More on Society & Culture
1 year ago
Is TikTok slowly destroying a new generation?
It's kids' digital crack
TikTok is a destructive social media platform.
The interface shortens attention spans and dopamine receptors.
TikTok shares more data than other apps.
Seeing an endless stream of dancing teens on my glowing box makes me feel like a Blade Runner extra.
TikTok did in one year what MTV, Hollywood, and Warner Music tried to do in 20 years. TikTok has psychotized the two-thirds of society Aldous Huxley said were hypnotizable.
Millions of people, mostly kids, are addicted to learning a new dance, lip-sync, or prank, and those who best dramatize this collective improvisation get likes, comments, and shares.
TikTok is a great app. So what?
The Commercial Magnifying Glass TikTok made me realize my generation's time was up and the teenage Zoomers were the target.
I told my 14-year-old sister, "Enjoy your time under the commercial magnifying glass."
TikTok sells your every move, gesture, and thought. Data is the new oil. If you tell someone, they'll say, "Yeah, they collect data, but who cares? I have nothing to hide."
It's a George Orwell novel's beginning. Look up Big Brother Award winners to see if TikTok won.
TikTok shares your data more than any other social media app, and where it goes is unclear. TikTok uses third-party trackers to monitor your activity after you leave the app.
Consumers can't see what data is shared or how it will be used. — Genius URL
32.5 percent of Tiktok's users are 10 to 19 and 29.5% are 20 to 29.
TikTok is the greatest digital marketing opportunity in history, and they'll use it to sell you things, track you, and control your thoughts. Any of its users will tell you, "I don't care, I just want to be famous."
TikTok manufactures mental illness
TikTok's effect on dopamine and the brain is absurd. Dopamine controls the brain's pleasure and reward centers. It's like a switch that tells your brain "this feels good, repeat."
Dr. Julie Albright, a digital culture and communication sociologist, said TikTok users are "carried away by dopamine." It's hypnotic, you'll keep watching."
TikTok constantly releases dopamine. A guy on TikTok recently said he didn't like books because they were slow and boring.
The US didn't ban Tiktok.
Biden and Trump agree on bad things. Both agree that TikTok threatens national security and children's mental health.
The Chinese Communist Party owns and operates TikTok, but that's not its only problem.
There’s borderline child porn on TikTok
It's unsafe for children and violated COPPA.
It's also Chinese spyware. I'm not a Trump supporter, but I was glad he wanted TikTok regulated and disappointed when he failed.
Full-on internet censorship is rare outside of China, so banning it may be excessive. US should regulate TikTok more.
We must reject a low-quality present for a high-quality future.
TikTok vs YouTube
People got mad when I wrote about YouTube's death.
They didn't like when I said TikTok was YouTube's first real challenger.
Indeed. TikTok is the fastest-growing social network. In three years, the Chinese social media app TikTok has gained over 1 billion active users. In the first quarter of 2020, it had the most downloads of any app in a single quarter.
TikTok is the perfect social media app in many ways. It's brief and direct.
Can you believe they had a YouTube vs TikTok boxing match? We are doomed as a species.
YouTube hosts my favorite videos. That’s why I use it. That’s why you use it. New users expect more. They want something quicker, more addictive.
TikTok's impact on other social media platforms frustrates me. YouTube copied TikTok to compete.
It's all about short, addictive content.
I'll admit I'm probably wrong about TikTok. My friend says his feed is full of videos about food, cute animals, book recommendations, and hot lesbians.
TikTok makes us bad
TikTok is the opposite of what the Ancient Greeks believed about wisdom.
It encourages people to be fake. It's like a never-ending costume party where everyone competes.
It does not mean that Gen Z is doomed.
They could be the saviors of the world for all I know.
TikTok feels like a step towards Mike Judge's "Idiocracy," where the average person is a pleasure-seeking moron.
8 months ago
When we want to return anything, why on earth do stores still require a receipt?
A friend told me of an incident she found particularly irritating: a retailer where she is a frequent client, with an account and loyalty card, asked for the item's receipt.
