Who pursues their goals with monomaniacal focus, oblivious to the possibility of negative consequences? Who adopts a scorched-earth approach to increasing market share? This hypothetical strawberry-picking AI does what every tech startup wishes it could do — grows at an exponential rate and destroys its competitors until it’s achieved an absolute monopoly. The idea of superintelligence is such a poorly defined notion that one could envision it taking almost any form with equal justification: a benevolent genie that solves all the world’s problems, or a mathematician that spends all its time proving theorems so abstract that humans can’t even understand them. But when Silicon Valley tries to imagine superintelligence, what it comes up with is no-holds-barred capitalism.
I wouldn’t have given up unlimited data unless I could swap it for something I wanted even more than the ability to stream Netflix 24/7… something that hadn’t existed during my previous five years as an iPhone owner.
A great Android phone.
Use whichever product’s tradeoffs are acceptable to you. Save the emotional investment for things that really matter.
The incident last year in which Alan Gilbert stopped the New York Philharmonic toward the end of Mahler’s Symphony No. 9 to demand an end to an iPhone’s marimba play-along and my own irritation with patrons at Carnegie Hall who do not heed the projected request to turn your devices off reminded me of an idea I posted for integrating phone ringer settings and calendar events. Here is the phone side of that idea, with the addition of location-based smarts to prevent the setting taking effect if you decide not to attend the event.
The device should learn which setting is used for a given location and use that as the default once it can do so confidently — after maybe 2 or 3 uses of the same setting for the same location.
One nice feature of some Android phones is the ability for apps to choose from a few different colors for status light notifications. Facebook flashes the LED in blue and Evernote flashes green to notify you a note has been synced — subtle touches that convey useful information about app activity.
Along these lines, it would be nice if the Google Talk app used a red light when you receive a message while your status is set to Away and green when Available. I feel comfortable waiting to respond to messages when my status is set to Away. You would have to turn your screen on to see which app triggered the light if you have several that use the same color, but it’s no different from every app using the default LED color.
The PC is dead. Rising numbers of mobile, lightweight, cloud-centric devices don’t merely represent a change in form factor. Rather, we’re seeing an unprecedented shift of power from end users and software developers on the one hand, to operating system vendors on the other—and even those who keep their PCs are being swept along. This is a little for the better, and much for the worse.
How much computing freedom and personal privacy are we willing to give up for convenience? I’m less and less comfortable with the balance being struck.
- The info balloon for a “Tula’s, Seattle WA” search result.
- Clicking the left arrow several times moves up the block to Mama’s Mexican Kitchen.
If you haven’t seen it already, Robin Sloan’s future history of mass media, “EPIC 2014” is somewhat entertaining.
Continuing my EXIF jag…
For image contextual menus, browsers could present a “Search Google for Similar Images” command, with the query constructed from the image’s filename, alt and title text (conjunctions would be removed), and perhaps the page’s meta keywords.
EXIF meta-data would be an even better source of information upon which to base such a query and would probably deliver more accurate results.
The current advanced search features are good, but fairly general.
With good EXIF support, you could construct an image search with the following parameters:
- Taken in the last ten days
- Portrait oriented
- At least 500 pixels wide
- Photographer is Annie Leibovitz
Additional flexibility would be available once all digital cameras have GPS built-in (call me optimistic). Using location-coordinate mappings, you could specify all of the above possibilities along with where the photographs were taken. This wouldn’t be really useful for Leibovitz because she is primarily a portrait photographer, but it would be great for locating images in which the geographic location is important, such as nature scenes and current events.
Verifying that an image was taken by a particular photographer presents a problem. I suppose the source image server could be factored in as one way of measuring accuracy – if a photo came from annieleibovitz.com (just an example – there is currently nothing there), there is a good chance that the EXIF data is correct. If that site is frequently linked to by other sites, that would also lend some credence to the claim.
Currently, EXIF data is usually removed to decrease image file sizes or simply nonexistent, but that probably won’t be the case in the relatively near future as digital cameras entirely replace film for general use (around the time the term “digital” is no longer used when referring to them) and high speed connections become ubiquitous. Building new Image Search features for the future seems like a sound idea.