News

A VR exhibit journeys into the hidden souls of libraries

Libraries, huh, yeah. What are they good for? With apologies to Edwin Starr and Betteridge’s Law, the answer to that question is probably not “absolutely nothing, uh-huh uh-huh.” That’s a start, but it still leaves the not insignificant question of what, exactly, a library is good for in this day and age? As I waited in the bowels of the Grande Bibliothèque in Montreal for a showing of The Library at Night in mid-December, I found myself thinking of this question. The show, which is a collaboration between writer Alberto Manguel and artist Robert Lepage’s production company, Ex Machina, centres…

News

Welcome to the adolescence of AI

Artificial intelligence does not have the cuddliest of reputations. It is either coming for your livelihood or, if movies are to be believed, your life. Google, however, has unearthed a new problem: Its AI is too friendly—much, much too friendly. In early November, the advertising (and search, and web) giant introduced “Smart Reply,” a feature in its Inbox app that could automatically reply to basic emails. “Machine learning is used to scan emails and understand if they need replying to or not, before creating three response options,” Wired’s James Temperton explained. He continued: “An email asking about vacation plans, for…