Why Gizmo must die, the EU curbs the cops, and finding the algorithm for funny...
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Hello, carbon-based lifeforms!

To kill a mogwai

Howdy folks!

Remember Gizmo? That was the name of the cute, little, fuzzy creature called a "mogwai" from the movie Gremlins

You might remember it as friendly little pet that sang adorable little songs and loved snuggling. Back in the 1980s, every kid wanted a mogwai of their own.

But, in reality, if mogwais existed they'd be among the most dangerous creatures on Earth.

Feeding them at the wrong time causes them to irreversibly transmorph into a monster, and they multiply via contact with water at a rate of one offspring per drop. 

A single mogwai chewing on a piece of beef jerky in the shower at 11:59 PM could sire enough progeny to infect the entire city of Los Angeles in a matter of hours -- especially if it were raining outside.

The only thing that would stop them from filling the entire world is the fact that sunlight kills them.

Basically, they're vampires that can multiply super-duper fast.

The only decent thing to do if  you ever see a mogwai in real life is to kill it immediately.

You see, just because something makes our dopamine receptors light up (ohmygod it's so fuzzy! I want to squeeze it and love it and hug it and name it Gizmo and it will be my bestest friend forever and ever!) that doesn't meant it's a good thing. 

We're learning more and more about the harm that social media does to adults and children. 

And we're likely to come upon a crossroads soon where we're forced, as a society, to weigh the benefits of relatively new paradigms such as endless scroll and algorithm-weighted social feeds against their harms.

It's going to be important to recognize that, in the long run, the only difference between a mogwai and a gremlin is time and exposure. 

Read more on Neural:

Facebook whistleblower has an obvious solution to fix the news feed

Tales from the arXiv archives

Puff, puff, postulate

Sometimes a pre-print paper fills me with inspiration. Other times, I leave with more questions than answers. But one thing's for certain: I never fail to find something incredibly interesting when I point my browser towards the 'Xiv. 

This week, I came across this... uh... I'm gonna be honest: I don't know what to call it.

Is it a paper? Not really. Is it research? Nuh uh, I don't think so.

It's... a proclamation? 

Let's start with the title: "Compression, The Fermi Paradox and Artificial Super-Intelligence."

Lol. Readers trained in computer science are going "WTF does AGI have to do with ET?" And physicists who read this newsletter are doing a blinking-guy-gif over the "compression" part. 

But, it's actually a fun (and very short) read that basically concludes that humans should probably not make an AGI unless we're prepared to control it. 

I read it so you don't have to, but if you want to:

Check it out here on arXiv

What we’re writing


How tech is helping people remember their deceased loved ones Bridging the digital beyond...


EU Parliament calls for ban on predictive policing Good. Now let's make it global

Google’s new AI wants to supercharge contextualized search results It's like outsourcing brain function so you don't have to think as much


US Army funds ‘sleeping cap’ that could modulate brain health of soldiers I've read comic book origin stories that were less dystopian


Codifying humanity: Can humor be reduced to an algorithm? Hahahahhahah ahahaha.... no.


Brain implant relieves woman’s depression by zapping her with electricity Maybe we should wait for the long-term study results

What we’re reading


Why improvisation is the future in an AI-dominated world (The Conversation)


William Shatner 'AI' will chat with you about the 'Star Trek' actor's life (Live Science)


Google’s AI unit DeepMind makes first-ever profit (The Financial Times)

Something profound from the internet

My dear, departed grandpa used to say "don't go calling the neighbors messy until you've swept your own back porch."


Our favorite AI video of the week

Every once in awhile I can't help but be reminded that we live in the future. Behold! (POV, you're a saildrone caught in a hurricane).

Click here to read the story on Neural. Click the image to watch the video on YouTube:


Well, bye

Sorry I ruined Gizmo for you. I know mogwais were a big deal to a lot of people.

At least I didn't get into a big long rant where I explain that C3PO is a total MacGuffin and the absolute most useless robot in existence this side of Sophia The Robot. 

I mean, it's a protocol droid that never actually gives any protocol advice. In essence, C3Po is nowhere near as useful as Alexa. For crying out loud, it's in every single one of the movies and does less to aid the other characters (and plot) than anyone else. 

There's an allegory there for whatever the hell Amazon and Tesla are doing with their respective household robot projects. 

But, like I said, I didn't actually get into that in this newsletter. Because there's no way I'm going to risk pissing off all those Droid-loving Star Wars fans!




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