Beauty and Brains.
Dramatizing the Internet.
Beauty and Brains.
Dramatizing the Internet.
Once long past, listening gave clues for survival. Now we listen unconsciously, blocking noise and tuning in to what we want to hear. Yet the unwanted sounds we filter out tell us a lot about our environment and our lives. Broadcaster Teresa Goff listens for the messages in our walls of sound.
As civilization has become more mechanized, more urbanized and more digitized, the amount of noise has increased in tandem. This noise, according to Garrett Keizer, author of The Unwanted Sound of Everything We Want: A Book about Noise , "is a window for understanding some of the paradoxes and contradictions of being human." If you take the sum total of all sounds within any area, what you have is an intimate reflection of the social, technological, and natural conditions of that place.
Hildegard Westerkamp, a founding member of the World Forum for Acoustic Ecology, says that "Environmental sound is like a spoken word with each sound or soundscape having its own meanings and expressions." So when you listen to the noise, what does it have to tell you? "Noise is a pit of interpretation," says noise musician Brian Chippendale. Broadcaster Teresa Goff goes into the pit with her documentary, The Signal of Noise.
Blogging pioneer, and former Spark guest, Anil Dash argues when companies push for intrusive Terms of Service, users need to push back. He speaks with Nora Young about why we should become Terms of Service activists and whether governments need to get involved to help companies stay in line.
Back in June, I moderated a panel at the 2011 Subtle Technologies Festival. It was called How can we build a city that thinks like the web?, and included Cory Doctorow (Boing Boing), Mark Surman (Mozilla) and Sara Diamond (OCAD University). This week, on my CBC tech podcast, I’m really pleased to be able to play the full (1 hour ) panel.
Good interview with Andrew Blum on his new book, Tubes: A Journey to the Center of the Internet, about the physical structure of the Internet.
This week on Spark: We find out all about Angelina, the AI program that designs simple video games from scratch. Also, how to make robots more lovable, how a Roomba can work in harmony with your cat, and whether humans are tempted to destroy robots if given the chance. More robot fever, on Spark!
Michael Cook is a PhD student at Imperial College, and he’s fascinated by video games. He’s also fascinated by artificial intelligence, and he’s fascinated by creativity. And so, he’s found the perfect research – exploring whether Angelina, an artificial intelligence program he’s created, can design video games from scratch.
We know that human beings attach emotions to robots. We tend to think of them as anthropomorphic, even if we know they’re not alive. Young designer Julia Ringler wanted to know if humans would actually hurt robots, given the chance and how humans would feel about doing it. She engineered an experiment to find out.
As we move towards a future with robots and smart devices everywhere, the focus is usually on designing these objects to be as smart as people. But what if we created them instead to be as smart as a puppies? That’s a design philosophy Matt Jones embraces. He’s a principal at a design company called BERG and he wondered if it was possible to develop user interfaces to be well, a little more loveable. He calls his design theory “Be as smart as a puppy” (or BASAAP) – instead of designing for “artificial intelligence” we should emphasize “artificial empathy”.
Carlos Asmat is a young Montreal engineer with an idea for a social networking service: a social network for robots. As we get more and more ‘smart’ objects in our environment – from sensors to Roomba robots – what would happen if you could connect those objects so they can share updates and data?
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These days, authors are increasingly expected to do more than just, you know, write books. They’re expected to have a presence on social media, to have a public profile, and to connect with fans and potential new readers. Baratunde Thurston is taking that a step further. Actually, he’s taking it several steps further. He’s a comedian, Director of Digital for The Onion, and he’s the author of the forthcoming book, How to Be Black. He’s assembled a volunteer ‘street team’ to help market the book through word-of-mouth and social media, and is modeling the marketing of the book on a political campaign. Is this the future for all authors? And what if you’re a low profile person who just wants to write?
Jon Kalish brings us the latest DIY trend: hackerspaces popping up at public libraries across North America. He’ll tell us why the re-purposing of public libraries is revolutionizing the way we think about libraries, turning them into places where we can make things.
Cathi Bond is here to talk about the trend of niche publications – having a subscription that’s not to a magazine, but to actual physical objects that come in the mail. It’s a different, analog approach to customization. Hyper-curated almost. And Cathi and Nora wonder if it’s an example of a post-digital fetishization of artifacts.
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