human questions

If we think of digital technology as another life form, how does that change the way we think about, and interact with, that technology? This Forbes editorial suggests that it might improve the way we handle computer security.

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This year Watson, an IBM computer, beat two champions on TV’s Jeopardy. This PBS Nova program goes behind the scenes and explains how Watson’s creators pulled it off.

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Is There a Friend Limit?

June 7, 2011

In an age when “friend” is a verb, many of us have hundreds of social-network friends. But Oxford Anthropologist Robin Dunbar’s research suggests that we’re wired to max out our meaningful relationships at about 150. This NPR story has details. Can technology help us break Dunbar’s limit, and is that a worthwhile goal?

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Conversations with Robots

June 6, 2011

Be careful–you may be falling in love with a software robot. This episode of Radiolab—NPR’s clever and entertaining broadcast/podcast—explores many ways people talk to machines, including those alluring bots that populate online dating sites. Eliza, Furbie, Clever Bot, Bina—they’re all talking to us, and we’re listening. Radiolab puts it all in perspective in this fascinating […]

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Beware of Online Filter Bubbles—A TED Talk by Eli Pariser

May 18, 2011

Two people sitting next to each other in a coffee house can get wildly different results from the same Google search. Many Facebook users see only posts from friends who agree with them because Facebook is hiding posts from other friends. These two sites, and many others, use filtering software to personalize our Web experience. […]

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