Grave New World

Sorry, but today we’re going to discuss Death and Social Media. Look, I wish we weren’t, but these repulsive concepts are finally colliding and I can’t help but rubberneck. 

THREE KEY EVENTS over the past few months made me uncomfortably aware that a lot of us humans will now die as we lived — online. And seeing as how life is seemingly quite short, or as scientists say, “slipping away every second,” it’s best we just jump right in, hand-in-hand, and see where the rabbit holes take us.

1. Funeral Selfies.

As many angry people know, “selfie” was deemed Word of the Year in 2013 by the Oxford Dictionary. Apparently, the sacred crown that is ‘Oxford Word of the Year’ was soiled irreversibly by this decision, even if it was just the cold result of online usage analytics. But a selfie is a selfie — it’s not nothing.  I learned this tautology from a riveting BuzzFeed list titled ‘The 23 Most Important Selfies of 2013.’ I really recommend it, especially #15, which is a dude taking a selfie in front of his teacher while she’s in labor.

The future is in good hands

When it comes to selfies, no category was more maligned than The Funeral Selfie, and with good reason—the pictures show an ugly new stage of the Internet’s growth. But not everything evolution throws our way is aesthetically pleasing. New forms of media and viral communication are constantly invented and adopted, we just never consider what will happen when Death gets his frozen, greedy hands on that shit. Continue reading

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Like Button

We’ve gathered here today to dissect one of nature’s most resilient new organisms: the Like Button on Facebook. The Like Button is, apparently, here to stay, regardless of how comfortable you are with its continued survival. Even though it presides over much of our daily lives, we don’t, as citizens of a democracy, get to vote on it or anything, just like I don’t remember ever casting a ballot with ‘Extreme, Devastating Weather Patterns’ or ‘Craig Ferguson’ checked off.

Given that it seems (temporarily) permanent and that we interact with it visually and emotionally on a daily basis, I have decided to conduct a long-overdue, informal survey of the Like Button in my own mind.

Conclusion:  Yeah. I love it.   Continue reading

One Way Or Another, John Malkovich Is Going To Die In The Arms Of A Robot

If you are remotely familiar with science fiction over the past century, you already know that the premise

artificial intelligence will overwhelm Life on Earth as we once knew it

is science fact, not fiction. Moving forward in the argument, an amateur logician would also grant the following syllogism:

1.  All men are mortal.                                     2.  John Malkovich is man.

In conclusion, John Malkovich will die (probably later this summer), and by the looks of it, this death will be facilitated by a preternaturally-wise robot.

Having established that, let us now begin discussing the two frontrunners for how this happens. Continue reading

The Google Instant Game

The premise behind Google Instant is simple and not altogether innovative as it was offered, in some capacity, on other search engines before Google introduced it in September of 2010.  By offering suggested results as the user types their word or phrase into the search bar, Google estimates that it saves users 2 to 5 seconds in every search,  which adds up to a collective 11 million seconds per hour.  There’s been a great deal of discussion about what people plan to do with all the time they save through all these emerging technological time-savers, but we’re not all that interested in that; we’ve got things to do.  What’s more interesting to us, at The Computer Newspaper, is the insight this feature provides into the peculiarities of our collective curiosities.

Continue reading