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We have reached peak screen

The smartphone hypnotizes us into screen glaring addicts. We have zero control of our attention and it makes us feel like we’re losing our mind. Writes Farhad Manjoo in his piece We Have Reached Peek Screen: Screens are insatiable. At a cognitive level, they are voracious vampires for your attention, and as soon as you […]

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‘The internet’s ownership of words’

The internet owns our words. Anyone can pull up an old Tweet or Facebook post and show you ‘this is what you said.’ The internet makes permanent the written word. But such posts are usually “naked and without context.” Words get lost in time It’s not that people don’t look at the time stamp; it’s […]

Zeynep Tufekci: We’re building a dystopia just to make people click on ads

Are we selling our souls for ads? Technosociologist Zeynep Tufecki seems to think so. The Cambridge Analytica-Facebook debacle demonstrates the Wild West of data exploitation. Facebook can’t pin the blame on the machine-optimizing algorithms. It’s humans who are responsible for managing the equations and policing validity.  A recent study also proved that it is humans, […]

Losing control of our attention

Screens are contagious. If we see one person look at their phone, we emulate them like we do catching someone yawn. But the addiction is not totally our fault. With the vibrant colors of apps, the dopamine of Facebook likes and news alerts, on top of serving as a consolidated utility of our camera, wallet, […]

Google Photos uses facial recognition to identify your dogs and cats

If you’re looking for the best photo-backup service, look no further than Google Photos. Not only does it free up phone space, it creates gifs, adds filters, and stitches images together for you using the magic of artificial intelligence. In the age of image surfeit, Google Photos has been a blessing in disguise, helping people decide what […]

Make it new

“Reality is an activity of the most august imagination,” said poet Wallace Stevens. What we call reality emerged from human ingenuity. So if we can take today’s tools and use them for good we’ll naturally have a better future. Instead, we are building technology that paints a future dystopia. Hackers hijacked Facebook, Google, and Twitter and filled them […]

Rediscover this day: The Grand Central Astronaut

One of my favorite features on Google Photos is ‘Rediscover This Day.’ It’ll crawl through your image library and collate a series of images from the same day years ago. The feature isn’t new; Timehop popularized the retrospective social media feature years ago. However, Facebook and Google Photos were able to scale it. So what […]

Orange is the new blue

If you use Google Maps, you’ll notice that the latest version shows ‘areas of interest’ in orange. These are places, according to Google, “where there’s a lot of activities and things to do.” Why orange? I’m not entirely sure, perhaps because green, blue, gray, and white are already taken — reserved for representations of water, grass, […]

Shadow of a doubt

The software and hardware companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook want us to trust them. The theory is that our information is better kept stored with them in a private cloud rather than with the government. Outside America, however, the NSA can collect our information without a search warrant. The internet companies are not only […]

A History of the 3 x 5 Index Card

  Before Google archived the web and made everything searchable there was the 3″ x 5″ index card used to classify “every known animal, plant, and mineral in the world.” By the 19th century, libraries used index cards as the standard way to store books. “It’s amazing how much the information revolution we’re still living […]

Thin Slices of Joy

If you can find joy in the ordinary and not just the extraordinary moments, you’ll live a much happier life. When you’re young, it’s the big moments like our first car or getting our first kiss that shapes our lives. As we age, the small things matter — a sip of warm coffee or lunch with […]

Everything starts on paper 

Everything starts on paper. Whether you are using post-it notes or loose leaf, paper is ideal for getting down thoughts and mapping out ideas quickly. In fact, some Google employees prohibit phones and use paper exclusively to brainstorm. The magic of writing in analog is a controlled speed, flexibility, and focus. “Everyone can write words, draw boxes, […]

Uber takes ridesharing next level with self-driving cars

While Tesla and Google are perfecting driverless car technology, Uber will be the first to go to market with it. Later this month, the cab company will release 100 specialized Volvo SUVs in the city of Pittsburgh. While the cars are not entirely autonomous–an Uber engineer will be riding copilot–Uber customers can still use the […]

Playing with Google’s GIF Maker: Motion Stills

Google is getting into the GIF-creation game with its own app, Motion Stills, and it creates beautiful GIFs. Our algorithm uses linear programming to compute a virtual camera path that is optimized to recast videos and bursts as if they were filmed using stabilization equipment, yielding a still background or creating cinematic pans to remove […]