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The100: Sunken unicorns, the first chatbot and who’s in space

The artificial intelligentsia

Back in 1966, an MIT professor called Joseph Weizenbaum invented the first chatbot. Many of the alarm bells he subsequently rang in the 70s are still tolling today: 

“By ceding so many decisions to computers, he thought, we had created a world that was more unequal and less rational, in which the richness of human reason had been flattened into the senseless routines of code […] For Weizenbaum, judgement involves choices that are guided by values. These values are acquired through the course of our life experience and are necessarily qualitative: they cannot be captured in code. Calculation, by contrast, is quantitative. It uses a technical calculus to arrive at a decision. Computers are only capable of calculation, not judgement.”

Whilst we’re on the smoggy presence of digital exhaust, here are a few more articles on the subject:

The pet factor

The honourable gentleman, Jonathan Middis, very kindly sent me a superb graph from Chartr showing which animals veggies and non-veggies deem as morally acceptable to eat. 

There are so many interesting parts to it: The inflexion midway. The agreement on octopus. The disagreement on horses. It’s a corker. 

“What’s really exceptional is the speed at which we spent money”

Not so long ago, online used car retailer, Cazoo (inspired by US company Carvana) was everywhere you looked here in the UK. They went from 0 to 85% awareness in 18 months and became the fastest UK business to achieve “unicorn” status. Then they lost 97% of their value.

Lucas Bergmans, who was Group Marketing Director at the time, spoke to BigSmall about their model, approach, successes, challenges, rise and subsequent fall. It’s an interesting case study for a 30 minute commute / drive / walk.

“Smart” traits

According to to Morgan Housel, there’s an important distinction in life – the difference between being intelligent and being smart: 

“Intelligent people understand technical details, smart people understand emotional details […] who is more likely to succeed in life – a person whose main skill is memorizing formulas, or someone who can instantly relate to the emotions of coworkers, customers, spouses, and friends?”

Start spreadin’ the news

Rob Stephenson runs The Neighbourhoods –  “a not-so-deep dive into every neighborhood in NYC”. The Sights and Sounds sections are particularly pleasing. 

And finally…

A MAP! Real time lighting flashes. Yuuuuursssssss (said in my best Jeremy Clarson impression).

Who’s in space right now? Every year Cindy Gallop live tweets (X’s?) her reading of the September issue of Vogue – it’s long, but it’s a total joy. Cindy doesn’t hold back. Ace.