We all know that stores collect every bit of data they can on us, including our socio-demographic profile, address, shopping habits, and everything we've ever bought, so why would they need a fading receipt? Who knows? That their consumers try to pass off other goods? It's easy to verify past transactions to see when the item was purchased.
That's it. Why require receipts? Companies send us incentives, discounts, and other marketing, yet when we need something, we have to prove we're not cheating.
Why require us to preserve data and documents when our governments and governmental institutions already have them? Why do I need to carry documents like my driver's license if the authorities can check if I have one and what state it's in once I prove my identity?
We shouldn't be required to give someone data or documents they already have. The days of waiting up with our paperwork for a stern official to inform us something is missing are over.
How can retailers still ask if you have a receipt if we've made our slow, bureaucratic, and all-powerful government sensible? Then what? The shop may not accept your return (which has a two-year window, longer than most purchase tickets last) or they may just let you replace the item.
Isn't this an anachronism in the age of CRMs, customer files that know what we ate for breakfast, and loyalty programs? If government and bureaucracies have learnt to use its own files and make life easier for the consumer, why do retailers ask for a receipt?
They're adding friction to the system. They know we can obtain a refund, use our warranty, or get our money back. But if I ask for ludicrous criteria, like keeping the purchase receipt in your wallet (wallet? another anachronism, if I leave the house with only my smartphone! ), it will dissuade some individuals and tip the scales in their favor when it comes to limiting returns. Some manager will take credit for lowering returns and collect her annual bonus. Having the wrong metrics is common in management.
To slow things down, asking for a receipt is like asking us to perform a handstand and leap 20 times on one foot. You have my information, use it to send me everything, and know everything I've bought, yet when I need a two-way service, you refuse to utilize it and require that I keep it and prove it.
Refuse as customers. If retailers want our business, they should treat us well, not just when we spend money. If I come to return a product, claim its use or warranty, or be taught how to use it, I am the same person you treated wonderfully when I bought it. Remember that, and act accordingly.
A store should use my information for everything, not just what it wants. Keep my info, but don't sell me anything.
9 months ago
The renowned and highest-paid Google software engineer
His story will inspire you.
“Google search went down for a few hours in 2002; Jeff Dean handled all the queries by hand and checked quality doubled.”- Jeff Dean Facts.
One of many Jeff Dean jokes, but you get the idea.
Google's top six engineers met in a war room in mid-2000. Google's crawling system, which indexed the Web, stopped working. Users could still enter queries, but results were five months old.
Google just signed a deal with Yahoo to power a ten-times-larger search engine. Tension rose. It was crucial. If they failed, the Yahoo agreement would likely fall through, risking bankruptcy for the firm. Their efforts could be lost.
A rangy, tall, energetic thirty-one-year-old man named Jeff dean was among those six brilliant engineers in the makeshift room. He had just left D. E. C. a couple of months ago and started his career in a relatively new firm Google, which was about to change the world. He rolled his chair over his colleague Sanjay and sat right next to him, cajoling his code like a movie director. The history started from there.
When you think of people who shaped the World Wide Web, you probably picture founders and CEOs like Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Marc Andreesen, Tim Berners-Lee, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg. They’re undoubtedly the brightest people on earth.
Under these giants, legions of anonymous coders work at keyboards to create the systems and products we use. These computer workers are irreplaceable.
Let's get to know him better.
It's possible you've never heard of Jeff Dean. He's American. Dean created many behind-the-scenes Google products. Jeff, co-founder and head of Google's deep learning research engineering team, is a popular technology, innovation, and AI keynote speaker.
While earning an MS and Ph.D. in computer science at the University of Washington, he was a teaching assistant, instructor, and research assistant. Dean joined the Compaq Computer Corporation Western Research Laboratory research team after graduating.
Jeff co-created ProfileMe and the Continuous Profiling Infrastructure for Digital at Compaq. He co-designed and implemented Swift, one of the fastest Java implementations. He was a senior technical staff member at mySimon Inc., retrieving and caching electronic commerce content.
