Wednesday, November 28, 2018

NASA's inSight probe lands on Mars

I'm a big fan of NASA's space exploration program using probes and rovers. Yesterday their latest probe, InSight, successfully landed on Mars. Landing on Mars isn't easy, almost half the missions to Mars have failed during landing. InSight is already sending photos back to Earth (see above). You can follow the mission on NASA's website here.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Voice of HAL 9000 actor dies

Douglas Rain, the actor best known for voicing the homicidal HAL 9000 computer in Stanley Kubrick's film 2001: A Space Odysseyhas died aged 90. HAL 9000 is probably the most famous computer in Science-Fiction. The movie was prescient is showing that speech would be the primary method that we would use to communicate with computers.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Film fans see red over Netflix ‘targeted’ posters for black viewers

We're used to the idea of Netflix and other online services, recommending us content based on our viewing history. What you might be surprised to learn is that Netflix is altering the promo images of shows based on our ethnicity. In the image above a white viewer would see the image on the left showing the show's leading actors. A black viewer would see the image on the right where it looks like the show stars Taye Diggs and Lucy Liu who are minor players. The Observer has an interesting article on this story. We can't even accuse Netflix of algorithmic bias since this seems to be deliberate!