Posts about Internet

Humour: Tricky translation engines

Sense of humour required: Beware of translation engines!

21.02.2016

When looking for the easy way out, people come up with the most ludicrous of excuses to warrant their hornswoggle doing: house on fire, dog dead, car stolen, wrong place/time/mood, worst bad-hair day ever, princess all of a sudden. Once the procrastination pole has inevitably run out of length, the dreaded task just has to be tackled, no matter what. Translations, for instance, can develop into a painfully tedious exercise. Isn’t it perfectly legitimate then to employ one of those servile robots available online in order to alleviate detested assignments? It is – if you can live with the results. We have put some of these practical computerised interpreters to the test, feeding them with stretches of German articles published during the early stages of goodmeetings.com’s young history. The English-speaking majority of our readership will have to think in meanders to unravel and realign the contorted texts back to meaning. Even though some of the pidgin might remain a secret forever: as long as no-one has been harmed, reading complete nonsense once in a while can be a great pastime.

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Reading time: about 3 minutes
Algorithm? The image shows balls resembling those used for the Bingo. The TED talk reveals that algorithms reigning the internet can be influenced by human users.

TED Talk. Andreas Ekström: The moral bias behind your search results

18.11.2015

This talk may be well equal to a harsh awakening for uncritical users of the internet! According to Swedish author and journalist Andreas Ekström, it is a philosophical impossibility to ever get unbiased search results. “Behind every algorithm is a person with a set of personal beliefs no code is ever able to eradicate completely.” He explains the power structures of the digital revolution by stating the example (a.o.) of Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik, who blew up government buildings in the city of Oslo and killed a large group of kids on the island of Utøya. Around 80 people died that day in 2011. Specialists knew that the next thing Breivik would do was to google his own name, a predictable act of vanity. Nikke Lindqvist, a Swedish web developer and search engine optimization expert in Stockholm, understood that immediately and lanced a highly effective campaign. This video talk tells us that we are not helpless after all!

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Reading time: about 1 minute
Sending wrong email can be a mortifying experience.

Undoing email on gmail

6.08.2015

Gone it is and trouble it causes: email not meant to be sent. This is not talking about the half-finished ones, those with unfathomable spelling or omitted salutation. Or when a Mr. becomes a Mrs. – an involuntary sex-change that amazingly seems to be far more offensive this way round than the other. Disaster eventually strikes when confidential email or attachments are erroneously forwarded to a least-of-all-trusted person, the certified company chatterbox or – God forbid!- a detested competitor. Or a number of them. If A writes to B that C is a corrupt crook, D to Z are not supposed to be let into the secret, even though they may have long been in the know. However, once the tricky „answer all“ button for multiple recipients is pressed unintentionally, a wicked pointed weapon springs into action only to unleash its evil effect.

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Reading time: about 2 minutes
The guards in front of the Greek Parliament in Athens standing at attention.

The Share Economy: a multi-faceted phenomenon

27.03.2015

Fair Share?

In ancient times – long before the emergence of money – trading meant direct exchange of goods between interested parties. These so-called barter deals are said to have been cultivated by the Phoenicians some 6,000 years ago, yet this form of legal swapping still has its place in our modern society and economy parallel to monetary systems. In a barter deal, usually no cash is flowing.

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Reading time: about 4 minutes
Flotsam: When life is in a shambles.

TED Talk. Monica Lewinsky: The price of shame

23.02.2015

In her early twenties, she made the mistake of falling in love with her boss almost three decades her senior. When the public got wind of the affair, Monica Lewinsky was hurtled through the epicentre of a merciless international media maelstrom exerted by print, radio and TV and furthermore became one of the first victims of online public shaming. „In 1998, I was Patient Zero of losing a personal reputation on a global scale almost instantaneously… Public humiliation was excruciating, life became unbearable.“

In her talk, Monica speaks about our „culture of humiliation“. That cyber-bullying leads to cruelty to others, and that online it is amplified and remains accessible forever. „They anonymously stab you with their words. The more shame, the more clicks. The more clicks, the more advertising dollars.“ Other victims have been humiliated to death.

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Reading time: about 1 minute