Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Web Secret 600: The Portal Story

Right in time for Thanksgiving, my 600th post.

What should I write about?

I have come to believe that my best posts express a sense of awe about humanity and/or technology, and pose important questions, without necessarily answering them.

Today I will feature this video, an illustration of Eric Weinstein's "Portal Story" concept.

It's a gift.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Web Secret 599: Can AI write a novel?

I recently read an article in the Atlantic "When an AI Goes Full Jack Kerouac."

It describes how graduate student Ross Goodwin set up a cobbled together AI apparatus, in a car, to produce the next American road-trip novel.

He narrates the beginning of the trip:
"The machine received its first jolt of inspiration just as soon as Goodwin and his traveling companions fired it up in Brooklyn. It wrote: 'It was nine seventeen in the morning, and the house was heavy.' For an opening sentence in a book about the road, it’s apropos, even poignant."
It was a beginning effort, producing beautiful, if not necessarily coherent prose: “A body of water came down from the side of the street. The painter laughed and then said, I like that and I don’t want to see it.”

By the way, the AI came up with the "painter" character which pops up periodically in the narrative.

It was a beginning effort...

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Web Secret 598: Bark

Helping parents cope with the cell phones an;d social media habits of their children is a major challenge - and an opportunity for psychotherapists an EAPs. Both groups may consider referring clients to an app called Bark.

To understand what Bark does, watch the video:


Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Web Secret 597: Google self-destruct

Google and YouTube have now given us an option to set search and location data to automatically disappear after a certain time.

You should do that.

For years, Google has kept a record of our internet searches by default. Scary.

Most of Google’s new privacy controls are in a web tool called My Activity.

Once you get into the tool and click on Activity Controls, you will see an option called Web & App Activity.

Click Manage Activity and then the button under the calendar icon. Here, you can set your activity history on several Google products to automatically erase itself after three months or after 18 months. This data includes searches made on, voice requests made with Google Assistant, destinations that you looked up on Maps and searches in Google’s Play app store.

Which duration should you go for? I recommend 3 months.

New to Google’s privacy controls this week is the ability to auto-delete your YouTube history, which includes searches and the videos you’ve watched.

In the My Activity tool, click on Activity controls and look for the button for YouTube history.

Click on Manage history and you will see a similar calendar icon, which lets you set YouTube history to delete after three months.

That was easy.