The Random Darknet Shopper is an art piece by !MEDIENGRUPPE BITNIK for the exhibtion From Memes to Onionland. So the bot bought 10 pills of Ecstasy (among other things in the name of art and got 'arrested' by the Swiss police. So what happens when a bot gets 'arrested?' It seems robots are starting to break the law and nobody knows what to do about it. [more inside]
In this essay I argue that an important recent development in the struggle to represent algorithms is that computer algorithms now have their own public relations. That is, they have both a public-facing identity and new promotional discourses that depict them as efficient, valuable, powerful, and objective. It is vital that we understand how the algorithms that dominate our experience operate upon us. Yet commercial companies -a recent phenomenon- now systematically manage our image of algorithms and the information we receive about them. Algorithms themselves, rather than just the companies that operate them, have become the subject of mass marketing claims. To make this clear, I analyze a variety of visual and multimedia depictions of algorithms. I begin by reviewing a variety of historical and contemporary attempts to represent algorithms for novices in educational settings, and then I compare these to recent commercial depictions. I will conclude with a critique of current trends and a call for a counter-visuality that can resist them.
Inadvertent Algorithmic Cruelty: Author and Web design consultant Eric Meyer lost his daughter Rebecca to a brain tumor earlier this year, as mentioned previously on the Blue--or in this case the Purple. At the year's end, Facebook's Year in Review app has been sending him ghastly reminders of this recent history with an auto-populated, cheerily decorated slideshow featuring pictures of his dead daughter. Mediating on the influence of such algorithms in our lives, he writes: To call a person “thoughtless” is usually considered a slight, or an outright insult; and yet, we unleash so many literally thoughtless processes on our users, on our lives, on ourselves.
"Facebook actually makes masks out of everyone’s faces." Artist Sterling Crispin creates DATA-MASKS as a way to physically present the abstract data structures that Facebook and biometric surveillance systems use to pull a face from a crowd.
James Murphy (formerly of LCD Soundsystem) has built an algorithm to musically interpret live data from the US Tennis Open which will create around 400 hours of music. All previous games can be listened to and each has a different flavour - it can get a little glitchy but try Djokovic vs Querry or Brengle vs Lisick for starters. Or have a play with the algorithm yourself.
I quit liking things on Facebook for two weeks. Here's how it changed my view of humanity [more inside]
Welcome to Al Zimmermann's Programming Contests. You've entered an arena where demented computer programmers compete for glory and for some cool prizes. The current challenge is just about to come to an end, but you can peruse the previous contests and prepare for the new one starting next month.
What is the greatest danger of algorithmic culture? Christian Sandvig describes it as "corrupt personalization."
Computers are providing solutions to math problems that we can't check - "A computer has solved the longstanding Erdős discrepancy problem! Trouble is, we have no idea what it's talking about — because the solution, which is as long as all of Wikipedia's pages combined, is far too voluminous for us puny humans to confirm." (via; previously ;)
GaMuSo is an application of BioGraph-based data mining to music, which helps you get recommendations for other musicians. Based on 140K user-defined tags from last.fm that are collected for over 400K artists, results are sorted by the "nearest" or most probable matches for your artist of interest (algorithm described here). [more inside]
Unleashing Genetic Algorithms on the iOS 7 Icon - In the pursuit of something just a bit tighter than Marc Edwards' superellipse approximation, Mike Swanson applies genetic algorithms to the task of making a better button-making script.
Dynamic target tracking camera system keeps its eye on the ball - motorized mirrors track a moving object of interest every thousandth of a second, reflecting its image into a camera
By rotating, positioning and dropping a predetermined sequence of pieces, the Tetris Printer Algorithm (video) exploits the mechanics of Tetris to generate arbitrary bitmap images.
Does Big Data Mean The Demise Of The Expert - And Intuition? - "Data-driven decisions are poised to augment or overrule human judgment." What Is Big Data? [more inside]
Using computer systems for doing mathematical proofs - "With the proliferation of computer-assisted proofs that are all but impossible to check by hand, Hales thinks computers must become the judge." [more inside]
is it t / is it true / is it too late to register to vote / is it time to break up / is it tuesday Enjoy the algorithmically-generated autocompleted poignance of Google Poetics, or submit your own. [more inside]
Idakoos is an online t-shirt store that automatically generates t-shirts based on animal types, hobbies, adjectives, and occupations (among other categories). This can lead to some relatively strange combinations.
The Anternet is always up. On the surface, ants and the Internet don't seem to have much in common. But two Stanford researchers have discovered that a species of harvester ants determine how many foragers to send out of the nest in much the same way that Internet protocols discover how much bandwidth is available for the transfer of data. [more inside]
Gestus is a moving image processing framework that uses computer vision techniques to explore the artistic possibilities of the vector as a symbolic form.
We've discussed subblue/Tom Beddard and Mandlebulbs before, but two months ago L'Eclaireur Sévigné asked him to create a few animations for their 147-screen exhibition. And here are the hypnotic, terrifying results.
