Love me Tinder – tales from the frontline of modern dating | Life and style | The Guardian

Modern love is digitised. Letters and unrequited love have been replaced with modern iterations (saucy pictures and ghosting). You do not go on blind dates, you go on dates with people whose best photos you deem, at best, attractive and, at worst, passable. No one asks each other out in person any more, probably.

Fuente: Love me Tinder – tales from the frontline of modern dating | Life and style | The Guardian


Las variables que detectó Netflix para clasificar a los adictos a las series – El Mostrador

La compañía dio a conocer recientemente su “Índice de Maratones” que determinó cuáles son los géneros que llevan a los espectadores a “devorar” todos los capítulos de un programa en sólo pocos días, y los que, por el contrario, los televidentes prefieren “saborear” durante un período de tiempo más prolongado.

Fuente: Las variables que detectó Netflix para clasificar a los adictos a las series – El Mostrador


Karim the AI delivers psychological support to Syrian refugees | Technology | The Guardian

More than 1 million Syrians have fled to Lebanon since the start of the conflict and as many as one-fifth of them may be suffering from mental health disorders, according to the World Health Organisation.But Lebanon’s mental health services are mostly private and the needs of refugees – who may have lost loved ones, their home, livelihood and community – are mostly going unmet.Hoping to support the efforts of overworked psychologists in the region, the Silicon Valley startup X2AI has created an artificially intelligent chatbot called Karim that can have personalised text message conversations in Arabic to help people with their emotional problems.

Fuente: Karim the AI delivers psychological support to Syrian refugees | Technology | The Guardian


Virtual reality is waiting for its killer app – FT.com

So, there I was shuffling along a rickety plank spanning two tower blocks when the well-meaning Stanford professor urged me to jump. Like a fool, I did so and felt myself plummeting to the ground. I braced for the impact, but there was none.Virtual reality may be great at tricking the senses but it cannot rewrite the laws of physics. I was still standing in the middle of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab with a VR headset strapped to my face.

Fuente: Virtual reality is waiting for its killer app – FT.com


Los empresarios de Silicon Valley son los más generosos | Estilo | EL PAÍS

Los empresarios de Silicon Valley son los más generosos | Estilo | EL PAÍS.


Seis de los diez mayores donantes de obras filantrópicas pertenecen al sector tecnológico

El magnate Bill Gates. / CORDON

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Los grandes protagonistas del sector tecnológico en EE UU están dando un nuevo dinamismo a la filantropía. Hasta el punto de que entre los 10 mayores donantes en 2014 aparecen seis nombres del universo que se asocia con Silicon Valley. Dos son viejos conocidos: Bill Gates y Paul Allen, cofundadores de Microsoft. Vuelven a despuntar Sean Parker, de Napster, y Sergey Brin, de Google. Y ahora se suman al exclusivo club Jan Koum, de WhatsApp, y Nicholas Woodman, de GoPro.

Bill Gates, a través de la fundación que tiene junto a su mujer Melinda, movilizó el año pasado 1.510 millones de dólares (1.335 millones de euros),según Chronicle of Philanthrophy. Es el magnate que más dinero de su fortuna destinó a obras benéficas. Le sigue con 1.000 millones Ralph Wilson, el difunto propietario del equipo de fútbol americano Buffalo Bills. El tercero es Theodore Stanley. Jan Koum debuta colocándose justo detrás, con 556 millones.


If tech companies wanted to end online harassment, they could do it tomorrow | Jessica Valenti | Comment is free | theguardian.com

If tech companies wanted to end online harassment, they could do it tomorrow | Jessica Valenti | Comment is free | theguardian.com.

The courts may decide that sending threats over social media isn’t threatening enough to be a crime. Silicon Valley needs to step up or lose customers

woman computer concerned
When online harassment is routine, being online might become less of a part of women’s routine. Photograph: Alamy

If someone posted a death threat to your Facebook page, you’d likely be afraid. If the person posting was your husband – a man you had a restraining order against, a man who wrote that he was “not going to rest until [your] body [was] a mess, soaked in blood and dying from all the little cuts” – then you’d be terrified. It’s hard to imagine any other reasonable reaction.

Yet that’s just what Anthony Elonis wants you to believe: That his violent Facebook posts – including one about masturbating on his dead wife’s body – were not meant as threats. So on Monday, in Elonis v United States, the US supreme court will start to hear arguments in a case that will determine whether threats on social media will be considered protected speech.

If the court rules for Elonis, those who are harassed and threatened online every day – women, people of color, rape victims and young bullied teens– will have even less protection than they do now. Which is to say: not damn much.

