1. This new virtual assistant wants to be the Siri of your dreams

    Meet Viv, the latest from the creators that brought you Siri

     

  2. South Korea has robots to cheer at its baseball games

    Fans can send proxies to the stadium to cheer, chant, and even do the wave

     

  3. Here’s Microsoft’s oddly prescient ‘smart home,’ from 1999

    Back in 1999, the future belonged to Microsoft

     

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  5. Why do we love to hate each other online? Over at Beta Beat Ryan Holiday writes about “outrage porn,” the steady stream of insincerely performed umbrage and gulping hysteria that seeps like super-concentrated vinegar out of the web’s pores every moment of every day.

    So, why are we addicted to online outrage?

     


  6. Mood-sensing apps have disturbing Big Brother implications

    A Tel Aviv-based company is preparing to debut Moodies, an emotion-sensing smartphone app. Users speak a few words into the microphone and the app uses an algorithm based on pitch, timing, volume, pauses, and energy to gauge the speaker’s emotional state.

    Though the app itself is intended to be playful (an emoticon is assigned to a user’s mood), the technology is also being developed with more serious applications in mind.

     

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  8. We’re gaining the ability to track how often we listened to pop hits, and how much time we waste on Facebook. Soon we may be letting Apple listen to the sound of our blood in hopes that the information will inspire us to become fit. Big Brother is now the geeky shlub in the mirror: you.
    — Michael Brendan Dougherty, in Our hacked lives
     

  9. Facebook has a lot of data about its users, and it also has a data science division dedicated to transforming all that data into interesting information. They recently publicized a series of studies around the topic of love. While many of the results match up well with our expectations (e.g., people tend to marry within their religion), not all of them were so obvious

    4 surprising things Facebook has learned from your relationship status

     


  10. The technology exists to add people rapidly to lists, but it is harder to take people off. Adding people is automatic; subtracting people requires human beings who are otherwise occupied. This is a real consequence of an information-hungry, terrorist-fearing surveillance state. If innocents fall into the gap, so be it: There’s a better chance that bad guys won’t get in.
    — Marc Ambinder, in Be afraid of watch lists
     

  11. A new generation of adult toys take cyber sex to a whole new level. These devices — called teledildonics — are manipulatable by the actions of a far-away internet partner.

    Sex toys get social

     

  12. “If you were to sit down with the “internet” — it would be a messy-haired, foul-mouthed, aggressive, and impatient radical. The unimpeachable androgyne would attack you on subjects ranging from feminism to modern-day fascism. It’d know everything there is to know and be useless at dispensing the information. And if it had to assume a cultural identity, it would have to be Japanese.” — Jack Flanagan, in How Japan won the internet

     

  13. Ann Ross is a forensic anthropologist (yes, like you’ve seen on CSI) and she spends her day reading skulls. She and her colleagues invented a piece of software that compares digital scans of unidentified skulls to a database of other skulls. What comes back is eerily specific

    The secret language of skulls