You can still find the group of people who care about the same weird thing you do

The internet’s ability to connect continues to matter.

Reading through Farhad Manjoo’s piece “How Online Hobbyists Can Reaffirm Your Faith in the Internet,” I was reminded of one of the internet’s great gifts: frictionless affinity.

The ability to find a couple hundred people — maybe even a few thousand — who are interested in that one hobby, movie, TV show, team, etc. that you’re excited about is an amazing thing. I’ve experienced this a bunch of times, most notably with communities that formed around “The X-Files” and “Lost.” I had a blast writing and theorizing and talking about these shows. Those experiences wouldn’t have happened if I’d been limited by geography or time. My enthusiasm would have been stunted, and that’s just not right. If you love something, you should be able to really love it.

What’s important here is that the great things about the internet still exist. They’re still built in. And if we choose to emphasize those attributes, to double down on what’s good and avoid the pitfalls that are clearer now than ever before, it can continue to benefit us.

AI needs to tackle the dumb things

A few suggestions for AI-based improvements while we wait for the Singularity.

A glimpse of what’s to come? Image via: Beeki on Pixabay

Artificial intelligence (AI) should take on the mundane stuff in addition to the hard stuff. That’s a point Manuela Veloso drove home at MIT’s EmTech Next Conference. I love this line:

“Every time I enter a supermarket and I push this cart, I say, ‘Why can’t this cart follow me?’ These carts should all be automated.”

She’s right. Why can’t that cart follow me around? And why can’t it return itself to the drop-off area in the parking lot? That’s the kind of self-driving vehicle we really need.

And while we’re at it, why can’t AI improve other daily activities? Continue reading “AI needs to tackle the dumb things”