Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Jack and the Beanstalk Retold


Fee, Fie, Foe, Fum...
A plant inspires a tale retold...
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Jack: Unbelievable. It appeared overnight. Gotta be a story in this.
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Kris: The beanstalk? Jack arrived at work by bicycle one hot summer morning.
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Jack: A huge plant had appeared overnight. Grew out of the stormwater grate.
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Kris: Jack looked up into the leaves and saw a shining mango. He hadn’t brought any lunch so he thought, “That’ll be my lunch.”
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Jack: Up he climbed, up and up.
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Kris: But he didn’t seem to be getting any closer. Suddenly, he realised something. The beanstalk was growing as fast as he was climbing.
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Jack: And carrying him up with it. The ground was now far away.
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Kris: And the shining mango was just as far off.
__________
Voice-over
Choose an ending to complete the story as a sort of “Choose your own Adventure”. Remember those?
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(a) Jack woke up from the dream.
(b) The shining mango fell, Jack caught it and climbed safely down.
(c) A giant appeared and ate Jack for his lunch.
(d) It was a genetically modified beanstalk which grew mangos.
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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Spied on by a drone


Unnerving surveillance experience…
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I Am a Camera...
Ethan: We were sitting in the garden, and suddenly this drone comes over the wall, and hovers there. Threatening, four or five meters away, eye-level, filming us talking.
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Stefan: Hmm. Unsettling. But drones aren’t dangerous in themselves. They don’t have a malicious intelligence. The operator might but the drone doesn’t.
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Ethan: Hard to separate the two. I see Germany is buying drones from Israel for surveillance.
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Stefan: Just for looking.
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Ethan: Yes, but those same Israeli drones can be weaponized. From a looking drone, it’s a simple step to a shooting drone.
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Voice-over
Fears that AI will overtake human intelligence. That robots, androids and drones with their superior intelligence will have no need of human beings… A Robopocalypse. Will they allow us to live among them as avatars? Might humans morph into robots, androids and drones.
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Or is it as Steven Pinker reminds us in Enlightenment Now, that artificial intelligence is not in itself dangerous. Confusing AI with evil motivations is a fallacy: “…intelligence in Homo sapiens is a product of Darwinian natural selection… with goals such as dominating rivals and amassing resources…there is no law of complex systems that says that intelligent agents must turn into ruthless conquistadors.” (Pinker, 2018: 297).
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Thursday, July 5, 2018

A TED-type talk: a performed presentation


After the plenary…
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Anika: Marvellous. He didn’t read a single word. Just talked.
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Markus: And the PPT slides. What images. Dozens of them.
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Anika: So there you have it. He’d memorized his talk. A performance against the backdrop of a cascade of brilliant visuals.
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Markus: Like theater. Or a movie.
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Anika: Why can’t academics all present like that.
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Source: The Best Schools
Markus: It’s called “reading a paper”. Seems they don’t know how to talk, or even read.
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Anika: I wonder how much coaching presenters receive before doing a TED talk?
__________
Voice-over
Academic conference presentations. Head down over a script, gabbling or mumbling. A very few can passably read as if they were a radio broadcaster. Even fewer can actually perform their script. Tribute to the Henry Jenkins plenary at NECS on 180627.
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