For as long as people – women, especially – have been on the receiving end of online harassment, they’ve been strategizing mundane and occasionally creative ways to deal with it. Some call law enforcementwhen the threats are specific. Others mock the harassment – or, in the case of videogame reviewer and student Alanah Pearce, send a screenshot to the harasser’s mother.

But the responsibility of dealing with online threats shouldn’t fall on the shoulders of the people who are being harassed. And it shouldn’t need to rise to being a question of constitutional law. If Twitter, Facebook or Google wanted to stop their users from receiving online harassment, they could do it tomorrow.

When money is on the line, internet companies somehow magically find ways to remove content and block repeat offenders. For instance, YouTube already runs a sophisticated Content ID program dedicated to scanning uploaded videos for copyrighted material and taking them down quickly – just try to bootleg music videos or watch unofficial versions of Daily Show clips and see how quickly they get taken down. But a look at the comments under any video and it’s clear there’s no real screening system for even the most abusive language.

If these companies are so willing to protect intellectual property, why not protect the people using your services?


Startups and depression: the dark side of entrepreneurship | Technology | theguardian.com

Startups and depression: the dark side of entrepreneurship | Technology | theguardian.com.

Entrepreneur Niall Harbison says the pressure to succeed and the fear of failure means many people running ambitious startups are afraid to ask for help

black dog
The fear of failure and pressure to succeed can push entrepreneurs into the ‘black dog’ of depression, says entrepreneur Niall Harbison. Photograph: Paul Cooper/Barcroft Media

Being an entrepreneur has never been more desirable, and I should know because I am one.

At 34 I have ticked a good few boxes: I’ve had an exit, a failed business, raised more than half a million dollars for three different businesses and now run two startups with global ambitions.

But despite living what some might think is the “entrepreneurial dream”, I have suffered from very bad depression throughout all of my success and failures.

We aren’t meant to be a success and suffer from depression. Just like many others, I had lots of probably outdated misconceptions about depression and thought it would never affect someone like me. Yet I was running a business with 25 people when I first discovered I was suffering from it.

In truth I’d had it for years, but because I worked in startups I just called it “stress” or “burnout”. But when the doctor said the word “depression” I was shocked. Angry, even. How could you have depression if you had a booming startup, a nice house, great friends and a lovely car?

I’d been able to hide it for years, even from myself, because I had been working so hard. But when I started getting panic attacks, having to stay in bed for days at a time and generally working under a cloud of fog, I knew I needed to do something about it.


Wisdom2.0: it came for our heartbeats, now Google wants our souls | Technology | theguardian.com

Wisdom2.0: it came for our heartbeats, now Google wants our souls | Technology | theguardian.com.

Tech companies are embracing mindfulness to help staff deal with stress – and help seize back control from the gadgets that have taken over our lives

Intel Engineers Meditating
Intel engineers meditating. Photograph: Intel Free Press/flickr

Dublin’s Google headquarters bears all the hallmarks of the modern tech workplace: an industrial chic aesthetic, endless free snacks, designer furniture in primary colours that looks like it’s been hijacked from a children’s playground, and, this week, the advanced forces of what may or may not be the Next Big Thing: not a new mobile phone, or a really super fancy watch, but something even more radically cutting-edge: “wisdom”.

Because for three days this week, in an auditorium at the heart of the city’s hi-tech cluster, an unholy alliance of Googlers, Buddhist monks, techies, HR directors, MPs and recovering CEOs bandied around words like “compassion”, “empathy”, “communion” and “consciousness”.

This was Wisdom2.0, a Californian conference that grew out of the west coast’s twin obsessions of technology and self-actualisation, and that came to Europe for the first time this week.

It has already held events in Google’s Mountain View office and at Facebook and since its inception six years ago, it’s been enthusiastically taken up by the tech industry. More than 2,000 people attended Wisdom2.0’s main event in San Francisco this year, and it’s attracted high-profile supporters like Arianna Huffington and Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, and now it’s looking to take the message to a global audience.


New TV satire pokes fun at Silicon Valley 'weirdos' | Television & radio | The Observer

New TV satire pokes fun at Silicon Valley ‘weirdos’ | Television & radio | The Observer.

Show parodies software geeks, setting California’s two major industries – film and tech – against each other
Silicon Valley

A scene from HBO’s Silicon Valley.

If the aim of satire is to make its target smart with irritation, a new sitcom about Silicon Valley has hit the bull’s eye. Wealthy hi-tech tycoons, powerful entrepreneurs and geeky engineers are all lampooned without restraint in HBO’s show set in Palo Alto, the global business hub inCalifornia.

The sitcom, called Silicon Valley, is broadcast in America Sunday and will be seen by British audiences this summer on Sky Atlantic, but it has already been hailed by critics as the boldest attempt so far to skewer the absurd side of the influences shaping the modern world.

