Categories
Wisdom Bombs

The Old Woman and the Snake

 

Better Than Sex, Hunter S. Thompson

Categories
Social tech

Algorithms know what you’re going to do before you do

Take a gander down this list of 22 Ways Algorithms Know How You’ll Behave Before You Do and you’ll see that a future not unlike that of Tom Cruise’s in Minority Report isn’t too far fetched.

As ERIC SIEGEL writes:

Prediction as a capability is booming. It reinvents industries and runs the world. More and more, predictive analytics drives commerce, manufacturing, healthcare, government, and law enforcement. In these spheres, organizations operate more effectively by way of predicting behavior—i.e., the outcome for each individual customer, employee, patient, voter, and suspect.

For instance, have you ever wondered how Facebook decides what you see in your news feed?  In theory you should see all of your friend’s posts, but that’s not the case.  Here’s what Facebook actually does:

Facebook: Predicts which of 1,500 candidate posts (on average) will be most interesting to you in order to personalize your news feed. To optimize the order of content items, the News Feed ranking algorithm weights around 100,000 factors such as recency, likes, clicks, shares, comments, time spent on posts, poster popularity, your affinity for the poster and content area, and measures of relevance and trustworthiness. This intensifies the “addictive” engagement, with two-thirds of Facebook’s 1.44 billion monthly users logging in daily.

When was the last time you ordered something from Amazon? There’s a chance that Amazon knew what you were going to order before you did and proactively placed the order at one of its hub or on a truck to reduce any delays between when you placed your order to when you received your purchase.

I haven’t read Eric Siegel’s book – Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die – yet, but I bet Amazon already knows I’m going to buy it and is loading it on a truck as I type!

h/t bigthink.com

Categories
Social tech

Tech’s latest cash cow

Last night at about 8:30PM my wife’s iPhone suddenly starts pinging.  She got a text message. Then another and another. I think in the end she received something like 25 text messages in the space of about 30 minutes.

For some people, this might be normal. But for my wife, it’s out of character.  She uses her iPhone less than anybody I know.

Turns out, one of her friends had just discovered all the things she could do with iMessage after the latest iOS update.

As JOANNA STERN writes:

If you really don’t know what I’m talking about, don’t worry; you will soon. Apple’s new iMessage app store, introduced just a few weeks ago, is now home to more than 1,250 sticker packs, according to market researcher Sensor Tower Inc. Last month, Twitter released its own promoted sticker selection. Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, Google’s new Allo, they’ve all got ’em.

You may be tempted to laugh, but don’t.  These sticker packs are big business.  Take Kimoji for instance:

The $2 Kimoji app, available for Android and iPhones, has been downloaded more than half a million times, according to Sensor Tower. Even though many of the stickers are, as the kids say, NSFW (not suitable for work), the app has made nearly $1.7 million in revenue since its December 2015 launch.

Like ringtones and “Candy Crush” lives before it, the sticker pack is the new digital impulse buy. And the creators and app stores know it. A dollar or two for a sticker pack doesn’t seem that harmful—that is, until you realize you’ve bought 15 or so packs.

You might be asking yourself why.  And the answer, writes Joanna Stern, is:

 A sticker is worth a thousand words, of course. With text-based communication, we miss facial and visual cues. And you know those tiny emojis that come with your phone? They just don’t cut it. With stickers, you turn your boring message transcript into a fun comic book.

word-bitmo

 

h/t wsj.com

Categories
Books

Understanding other places

“One place comprehended can make us understand other places better.” So wrote Southern novelist Eudora Welty in her essay “Place in Fiction,” and it’s a concept well worth thinking about in an era in which communities and countries feel paradoxically fractured and all-encompassing, in which people feel torn apart and thrown together, all at once. At times like these, it is not a bad thing to step away from the bigger picture and focus on something smaller, as a way of re-orienting yourself in this world. – from A Nonfiction Map Of The United States

Kristin Iversen has compiled a list of the best pieces of nonfiction — books, essays, memoirs — from every state in the US (plus DC and NYC).  It’s a way, through reading, to get to know a place.

At times like these, it is not a bad thing to step away from the bigger picture and focus on something smaller, as a way of re-orienting yourself in this world.   And what better way to do that than by reading? The very best writing about a place can bring the reader a whole new understanding of a life different than their own, as well as, per Welty, a better grasp of their own place in the world.

Here’s a list from the States I’ve lived in:

New Jersey (my home State): 12 Days of Terror – A definitive investigation of the 1916 New Jersey Shark Attacks, by Richard G. Fernicola

New York: The Most Exclusive Restaurant in America, by Nick Paumgarten

Georgia: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil: a Savannah Story, by John Berendt

New Mexico: New Mexico, by D.H. Lawrence

See more…