Thinking Machines: They’re Already with Us

An essay inspired by the book What to Think About Machines that Think, edited by John Brockman

A-Techno-thinkyMachines that think are already among us. They’re also so far out in the future that they might never arrive.

Machines that think give us reason for great hope. They also should cause us great concern.

We might be thinking in entirely the wrong way about machines that think. Continue reading

A Modern Trifecta: Science, Technology, Ethics


Christmas is past, the new year ahead, and in between traveling to and fro, baking, cooking, and cleaning, I’m able to do a bit of reading and thinking. They go together, of course; it’s one of the reasons I read.

Right now, I’m thinking, and reading, about the ethics of technology and science–the ethical challenges, that is. Continue reading

Saturday Distraction: Google 201

By AlphaZeta (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Image by AlphaZeta (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

Looking for some distraction on this fine Saturday? How about a fun little learning tangent that will leave you better able to search and find what you want on the Internet? Behold: Google 201 (or, as it’s technically called, “Get More out of Google.”

This nifty infographic is far from new, but still has in it a whole lot of Google tips that many people don’t know. Things like: how to search Google for a specific type of file; how to limit your search to a specific website; and how to search for a word only in titles.

Continue reading

Saturday Distraction: The Internet in Real Time

Today I’m learning about StumbleUpon and Reddit, two social networks with which I really have had only passing contact in the past: StumbleUpon is on my list because it drives a good deal of traffic to a website with which I’m involved, and Reddit because it’s a favorite of my teen-aged son. In the spirit of StumbleUpon, though, that’s not really what this post is about. I actually want to share with you something else that I discovered in passing during my quest – in fact, something I stumbled upon with StumbleUpon. It’s a whackin’ cool infographic and video “The Internet in Real-Time”:

Take a look, and you’ll find a real-time aggregation of activity on many of the world’s largest websites. These include social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and – yes – StumbleUpon and Reddit, plus Google, Amazon, Netflix and other Internet giants. Wonder just how quickly videos are being added to or watched on YouTube? Here’s your answer. What does search volume on Google look like compared with ad revenue? Look no further. Interested in Twitter posts, Pinterest pins, or Yelp reviews? Wonder no more.

It’s an absolutely mesmerizing display of data, updating constantly. It’s a rabbit hole to go down, a looking glass to fall into; give yourself a little time to just be dazzled and let your mind wander. Who knows what thought processes it might inspire?

In that way, it’s a bit like StumbleUpon itself – a place to let yourself get distracted, set your mind wandering off on a tangent, and maybe learn something in the process.

Now it’s back to StumbleUpon for me. Happy Saturday!

6 Journalism Articles You Really Should Read

My inner journalist has come out this week. I’ve been doing a deep dive in the waters where I first swam professionally – reading and reading and reading about the news business. The topics: new technology initiatives, marketing and business case studies, paid content, mobile news strategy, all kinds of good stuff. Continue reading

Good Reads, Feb. 16-22, 2013

There’s a little bit of something for everyone in here this week. Lots of technology and marketing, of course – email tips, writing advice, great information on Google’s search algorithm for Google News – but there are some really good reads around bigger themes as well. Themes like innovation (new ways to think about association membership, and the direction technology will take in the near future, for example). Continue reading