Last week reporters spotted an angry Elon Musk, founder of tech companies Tesla and SpaceX, criticising its barbed portrayal after a preview screening, and some of those whose careers are parodied have gone so far as to declare war between California’s two major industries – Hollywood and Silicon Valley.

“None of those characters were software engineers,” Musk said, attacking the accuracy of the show. “Software engineers are more helpful, thoughtful, and smarter. They’re weird, but not in the same way.”

The show was created by Mike Judge, the man behind the 1990s cartoon hit Beavis & Butt-head, and the Emmy award-winning King of the Hill, and it tells of the launch of a start-up business, Pied Piper, born almost by accident, as Twitter was, as a side project of another failing IT venture. Actor Thomas Middleditch, star of the American version of The Office, plays Richard, a shy programmer who works at Hooli, a tech company, reminiscent of Google, where slogans such as “It takes change to make change” and “No fear, no failure”are part of the decor.

Just how much pain the show will inflict is already in dispute. Rather as the British Olympic supremo Lord Coe removed the potential sting of the BBC’s satirical sitcom 2012 when he agreed to appear in it, so Eric Schmidt, chairman of Google, makes a guest appearance in Silicon Valley during a party scene in which the boss of a new company climbs on a stage and shouts: “We’re making the world a better place … through constructing elegant hierarchies for maximum code reuse and ostensibility.” Schmidt said he would appear in the scene because “I’ve been to that party”.

Judge, who also made the cult film Office Space, had been planning a television comedy about the Palo Alto world of “geeks” for 14 years but decided that the fruit was now ripe for picking. “There are a lot of people getting rich very quickly now and it has become more of a zeitgeist thing,” he told an audience at a public event in Los Angeles last week.

“If these web developers had been born 100 years ago, or even less, I don’t think they would be the richest people in the world. They would be well-paid engineers or something like that. They are introverted and socially awkward and nobody is telling them ‘no’. It’s kind of perfect for comedy.”


The Internet Ideology: Why We Are Allowed to Hate Silicon Valley – Debatten – FAZ

The Internet Ideology: Why We Are Allowed to Hate Silicon Valley – Debatten – FAZ

 ·  It knows how to talk about tools but is barely capable of talking about social, political, and economic systems that these tools enable and disable, amplify and pacify. Why the “digital debate” leads us astray.

If Ronald Reagan was the first Teflon President, then Silicon Valley is the first Teflon Industry:  no matter how much dirt one throws at it, nothing seems to stick. While “Big Pharma,” “Big Food” and “Big Oil” are derogatory terms used to describe the greediness that reigns supreme in those industries, this is not the case with “Big Data.” This innocent term is never used to refer to the shared agendas of technology companies.  What shared agendas? Aren’t these guys simply improving the world, one line of code at a time?

Let’s re-inject politics and economics into this debate

Do people in Silicon Valley realize the mess that they are dragging us into? I doubt it. The “invisible barbed wire” remains invisible even to its builders. Whoever is building a tool to link MOOCs to biometric identification isn’t much concerned with what this means for our freedoms: “freedom” is not their department, they are just building cool tools for spreading knowledge!

This is where the “digital debate” leads us astray: it knows how to talk about tools but is barely capable of talking about social, political, and economic systems that these tools enable and disable, amplify and pacify.  When these systems are once again brought to the fore of our analysis, the “digital” aspect of such tool-talk becomes extremely boring, for it explains nothing. Deleuze warned of such tool-centrism back in 1990:

“One can of course see how each kind of society corresponds to a particular kind of machine – with simple mechanical machines corresponding to sovereign societies, thermodynamic machines to disciplinary societies, cybernetic machines and computers to control societies. But the machines don’t explain anything, you have to analyze the collective arrangements of which the machines are just one component.”

In the last two decades, our ability to make such connections between machines and “collective arrangements” has all but atrophied. This happened, I suspect, because we’ve presumed that these machines come from “cyberspace,” that they are of the “online” and “digital” world – in other words, that they were bestowed upon us by the gods of “the Internet.” And “the Internet,” as Silicon Valley keeps reminding us, is the future. So to oppose these machines was to oppose the future itself.

Well, this is all bunk: there’s no “cyberspace” and “the digital debate” is just a bunch of sophistries concocted by Silicon Valley that allow its executives to sleep well at night. (It pays well too!) Haven’t we had enough? Our first step should be to rob them of their banal but highly effective language. Our second step should be to rob them of their flawed history. Our third step should be to re-inject politics and economics into this debate. Let’s bury the “digital debate” for good – along with an oversupply of intellectual mediocrity it has produced in the meantime.