Open Thread for February 18, 2011

You can either peel off this Open Thread, dice it up and add it to a stew, or just eat it raw. It’s good for you! So what’s going on this week? We have the debut of Britney Spear’s much-hyped … Continued

You can either peel off this Open Thread, dice it up and add it to a stew, or just eat it raw. It’s good for you!

So what’s going on this week? We have the debut of Britney Spear’s much-hyped video, “Hold It Against Me”, the death of Uncle Leo from Seinfeld, sci-fi action drama I Am Number Four opening in theaters and the defeat of human computer Ken Jennings by an IBM computer in the game of Jeopardy.

Comment of the Week: (re: Podcast Episode #137) What I gather from your conversations about Mubarak: He could have stopped all of this civil unrest by converting some of his workers to entertainers (EZ)

Is Britney’s latest video set in a future world where alien teenagers liberate us from the rule of trivia computer masters? Or is there something we missed? Sound off in the comments, for this is your … Open Thread.

5 Comments on “Open Thread for February 18, 2011”

  1. Megan from Lombard #

    Watson actually beat Ken and Brad at *two* games played over three days, but I’m not going to split hairs ;)

    I actually found Ken’s comment at the end of the last game to be very appropriate- that he welcomes our new computer overlords- because honestly, once a computer learns enough “pop” trivia to win Jeopardy what’s to stop them from taking over the world?


    • Chris #

      What’s to stop them from taking over the world? The fact that people have to build them and program them and they are still entirely dependent on human beings. After all, this isn’t Watson’s accomplishment, it’s his creators. They created a robot that managed to be really good at Jeopardy, but of course that’s also all it does.

      Chuck Klosterman once wrote a piece about how we have nothing to worry about when it comes to robots, and I tend to agree.


  2. Chris #

    Also, I don’t think Britney Spears’ new video was the most popular, talked about, and noteworthy music related video of the week. I think that honor goes to Odd Future’s Jimmy Fallon appearance. Personally, I don’t think it is quite worthy of the hype. When it comes to buzzed about rap groups with heavy internet discussion surrounding them, I’ll stick to Das Racist thank you very much.


  3. Gab #

    Music: Yuck’s self-titled debut album is pretty sweet, and pretty cheap if you get it digitally from Amazon.


  4. Brian #

    This thread reminds me of Ray Kurzweil’s idea of the singularity where intelligent machines start doing so many jobs the main thing humans will be left to do is create art. When first reading about that idea in ‘The Singularity is Near’ I thought it was ridiculous, but know with Watson and Ken Jennings quote on it…

    “Just as factory jobs were eliminated in the 20th century by new assembly-line robots, Brad and I were the first knowledge-industry workers put out of work by the new generation of ‘thinking’ machines. ‘Quiz show contestant’ may be the first job made redundant by Watson, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.”

    Has me thinking Kurzweil may be right.

    But then we have Britney Spears, which if robots leave us to do nothing but art, are we going to see a future of mainly Britney Spearsi train wrecks? I don’t think more than there are now, I’m guessing that breed of megastar won’t be around when everyone is doing the same thing and there won’t be these tentpole performers that hold up entire corporations and other parasitic media that depend on that stars off-stage humiliations. I’ve heard it several times, on OTI too i think, that this era has no “Stars” like Bogart and Bacall so maybe we’re on this trend of communist celebrity. Then again maybe it will just supercharge the Britney Spears model of industry entertainment? Will all our trivia shows be replaced with American Idol type shows?


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