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Facebook Removes Human Curators From Trending Module

Today, Facebook announced that human curators will no longer write short descriptions that accompany trending topics on the site. Instead, the company will rely on an algorithmic process to “pull excerpts directly from stories.” The company also said it will stop using human curators to sort through the news…. It’s important to note that Facebook originally claimed its Trending Topics section was sorted by an algorithm. The company seems to have…

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Meet octobot, a soft-bodied robot that looks like the future

Our future robot overlords never looked so squishy. A team of Harvard University scientists has built an entirely soft robot — one that’s inspired by an octopus. The octobot, described this week in the journal Nature, could pave the way toward more effective soft robots that could be used in search and rescue, exploration and to more safely interact with humans. “The octobot is a minimal system designed to demonstrate…

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U.S. Public Wary of Biomedical Technologies to ‘Enhance’ Human Abilities

Americans are more worried than enthusiastic about using gene editing, brain chip implants and synthetic blood to change human capabilities. Majorities of U.S. adults say they would be “very” or “somewhat” worried about gene editing (68%), brain chips (69%) and synthetic blood (63%), while no more than half say they would be enthusiastic about each of these developments. Some people say they would be both enthusiastic and worried, but, overall,…

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Facebook’s News Feed: Often Changed, Never Great

I’ve never liked Instant Articles — Facebook’s Newspeak term for “We want to make it harder for users to leave Facebook even when they’ve chosen to follow a link to an article on a news source.” In The New Yorker, Om Malik writes about Facebook’s evolving interface. There are days when I look at my news feed and it seems like a social fabric of fun—a video of the first…

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Facebook is predicting the end of the written word

Facebook’s video push threatens the edited TV news package as much as it threatens the written word. I’ve definitely noticed a difference in traffic when I post a YouTube video (which generally gets modest attention on FB but often accumulates views over time) vs when I post similar content directly within Facebook (which FB seems to promote more quickly, but which disappears into the memory hole about 24 hours later,…