Category: Technology

Road Trip: Spotify designs your Soundtrack

Spotify, in collaboration with Google Maps, launched Soundtrack Your Ride to make full ride-length mix tapes to complement your roadtrip. Enter your destination, answer questions like “what’s your drive vibe”, “who you traveling with” and “what’s your ultimate driving song”. Sounds fun, now where to go?

Pinocchio : These people aren’t real?

If you look someone deep enough in the eyes you can see their soul, the idiom claims. This Person Does Not Exist plays with God’s digital palette (also known as machine learning) and designs people who don’t exist. If you look into their eyes deep enough they might become real. Learn how this is done here.

This Person Does Not Exist
This Person Does Not Exist
This Person Does Not Exist
This Person Does Not Exist
This Person Does Not Exist

Privacy: Tristan Harris

The Atlantic Magazine called Tristan Harris “the closest thing Silicon Valley has to a conscience.” Harris, formerly a “Design Ethicist” for Google and recently co-founder of the Center for Humane Technology delivered deeply provocative and crystal-clear testimony to the Senate Commerce Committee about how the business model of social networking companies are invested towards maintaining a subversive, imbalanced relationship with users and how these companies sell predictions about our future choices and identities before we we even know. As my friend wrote Jesse Stout summarizes: “It’s not the tech, it’s the business model. Extractive incentives inevitably create dystopia.”

Together: Collaborative music playroom

Plink is a collaborative online music space where you can get your groove on. Initially you might play alone — its simple point and click for different sounds and keys (I’ve only tried it on a computer; I will try it on a phone and update this soon with details). The magic truly happens when random folks join. You begin a musical dance, playing off and against one another. And you can’t mess up, it all sounds pleasant.

Beyond: Community-supported sight

The arc of technology has positive and problematic impacts on society at large. But specifically in regards to accessibility it can be revolutionary. I love a good story about people getting to experience the world in fresh, improved ways and here are two innovations, both supporting folks that experience vision impairment.

(1)Be My Eyes is an app that connects a blind/low vision person’s rear-facing phone and voice with a sighted volunteer . From the Be My Eyes website: “As a sighted volunteer you can help just by installing the Be My Eyes app. A blind or a low-vision user may need help with anything from checking expiry dates, distinguishing colors, reading instructions or navigating new surroundings.” I haven’t volunteered yet, so I can’t vouch for the service, and one review claims there might be issues with privacy and the vouching of volunteers (can nothing in the world be purely good?). But I’m interested in volunteering and I’ll let you know how it goes.

(2) For blind/low vision people, visiting fine art galleries and museums with no-touch policies can be oppressive and dull. The Unseen Art Project intends to challenge this premise by allowing users to upload various angles of two-dimensional fine art which can then be 3D printed for display in both public and private settings. Vision impaired people and the rest of us will be able to feel the slight smile of Mona Lisa or Picasso’s cubism style. We’ll get to experience art in a new, sensual way. They are in Indigogo funding mode, if you are interested in supporting or learning more.

What’s: Above

See that plane above? Want to know where it is going? Tap your FlightRadar24 app for iOS or Android, or browse over to This free service tracks most active flights in the world utilizing an army of volunteers with electronic receivers that pick up positional information from a plane’s transponders (you can participate for free! ). It’s a big small world.

Introducing Artificial Intelligence: A Graphic Guide

Half a century of research has resulted in machines capable of beating the best human chess players and humanoid robots that can interact. But can machines really think? Is the mind just a complicated computer program? Introducing Artificial Intelligence focuses on the issues behind one of science’s most difficult problems.