Category: TNW Answers

How tech is defying death and turning our loved ones into Alexa-powered chatbots


TNW Answers is a live Q&A platform where we invite interesting people in tech who are much smarter than us to answer questions from TNW readers and editors for an hour.  What if death wasn’t so final? What if the life of a family member could live on with the help of artificial intelligence? No, I’m not talking about that episode of Black Mirror, I’m talking about HereAfter, a conversational AI platform that creates interactive, life-story sharing chatbots, accessible through Amazon Alexa with the actual recorded voice of a loved one. In 2016, James Vlahos, the CEO of HereAfter, created…

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The invisible labor powering Silicon Valley — and the ethics behind ‘ghost work’


TNW Answers is a live Q&A platform where we invite interesting people in tech who are much smarter than us to answer questions from TNW readers and editors for an hour.  How does an early-stage startup grow from the ground up to turn into an influential money making machine? Does it all boil down to the equation of strong leadership, generous investors, and an original ‘innovative’ idea? While this might sound like the answer, according to Mary L. Gray, the co-author of ‘Ghost Work: How to Stop Silicon Valley from Building a New Global Underclass,’ almost every tech company relies…

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This researcher explains what ‘life hacking’ is all about


TNW Answers is a live Q&A platform where we invite interesting people in tech who are much smarter than us to answer questions from TNW readers and editors for an hour.  You must have heard about ‘life hacks’: pieces of actionable advice that, if followed, claim to bring about noticeable improvement in someone’s quality of life. A life hack can be something small, like a particularly efficient way of folding laundry. Or it can take the form of an elaborate process, like John Walker’s Hacker Diet that approached weight-loss as an engineering problem. From personal-finance gurus to productivity experts to…

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It’s time sex toys become more inclusive and accessible


TNW Answers is a live Q&A platform where we invite interesting people in tech who are much smarter than us to answer questions from TNW readers and editors for an hour.  Sex, and specifically female sexual pleasure, is a long-held taboo in our society. In recent years, the sex tech industry has had to deal with a range of challenges. It’s not an easy task to break the taboos around sexual pleasure and design sex toys to suit a wide variety of anatomically different bodies, all with different needs and preferences. When sex toys became popular in the ‘70s, the industry…

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We asked a computational poet if machines will ever replace human writers


TNW Answers is a live Q&A platform where we invite interesting people in tech who are much smarter than us to answer questions from TNW readers and editors for an hour.  Yesterday, Nick Montfort, a computational poet and an award-winning author of interactive fiction, hosted a TNW Answers session. During the AMA, Montfort spoke about what computer-generated literature does better than humans, the future of computer-assisted journalism, and how computer-generated novels help enlarge cultural imagination and explore new possibilities of language.  At first thought, computer-generated poetry may seem like a new and unexplored area of literature. So, what exactly is…

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This tool erases web page text to reveal hidden poetry


Since TNW is a news site, we produce a lot of written text. For the most part that’s all valuable and relevant, but since I look at these walls of text for 40 hours a week, there are moments where they become overwhelming and stifling. I mean, just how much can you read about the exhilarating tech world every day? Luckily enough, I found the antidote to this textual stuffiness in a piece of computational art.  While looking into Nick Montfort’s portfolio of work, I discovered an excellent tool/art piece that uses javascript to erase parts of the text displayed…

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Algorithm researcher says ‘lying on YouTube is still a profitable business’


TNW Answers is a live Q&A platform where we invite interesting people in tech who are much smarter than us to answer questions from TNW readers and editors for an hour.  YouTube, which has more than a billion users who watch over a billion hours of content per day, shows us limited data on the videos uploaded to the site including its number of views, likes, and dislikes — but the video-streaming site hides more in-depth stats about each video, like how often it recommends a video to other people. Guillaume Chaslot is working to change this. A computer programmer…

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Or just read more coverage about: YouTube

TikTok’s learning from YouTube’s mistakes and YouTubers should be taken seriously, says researcher


TNW Answers is a live Q&A platform where we invite interesting people in tech who are much smarter than us to answer questions from TNW readers and editors for an hour.  Over the past couple of years, YouTube has found itself fighting a whole range of issues. From failing to regulate problematic videos, to facing the pressures of regulating toxic comments and hate speech, and recommending troubling videos on its homepage to its users. Earlier this week, Chris-Stokel Walker, the author of YouTubers, which looks at the lives of successful content creators who make a living on the platform, as…

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Or just read more coverage about: YouTube

Defining humanlike intelligence and entrusting it with our lives, explained by an AI researcher


TNW Answers is a live Q&A platform where we invite interesting people in tech who are much smarter than us to answer questions from TNW readers and editors for an hour.  Yesterday, Melanie Mitchell, the author of ‘Artificial Intelligence: A Guide for Thinking Humans’ and the Davis Professor of Complexity at the Santa Fe Institute, hosted a TNW Answers session where she spoke about how much we should really trust AI, her worries surrounding the technology, and defining humanlike intelligence in machines.  [Read: Chess grandmaster Gary Kasparov predicts AI will disrupt 96% of all jobs] Most fears around AI usually…

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How to stop bias from creeping into the recruitment process, a diversity expert explains


TNW Answers is a live Q&A platform where we invite interesting people in tech who are much smarter than us to answer questions from TNW readers and editors for an hour.  A lack of diversity is one of the biggest problems the tech industry faces, despite a significant growth in the number of women working in the tech industry, female representation has stalled over the last decade. Currently, just 18% of leadership roles are filled by women, and the stats are even bleaker for women of color. Research has proven time and time again that diverse teams are good for…

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