Geoff Nunberg http://waer.org en Do Feelings Compute? If Not, The Turing Test Doesn't Mean Much http://waer.org/post/do-feelings-compute-if-not-turing-test-doesnt-mean-much To judge from some of the <a href="http://www.times-series.co.uk/news/national/news/11264062._Super_computer__passes_Turing_Test/">headlines,</a> it was a very big deal. At an event held at the Royal Society in London, for the first time ever, a computer passed the Turing Test, which is widely taken as the benchmark for saying a machine is engaging in intelligent thought. But like the other much-hyped triumphs of artificial intelligence, this one wasn't quite what it appeared. Computers can do things that seem quintessentially human, but they usually take a different path to get there. Tue, 01 Jul 2014 19:46:00 +0000 Geoff Nunberg 20438 at http://waer.org Do Feelings Compute? If Not, The Turing Test Doesn't Mean Much 150 Years After Marx, 'Capital' Still Can't Shake Loose Of 'Das Kapital' http://waer.org/post/150-years-after-marx-capital-still-cant-shake-loose-das-kapital A lot of things had to come together to turn Thomas Piketty's controversial <em>Capital in the Twenty-First Century</em> into the <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/27/fashion/Thomas-Piketty-the-Economist-Behind-Capital-in-the-Twenty-First-Century-sensation.html?_r=0">tome of the season</a>. There's its timeliness, its surprising accessibility and the audacity of its thesis, that capitalism inevitably leads to greater concentrations of wealth at the very top. Tue, 27 May 2014 18:54:00 +0000 Geoff Nunberg 18823 at http://waer.org 150 Years After Marx, 'Capital' Still Can't Shake Loose Of 'Das Kapital' Hackers? Techies? What To Call San Francisco's Newcomers http://waer.org/post/hackers-techies-what-call-san-franciscos-newcomers "There goes the neighborhood." Every so often that cry goes up in San Francisco, announcing a new chapter in American cultural history, as the rest of the country looks on. There were the beats in North Beach, then the hippies in the Haight, then the gays in the Castro. Now it's the turn of the techies who are pouring into my own Mission neighborhood, among other places. Thu, 16 Jan 2014 19:21:00 +0000 Geoff Nunberg 13191 at http://waer.org Hackers? Techies? What To Call San Francisco's Newcomers Sorry Assiduous (adj.) SAT-Takers, Linguist In Dudgeon (n.) Over Vocab Flashcards http://waer.org/post/sorry-assiduous-adj-sat-takers-linguist-dudgeon-n-over-vocab-flashcards When I took the SATs a very long time ago, it didn't occur to us to cram for the vocabulary questions. Back then, the A in SAT still stood for "aptitude," and most people accepted the wholesome fiction that the tests were measures of raw ability that you couldn't prepare for — "like sticking a dipstick into your brain," one College Board researcher said.<p>It wasn't until the test-prep industry took off a few years later that people realized you could work the system, and students began boning up on the words that were likely to appear on the exam. Mon, 23 Dec 2013 19:23:00 +0000 Geoff Nunberg 12308 at http://waer.org Sorry Assiduous (adj.) SAT-Takers, Linguist In Dudgeon (n.) Over Vocab Flashcards Narcissistic Or Not, 'Selfie' Is Nunberg's Word Of The Year http://waer.org/post/narcissistic-or-not-selfie-nunbergs-word-year I feel a little defensive about choosing "selfie" as my Word of the Year for 2013. I've usually been partial to words that encapsulate one of the year's major stories, such as "<a href="http://www.npr.org/2011/12/07/143265669/occupy-geoff-nunbergs-2011-word-of-the-year">occupy</a>" or "<a href="http://www.npr.org/2012/12/20/167702665/geoff-nunbergs-word-of-the-year-big-data">big data</a>." Or "privacy," which is the word Dictionary.com chose this year. Thu, 19 Dec 2013 16:26:00 +0000 Geoff Nunberg 12146 at http://waer.org Narcissistic Or Not, 'Selfie' Is Nunberg's Word Of The Year