Mothering, Alan Turing, Injustice, AlphaGo, Editors


Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

Claudius Emanuel G-S

Worldly Positions | 20th October 2017

Uncertain about motherhood, the narrator tests herself by renting an animated doll for a week. “I put the box on the floor and opened it. I put the batteries in the doll’s back, and — having reached the magic starting moment — turned around my son. And flopped his head backwards on his intentionally puny neck, causing him to scream in pain. I rocked him back to silence, shaken by the sudden screaming in an already tense moment. Then laid him down (head-supportingly) and read the manual” (1,100 words)

Computing Machinery And Intelligence

Adrian Colyer | The Morning Paper | 20th October 2017

Summary and discusson of Alan Turing’s great paper, Computing Machinery And Intelligence, which introduced the Imitation Game. “If you present an idea to most minds, you get less than one idea back. But a smallish proportion of minds are super-critical, and an idea presented to such a mind may give rise to secondary, tertiary, and more remote ideas. Can a machine be made to be super-critical? It’s not the storage or the speed that will be the problem, argues Turing, but the programming” (1,700 words)

I Served 26 Years For Murder

Alton Logan & Berl Falbaum | Marshall Project | 19th October 2017

“In 1983, Alton Logan was convicted of killing off-duty Cook County corrections officer Lloyd Wickliffe in a Chicago McDonald’s and sentenced to life in prison. What Logan didn’t know was that another man had confessed to the crime. Andrew Wilson confided his guilt to his attorneys, Dale Coventry and Jamie Kunz, who didn’t come forward with the information for more than two decades. The lawyers said they were bound by a sacrosanct rule of legal conduct: attorney-client confidentiality” (1,650 words)

The AI That Has Nothing To Learn From Humans

Dawn Chan | Atlantic | 20th October 2017

It seemed daunting enough a few months back when a Google-made artificial intelligence called AlphaGo beat the world’s top human players of Go. But things just got exponentially worse for the humans. “A new version of AlphaGo (christened AlphaGo Zero) picked up Go from scratch, without studying any human games at all. AlphaGo Zero took a mere three days to reach the point where it was pitted against an older version of itself and won 100 games to zero” (1,570 words)

Ten Rules For Book Editors

Jonathan Karp | Publishers Weekly | 20th October 2017

Although this is roughly 60% platitudes to 40% new information, everything is elegantly stated and the rules generalise well. “Wait for Authority” and “Resist the Urge to Acquire in Slow Periods” both carry weight. “Book editors are paid to come to the office to acquire books, just as Pentagon officials are paid to defend the country. Consequently, the military-industrial complex continuously expands, and so do publishers’ lists. We each have a bias to action. The result is bloat” (1,500 words)

Video of the day Morte E Vida Uterina

What to expect:

On girlhood and adolescence. Music by Paula Cavalciuk, stop-motion animation by Daniel Brusonto (3’43”)

Thought for the day

It is a joy to be hidden, and a disaster not to be found
D.W. Winnicott

Podcast of the day Why Don’t We All Speak The Same Language? | Freakonomics Radio

If we were re-inventing the world, would we want everybody to speak the same language? Stephen Dubner and guests weigh the costs and benefits of Babel
( 43'02")

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