Nat Rubio-Licht | Patent Drop | 27th April 2023
The US Patent Office is where the future gets distributed first, so Patent Drop is always unreasonably interesting. In this edition: Facebook's plan to turn VR into an infinite ad-tracker; Nvidia's plan to make chatbots chattier; Oracle's plan for AIs that format data for AIs; Google's plan to smash its own glasses; and Amazon's plan for an Alexa that calms you down when it thinks you are angry (1,850 words)
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Tim Harford | 27th April 2023
In medieval times an accused criminal might face trial by ordeal — they might be forced to pick up a red-hot iron bar, for example, the severity of their burns being the measure of their guilt. We don't do that any more, but we do test applicants for state benefits with lesser ordeals such as arbitrary delays, endless form-filling, and social stigma. Might it not be more productive just to help them? (940 words)