MIT Technology Review: Customer Service Chatbots Are About to Become Frighteningly Realistic. “Would your banking experience be more satisfying if you could gaze into the eyes of the bank’s customer service chatbot and know it sees you frowning at your overdraft fees? Professor and entrepreneur Mark Sagar thinks so.”
From Dave Winer at Scripting News: If I were in charge of Medium. “Here are the stories on Medium’s new business model announced yesterday. Now here are my two cents… What would I do if I were the owner of Medium and were free to be creative with new business models?”
Chemistry World: Google Street View cars map methane leaks in major US cities. “Joseph von Fischer’s lab at Colorado State University in the US joined forces with tech giant Google via its Google Earth Outreach programme, and fitted three of its Street View cars – which drive from street to street taking photographs to populate Google’s maps – with methane analysers that sample air from an inlet at the front bumper and measure the concentration of methane. The cars drove around Boston, Indianapolis, Staten Island and Syracuse in New York state, and Burlington, Vermont. The research team were able to build maps from the methane data and use algorithms to pinpoint locations where pipes beneath the street were leaking.” I had read about this before, but not on this large a scale.
Poynter: I studied how journalists used Twitter for two years. Here’s what I learned. “Twitter reflects the good, the bad and just plain ugly reality of social media these days. Consumers are constantly migrating to new platforms for news. It’s a great challenge for legacy media companies. And for academics, journalists and voters, there’s never been a more crucial time to talk about the impact that Twitter and other platforms have on factual journalism that holds the powerful accountable to the citizens.”
NewCo: C’mon Facebook. It’s Time For Your Toddler Twin Media Party.. “Truth is, with all these platform players, media is not only a crucial product, it’s the primary product. I’m not going to get into why in this post (I will next time, promise.) Instead I’ll predict that quite soon, platforms, including Facebook, will lose their equivocation and embrace content creation.”
From Information Research: ‘Just Google it’ – the scope of freely available information sources for doctoral thesis writing. “Recent developments in the field of scientific information resource provision lead us to the key research question, namely,what is the coverage of freely available information sources when writing doctoral theses, and whether the academic library can assume the leading role as a direct intermediator for information users…. The research team was tasked with identifying whether certain resources could be found in the eCatalogue of an academic library, its subscribed databases, freely available online (through Google or Google Scholar), or whether the resources from the library`s subscribed databases are identical to those which are freely available. The data gathering process included such resource categories as journal papers, printed and electronic books or book chapters, and other documents (legal reports, conference papers, newspaper articles, Websites, theses, etc.).”
Quartz: Researchers are using Darwin’s theories to evolve AI, so only the strongest algorithms survive. “For the better part of three decades, most of AI’s brain-inspired development has surrounded “neural networks,” a term borrowed from neurobiology that describes machine thought as the movement of data through interconnected mathematical functions called neurons. But nature has other good ideas, too: Computer scientists are now revisiting an older field of study that suggests putting AI through evolutionary processes, like those that molded the human brain over millennia, could help us develop smarter, more efficient algorithms.”