Let Rorschach have a turn.

The field of artificial intelligence is moving quickly, and computers seem to be getting smarter every day. To track their progress, people usually focus on Turing tests of pure utility: Can a machine see, hear, or drive as well as a human?

But maybe these intelligent computers aren’t just utilitarian tools. Couldn’t they have feelings, personalities, even psychological idiosyncrasies? Could they have their own strange personalities, different from any human?

To understand the subconscious thoughts of the new mechanical brains, we turned to an old standby. …


in Data Visualization

Fernanda Viégas / Martin Wattenberg

first published in Malofiej 22, Annual Book

Visualization is now a mass medium. It’s not quite Hollywood, but information graphics have millions of viewers, awards ceremonies, and even their own celebrities with tens of thousands of Twitter followers. More important, from the perspective of journalism, is that data visualization is an essential part of the communication process. Today, a data-driven story without a chart is like a fashion story without a photo.

Along with the glitter and popularity, visualization has attracted something else: popular criticism. It’s happening at a small scale; we don’t yet see infographics reviews in the New York Times Arts section. Nonetheless, when a striking visualization comes out, it’s not unusual to see commentary and controversy on the web, moving from blogs to Twitter to Facebook. …

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