Picturing The Night Shift

  Jeff Sharlet scrolls through #nightshift pictures on Instragram: There are the warehouse workers who snap themselves letting a wisp of marijuana smoke slip from between their lips, little Instagram rebellions. There are the soldiers and sailors pulling a night shift for no good reason other than orders, photographing themselves and their comrades on the verge of … Continue reading Picturing The Night Shift

Torturing Her Way To The Top

by Dish Staff Matthew Cole reports on a key torture apologist at the CIA who “repeatedly told her superiors and others – including members of Congress – that the ‘torture’ was working and producing useful intelligence, when it was not”: The expert was not identified by name in the unclassified 528-page summary of the [torture] … Continue reading Torturing Her Way To The Top

The Outrage Manufacturing Process

by Michelle Dean Slate has a big package today about “The Year In Outrage.” It’s thought-provoking, worth your time and effort. I’d rather talk about it laterally, though, than re-litigate old social media controversies. There’s plenty enough of the latter in the Slate thing. Let’s, instead, consider the outrage manufacturing process, which I think is … Continue reading The Outrage Manufacturing Process

The Next Turing Test

It’s handwriting, according to Clive Thompson, who marvels that “the most avid prosecutors of Alan Turing’s sly and audacious 1950 thought-experiment have been not philosophers or computer scientists or advanced A.I. labs but … marketers”: The former folks have foundered for years on the difficulties of understanding the fractal contours of human consciousness. The latter … Continue reading The Next Turing Test

Are We Still Torturing?

by Dish Staff Nico Hines and Sami Yousafzai pass along a disturbing new Amnesty International report indicating that the US military “has systematically covered up or disregarded “abundant and compelling evidence” of war crimes, torture, and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year”: [The report] includes detailed investigations of 10 incidents in which at least 140 … Continue reading Are We Still Torturing?

Passing The Turing Test, Ctd

With the last weekend’s breakthrough being called into question, Brian Barrett argues that these days, the Turing test “isn’t so much a test of computer intelligence as it is human gullibility”: A bad chatbot might luck its way to victory if the judges aren’t familiar with tell-tale signs of chatbot-ness. That’s usually of less importance when your … Continue reading Passing The Turing Test, Ctd

Passing The Turing Test

Dante D’Orazio takes note of this weekend’s big news out of London: Eugene Goostman seems like a typical 13-year-old Ukrainian boy – at least, that’s what a third of judges at a Turing Test competition this Saturday thought. Goostman says that he likes hamburgers and candy and that his father is a gynecologist, but it’s all a … Continue reading Passing The Turing Test

Capturing Chaos

Photographer Marcel Christ combines his backgrounds in chemistry and photography to create startling images: Through experimentation with countless liquids, the artist finds ways to give life to otherwise inanimate objects. In this ongoing series, Powder, Christ captures the expressive movement of colorful powders that pop out against a solid black background in unpredictable formations that result … Continue reading Capturing Chaos

Maturing With Middlemarch

In My Life in Middlemarch, Rebecca Mead interweaves memoir and literary criticism, illustrating how George Eliot’s classic has affected her throughout her life.  In a review of the book, Hannah Rosefield describes why the novel endures: Mead first read the novel aged 17, living in the southwest of England and preparing for university examinations, and … Continue reading Maturing With Middlemarch

Torturing The Mentally Ill

Reporting on the shocking treatment of mentally ill inmates in South Carolina’s prisons, Andrew Cohen asks why the state has refused to do anything about it: On Wednesday, in one of the most wrenching opinions you will ever read, a state judge in Columbia ruled that South Carolina prison officials were culpable of pervasive, systemic, unremitting violations of … Continue reading Torturing The Mentally Ill