• Are the robots about to rise? Google’s new director of engineering thinks so…
    Ray Kurzweil is a new Director of Engineering at Google whose mission is to “bring natural language understanding to Google”. But he thinks that robots will pass the Turing test by 2023 so is that all he is doing there?

    Peter Norvig, Google’s research director, said recently that the company employs “less than 50% but certainly more than 5%” of the world’s leading experts on machine learning. And that was before it bought DeepMind which, it should be noted, agreed to the deal with the proviso that Google set up an ethics board to look at the question of what machine learning will actually mean when it’s in the hands of what has become the most powerful company on the planet. Of what machine learning might look like when the machines have learned to make their own decisions. Or gained, what we humans call, “consciousness”.

  • My Life and Times in Chinese TV
    What it it like working as a Western-educated intern at a state-run TV station in China? Surprisingly dull

    In the SMG car that she told to drop me off at the subway, before returning to the office to file her tapes, Zhang Xian explained that what we had just shot would not appear on ICS for a few weeks—until long after Burn the Floor had left the country. The point was not to inform viewers about a specific cultural event that they could attend, but to record that such an event had happened, and let the ICS audience participate in two to two and a half minutes of its afterglow.

  • Street Fighter: The Movie — What went wrong
    This article looks at why the first Street Fighter movie was so horrible. But it reads like a fluff piece. The director did no wrong, but it was a combination of stakeholders, schedule, poorly behaving actors, and luck that did it in. I’m not so sure about that. Also the writing was pretty bad and given that the director was also the writer, I’m not sure he should get a pass at it.
  • The Flight of the Birdman: Flappy Bird Creator Dong Nguyen Speaks Out
    A quick look at the person who made Flappy Bird.

    As news hit of how much money Nguyen was making, his face appeared in the Vietnamese papers and on TV, which was how his mom and dad first learned their son had made the game. The local paparazzi soon besieged his parents’ house, and he couldn’t go out unnoticed. While this might seem a small price to pay for such fame and fortune, for Nguyen the attention felt suffocating. “It is something I never want,” he tweeted. “Please give me peace.”

  • How clones, fear, sanitisation and free-to-play soured Apple’s iOS gaming revolution
    The mobile game industry sucks, basically because of clones and freemium games. Here’s some more indepth analysis into that

    Lovell puts this kind of risk aversion down to “creative fear”. “A lot of my clients are starting with an endless runner simply because they want to learn the free-to-play business in a known genre,” he says. “Think of it like a journeyman wood maker who had to do some basic pieces in order to understand his craft.”