49 million Instagram influencers hacked. (Are there really that many?)

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Somebody posted a database of 49 million Instagram influencers where anyone could see it. This event says more about the stupidity of the term “influencer” than it does about breaches and leaks. According to TechCrunch, the database originated with Mumbai-based Chtrbox, a marketing firm that pays influencers to post things. Each record included the number … Continued

Facebook, AI, evil, and human creativity

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The intersection of human evil and Facebook algorithms has created the evil-amplifying social networks we now share. Facebook says AI can solve the problem. So far, it can’t. If it ever does, heaven help us. The New York Times published a revealing profile of Mike Schroepfer, Facebook’s CTO. He’s the man whom Mark Zuckerberg has … Continued

The IAB’s incoherent position on “Do-Not-Track”

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The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), an industry group for advertisers and publishers, understands that data privacy regulation may actually happen. Rather than oppose it, they’re fine with it . . . so long as the government does things their way. Today, I deconstruct a statement by IAB executives Randall Rothenberg and Dave Grimaldi on regulation. … Continued

Game of Thrones as a metaphor for American politics

Umm, no. Game of Thrones is a narrative created solely to capture and manipulate the attention of the viewer, focusing on the shocking and unexpected violations of norms. That’s not American politics. That’s American media. Except the part where Samwell Tarly suggests a democracy and everyone laughs at the idea. That part was relevant.

Grumpy Cat, influencer, is dead

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So, Grumpy Cat is dead at age 7. Of a urinary infection. Of course. The New York Times ran her obituary today. (Did you even know that Grump Cat was female?) She was the second cat whose obituary ran in the Times. There will never again be an “influencer” as pure as Grumpy Cat. Grumpy … Continued

Can AI write good articles?

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I asked an artificial intelligence to write an article. It wasn’t very good, but it wasn’t completely awful, either. If you’re a writer, machines are nipping at your heels; it’s time to work on your creativity. Machines have been writing articles for years — but only in formulaic settings. For example, you won’t be shocked … Continued