“Necessity is the mother of invention,” or so the saying goes. We’ve never held to that, finding that laziness is a much more powerful creative lubricant. And this story about someone who automated their job with a script is one of the best examples of sloth-driven invention since the TV remote was introduced. If we take the story at face value — and it’s the Internet, so why wouldn’t we? — this is a little scary, as the anonymous employee was in charge of curating digital evidence submissions for a law firm. The job was to watch for new files in a local folder, manually copy them to a cloud server, and verify the file with a hash to prove it hasn’t been tampered with and support the chain of custody. The OP says this was literally the only task to perform, so we can’t really blame them for automating it with a script once COVID shutdowns and working from home provided the necessary cover. But still — when your entire job can be done by a Windows batch file and some PowerShell commands while you play video games, we’re going to go out on a limb and say you’re probably underemployed.
People have been bagging on the US Space Force ever since its inception in 2019, which we think is a little sad. It has to be hard being the newest military service, especially since it branched off of the previously newest military service, and no matter how important its mission may be, there’s still always going to be the double stigmas of being both the new kid on the block and the one with a reputation for digging science fiction. And now they’ve given the naysayers yet more to dunk on, with the unveiling of the official US Space Force service song. Every service branch has a song — yes, even the Army, and no, not that one — and they all sound appropriately martial. So does the Space Force song, but apparently people have a problem with it, which we really don’t get at all — it sounds fine to us.
When you’re a pedestrian trying to cross a street in traffic, one of the best pieces of advice is to make eye contact with drivers. Making sure an approaching driver sees you and processes the information is only possible by a serious look in their eyes, and it may be the only thing that prevents you from becoming a hood ornament. But what happens to that rule when cars no longer have drivers? Easy — stick huge motorized googly eyes on their front grills. Researchers at the University of Tokyo and Kyoto University did just that, using an autonomous golf cart with comically large robotic eyes to gauge whether it helps reduce pedestrian accidents. The eyes swivel towards a pedestrian to show that the car is going to yield the right of way, or look away if the car is planning to blitz right through the crosswalk. It seems to work, with pedestrians less likely to attempt a crossing if they don’t get eye contact from the car. Interesting results, but we seriously doubt anyone is going to be slapping googly eyes on autonomous vehicles anytime soon.
And finally, we’ve grown quite fond of all these AI-generated videos that base their images on song lyrics. There were a couple of Led Zeppelin songs done by AI Midjourney recently that were interesting, but we really like this comparison of three different AI takes on Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky.” The images were done by DALL-E 2, Stable Diffusion, and Midjourney, and the difference in results is remarkable — especially given the nonsensical nature of the poem. DALL-E 2 seemed to have the most trouble with the poem, and tended to use more photorealistic images than the other two. Personally, we’d give Midjourney the edge here for creativity and general coolness of the images, but all three were most frabjous and quite mimsy — not the least bit slithy.