This week, the release date for the new Xbox One console is announced and computers try to get creative. But first, I explain what Flixtapes are.
Netflix introduces “Flixtapes” also brings The Force Awakens to Canada
Remember the mixtape? It was the ultimate in personal curation. We picked and ordered songs on a cassette tape as a way to share something about ourselves. It was a way to build themes, send messages, pass on favourites.
Netflix is giving users a chance to do something similar with videos that are available on the streaming service.
Called Flixtapes, these are lists of TV shows and movies that you create based on your own criteria. Pick a name for your Flixtape, add up to 5 titles, crib a cover sheet, and voila.
Share the Flixtape with friends and family, and they can watch the titles in your list.
One of the titles on my list is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which is actually playing on Netflix in Canada right now. And we’re the only country for which Netflix got these early broadcast rights for the newest film in the franchise.
Sometimes it pays to be Canadian.
Fooled you! Computers become creative artists
Earlier this year, computers were put to the test to see how well they can do things that have, until now, been the exclusive domain of humans.
Computer programs were used to assemble DJ sets and to write short stories and poetry.
The Turing Tests in the Creative Arts was an initiative by the Neukom Institute at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire.
If you’re not familiar with the concept of the Turing Test, it was something proposed by Alan Turing, one of the world’s first computer scientists, in his thinking about artificial intelligence.
The Turing Test does not gauge whether a machine is intelligent, but only if it can fool a person into thinking they are communicating with another person.
In that spirit, the competition staged by the clever folks at Neukom asked for computer programs that could replicate the creative efforts of humans.
You can judge for yourself how well machines can do.
There are 10 arrangements of music “you can listen to online“http://bregman.dartmouth.edu/turingtests/DJPoll and try to determine whether they were created by human DJs or algorithms. There’s no answer key provided, sadly, so there’s no way to know how correct you are.
You can also take a quiz on NPR to see if you can tell whether six poems were written by humans or machines.
Apparently, the judges of the poetry competition were not fooled. Were you?
New Xbox hits stores on August 2
The new hardware design for Microsoft’s Xbox One that was revealed at E3 in June is just around the corner.
The launch edtiion Xbox One S, which comes with a 2 TB hard drive, delivers on Tuesday, August 2. Limited quantities of the console will be available for Cdn$500.
Models with smaller hard drives will also be available:
• 1 TB for $450
• 500 GB for $400
The Xbox One S is not only slimmer, but it includes a built-in power supply, it is more energy efficient, and it supports 4K video (but not games).
If you don’t mind waiting until October 7, you can opt for the Gears of War 4 limited edition Xbox One S. For $50 more, you get a console with an amazing paint job, which also comes with a vertical stand and copy of the game and its season pass.