Links for 23rd April 2009

Fresh from the clogged tubes of teh intarwubs…

  1. Artificial Intelligence Cracks 4,000-Year-Old Mystery

    "They fed the program sequences of four spoken languages: ancient Sumerian, Sanskrit and Old Tamil, as well as modern English. Then they gave it samples of four non-spoken communication systems: human DNA, Fortran, bacterial protein sequences and an artificial language.

    The program calculated the level of order present in each language. Non-spoken languages were either highly ordered, with symbols and structures following each other in unvarying ways, or utterly chaotic. Spoken languages fell in the middle.

    When they seeded the program with fragments of Indus script, it returned with grammatical rules based on patterns of symbol arrangement. These proved to be moderately ordered, just like spoken languages.

    As for the meaning of the script, the program remained silent.

    "It's a useful paper," said University of Helsinki archaeologist Asko Parpola, an authority on Indus scripts, "but it doesn't really further our understanding of the script." "

    Tagged with: cryptographyanalysislinguisticsartificial-intelligenceaiindus-scriptslanguage

  2. Death of the curator. Long live the curator.

    "… the irony in this comparison is that journalists need to learn better curatorial skills. Yes, in a sense, they’ve always curated information, collecting it, selecting it, giving it context in their stories. But now they have to do that across a much vaster universe: the internet. I hear all the time about the supposed problem of too much information online. Wherever you see a problem, I advise, seek the opportunity in it. There is a need to curate the best of that information (and even the people who gather it). We have many automated means to aggregate news (including Daylife, where I’m a partner). Curation is a step above that, human selection. It’s a way to add value."

    Tagged with: mediacontentjournalismcurationaggregation

  3. The Future Of Computing Will Be Good Enough

    "The lack of desire to relinquish XP by users was part of what became known as the "Good Enough" revolution in both software and hardware. At the beginning of the 21st century, computing hardware had evolved sufficiently to reach a level of performance that allowed for speedy execution of virtually all common computing tasks. Prior to this, the only way to guarantee good performance was to buy expensive cutting-edge hardware. But now chips costing just a few dollars offered more performance than most people would ever need.

    Upgrading became less a matter of getting a better PC than about simply replacing old and broken computers with newer models. Ever resourceful during the Great Recession that struck in the early 21st century, PC manufacturers responded with ultra-cheap but "good enough" computers (both laptops and desktops) that were designed to be simple slot-in replacements for existing computers." Clever, funny and very plausible.

    Tagged with: internetcomputinghardwaresoftwareopen-sourceoperating-systemminimalistcheapfuturism

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