Kids can now explore the Himalayas just using a new Google Maps app. A 500-foot Yeti, named Verne, will guide them on a virtual tour of the planet’s highest peaks. The company has combined 3D graphics with their maps to create a unique experience for adventurous kids to traverse the outside world, staying inside.
In the 1977 blockbuster Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Princess Leia appeared to Luke Skywalker as a hologram. Nearly forty years after, that fantasy is here. The Microsoft HoloLens is a holographic computer that enables users to interact with high-definition holograms through augmented reality. Unveiled in 2015, the headset is now available to the (rich) masses, at a price of $3.000.
“The question for us was: is a computer able to write a screenplay?” these are the words of Oscar Sharp, director of this short movie, written by an artificial intelligence system. The answer is clearly yes. Sunspring is the result of this attempt: a sci-fi short movie of nine minutes where the main actor is Thomas Middleditch, character of the cult series Silicon Valley.
Before 1985 the virtual world was yet an uncharted space, an aerea full of potential but devoid of activity. Then in 1985, the online world has been permanently linked to the physical world. This happened when it was agreed that each country has to own its piece of virtual space, encapsulated in a two-letter code within the Domain Name System. Thirty years later, the online world counts 3.2 billion “citizens”, Internet users. But like our cities transformed the natural environment, the online domains shaped the virtual landscape.
China always had a peculiar relationship with the Internet. It has been intermittent until 1994 and never really free. The government saw it as a danger, but also as a very powerful weapon that they have to control, therefore they implemented a massive surveillance and content control system. As politics in China put great effort into propaganda, they use it as an unbeatable tool of dissemination of news to assure public order. Since 2008 China is also the largest population on the Internet (700M), it goes without saying that it is placed under the supervision of the Chinese Republic itself.
Biancoshock is an Italian street-artist, known for his provocative yet realistic projects. His last work is called Web 0.0, an urban activism project in which the Internet and web apps are contextualized in everyday life. It represents living proof that services like Facebook or WhatsApp have always existed and will continue to exist, even in a small provincial town almost untouched by virtual reality.
A ten part series exploring the design of an invisible technology: money.
The (in)famous American economist Alan Greenspan once said that “in the absence of the gold standard, there is no safe store of value”. The gold standard is a monetary system where a country’s currency or paper money has a value directly linked to gold. The system is no longer used, with America being the last major country to renounce it in 1971. Yet gold bullion, also known as gold bar, still holds its allure to investors as a safe store of value. In recent years, a new store of value has arisen in the form of a virtual precious metal cryptocurrency called Crypto Bullion.
On March the 23rd, Microsoft unveiled Tay, a twitterbot that was created with the intent of talking like a teenager. It’s artificial intelligence was made to learn from interacting with other people in the twitterverse. It was expected that Tay would make jokes and employ internet-millenial slang. What happened was something different.