This is my dumping ground for quotes and other stuff relating to the wonderful world of digital & communications.
one of the main aims of current robotic research: learning how to operate flexibly in an environment designed for humans, not robots
aspiring Cassandras have regularly proclaimed that new waves of technological innovation would render huge numbers of workers idle…
As early as 1589, Queen Elizabeth I refused a patent on a knitting machine for fear it would put “my poor subjects” out of work.
In the 1930s, the great John Maynard Keynes predicted widespread job losses “due to our discovery of means of economising the use of labour outrunning the pace at which we can find new uses
robots are always part of the future. Little bits of that future break off and become part of the present, but when that happens, those bits cease to be “robots.” In 1945, a modern dishwasher would have been a miracle, as exotic as the space-age appliances in The Jetsons. But now, it’s just a dishwasher
Much like cooking, computational thinking begins with a feat of imagination, the ability to envision how digitized information—ticket sales, customer addresses, the temperature in your fridge, the sequence of events to start a car engine, anything that can be sorted, counted, or tracked—could be combined and changed into something new by applying various computational techniques. From there, it’s all about “decomposing” big tasks into a logical series of smaller steps, just like a recipe….
just as knowing how to scramble an egg or write an email makes life easier, so too will a grasp of computational thinking. …
The happy truth is, if you get the fundamentals about how computers think, and how humans can talk to them in a language the machines understand, you can imagine a project that a computer could do, and discuss it in a way that will make sense to an actual programmer. Because as programmers will tell you, the building part is often not the hardest part: It’s figuring out what to build
Boston has adoptahydrant.org, a simple website that lets residents “adopt” hydrants across the city. The site displays a map of little hydrant icons. Green ones have been claimed by someone willing to dig them out after a storm, red ones are still available—500 hydrants were adopted last winter.
Maybe that doesn’t seem like a lot, but consider what the city pays to keep it running: $9 a month in hosting costs. …. And because the CFA team open-sourced the code… now Honolulu has Adopt-a-Siren, where volunteers can sign up to check for dead batteries in tsunami sirens across the city. In Oakland, it’s Adopt-a-Drain
The curled metal fixtures set to go up on a handful of Michigan Avenue light poles later this summer may look like delicate pieces of sculpture, but… their job is to protect and conceal a system of data-collection sensors that will measure air quality, light intensity, sound volume, heat, precipitation, and wind. The sensors will also count people by observing cell phone traffic
Last year, a group of economists working with eBay’s internal research lab issued a massive experimental study with a simple, startling conclusion: For a large, well-known brand, search ads are probably worthless. This month, their findings were re-released as a working paper by the National Bureau of Economic Research and greeted with a round of coverage asking whether Internet advertising of any kind works at all
if you were the Denver Post, you could have a Washington correspondent who went to all the same briefings as the Washington Post correspondent. But when technology changed and suddenly the reader of the Denver Post could read the Washington Post, there was really no reason for the Denver Post to have a correspondent in Washington. The audience didn’t need two versions of the same story. It’s a classic case of massive overcapacity …. Unless your version of the story is dramatically different—unless the version includes all different facts or spectacularly better writing—your version of the story is a waste of your time and the newsroom’s budget
Before 1950, journalism in [the US] was lots of competing organizations in every city… when William Seward left Auburn, New York, population 10,000, there were 11 daily newspapers. Why were there 11 daily newspapers? Because they were being printed one sheet at a time, and each newspaper was tailored to a different audience. … There were a hundred daily newspapers started and closed in Washington during the 19th century. They came and they went, and they were almost all voices or mouthpieces of political organizations and powerful people. And they all competed vigorously, and people tended to read what they were interested in—much as they now watch Fox News and MSNBC today, depending on their views. That was the norm until the middle of the 20th century, when the technologies had adapted to the point where you could run a printing press really fast… The 18th-century norm has become the 21st-century norm. The fragmentation, the niche audiences
there can be myriad approaches to funding journalism. I’m quite optimistic about journalism, not in this country necessarily exclusively, but in the world. There’s going to be a proliferation of journalism and a spread of quality journalism like you haven’t seen before, because for the first time in many countries around the world, technology enables people to produce journalism relatively cheaply. It enables people to see what good journalism looks like and to model their journalism on that good journalism
rapid prototyping approach. The team then ended up going and making an ad about the product as if it was ready to launch already. “That video helped galvanize the team into making the final product,” said Mr. Wong. “Storytellers can invent the future,” he said, pointing to examples like “Minority Report” and its influence on scientists, and Star Trek’s “invention” of the clamshell phone