Dean, a top young computer scientist, joined Google in mid-1999. He was always trying to maximize a computer's potential as a child.
His high school program for processing massive epidemiological data was 26 times faster than professionals'. Epi Info, in 13 languages, is used by the CDC. He worked on compilers as a computer science Ph.D. These apps make source code computer-readable.
Dean never wanted to work on compilers forever. He left Academia for Google, which had less than 20 employees. Dean helped found Google News and AdSense, which transformed the internet economy. He then addressed Google's biggest issue, scaling.
Growing Google faced a huge computing challenge. They developed PageRank in the late 1990s to return the most relevant search results. Google's popularity slowed machine deployment.
Dean solved problems, his specialty. He and fellow great programmer Sanjay Ghemawat created the Google File System, which distributed large data over thousands of cheap machines.
These two also created MapReduce, which let programmers handle massive data quantities on parallel machines. They could also add calculations to the search algorithm. A 2004 research article explained MapReduce, which became an industry sensation.
Several revolutionary inventions
Dean's other initiatives were also game-changers. BigTable, a petabyte-capable distributed data storage system, was based on Google File. The first global database, Spanner, stores data on millions of servers in dozens of data centers worldwide.
It underpins Gmail and AdWords. Google Translate co-founder Jeff Dean is surprising. He contributes heavily to Google News. Dean is Senior Fellow of Google Research and Health and leads Google AI.
The National Academy of Engineering elected Dean in 2009. He received the 2009 Association for Computing Machinery fellowship and the 2016 American Academy of Arts and Science fellowship. He received the 2007 ACM-SIGOPS Mark Weiser Award and the 2012 ACM-Infosys Foundation Award. Lists could continue.
A sneaky question may arrive in your mind: How much does this big brain earn? Well, most believe he is one of the highest-paid employees at Google. According to a survey, he is paid $3 million a year.
He makes espresso and chats with a small group of Googlers most mornings. Dean steams milk, another grinds, and another brews espresso. They discuss families and technology while making coffee. He thinks this little collaboration and idea-sharing keeps Google going.
“Some of us have been working together for more than 15 years,” Dean said. “We estimate that we’ve collectively made more than 20,000 cappuccinos together.”
We all know great developers and software engineers. It may inspire many.
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1 year ago
How monkeypox spreads (and doesn't spread)
Monkeypox was rare until recently. In 2005, a research called a cluster of six monkeypox cases in the Republic of Congo "the longest reported chain to date."
That's changed. This year, over 25,000 monkeypox cases have been reported in 83 countries, indicating widespread human-to-human transmission.
What spreads monkeypox? Monkeypox transmission research is ongoing; findings may change. But science says...
Most cases were formerly animal-related.
According to the WHO, monkeypox was first diagnosed in an infant in the DRC in 1970. After that, instances were infrequent and often tied to animals. In 2003, 47 Americans contracted rabies from pet prairie dogs.
In 2017, Nigeria saw a significant outbreak. NPR reported that doctors diagnosed young guys without animal exposure who had genital sores. Nigerian researchers highlighted the idea of sexual transmission in a 2019 study, but the theory didn't catch on. “People tend to cling on to tradition, and the idea is that monkeypox is transmitted from animals to humans,” explains research co-author Dr. Dimie Ogoina.
Most monkeypox cases are sex-related.
Human-to-human transmission of monkeypox occurs, and sexual activity plays a role.
Joseph Osmundson, a clinical assistant professor of biology at NYU, says most transmission occurs in queer and gay sexual networks through sexual or personal contact.
Monkeypox spreads by skin-to-skin contact, especially with its blister-like rash, explains Ogoina. Researchers are exploring whether people can be asymptomatically contagious, but they are infectious until their rash heals and fresh skin forms, according to the CDC.
A July research in the New England Journal of Medicine reported that of more than 500 monkeypox cases in 16 countries as of June, 95% were linked to sexual activity and 98% were among males who have sex with men. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus encouraged males to temporarily restrict their number of male partners in July.
