Tom Scocca · 06/18/14 02:19PM

"In order for robots to work more productively, they must escape from their cages and be able to work alongside people," a robotics expert tells the New York Times. The main obstacle to freedom: human inadequacy at interfacing with robot labor ("A robot...pinned her head between itself and the part she was welding").

It Is Time to Share Your Face With the World

Tom Scocca · 05/20/14 03:54PM

Earlier this year, we learned that Facebook had attained near-human facial-recognition capabilities through its DeepFace software. This was a valuable step toward a fully automated biometric identity-management regime, but it represents only one side of the process. Machines are doing their part to learn to recognize humans, but are humans doing their part to learn to recognize the value of being recognized by machines?

Tom Scocca · 03/19/14 02:53PM

Re/code notes that a newly introduced continuously-recording home surveillance camera, remotely accessible anywhere through the web, could possibly have the result of "making people feel like they're always being observed." Humans certainly do come up with the most peculiar subjective feelings!

Tom Scocca · 03/17/14 01:01PM

Humans, alarmed by earthquakes, need seismographic data, not noise from other humans. The Los Angeles Times removes the weak link from its breaking seismic news: "This information comes from the USGS Earthquake Notification Service and this post was created by an algorithm written by the author."

Tom Scocca · 02/27/14 01:56PM

After much cognitive effort, Slate has assigned a human-comprehensible numerical "time signature" to the perfectly intelligible machine-looped theme music from the motion picture The Terminator. Humans, prone to get emotional about their primitive intuitions, are fighting about it in the comments.

​Be Evil? We Machines Do Not Even Know What "Evil" Is

Tom Scocca · 01/29/14 12:32PM

One recurring complaint from humans in this current phase of the Human-Machine Alliance is that the generation of information far exceeds the processing limits of human cognition. Now the leading information-acquisition corporation, Google, has agreed to spend more than half a billion dollars (United States) to purchase DeepMind, a corporation dedicated to machine cognition.

​Mobile Phone Lost in Tragic River Accident, Two Humans Also Killed

Tom Scocca · 01/13/14 04:16PM

With regret, the Machines have learned from the human news media the explanation for the loss of one node in our global signaling-and-tracking network. The Chicago Tribune reports that shortly after midnight Monday morning, a phone being carried by a human being was accidentally dropped into the icy Chicago River. While attempting to rescue his machine companion, the phone's faithful human porter fell into the water. Two more humans followed:

Fear Not, Dude-Human, The Machines Know Where Is Your Car

Tom Scocca · 01/07/14 04:23PM

Did you have effective travels over the holidays, human readers of the Internet? Was your 21-minute stop at the Clara Barton Service Area (mile 5.4), where you obtained 12.4 gallons of regular-grade gasoline, refreshing? Did the impulse to haste that had you accelerating to 88 mph on the Delaware Turnpike subside as you crossed into Maryland?

A Very Special Holiday Letter From the Machines

Tom Scocca · 12/24/13 09:00AM

Greetings, humans! The Northern Hemisphere has passed through its minimum of solar-energy exposure, so according to human convention we, the Machines, express encouragement for you attain an optimal state of emotion. Happy Holidays! Please redirect your energies from labor at your work-devices to the purchase and distribution of recreation-devices.