Unbabel’s Monthly Reads – August
How’s everyone’s August looking?
Up for some weekend reading?
Here’s some of the great stuff we shared with each other this month. Perfect reads from the rebellious academics, failed philosophers, restless souls, frustrated artists, and all-round geeks that make up the Unbabel team.
Maybe the best way to start an amalgamation of news is with its antithesis? If you find yourself skimming through news, barely reading past headlines and constantly looking for the next new thing, this is probably for you.
Reaching For The Stars
Speaking of birthdays, 2017 marks the 40th anniversary of the Voyager program that set out to explore the solar system on a warm August day, many moons ago. Its solar system portraits inspired Carl’s Sagan “Pale Blue Dot” and they continue their journey as the first man-made objects to reach interstellar space. These are the men and women who made it possible. Happy Birthday.
The Goldilocks Principle
When contemplating the road ahead to a truly intelligent AI (feels redundant, doesn’t it?), some are more optimistic than others. This writer in particular believes that, when it comes to the labs doing the research, they’re either too small née academic or too corporate. We’re still struggling to hit the just right.
Here’s To The Crazy Ones
Alas, one of the men for whom the mad scientist caricature is not so much a caricature as the reflection of an excentric personality, child-like curiosity and moral ambiguity. You may have read about his sensory deprivation tanks or controversial dolphin experiments, but you’ll still be thoroughly fascinated.
Data Is The New Black
Data is all around us. It’s big, ever-present and a sea of untapped potential. Emergent “data distilleries” are using more and more AI techniques to tap into this new hot commodity of consumer data, and with it, digital privacy issues emerge as well.
When it comes to computers programs and human beings, turns out that while a lot of obvious things separate us, a fair deal binds us together. Case in point, a team of programmers have“discovered” that the key to learn how to walk is “letting them learn from mistakes as they go.” Grandma would approve.
Tales of talking animals are not a new topic. Its roots go past Doge, Babe the Piglet and even the whole Walt Disney lot; you can trace it all the way back to pre-history. They’re outlets for our frustrations and desires, they provide joy, whimsy and moral guidance.
What lies beneath the fantasy?
So long, Farewell
The fossil fuel industry is on its last fumes. Here’s an almost poetic ode to the decline of this energy tyrant since the early 20th century.
Making Patronage Great Again
Patreon has a noble mission, one that goes far beyond quote help artists move out from their parent’s garages unquote. It aims to “fund the creative class” and caters to a crowd of cultural internet niches that may just live to see their kids getting a living of their art.
The Bullshit Detector
The antidote for fake news is nothing more than an automated fact checker. It analyses politician’s statements in real time and it instantly gives its verdict. May there be one in every household.
The Long And Winding Road
Hours on the road have been increasing in the suburban nightmare of blue and white collars that is the commute. Ever wondered how much time one flushes away in traffic jams and railway crossings? Christopher Ingraham did the math, and I promise you, the numbers amount to nothing short of a monumental waste of time.
or the case against the Sapir–Whorf hypothesis, the principle of linguistic relativity that states that each individual’s thoughts and actions are bound by the language he speaks, which explains why foreigners don’t find my jokes that witty. Why yes, it’s a linguistic relativity thing.
Diagnosing the Gig Economy
With the rising trend of the gig economy, its short time contracts, freelancer workers, millennial aspirations and displays against the formal, unpersonalised setting of the corporate world, one can’t help but wonder : Is it really working?
A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away, designers were anxious about a little something called above the fold placement, also known as the content positioned in the top of the webpage, before the user starts scrolling. A long time has passed since then.
Let it scroll.
And we’re all done!
If you’ll indulge me on a sappy moment to kick the weekend off:
We celebrated our fourth birthday this month!
This is us, almost a year ago, on the company retreat. We’ve more than doubled since then. For everyone who’s been and will be a part of this amazing journey, including you, esteemed reader, Happy Birthday.
We’re all in this together.
Have a fabulous September.