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Tag: Skype

Infobesity and infoxication, now and then

Monday, 25 April, 2016 0 Comments

There’s a synonym for infobesity doing the rounds and it’s infoxication. If neither makes sense, here’s the older version: information overload. For those who think infobesity and infoxication are silly abuses of medical terminology, Stewart Butterfield has two words: cognitive diabetes. And he should know. Stewart Butterfield is the CEO of Slack, a cloud-based teamworking tool with some three million users and a value close to $4 billion. When he raises a red flag about messaging addiction, it’s time to listen.

Speaking at the Bloomberg Businessweek Design Conference earlier this month, Butterfield compared our obsession with Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter and, yes, Slack, to the diabetes epidemic, when “suddenly, as a species, we got infinite, free calories,” he said. Now that we have “infinite, free communications,” the messaging addiction has become a form of “cognitive diabetes.”

None of this is new, of course. Early in the 20th century, the poet and critic T. S. Eliot worried that the “vast accumulations of knowledge — or at least of information — deposited by the nineteenth century” were creating “an equally vast ignorance.” In his essay, “The Perfect Critic,” for the literary journal Athenaeum in 1920, he put it like this:

“When there is so much to be known, when there are so many fields of knowledge in which the same words are used with different meanings, when every one knows a little about a great many things, it becomes increasingly difficult for anyone to know whether he knows what he is talking about or not.”

When every one knows a little about a great many things… Must put this post on Twitter, Kik, Whatsapp, Skype and Facebook now.

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The bots of F8

Tuesday, 12 April, 2016 0 Comments

Facebook’s F8 developer conference takes place today and tomorrow in San Francisco, and while Mark Zuckerberg hasn’t revealed what he’ll be revealing during the two-day event, there’s been a lot of buzz around bots. Specifically, chatbots within Facebook Messenger. At last year’s F8, Facebook presented its Messenger service, which gives developers access to a platform with more than 900 million users and the word on the street is that today we’ll see Facebook launch new APIs to bring chatbots into Messenger.

Bots are being touted as the new apps and Facebook’s anticipated move is designed to make up on ground lost to Telegram, Kik, WeChat and Slack. They’re all racing ahead with bot research. Google is rumoured to be working on a messaging-based chat bot and Microsoft, which is still recovering from the Tay meltdown, is incorporating the AI technology via Skype in the shape of video bots. Future slogan: “There’s a bot for that!”