Ideaism takes a look at how we can use innovation to make the world a better place.

Obviously, I’m biased but I think that this book is amazing and deserving of a wide audience.  The Innovation Index highlighting nearly 200 of today’s top trending ideas is worth the price all on its own.

I would be honored if you would check it out and provide feedback or share the following link out with anyone in your networks that you think would be interested.


After all, I can’t do it all on my own.  But together we can save the world.  One idea at a time.

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Is Ideaism the Greatest Book Ever Written?





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#1,445 – Bionic Journalism

The newspaper industry has already been gutted by technological advancements as the Internet has siphoned away advertising revenue but now comes along an even greater existential threat: Bionic Journalism.

As Digiday reports:

“Over the summer, the business publisher [Forbes], which just had its most profitable year in more than a decade, rolled out a new CMS, called Bertie, which recommends article topics for contributors based on their previous output, headlines based on the sentiment of their pieces and images too. It’s also testing a tool that writes rough versions of articles that contributors can simply polish up, rather than having to write a full story from scratch.”

Essentially, what this means is that human reporters may be reduced to nothing more than glorified editors, tweaking and enhancing stories without having to bother with tedious tasks like articulating their thoughts or telling a story.

There have already been a few instances of robo-journalism in action.  CBS Sports sends out automated matchup recaps for fantasy players.  But Bertie takes things a step further, replacing actual journalists instead of just providing a superfluous service that no one else was providing.

So, should I be worried about having Bertie replace me?  Never! You might be able to replace every other journalist but you could never replace the Idea Man!

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Is Bionic Journalism the Greatest Idea Ever?

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