December 29, 2012
This is an especially short post, as it is a high-level summary of an even higher level summary. Of course, we all know how meaningful THAT is
Zeitgeist is a “borrowed word”, from an English language point of view. It means “signs of the times”. Yes, I realize that zeitgeist is singular, but somehow, we seem to have made it plural in the process of adoption from German.
Quartz News looked a little more deeply into the annual Google Zeitgeist survey, with some thankfully human, not machine, translation and analysis.
Quartz’s analyst, Mr. Gideon Lichfield, took the top results for the 34 countries for which there was data for the Zeitgeist “How to…?” category. He then rank ordered by frequency, chose the most common result for each country, and asked around, to assure that everything was translated correctly.
Do the results accurately capture each country’s national character?
In most instances, I think the answer is yes. The number one “How to….?” query for The Netherlands was “How to survive”.
read more »
July 10, 2011
The recent release of the Google Prediction API Version 1.2 seemed oddly, well, magnanimous to me! Given the investment of intellectual capital and resources, I am surprised that Google would be so generous. Allowing access to the Prediction API means that Google is giving access to its in-house machine learning algorithms to external users.
1939 Ford pick-up truck will not likely use the Google Prediction API though other Ford products will
The official Google Code blog post, Every app a smart app, dated 27 April 2011, suggested many possible uses for the Prediction API. Some of the more interesting included:
The last item on the list has the potential, but not certainty, of causing serious privacy concerns. I’m guessing that customer feedback based on structured data is another potential use for the API.
I noticed that Ford Motor Company has plans for the Prediction API, specifically for commuters driving electric vehicles (EV). Apparently, there is a fair amount of “EV anxiety” due to limitation on range of travel. The Prediction API could be used to mitigate those concerns. AutoBlog is an online publication for automobile enthusiasts. It featured a great slide show demonstrating how Ford intends to make use of the Google Prediction API.
The Prediction API is available on Google Code. This is not the first release of the Prediction API. I’m uncertain whether versions before 1.2 were restricted in some way. (Google often grants API access to developers initially, and later, after ironing out any bugs or unexpected problems, opens the product to the public.)
Do be aware that a Google Storage account is required for access. Visit the Google API Console to get started.
November 3, 2010
UPDATE: Note that as of today 3 February 2011, Google has released version 9.0.
This chart covers Chrome Chrome browser through version 5,0.
I’d love to see this market share chart updated, once data is available for the more recent versions of Chrome browser (for web).
Google Chrome Browser increases market share with each successive release
via defunktion junktion.
October 27, 2010
Google introduced an a new YouTube account named Google Beat. The profile header is shown above, and includes a new product logo and description:
A glimpse at the latest search trends on Google.
The YouTube channel for Google Beat offers a single 2 – 3 minute summary of high frequency searches from the previous week. These are very topical, more like a television news program sound bite. So far there has not been any other activity at the site. There are a total of nine of these weekly “search in review” videos as of today, 24 October 2010.
August 5, 2010
What is different about the 20th century?
Why is there a crisis of identity and moral relativism despite all the goodness and achievements?
This is the Dream Time by Robin Hanson is written from the point of view of our distant future descendants looking backward.
Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs
They try to understand us by identifying the defining behavioral trends of the 20th century:
- Demographic transition We took far less than full advantage of the reproductive opportunities our wealth offered. Instead, we spent our wealth on purchases that we thought would elevate our social status or acceptance..
- Obsession with super-stimuli Our evolved survival instincts were overridden so that we chose taste without nutrition. We spent vast sums on things that didn’t actually help on the margin, such as on medicine that didn’t make us healthier, or education that didn’t make us more productive.
- Extreme mating patterns Capricious and casual attachments that are a normal part of adolescent growth into maturity remained lifelong habits. Extreme gender personalities were common.
- Idealism We acted on strange religious, political, and social beliefs.
- Governance Democracy was our preferred political system. Leadership and policy was driven by the casually considered opinion of the median voter rather than the considered opinions of our best experts.
- Many pivotal historical choices were made quickly and emotionally History hung by a precarious thread on a few crucial choices. Some of these choices were strongly influenced by rather strange delusions e.g. rampaging robots. Our delusions may have led us to do something quite wonderful, or quite horrible, that permanently changed the options available to our descendants.
Perhaps the most enduring memory of our explosively growing Dreamtime will be a legacy of adaptive behavior (with mostly harmless delusions) become strange and dreamy: Call it “un-adaptive behavior”.
A possible future
It remains to be seen whether adaptation will reassert itself. What would that imply, if one were to believe these conjectures about humanity and society during the 100 year interval ending in 1999? Adaptation ascendant would solidly connect human behavior to reality. If this is to be the case, we should start seeing evidence of such as we traverse the twenty-first century.