Their MagicBands, tech-studded wristbands available to every visitor to the Magic Kingdom, feature a long-range radio that can transmit more than 40 feet in every direction. The hostess, on her modified iPhone, received a signal when the family was just a few paces away. Tanner family inbound! The kitchen also queued up: Two French onion soups, two roast beef sandwiches! When they sat down, a radio receiver in the table picked up the signals from their MagicBands and triangulated their location using another receiver in the ceiling. The server—as in waitperson, not computer array—knew what they ordered before they even approached the restaurant and knew where they were sitting.
The question “Can a machine think?” has shadowed computer science from its beginnings. Alan Turing proposed in 1950 that a machine could be taught like a child; John McCarthy, inventor of the programming language LISP, coined the term “artificial intelligence” in 1955. As AI researchers in the 1960s and 1970s began to use computers to recognize images, translate between languages, and understand instructions in normal language and not just code, the idea that computers would eventually develop the ability to speak and think—and thus to do evil—bubbled into mainstream culture.
Here are five stories born of adultery. Read about technological advancements for philanderers and their cuckolds, personal perspectives from the cheater and the cheatee, a forbidden lust-fueled crime story, and a piece on how adultery became bedfellows with American popular culture and music—back in 1909. 1. “The Cuckold” (James Harms, Guernica, February 17, 2014) “The cuckold […]
During the 90s there was something of an arms race to see who could write the biggest deal. That is, the deal with the most money being spent on the band’s behalf. In a singularly painless contest the money would either be paid to the band as a royalty, which would take that money out […]
Over at Paleofuture, Matt Novak looks back at the 1959 Cold War cultural exhibitions hosted by both the United States and the Soviet Union. For the United States, the Moscow exhibition was a chance to show off the newest products and technology from companies like IBM, Sears and Kodak—and perhaps the most important innovation of […]
When pay-to-play becomes pay-to-win, the classic model of video games—paying for time or access to the game—turns into something much more insidious. In The Baffler, game designer Ian Bogost asks us to consider which extracts a higher social cost: the explicit violence of Grant Theft Auto, or the addiction and sly financial drain of Candy Crush? […]
Below is a guest reading list from Daniel A. Gross, journalist-in-residence at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin. He also writes and produces radio about the lives of stuff and the stuff of life. * * * Journalism has been called the first draft of history. Here are 5 technology […]
The worry about mental laziness is a really big one; the idea that because we can turn to Wikipedia or turn to our phone and we can get an answer to a question that somehow our brain is becoming slack like an empty wine bladder. In a way, when I started the book [Smarter Than […]
Yiren Lu, a recent Harvard grad who now studies computer science at Columbia, takes a step back from the startup world to wonder what it means for our tech infrastructure when all the bright young things want to make apps but aren’t skilled in networks and hardware — the stuff that makes the Internet go. […]
If you had 1,000 people who were your true fans—and I define them as people who would buy whatever it is that you produce at any time and would not only buy the paperback but also the hard cover and the digital version, who would not only buy your CD but would drive 100 miles […]