Is monkeypox a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?
Skin-to-skin contact can spread monkeypox, not simply sexual activities. Dr. Roy Gulick, infectious disease chief at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, said monkeypox is not a "typical" STI. Monkeypox isn't a STI, claims the CDC.
Most cases in the current outbreak are tied to male sexual behavior, but Osmundson thinks the virus might also spread on sports teams, in spas, or in college dorms.
Can you get monkeypox from surfaces?
Monkeypox can be spread by touching infected clothing or bedding. According to a study, a U.K. health care worker caught monkeypox in 2018 after handling ill patient's bedding.
Angela Rasmussen, a virologist at the University of Saskatchewan in Canada, believes "incidental" contact seldom distributes the virus. “You need enough virus exposure to get infected,” she says. It's conceivable after sharing a bed or towel with an infectious person, but less likely after touching a doorknob, she says.
Dr. Müge evik, a clinical lecturer in infectious diseases at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, says there is a "spectrum" of risk connected with monkeypox. "Every exposure isn't equal," she explains. "People must know where to be cautious. Reducing [sexual] partners may be more useful than cleaning coffee shop seats.
Is monkeypox airborne?
Exposure to an infectious person's respiratory fluids can cause monkeypox, but the WHO says it needs close, continuous face-to-face contact. CDC researchers are still examining how often this happens.
Under precise laboratory conditions, scientists have shown that monkeypox can spread via aerosols, or tiny airborne particles. But there's no clear evidence that this is happening in the real world, Rasmussen adds. “This is expanding predominantly in communities of males who have sex with men, which suggests skin-to-skin contact,” she explains. If airborne transmission were frequent, she argues, we'd find more occurrences in other demographics.
In the shadow of COVID-19, people are worried about aerosolized monkeypox. Rasmussen believes the epidemiology is different. Different viruses.
Can kids get monkeypox?
More than 80 youngsters have contracted the virus thus far, mainly through household transmission. CDC says pregnant women can spread the illness to their fetus.
Among the 1970s, monkeypox predominantly affected children, but by the 2010s, it was more common in adults, according to a February study. The study's authors say routine smallpox immunization (which protects against monkeypox) halted when smallpox was eradicated. Only toddlers were born after smallpox vaccination halted decades ago. More people are vulnerable now.
Schools and daycares could become monkeypox hotspots, according to pediatric instances. Ogoina adds this hasn't happened in Nigeria's outbreaks, which is encouraging. He says, "I'm not sure if we should worry." We must be careful and seek evidence.
Dung Claire Tran
11 months ago
Is the future of brand marketing with virtual influencers?
Digital influences that mimic humans are rising.
Lil Miquela has 3M Instagram followers, 3.6M TikTok followers, and 30K Twitter followers. She's been on the covers of Prada, Dior, and Calvin Klein magazines. Miquela released Not Mine in 2017 and launched Hard Feelings at Lollapazoolas this year. This isn't surprising, given the rise of influencer marketing.
This may be unexpected. Miquela's fake. Brud, a Los Angeles startup, produced her in 2016.
Lil Miquela is one of many rising virtual influencers in the new era of social media marketing. She acts like a real person and performs the same tasks as sports stars and models.
The emergence of online influencers
Before 2018, computer-generated characters were rare. Since the virtual human industry boomed, they've appeared in marketing efforts worldwide.
In 2020, the WHO partnered up with Atlanta-based virtual influencer Knox Frost (@knoxfrost) to gather contributions for the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.
Lu do Magalu (@magazineluiza) has been the virtual spokeswoman for Magalu since 2009, using social media to promote reviews, product recommendations, unboxing videos, and brand updates. Magalu's 10-year profit was $552M.
In 2020, PUMA partnered with Southeast Asia's first virtual model, Maya (@mayaaa.gram). She joined Singaporean actor Tosh Zhang in the PUMA campaign. Local virtual influencer Ava Lee-Graham (@avagram.ai) partnered with retail firm BHG to promote their in-house labels.
