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Our Universal Robots

Friday, April 18, 2014

The word 'robot' first appeared in 1920 in Karel Čapek's play, Rossum's Universal Robots. Since then, intelligent machines have starred countless times in novels and films. Brooke talks with professor Jay P. Telotte about the ways our fears and fascinations with robots are reflected in culture. 

Music: Calexico - Attack El Robot! Attack! Special thanks to @bartona104 (Julia Barton) for the suggestion on Twitter!

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On The Media

Google's Robot Brigade

Friday, April 18, 2014

Google has recently scooped up more than a half dozen robot companies. Their specialties range from artificial limbs to 3D machine vision to scurrying insect-bots and humanoid soldiers. But Google has kept mum about why they're acquiring these technologies. Brooke talks with Henrik Christensen, a professor of robotics at Georgia Tech, about what Google might do with its new toys. 

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On The Media

Engineering Intelligence

Friday, April 18, 2014

Despite the technological leaps made in the realm of artificial intelligence, people often object to the idea that the minds of machines can ever replicate the minds of humans. But for engineers, the proof is in the processing. Brooke talks with Stanford lecturer and entrepreneur Jerry Kaplan about how the people who make robots view the field of AI. 

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On The Media

ROBOTS! (and artificial intelligence)

Friday, April 18, 2014

A special theme hour - starring a computer competing against a comedian for laughs, the Army's recruitment chatbot, and Google crushing on robots. 

On The Media

Google Will Now Let You Buy Google Glass (for One Day Only)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Google announced today that they’ll let anybody buy Google Glass, but for one day only. Previously, only a limited number of people were allowed in to Google’s beta test. But next Tuesday, if you’d like, you can plunk down $1,500 for a pair of internet spectacles.

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On The Media

#21 - There Is No Such Thing As Silence

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Continuing our expose into the very hush-hush world of Silence, we look at an app that promises to deliver you four minutes and thirty-three seconds of silence. PJ talks to Larry Larson, who helped design the 4'33" app.

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On The Media

Not All Video Games Cause Aggressive Behavior. Just the Really Crappy Ones.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Well if someone had just asked me, I could have told them that - a study has found that video games with frustrating and counter-intuitive controls are more likely to cause aggressive behavior.

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On The Media

Case Closed

Friday, April 04, 2014

A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) not only presents dire evidence of global warming's impact, it also offers a different narrative about who is at risk, putting humans at the center of the story. Brooke talks with science journalist Cristine Russell about the IPCC's media-ready case.

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On The Media

A Calculator To Tell You How Many Weeks (Or Months, Or Years) You've Spent Watching TV

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Oh dear. A new online calculator will tell you how many weeks (or months, or years) you've lost to your favorite shows.

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On The Media

Obamacare In Spanish, Cartographers vs. The World, and More

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Obamacare advertising blitz tries to reach the young and uninsured, the annexation of Crimea creates a dilemma for map makers, and the history of those ubiquitous online quizzes. 

On The Media

How Much Oil Really Spilled?

Friday, March 28, 2014

On the 25th anniversary of the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Southwest Alaska, the media reported, as they have since the disaster happened, that the amount of oil spilled was 11 million gallons. In 2010, Brooke spoke with Riki Ott - a marine toxicologist and author - who explained that the 11 million number is in fact a disputed figure the media have incorrectly adopted.

 

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On The Media

When Your Favorite TV Show Jumped the Shark, In Graph Form

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Internet TV criticism means that we scrutinize each episode more minutely than we ever have before. Here's how to know if we're right.

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On The Media

So Many Keys

Friday, March 21, 2014

Four times a year, members of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, or ICAAN, take part in an elaborate ceremony (iris scanners!) designed to assure the world that the organization is doing its best to keep the web connected and safe. Brooke explains the meeting of the keyholders, with insight from Guardian reporter James Ball, who attended one of the ceremonies last month.

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On The Media

#19 - Project Flame

Thursday, March 20, 2014

In 1966, a bored college freshman created Project Flame, an early computer dating system that promised to pair lonely hearts. Project Flame was an overnight sensation. The only problem was that the guy who founded didn't have a computer. Or any idea how to use one. 

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On The Media

Copyright Law for Extraterrestrials

Friday, March 14, 2014

Somewhere at the edge of our heliosphere, billions of miles from Earth, the Voyager 1 spacecraft carries the sounds of a few musicians from our planet into the interstellar void. It also carries a legacy of extraterrestrial copyright law. Bob talks with The New Yorker's music critic Alex Ross about the nature of intergalactic intellectual property.

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On The Media

We Might Be Able To Predict the Future Using Social Media. But Should We?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A new study from MIT found a way to retroactively predict the 2013 coup in Egypt. Study author Nathan Kallus plugged in 300,000 web sources from before the coup, scanned them for keywords and sentiment analysis, and was able to graph a prediction for when the coup would happen.

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On The Media

Study Says People Who Are Jerks Online are Likely to Be Jerks Offline, Too

Friday, February 14, 2014

People who troll online are likely to self-report as being sadists in real life.

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On The Media

#15 - Internet Time

Thursday, February 13, 2014

In 1998 Swatch tried to completely reinvent our concept of time. Swatch Internet Time (or .beat time) would have been a new way to conceive of moments. There'd be no time zones, and also, no hours, minutes, or seconds. PJ talks to Gizmodo's Eric Limer and Swatch Creative Director Carlo Giordanetti about Swatch's plan to create time's version of Esperanto. 

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On The Media

#13 - Managing a Monster

Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Slender Man is the internet's monster - the subject of countless remixes, tributes, and parodies. He's so ubiquitous he feels like he's been around for ages, like folklore. But Slender Man has an owner and a point of origin. Alex talks to Eric Knudsen, the creator of Slender Man.

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On The Media

Have You Been Pwned?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

It's has simply become a fact of life now that personal information is going to be compromised by hackers. Both private and public entities are routinely having information stolen because they are either unable or unwilling to properly inoculate against these kinds of attacks. So if you can't rely on third parties to safeguard your data, there should at least be a way to know if it has fallen into the hands of hackers. Now there is.

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