21 / 03 / 17
The rise (and fails) of report robo-writers
In the 1991 blockbuster Terminator 2: Judgment Day, the time-travelling Terminator (Arnold Schwarzenegger) reveals in deadpan tones how artificial intelligence (AI) put in charge of America’s weapons will deliberately trigger nuclear Armageddon. ‘The system goes online August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defence. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It […]
09 / 02 / 17
End of the line for the full stop?
What is a full stop (period) for? Well, surely it’s how we tell one sentence has ended and a new one is about to begin. To many people, that would seem straightforward enough. But could there actually be a more sinister meaning lurking behind this small, seemingly innocent piece of punctuation? ‘Punctuation mark may be […]
20 / 04 / 12
Grammarly review: does Grammarly work?
Most of us have felt the limitations of the typical grammar- or spell-check at some point. And who hasn’t stared in bewilderment at one of Word’s seemingly random squiggly lines and cried: ‘What do you want from me?’ So far, no program has received much higher praise than ‘better than nothing’ – and certainly nothing […]
18 / 02 / 11
Online overload: we shall overcome?
Our brains are being re-wired and overloaded with every click of the mouse, according to Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains. Our innate love of the new has found a virtual wonderland online, but the scattered nature of our movements while there could be damaging our ability […]
15 / 10 / 10
Censorship? They’ve got an app for that
Apple has been awarded a patent in the US for a device to filter out ‘inappropriate’ language from text messages (otherwise known as ‘sexting’, apparently). Essentially, it is a way for parents to monitor and manage the content of their children’s texting. After all – as the patent tells us – ‘children may send or […]
28 / 09 / 10
Where people look online
Recent eyetracker research reveals that users of news websites look at the headlines first, rather than the images. The study, called Eyetrack III, from The Poynter Institute in the US, looks at how people’s eyes move, focus and skip while reading news websites. It found that people zoomed in on headlines first, although they tended […]