In Japan, Imma (@imma.gram) is the face of Nike, PUMA, Dior, Salvatore Ferragamo SpA, and Valentino. Imma's bubblegum pink bob and ultra-fine fashion landed her on the cover of Grazia magazine.
Lotte Home Shopping created Lucy (@here.me.lucy) in September 2020. She made her TV debut as a Christmas show host in 2021. Since then, she has 100K Instagram followers and 13K TikTok followers.
Liu Yiexi gained 3 million fans in five days on Douyin, China's TikTok, in 2021. Her two-minute video went viral overnight. She's posted 6 videos and has 830 million Douyin followers.
China's virtual human industry was worth $487 million in 2020, up 70% year over year, and is expected to reach $875.9 million in 2021.
Investors worldwide are interested. Immas creator Aww Inc. raised $1 million from Coral Capital in September 2020, according to Bloomberg. Superplastic Inc., the Vermont-based startup behind influencers Janky and Guggimon, raised $16 million by 2020. Craft Ventures, SV Angels, and Scooter Braun invested. Crunchbase shows the company has raised $47 million.
The industries they represent, including Augmented and Virtual reality, were worth $14.84 billion in 2020 and are projected to reach $454.73 billion by 2030, a CAGR of 40.7%, according to PR Newswire.
Advantages for brands
Forbes suggests brands embrace computer-generated influencers. Examples:
Unlimited creative opportunities: Because brands can personalize everything—from a person's look and activities to the style of their content—virtual influencers may be suited to a brand's needs and personalities.
100% brand control: Brand managers now have more influence over virtual influencers, so they no longer have to give up and rely on content creators to include brands into their storytelling and style. Virtual influencers can constantly produce social media content to promote a brand's identity and ideals because they are completely scandal-free.
Long-term cost savings: Because virtual influencers are made of pixels, they may be reused endlessly and never lose their beauty. Additionally, they can move anywhere around the world and even into space to fit a brand notion. They are also always available. Additionally, the expense of creating their content will not rise in step with their expanding fan base.
Introduction to the metaverse: Statista reports that 75% of American consumers between the ages of 18 and 25 follow at least one virtual influencer. As a result, marketers that support virtual celebrities may now interact with younger audiences that are more tech-savvy and accustomed to the digital world. Virtual influencers can be included into any digital space, including the metaverse, as they are entirely computer-generated 3D personas. Virtual influencers can provide brands with a smooth transition into this new digital universe to increase brand trust and develop emotional ties, in addition to the young generations' rapid adoption of the metaverse.
Better engagement than in-person influencers: A Hype Auditor study found that online influencers have roughly three times the engagement of their conventional counterparts. Virtual influencers should be used to boost brand engagement even though the data might not accurately reflect the entire sector.
Concerns about influencers created by computers
Virtual influencers could encourage excessive beauty standards in South Korea, which has a $10.7 billion plastic surgery industry.
A classic Korean beauty has a small face, huge eyes, and pale, immaculate skin. Virtual influencers like Lucy have these traits. According to Lee Eun-hee, a professor at Inha University's Department of Consumer Science, this could make national beauty standards more unrealistic, increasing demand for plastic surgery or cosmetic items.
Other parts of the world raise issues regarding selling items to consumers who don't recognize the models aren't human and the potential of cultural appropriation when generating influencers of other ethnicities, called digital blackface by some.
Meta, Facebook and Instagram's parent corporation, acknowledges this risk.
“Like any disruptive technology, synthetic media has the potential for both good and harm. Issues of representation, cultural appropriation and expressive liberty are already a growing concern,” the company stated in a blog post. “To help brands navigate the ethical quandaries of this emerging medium and avoid potential hazards, (Meta) is working with partners to develop an ethical framework to guide the use of (virtual influencers).”
Despite theoretical controversies, the industry will likely survive. Companies think virtual influencers are the next frontier in the digital world, which includes the metaverse, virtual reality, and digital currency.
