This months WIRED magazine, which I insist on receiving by mail, had some great articles. I also read books made out of paper, so if you are Generation Y or later you may just want to go to WIRED website and read these articles for free.
Anyway, onto my WIRED roundup with: Fewer Voters, Better Elections by Joshua Darvis. Scrap the one vote per person system and run it like clinical trials where 100,000 people are randomly selected to vote. This is certainly one way to implement voting reform… Personally, I think it would be interesting to have a different representative system. Currently, congressional representatives in the U.S. are elected based on a geographical area, with the idea being that particular elected official accurately represents his or her
constituents based on location. But what about if we had representatives based on profession? I feel that I agree with more software engineers than I do my neighbors. Passing thought experiments for sure as I doubt any reform is up-and-coming in the voting arena.
In a short product review, apparently the Bodum Bistro 11001 Coffeemaker is the thing to get these days. Me, I’ve switched to a french press. Mainly out of necessity since in my current living arrangement, I do not have a counter. Essentially coffee makers are expensive heating elements. They look nice, but basically they drip water and then keep it hot. So, $250 seems a bit steep for me when there are cheaper ways to heat water. I also use a burr grinder and keep my coffee in a mason jar. I’m suddenly realizing I’m living in the 1890s, or in Portland.
Lastly, Steven Levy, of Hackers fame, writes of rise of AI in sports reporting in the Rise of the Robot Reporter. As I learned from my Game AI class last quarter, there is a lot of active research in AI generated narrative (stories). In the game world, this allows games like Skyrim to have unlimited quests and to be never-ending (story! sorry… couldn’t resist. Where are the actors in that movie now?!). The idea with the robo-reporter is that for sports stories, which are very data-centric, the AI would generate the post-game article. Once the AI is aware of the rules of the game, it would then know what plays were pivotal and be able to detect the turning point of the game. The story would then be written prior to the teams shaking hands.
Narrative generation is not yet human-quality, so there is no near-term fear that robots will take over sports journalist jobs. However it provides a great starting point for writing the article. But what I find more interesting is its applicability into video games. Imagine an online game, I’m thinking a MMORPG type, where battles won and lost are documented by in-game newspapers, written by AIs. Did you just make the leader board? You can read a detailed article about it in the Daily Paper. This could even be provided as paid downloadable content. Everybody has a newspaper from the day they were born, but how about a copy of paper from Skyrim on that day?
Now, if I could only find a way to get my hands on the new german WIRED. Maybe when I go to Germany in June I’ll have to hunt down a copy…