News for Youse: Google creates artificial intelligence, Facebook creates easier ways to stalk people
In case you're planning on sleeping again in your lifetime, you may want to stop reading this right now before we dig into chilling tales of scientific "progress". (We won't be offended; we understand that some people value a nightmare-less slumber.)
For those of you still with us, the overlords at Google are hard at work developing artificial intelligence that will
kill us all benefit mankind in some way, although we here at News for Youse can't see any kind of outcome other than permanent enslavement by robots or perpetual war with androids that look a lot like former governors of California. (A Ronald Reagan terminator—how terrifying would that be?)
However, the Google brain trust sees this as a worthwhile endeavour. Their latest breakthrough? They've developed a neural network of 16,000 processing cores (that's a billion some-odd linkages), and then fed it 10 million images from the Internet. Based on those, said network was then able to recognize an image of a cat that it had not seen before.
“We never told it during the training, ‘This is a cat,’ ” said Google fellow Dr. Jeff Dean. “It basically invented the concept of a cat.” (Terrified emphasis ours.)
Somehow, we're only slightly surprised that the first thing an artificial neural network "learns" to recognize is a picture of a cat. Considering the Internet is primarily fuelled by pornography and adorable kitten blogs, there was a 50-50 chance.
Need more assurance that you have no control over the creeping monolith that is
enslavement by computers interconnectedness?
On Monday, two "important" Facebook stories were circulating. First of all, the mega-corporation started replacing everyone's email addresses with @facebook.com addresses, which is annoying, but c'mon. How else do you expect a floundering social-networking site that's desperate for its users to use all of the site's fiddly bells and whistles that they'd otherwise never know existed unless you force them to?
(Here's how to change it back, just in case you hadn't already freaked out about this yesterday.)
Secondly, Facebook added a feature called "Find Friends Nearby" to some people's accounts, allowing them to see every other Facebook user in the area.
Virtual stalking of a person's real-time location is hardly anything new (see: Foursquare, Grindr, every cell phone in existence), but Facebook users found this feature so disturbing that it appears the company has temporarily taken it down. A company spokesperson told CNN that the Find Friends Nearby roll-out wasn't a "formal release", and engineers were still working on better, more efficient ways to prevent people from ever having to interact face-to-face again.
Oh, man. We almost forgot the only news that matters today: the Vatican has a new public relations guy: Fox News correspondent and Opus Dei numerary Greg Burke. It makes perfect sense. What "news" network can spin gold out of shit? Fox News can! Who has more shit to spin than a manure farmer? The Vatican! Who's misogynistic, elitist, and prone to secrecy? Fox News, Opus Dei, and the Vatican! Honestly, it's a match made in, er, heaven.
For more fun with conspiracy theories, follow Miranda Nelson on Twitter.