On the Circumference #6: AlphaGo, wake me up Echo

On the Circumference #6: AlphaGo, wake me up Echo

The On the Circumference posts contain short pieces which may or may not be expanded later.

Retrofitting TMCGTT


The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip

went live at The History Project on February 29th (figuring that would be an easy date to remember), but I haven’t done much promotion of it yet (outside of my own blogs).

The History Project has mentioned it, as did Len Edgerly of

The Kindle Chronicles

also tweeted about it.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of work on it. Part of it is adding new things (you can see what I’ve been adding by following the special Twitter account I set up for it, @TMCGTT). However, the biggest work lately has been “retrofitting” earlier entries.

I started out just copying in a bunch of events from

The Measured Circle Pop Culture Timeline

However, I later decided I wanted the entries to be interactive: I want you, when I can, legally, to be able to jump from an entry to being able to read a book/magazine/comic, watch a movie/TV show, listen to a radio show, and so on.

If that’s not the case, I want you to be able to use it as a portal, to jump to news (Google news search, Twitter search…).

Where I can find public domain pictures, I’ve been adding at least one of those as well.

So, I’ve been going back to existing entries…it takes a while.

I could probably improve entries forever, so I set myself a date for when I’ll start promoting it a bit outside my circle (so to speak).

That will be April 2nd.

I may compose an announcement, but I will at least follow some Twitter accounts (The Mary Sue, Entertainment Weekly…)

Go, Go Gadget AI!

When I work with people on their use of technology, I like to explain what they should expect the computer to do best and what the human should do best.

What computers do better than we do is the same thing over and over again. People are terrible at that.

What humans do better than computers, hypothetically, is make decisions.

So, if you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again, or if there are specific rules that govern what should be done, let the computer do it. If a decision has to be made, you should do it.

However, as I like to point out, computers are getting better at making decisions…and arguably, we are getting worse at doing the same thing over and over again. 😉

That’s why they are catching up to us. 🙂

We saw that recently when Google’s Deep Mind AlphaGo beat Lee Sedol, a human champion, in Go:

Nature post by Mark Zastrow

Yes, Lee did win one of the best of five match…there has been a lot of analysis of what happened there, but maybe AlphaGo just didn’t want to appear to be too powerful. 😉

I used to manage a gamestore, and Go players were serious and sure that their game was more difficult than chess. One argument they would make: you can be a chess prodigy in your teens, but you a Go prodigy in your 50s. 🙂

Indiana Jones 5

After great success in the Force Awakens, Harrison Ford will star in

Indiana Jones 5

which is scheduled to be released on July 19, 2019. Ford will have just turned 77.

There have been a lot of jokes about Harrison Ford’s age…because, you know, that wouldn’t get you reprimanded by HR at work. 😉

Look, I like that a character like Indiana Jones can age. Why cut off all those possible stories at a certain age? You can always go back and do younger stories again if you want.

In the world of Alexa…

Some short points about the  Amazon Echo (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) and the Alexa Voice Service:

  • “I’m okay, you’re da-DING”: I’ve seen a lot of complaints about this, and I certainly preferred it the old way. When I now ask our Echo to use our home automation to turn a light on or off (for example), instead of a charming “Okay”, it makes a two-beat sound. They should at least give us the option…I like that my Echo talks to me; that’s one of the main points. I don’t think there’s any technical reason for it, because she still verbally responds to my requests which go to IFTTT (If This Then That)
  • You can now set recurring alarms! That’s great for me…I’m sometimes exercising when my alarm goes off on my tablet, and I have to break my routine to stop it. Now, I can just do it verbally
  • There are now 40 (!) pages of skills! You can also choose to just look at the skills you’ve enabled, if you like
  • For more information on the Echo and Alexa, see The Measured Circle’s Echo Central

Join thousands of readers and try the free The Measured Circle magazine at Flipboard 

All aboard our new The Measured Circle’s Geek Time Trip at The History Project!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the  The Measured Circle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.


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