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Welcome back.

It's been two years since this machine last spoke, and May 2018 now sounds like a completely different planet. We're resuming the weekly newsletter schedule with a semi-automated curated selection of articles, the occasional original piece, and a renewed sense of urgency driven by the current global pandemic.

We're still thinking about algorithms and their influence on social communications, about geopolitics from east Africa to east Asia, and about the secret details of  shadow warfare and billionaire philanthropy.

The Blind Machine is brought to you by the good people at chumbo

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DeepMind and Google: the battle to control artificial intelligence

on Jun 28, 2020 09:39 am

One afternoon in August 2010, in a conference hall perched on the edge of San Francisco Bay, a 34-year-old Londoner called Demis Hassabis took to the stage.

Mumbai’s amazing lunch couriers bring office workers home-cooked meals every day

on Jun 28, 2020 01:39 am

Dabbawalla 4 minutes

‘The Twilight Zone,’ from A to Z

on Jun 27, 2020 07:39 pm

The planet has been knocked off its elliptical orbit and overheats as it hurtles toward the sun; the night ceases to exist, oil paintings melt, the sidewalks in New York are hot enough to fry an egg on, and the weather forecast is “more of the same, only hotter.

Umm Kulthum

on Jun 27, 2020 01:39 pm

Jump to navigation Jump to search This article is about the Egyptian singer. For other uses, see Umm Kulthum (name).

[Letter from Kashmir] Valley of Unrest, by Sonia Faleiro | Harper’s Magazine

on Jun 27, 2020 08:39 am

Baramulla, a city on the Jhelum River, thirty miles northwest of Srinagar, Kashmir. All photographs from Kashmir, August 2019 © Abid Bhat. Bhat’s work was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. One winter’s night in the Kashmir Valley, the power went out.

The Decline of the American World

on Jun 27, 2020 08:39 am

Other countries are used to loathing America, admiring America, and fearing America (sometimes all at once). But pitying America? That one is new. “He hated America very deeply,” John le Carré wrote of his fictional Soviet mole, Bill Haydon, in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

The push to redefine “good design” amid the Black Lives Matter movement

on Jun 27, 2020 08:39 am

Looking at Big Tech as the next Big Oil. In 2015, Nextdoor, the location-based social networking app, gained a reputation as a locus of racial profiling. Users were sending alerts for merely spotting hoodie-wearing Black men walking in their neighborhoods.

Good Questions, Real Answers: How Does Facebook Use Machine Learning to Deliver Ads?

on Jun 24, 2020 09:39 pm

Machine learning is a system that learns as it receives new data, without being explicitly programmed, to carry out complex tasks quickly and efficiently. Facebook uses machine learning to generate the estimated action rate and the ad quality score used in the total value equation.

Google Founder Sergey Brin Has a Secret Disaster Relief Squad

on Jun 22, 2020 10:39 pm

When Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas last September, the small island of Abaco was among the hardest hit. Dorian stalled over the island for two days, unleashing some of the strongest winds ever recorded in the Caribbean.

From HAL 9000 to Westworld’s Dolores: the pop culture robots that influenced smart voice assistants

on Jun 22, 2020 09:39 pm

Last year, nearly one third of Australian adults owned a smart speaker device allowing them to call on “Alexa” or “Siri”. Now, with more time spent indoors due to COVID-19, smart voice assistants may be playing even bigger roles in people’s lives. But not everyone embraces them.


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This is a weekly publication about Pop Culture, Software Studies, Business Strategy, Media Platforms, Algorithmic Management, Game Design, and everything in between.
Copyright © 2020 chumbo, All rights reserved.

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