Virtual influencers may garner millions of followers online and help marketers reach youthful audiences. According to a YouGov survey, the real impact of computer-generated influencers is yet unknown because people prefer genuine connections. Virtual characters can supplement brand marketing methods. When brands are metaverse-ready, the author predicts virtual influencer endorsement will continue to expand.
6 months ago
There Is A New EV King in Town
McMurtry Spéirling outperforms Tesla in speed and efficiency.
EVs were ridiculously slow for decades. However, the 2008 Tesla Roadster revealed that EVs might go extraordinarily fast. The Tesla Model S Plaid and Rimac Nevera are the fastest-accelerating road vehicles, despite combustion-engined road cars dominating the course. A little-known firm beat Tesla and Rimac in the 0-60 race, beat F1 vehicles on a circuit, and boasts a 350-mile driving range. The McMurtry Spéirling is completely insane.
Mat Watson of CarWow, a YouTube megastar, was recently handed a Spéirling and access to Silverstone Circuit (view video above). Mat ran a quarter-mile on Silverstone straight with former F1 driver Max Chilton. The little pocket-rocket automobile touched 100 mph in 2.7 seconds, completed the quarter mile in 7.97 seconds, and hit 0-60 in 1.4 seconds. When looking at autos quickly, 0-60 times can seem near. The Tesla Model S Plaid does 0-60 in 1.99 seconds, which is comparable to the Spéirling. Despite the meager statistics, the Spéirling is nearly 30% faster than Plaid!
My vintage VW Golf 1.4s has an 8.8-second 0-60 time, whereas a BMW Z4 3.0i is 30% faster (with a 0-60 time of 6 seconds). I tried to beat a Z4 off the lights in my Golf, but the Beamer flew away. If they challenge the Spéirling in a Model S Plaid, they'll feel as I did. Fast!
Insane quarter-mile drag time. Its road car record is 7.97 seconds. A Dodge Demon, meant to run extremely fast quarter miles, finishes so in 9.65 seconds, approximately 20% slower. The Rimac Nevera's 8.582-second quarter-mile record was miles behind drag racing. This run hampered the Spéirling. Because it was employing gearing that limited its top speed to 150 mph, it reached there in a little over 5 seconds without accelerating for most of the quarter mile! McMurtry can easily change the gearing, making the Spéirling run quicker.
McMurtry did this how? First, the Spéirling is a tiny single-seater EV with a 60 kWh battery pack, making it one of the lightest EVs ever. The 1,000-hp Spéirling has more than one horsepower per kg. The Nevera has 0.84 horsepower per kg and the Plaid 0.44.
However, you cannot simply construct a car light and power it. Instead of accelerating, it would spin. This makes the Spéirling a fan car. Its huge fans create massive downforce. These fans provide the Spéirling 2 tonnes of downforce while stationary, so you could park it on the ceiling. Its fast 0-60 time comes from its downforce, which lets it deliver all that power without wheel spin.
It also possesses complete downforce at all speeds, allowing it to tackle turns faster than even race vehicles. Spéirlings overcame VW IDRs and F1 cars to set the Goodwood Hill Climb record (read more here). The Spéirling is a dragstrip winner and track dominator, unlike the Plaid and Nevera.
The Spéirling is astonishing for a single-seater. Fan-generated downforce is more efficient than wings and splitters. It also means the vehicle has very minimal drag without the fan. The Spéirling can go 350 miles per charge (WLTP) or 20-30 minutes at full speed on a track despite its 60 kWh battery pack. The G-forces would hurt your neck before the battery died if you drove around a track for longer. The Spéirling can charge at over 200 kW in about 30 minutes. Thus, driving to track days, having fun, and returning is possible. Unlike other high-performance EVs.
Tesla, Rimac, or Lucid will struggle to defeat the Spéirling. They would need to build a fan automobile because adding power to their current vehicle would make it uncontrollable. The EV and automobile industries now have a new, untouchable performance king.