Archive for the ‘Society’ Category

Japan: In a World with Automatic Translation

by Tomomi Sasaki - 29 November 2009
Illustration by Markus Koljonen

In a post titled I especially want to read ‘trivial information’ (“くだらない情報”こそ読んでみたい), Japanese blogger Chikirin gives a fresh perspective on what’s important or not and why.

Note: The post was translated in its entirety with permission from the blogger. All links were added by Tomomi Sasaki for reference.

You know how the online community is sometimes wowed with the emergence of services with new technologies and ideas like Google Maps, Google Earth, and YouTube? The one that I’m looking forward to the most is “Automatic Translation”.

Right now, if an English site comes up while you’re searching (in Japanese), there’s a little button that says [Translate this page]. Yes, the translation is still very underdeveloped. I’m not asking for it to be perfect, but wouldn’t it be exciting if the translation was just “a little bit better” AND automatic?

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Ray Kurzweil: A university for the coming singularity.

by TED Talks - 19 October 2009

Translated into Spanish by Jose Fernandez Calvo
Reviewed by Luis Puente Aceves

Information technology grows in an exponential manner. It’s not linear. And our intuition is linear. When we walked through the savanna a thousand years ago we made linear predictions where that animal would be. And that worked fine. It’s hardwired in our brains. But the pace of exponential growth is really what describes information technologies. And it’s not just computation. There is a big difference between linear and exponential growth. If I take 30 steps linearly, one, two, three, four, five, I get to 30. If I take 30 steps exponentially, two, four, eight, 16, I get to a billion. It makes a huge difference. And that really describes information technology.

When I was a student at MIT we all shared one computer that took up a whole building. The computer in your cellphone today is a million times cheaper, a million times smaller, a thousand times more powerful. That’s a billion-fold increase in capability per dollar that we’ve actually experienced since I was a student. And we’re going to do it again in the next 25 years. Information technology progresses through a series of S-curves where each one is a different paradigm. So people say, “What’s going to happen when Moore’s Law comes to an end?” Which will happen around 2020. We’ll then go to the next paradigm. And Moore’s Law was not the first paradigm to bring exponential growth to computing. The exponential growth of computing started decades before Gordon Moore was even born. And it doesn’t just apply to computation. It’s really any technology where we can measure the underlying information properties.


Evan Williams on listening to Twitter users

by TED Talks - 29 July 2009

Four years ago, on the TED stage, I announced a company I was working with at the time called Odeo. And because of that announcement, we got a big article in the New York Times, which led to more press, which led to more attention, and me deciding to become CEO of that company — whereas I was just an adviser — and raising a round of venture capital and ramping up hiring.

One of the guys I hired was an engineer named Jack Dorsey, and a year later we were trying to decide which way to go with Odeo, and Jack presented an idea he’d been tinkering around with for a number of years that was based around sending simple status updates to friends. We were also playing with SMS at the time at Odeo, so we kind of put two and two together, and in early 2006 we launched Twitter as a side project at Odeo.

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