Still working on stabilizing the result long-term, but this blog just achieved the holy grail in website optimization: a 95%+ Google pagespeed score. Without the use of a content distribution network! Quite proud 🙂
This week, Wikileaks lifted the lid on a partnership between the US State Department, Google and Al Jazeera to help overthrow Assad in Syria. In 2013, Google developed a tool to map government defectors and feed the information back to Syria, to stimulate more insurgents. Al Jazeera took ownership of the online application. What is a commercial company doing trying to overthrow a government. Why is a news agency actively taking political action? Why is the US in cahoots with Al Jazeera? Why wasn’t this bigger news? Companies are getting state-like influence, arabic news outlets working with the US, … strange new world.
As a hobby, I’ve been playing around with search engine optimization on this blog. Getting a link on the first page of a Google results page has been the holy grail of online marketeers for over a decade. Sounds simple enough, but Google’s secret recipe does not give itself up easily. Most posts don’t even show up if you search the complete body of the text.. Aside from reading up on the basic technicalities, I refuse to use online tutorials: no one ever got ahead by doing what everybody else is doing. The results have been limited, up until recently. For a few three-word searches, my posts started showing up on the first page, some even as the very first result. Nice, innit?
A few weeks ago, Google released its DeepDream project. Basically, it is a visualization tool to show how artificial intelligence (in plain language: a robot) sees our world. They feed the A.I. millions and millions of different pictures of something they want it to learn to recognize, until it does. Obviously, this isn’t perfect yet: it’s simply impossible to feed it millions and millions of pictures of everything, which makes the A.I. want to see things that are not actually there. But how does this bias affect the way the A.I. would see things? Well, that is what DeepDream visualizes. The result? Some psychedelic, and often beautiful pictures. The application isn’t available in a very user-friendly version yet, but Google has made the source code available for the public, so that is bound to be available at some point. The video underneath shows you what happens when every single frame of a scene out of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is run true the process. Some marvelous examples are available here, here and here (porn! :-)).