@Pontifex, The Trendiest new Celeb on Twitter!

Is Twitter slowly taking over the world? Personally, I think so, now that arguably head of the most powerful organization in the world is on twitter. No, it not the President, it’s the Pope. Using the handle @Pontifex he gained over 150,000 followers within six hours of the Vatican’s announcement. The Pope’s first tweet will take place on Dec 12, and will be a question and answer session about faith, and available in 8 languages. According to the Vatican, not all posts will personally be by the Pope, but they will all be approved by him. All of this is part of an effort to get the Catholic Church more involved in Social Media.

Personally, I feel that this is a step on the wrong direction. One of the things we talked about in class, is that while people are more connected than ever, there is actually less social interaction going on. Basically people are lonelier than ever, and church is one of those social institutions that pretty much enforces face to face interaction. Replacing that experience with one line platitudes in 160 characters or less, from the Pope or not, is not a positive step. I’m not saying that the Pope’s tweets are going to completely replace going to church, but to me it’s a step in the direction of broadcasting sermons online and having that count as “church.”

What do you guys think, is social media replacing face to face social interaction? Is Twitter a proper forum for religion? Do you think that having the Pope on twitter is a good thing or a bad thing?Image

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Teaching Your Computer to See

Google is doing it again, not satisfied with self driving cars now they’re trying to teach your iPhone to see. I found this article on Forbes.com, called “Teaching the iPhone to Drive.” Basically what the article is saying is that camera technology is getting to where it can see better than the human eye however, a computer cannot process the data without human interaction, it still needs us to tell it what it is seeing. According to the Author of this article however that could soon change, and we’re already seeing steps in that direction.

The author calls it the “visual singularity” the point where computers can see better than we can, and according to him it’s fast approaching. To an extent its already here in specialized formats, one thing he mentions is the LIDAR system in Google’s autonomous cars. However, that system is extremely expensive and too large to be practical except for what they are using it for. Also, there are license plate and facial recognition systems, but those are specialized, they are good at what they do but nothing else. What’s holding the technology back is that being able to see and processing what you see is a ton of information and right now computers can’t handle it. This is where the guys at Google come into it. 

Basically they figured out that it was the internet with its mass of online texts and digital sounds that taught computers how to read and understand sounds (Siri), so they networked a bunch of processors(16,000), and set them loose on YouTube. The machines ran for over a week and “looked” at millions of images. The results? The network taught itself to recognize cats. Why cats? Have you ever seen how man cat videos there are on YouTube? Now taken out of perspective it doesn’t sound all that impressive, but it’s a huge improvement over anything else that has come along. So, to make a long article less long, how does this affect us? One thing the article mentions is Medicine. According to the author coupled with advanced diagnostic programs that are already being developed, doctors may be out of the job. What other ways do you guys think this could be used? Should it be used, computers have been known to have errors? How will it affect us if/when computers are literally able to do everything we can, and do it better?