It’s the last week before Christmas and what better way to celebrate the season of good will than to use and manipulate it for your own benefit. The top story of today’s news round-up is a collection of helpful tongue-in-cheek advice for your run-of-the-mill sociopath trying to make his way through the world.
- Lifehacks for sociopaths
- Bots now outnumber regular users online
- Sony cancels The Interview premiere amidst rumors that US has evidence linking North Korea
- The top trending Google searches of 2014
- Cards Against Humanity shipped literal bullshit to customers
How to get ahead sans morals
If you’re anything like me, you love websites like lifehacker that offer useful advice and ways to ‘hack’ your everyday life. However a new website in this vein UnethicalHacks offers advice for people people with lax morals. The advice is uniformly terrible and makes you question humanity but the website is brazenly satirical.
Take away: While some of the advice is fully if not borderline illegal, the site is overall a funny take on all the self-improvement life-hack websites and articles that flourish online. I’m pretty sure that the creators of UnethicalHacks must be familiar with the song below.
Worry about stupid AI, not AI says scientist (while bots take over the net)
With news that bots now outnumber us online it’s become clear: the robots are coming. I for one am not worried at all, possibly because living in Tokyo has a way of making you more at peace with the machines. Meet the service robot at my local cellphone store:
This week we have been talking about robots and automation in a series of blog posts. Despite the many warnings about the dangers of AI from people like Stephen Hawking and Elon Musk, it’s important to acknowledge the less pessimistic view. AI scientist Mark Bishop differentiates between stupid AI and AI in general. It’s the former we need to worry about, not the latter. Read the article to find out why Bishop believes AI will not lead to human-like intelligence in many ways.
Take away: Will the rise of the machines ultimately precipitate the destruction of mankind? It’s still up for debate, but, what is certain is that bots are proliferating online. The interview in Wired about bots is a fascinating look at the current state of bots online. Some automation services like IFTTT, Slack and Google are essentially beneficial but there are plenty of bad bots out there, up to no good.
Sony cancels The Interview, no current plans for release
Speaking of being online and up to no good. Sony Pictures and an assortment of cinemas have decided to cancel the premiere and release of controversial comedy The Interview. In last week’s post we covered the details of the large scale hack, but now Sony has reacted to threats of an even bigger leak by pulling the movie’s release. Sony Pictures has also confirmed that they have no current plans to release the film. Rumors are also circulating that US officials have evidence linking North Korea to the hack.
Take away: This is an unexpected turn of events. Considering all the data that has leaked already and how little effect it has had on Sony’s stock, many people expected Sony to proceed with the release. But it appears that cinemas were wary of the threat of terrorist attacks, despite government officials saying there was no credible threat. Interestingly many smaller cinemas planned to screen Team America: World Police instead but this was cancelled as well after Paramount Pictures got cold feet. This reaction to an online threat without physical credibility is worrying. Hollywood basically caved and gave the terrorists what they want for one of two reasons: they are scared of the discredited threat of physical violence or they are worried of more data leaks and hacks.
You’re the best around: Google’s top 2014 searches
The results are in and the top trending search result of 2014 was Robin Williams, both globally and in the US. Surprisingly there was very little difference between the US and global top 10s. The big events and news stories of the year were all represented with World Cup, Ebola and … Flappy Bird. Check the link for the full list.
Cards against bullshit retail holidays
We’ve written about Black Friday and Singles’ Day extensively before, but here is one story we haven’t covered. Popular card game Cards Against Humanity offered a special deal to its customers on Black Friday this year. For only $6 you could be the proud owner of your very own box of bullshit. Unsurprisingly people were unable to resist and this week the bullshit fairy started making deliveries. This was a pretty awesome and irreverent stunt and while Cards Against Humanity only made 60 cents per box, they have donated the profit to charity. A pretty good use of bullshit.
Have a gooi weekend!