Cocaine Hippos and Tigers in Kilts

You may have read stories in National Geographic or the Guardian about the "cocaine hippos" imported into Columbia in the 1980s by the drug lord-cum-psycopath Pablo Escobar. Perhaps you've heard how several of the hippos escaped from Escobar's private zoo into the local rivers, where they quickly made a happy home. And though this might … Continue reading Cocaine Hippos and Tigers in Kilts

Max Tegmark’s Life 3.0

This book is billed as a look at how artificial intelligence will affect "crime, war, justice, jobs, society and our very sense of being human". The author, Max Tegmark, is a physicist and M.I.T. professor, so you can be sure he's got the brains and experience to give a good survey of current AI research … Continue reading Max Tegmark’s Life 3.0

A New Christmas Song for the Age of Social Media

Last week, as a fun task for some of my music students, I decided to have the kids compose their own Christmas song. "Brilliant!" I thought, "They'll love it and they'll get practice writing and harmonizing melodies. I'm a genius!" Then I realized I'd have to come up with lyrics. After all, if I gave … Continue reading A New Christmas Song for the Age of Social Media

Fry vs. Gaiman vs. Erik the Red

This is a triple review--a Mexican standoff, if you will--between Stephen Fry, Neil Gaiman and a Viking horde (backed up by nearly a dozen translators). I'll give you one guess who wins. In the first corner, we've got Hollywood heavyweight (he played Sherlock Holmes' older brother, Mycroft, in recent films) Stephen Fry with Mythos, a … Continue reading Fry vs. Gaiman vs. Erik the Red

From Artificial Intelligence to Artificial Curiosity: an Interview with Prof. Millicent Robinson

Thomas Friedman's "Curiosity Quotient" inequality, courtesy Noles1984 CC BY-SA 3.0 This past week, I had the rare opportunity to interview Millicent Robinson, Professor of Aritificial Curiosity at the County Durham College of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fine Art and one of the designers of GEBx project. What follows is an excerpt from that interview: CTR: … Continue reading From Artificial Intelligence to Artificial Curiosity: an Interview with Prof. Millicent Robinson

Hell is Other People’s Pets

Today I've got a short story written by a very special guest author. This particular author requires a bit of an introduction, which I will leave to Prof. Karlton Friedarx, Head of Aesthetonomics at the County Durham College of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fine Arts. Prof. Friedarx is also director of the GEBen project at … Continue reading Hell is Other People’s Pets