TMO Background Mode: Interview with Scrivener Creator Keith Blount

Keith Blount is the founder of the renowned writing app Scrivener. It’s designed for long-form text such as a thesis or novel. Think of it as a 3-ring binder and corkboard for the author. But Keith didn’t start life as a programmer. In college he studied history and literature. Later he became a school teacher. Interested in writing, however, he discovered that standard word processors didn’t have the facility he wanted for stitching together non-linear work. So he spent six months of evenings teaching himself Objective-C and Xcode. The first major release of Scrivener in 2007 was a huge hit. Today, Scrivener has sold over 500,000 copies and is available for Mac, Windows and iOS. Have you wondered how he named his company? You’ll just have to tune in!

The First AI-Written Christmas Song Is More Soul-Crushing than Fruitcake

Gather ye around the yule log, so festive, warm, and bright! Listen to this song of Christmas cheer written and composed by an AI. And hold on to your loved ones as said tune sucks the soul from your very bones and leaves you quivering in the naked fear not that the morrow will not come, but that it will come and you will be forced to endure another day contemplating the futility and hopelessness of life!  “I’ve always been there for the rest of our lives. A hundred and a half hours ago. I’m glad to meet you. I can hear the music coming from the hall.” Now that, dear friends, is the Christmas stuff of nightmares, as HowStuffWorks put it. And yes, I am dying, both from laughter and abject fear. This “song,” such as it is, was the result of a neural network project from The University of Toronto. They fed in 100 hours of holiday music, a bunch of holiday photographs with captions, and said, “Now you do it.” The song below was the result. Put another way, score ones for the humans.

The Artificial Intelligence Arms Race Is On

It’s easy to fall into the notion that Artificial Intelligence (AI) agents are intended only to speak to us, HAL 9000 style—to inform, analyze and guide via conversation.  But today, AI agents are being used for many behind the scenes activities. For example, cancer research via IBM’s Watson, autonomous cars and better human language translations. As a result of the enormous impact AI can have, in the many forms of human interactions, “Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and the Chinese firm Baidu — have touched off an arms race for A.I.” There’s more discussion on page 2 of Particle Debris.

Blade Runner 2049 Teaser Trailer Hits the Web

Blade Runner was an epic dystopian future movie that really shined once Ridley Scott was able to re-edit it and undo the damage the studios inflicted on us. Now we’re getting our first taste of the sequel, Blade Runner 2049, in a teaser trailer that promises even more epic dystopian awesomeness. The movie stars Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling, and if the teaser is any indication, this time the studios aren’t screwing it up. Blade Runner 2049 opens on October 6, 2017, so you have plenty of time to clear your schedule.