A fun flash rhythm builder based on Euclidean patterns. For those who enjoyed Circuli (previously) and the Whitney Music Box (also previously), I recommend Wouter Hisschenmoller's rhythm builder, which uses a Euclidean algorithm to create African-like rhythms, which you can layer to create some fun and complex beats.
A quicker picker-upper. "[A] group of MIT researchers will present a new algorithm that, in a large range of practically important cases, improves on the fast Fourier transform."
4chan's texboard /prog/ invents a novel new sorting algorithm(no images, but NSFW with a few reprehensible bits thrown in) called sleep sort and translates it into most most modern programming languages. Hacker News provides analysis and finds itself impressed.
Age of the Algorithm. In the age of the algorithm, you can get just about anything you think you want, learn everything you think you need to know, by clicking on a link or typing a few words into a search bar. On SEO, content farms, old media, and 'online sweatshops.' (From Maisonneuve.)
Nifty audio projects from Paris Smaragdis, including fascinating method of extracting individual audio samples (say a guitar solo) from a mix by humming the part. [6.4 mb mp4] [via AskMe]
Mazes: generate them, solve them, learn about them.
Google recently rolled out its new instant search feature which accompanies its older "suggest" function. Both use an algorithm in an attempt to keep the search engine clean and out of trouble. The people at 2600.com are compiling a list of both objectionable and NOT objectionable terms (NSFW). [more inside]
What different sorting algorithms sound like. "[...] audibilization is just one of many ways to generate sound from running sorting algorithms. Here on every comparison of two numbers (elements) I play (mixing) sin waves with frequencies modulated by values of these numbers." Two older [previously] attempts (with code).
How many books are there? 129,864,880.
Jinni is a movie and TV recommendation service that has apparently developed an algorithm similar to Pandora's Music Genome Project. Their algorithm is cleverly titled The Movie Genome Project.
The principles of Harmonics were discovered by Pythagoras c.587-c.507 B.C. during travels to Egypt and throughout the ancient world. Hans Kayser made a profound philosophic study of harmonics in the 20th century. Algorithmic composition is the technique of using harmonic algorithms to create music. Drew Lesso has been creating algorithmic music since 1975. Samples like Crystal, Constellations, or Planet Earth demonstrate the math behind the music. Over the years, Lesso has collaborated with many other musicians and poets to create an airy, evolutionary legacy.
Universal Algorithm of Experience: Rev. Luke Anthony Murphy has produced four books of graphs over the past five years: Relationships, Spiritual Matters, Money, and Problems. These graphs are attempts to give shape to the conditions that produce the internal environment of anxiety. Recently a group of these were presented in a show called Wilderness at Bernadette Salvage Fine Arts in conjunction with 7hours in Brooklyn. Rev. Luke Anthony Murphy is a painter and shows this work as well as his digitally produced drawings and photos in New York, Toronto, and Berlin. He currently lives in East Harlem, New York, and works for CBS.com.
Modelling Human Memory. Or, really, predicting the point of forgetting.
The Algorithm: Idiom of Modern Science - an allegory told with iPods as Universal Machines.
Algorithm. JPEG compression explained.
Introduced to Western culture by the Beatles in their single Norwegian Wood, the sitar has featured prominently in North Indian classical music for centuries. Princeton-based computer scientist Ajay Kapur updates the instrument with his ESitar, an audio and video controller that uses gesture input (PDF) and machine learning algorithms to facilitate joining the computer with Ajay in his sitar performance. Undergraduate engineering students at the University of Pennsylvania work from the other direction, building RAVI-bot, an award-winning, self-playing robotic sitar (YouTube) programmed to generate music from classical Raga scales and melodies all on its own. For those in the Philadelphia area, be sure to check out a live performance of RAVI-bot at the local Klein Art Gallery.
Gary Stasiuk's beautiful Digital Creatures pulls the curtains on the kinematics of geometric objects, after which he plays with the mathematics and user interactivity of generative art and shows how to build the appearance of AI behaviors into Flash objects.
The John Whitney Music Box Variations are (currently) 17 nifty Flash sound/color objects based on the harmonics and algorithmic animation work of John Whitney, from the same fine fellow who brought us CoverPop and ColrPickr.
A look at an algorithm Google uses to run large-scale computations in parallel on thousands of cheap PCs: MapReduce. Via Joel on Software.
Algorithmic composition is a method of composing music using basic alogrithm models to compose. Musicalgorithms is a program designed to allow composers a tool to explore algorithmic composition and lay people the opportunity to create music based on non-musical models.
Quake to hit LA "by September 5," predicts a geophysicist at UCLA's Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics. Some skeptical, while others say it's not junk science.
The genger genie purports to guess the gender of an author by reading a sample of their writing. The program is based on an algorithm describe here, at nature.com. [Via Hit Or Miss.]
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