[TW: Discussion of transphobic joke, real-life experiences of transphobia.]
The wonderful Samantha Allen on the transphobia on display during VGX:
I expected the usual: some Michael Bay-esque graphics packages, some puerile pandering to their core demographic of adolescent boys, some Mountain Dew, some Doritos, some trailers. I can stomach that, even laugh at it. Less than five minutes into the program, however, co-host Joel McHale jokingly put the rumors to rest that Wario had “undergone sex reassignment surgery.”
If you’re reading this, you might know that a joke like that is politically ill-advised. It violates the comedic wisdom that one should punch up rather than punch down. It not only repeats the exoticizing focus on transgender people’s genitals, it also casts transgender identity itself as something scandalous and laughable.
Google no longer understands how its “deep learning” decision-making computer systems have made themselves so good at recognizing things in photos.
This means the internet giant may need fewer experts in future as it can instead rely on its semi-autonomous, semi-smart machines to solve problems all on their own.
The claims were made at the Machine Learning Conference in San Francisco on Friday by Google software engineer Quoc V. Le in a talk in which he outlined some of the ways the content-slurper is putting “deep learning” systems to work.
"Deep learning" involves large clusters of computers ingesting and automatically classifying data, such as pictures. Google uses the technology for services like Android voice-controlled search, image recognition, and Google translate, among others. […]
What stunned Quoc V. Le is that the machine has learned to pick out features in things like paper shredders that people can’t easily spot – you’ve seen one shredder, you’ve seen them all, practically. But not so for Google’s monster.
Learning “how to engineer features to recognize that that’s a shredder – that’s very complicated,” he explained. “I spent a lot of thoughts on it and couldn’t do it.” […]
This means that for some things, Google researchers can no longer explain exactly how the system has learned to spot certain objects, because the programming appears to think independently from its creators, and its complex cognitive processes are inscrutable. This “thinking” is within an extremely narrow remit, but it is demonstrably effective and independently verifiable.
Synesthesia, loosely defined as the phenomenon of a sensation creating an unnatural secondary sensation, is actually quite common; some humans perceive numbers as colors, for instance. But Psychology Today reports the story of a young Texas girl might be the only person on the planet identified to have what’s known as “mirror touch” synesthesia — where an individual feels the emotions of those around her — with machines, not humans.
The girl (who is not named to protect her identity) describes the experience as an “extra limb,” an extension of her own body, when she’s near a machine that she’s not touching — she cites cars, robots, escalators, locks, and levers as examples of mechanical objects that act as stimuli. “When watching cars crash in a movie, I feel them as they’re ripped and crush, and I usually have to turn away and cut myself off from the stimulus,” she says. Interestingly, she identifies humanoid robots as a “stranger” experience for her due to their physical similarities to her own body.
Two-spirit people (also two spirit or twospirit) is an umbrella term sometimes used for what was once commonly known as berdaches /bərˈdæʃɨz/, indigenous North Americans who fulfill one of many mixed gender roles in First Nations and Native American tribes.
Third gender roles historically embodied by two-spirit people include performing work and wearing clothing associated with both men and women. The presence of male two-spirits was a fundamental institution among most tribal peoples. Male and female two-spirits have been documented in over 130 tribes, in every region of North America.
I wonder if maybe the reason I love Halloween, but struggle with it as a holiday, is because I’ve never spent it dressing up as other people. Maybe for me, Halloween is more about trying to find an identity — trying to dress up as myself for once.
“Suddenly, it’s as if the processing power of the brain is much greater than we had originally thought,” noted study co-author Spencer Smith through a press release. “Imagine you’re reverse engineering a piece of alien technology, and what you thought was simple wiring turns out to be transistors that compute information.”—Biologists Discover Tiny Neural Computers in the Brain (via playfulsystems)
The algorithm depends on a new metric the researchers are calling “disperson,” which looks at connections between people who have different sets of friends. Close friends are likely to share a lot of friends in common, which social scientists call “embeddedness.” But people in romantic relationships tend to connect each other to different spheres: for example, a husband is likely to introduce his wife to his work friends, college buddies, and members of his kickball league, with whom she may not have any other connections in common.
The researchers were able to identify who was dating whom with 60 percent accuracy, much better than the 2 percent accuracy they’d get from random guessing. High dispersion also seems to be correlated with longer relationships. The study found that couples were 50 percent more likely to break up in the next two months if the dispersion algorithm failed to guess that they were dating.
11. Icthyosaurus A DOLPHIN WITH STEVE BUSCEMI EYES? JESUS GOD NO 10. Ankylosaurus WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK 9. Iguanadon REAL TALK IT’S A CONSTIPATED T-REX NEXT 8. Pterodactyl THE P IS SILENT SO ARE YOU AFTER IT SWOOPS DOWN FROM 20,000 FEET & KILLS YOU WITH NO REMORSE 7. Allosaurus T.REX : RADIOHEAD :: ALLOSAURUS : MUSE 6. Stegosaurus LOOK AT THAT SWEET ASS BODY ARMOR PLUS IT’S VEGAN BOTTOM LINE: I’D HIT IT 5. Velociraptor PACK HUNTING, GENIUS IQ KILLING MACHINES A+, EVOLUTION 4. Triceratops OH MY GOD LOOK IT’S SO COOL IT LOOKS LIKE RYAN GOSLING WEARING A DRACULA COLLAR AND SOME STICKERS BONUS: THEIR HUGE POOPS 3. Corythosaurus THIS IS THAT DINOSAUR THAT HAS A MOHAWK ANY QUESTIONS DIDN’T THINK SO 2. Apatosaurus NECK LIKE A TRUCK TRUCK TRUCK THIGHS LIKE WHAT WHAT WHAT 1. Tyrannosaurus Rex “LOL ITS ARMS” LET’S SEE IF YOU CAN LOL AFTER THE T-REX RIPS OUT YOUR LUNGS, LOSER