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What's new at the crossroads of culture, technology and science
Curated by Artur Alves
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When Algorithms Discriminate - NYTimes.com

When Algorithms Discriminate - NYTimes.com | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Artur Alves's insight:

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“The amoral status of an algorithm does not negate its effects on society,” wrote the authors of the Google advertising study, Amit Datta and Anupam Datta of Carnegie Mellon and Michael Carl Tschantz of the International Computer Science Institute.

Algorithms, which are a series of instructions written by programmers, are often described as a black box; it is hard to know why websites produce certain results. Often, algorithms and online results simply reflect people’s attitudes and behavior. Machine learning algorithms learn and evolve based on what people do online. Theautocomplete feature on Google and Bing is an example. A recent Google search for “Are transgender,” for instance, suggested, “Are transgenders going to hell.”

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Preserving software for future historians: Emulators versus physical copies.

Preserving software for future historians: Emulators versus physical copies. | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it
Visitors to Microsoft in Redmond, Wash., can avail themselves of free shuttle cars to help them make their way about the sprawling suburban campus.
Artur Alves's insight:

"For decades the library [of Congress] has also been receiving computer games, and in 2006 the games became part of the moving-image collections at the Packard campus. While the library registers the copyrights, what it means to preserve and restore vintage computer games—or any kind of computer software—is less clear. What kind of intervention is necessary to keep computer games from meeting the fate of the 80 percent of pre-1930 American films now lost forever thanks to their volatile nitrate film stock?

That question was recently explored at a two-day meeting dubbed “Preserving.exe” at the Library of Congress’ Madison building in Washington. A roomful of computer historians, technical experts, archivists, academics, and industry representatives discussed what role the nation’s cultural-heritage institutions, from the library and the Smithsonian to the Internet Archive, ought to play in gathering and maintaining collections of games and other software for posterity. While libraries, archives, and museums now routinely confront the challenges of massive quantities of files and records in digital format, actual software—“executable content” in the parlance of the meeting—raises some especially vexed problems for preservation."

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Five Great Works of Software (Medium)

Is it possible to propose a software canon? To enumerate great works of software that are deeply influential—that change…
Artur Alves's insight:
«I set myself the task of picking five great works of software. The criteria were simple: How long had it been around? Did people directly interact with it every day? Did people use it to do something meaningful? I came up with the office suite Microsoft Office, the image editor Photoshop, the videogame Pac-Man, the operating system Unix, and the text editor Emacs. I realized that each one of these technologies set out to help people do something but consequently grew and changed over time. Each ultimately provided a way for large groups of people to talk about and think about very difficult problems: Microsoft Office: How do we communicate about work? Photoshop: How do we create and manipulate images? Pac-Man: How do we play? Unix: How do we connect abstractions together to solve problems? Emacs: How do we write programs that control computers?«
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Wavii Vows to Understand Entire Internet

Wavii Vows to Understand Entire Internet | Gentlemachines | Scoop.it

"Wavii’s online service is a Facebook-like newsfeed for everything other than Facebook. It feeds you news about what’s going on in the world at large, not just random thoughts from your friends and family."

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