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Fun Size for 4/3/19: Six scary things about AI

The world of information - in Fun Size!

UMSI's Fun Size digest features tiny, delicious news tidbits relating to information and library topics. Reach us at [email protected].

O is for Oculus
A private-public partnership would fund a proposed $60 million transformation of the Library of Congress, according to Roll Call.  LOC Librarian Carla D. Hayden seeks to make visiting the LOC more engaging for visitors. Plans also call for an oculus, a domed window looking up into the Main Reading Room. “We love saying oculus,” Hayden admits. Who doesn’t?

In God we trust… or maybe not
How many Americans are agnostic? What’s the only country in the western hemisphere without a Christian majority? Big has a colorful infographic that maps the religions of the world and provides some surprising insights into who worships what, where. 

Unicorn, unicorn, heart, frog, frog
Emojis can come in handy when we’re trying to tone down a potentially cranky email, but let’s expand our emoji vocab beyond smiley wink face. This New York Times article suggests ways to use emojis and reminds us there are over 3,000 of them. No excuses–why not send a goat (Greatest of All Time) today?

Language activists
With over half the world’s languages predicted to disappear by 2099, the internet could be a game-changer, reports, a grassroots organization working to save indigenous languages from extinction, links to videos of people speaking over 400 lesser-known languages, from Cornish to Quechua.

Would you like fries with that, Todd?
Fast food giant McDonald’s is embracing big data in a super-sized way, says Micky Dee’s has just paid over $300 million for a data tech company to help customize its dynamic drive-up menus, taking into account things like weather, time of day and traffic. And maybe down the road, individual customer personalization through your smartphone or license plate.

Video game leads to day job
The 30-year-old computer game “Sim City” lets budding city planners decide where to put bus stops, streetlights, schools and stores in building their ideal cities. Turns out Sim City inspired a whole generation of today’s city planners to go pro, according to this Los Angeles Times story

Those were the days
Time for another timeline … 23 milestones in the history of the web, from the first commercial internet service providers (1989), first website (1991) and first search engine (1993) to the first smartphone (2002). These images may look clunky and dated, but Tech Republic argues there really haven’t been that many revolutionary “firsts” since the early 2000s.

Speaking of technology, Tech Republic also shares what it considers the most important tech inventions of the past century. Fertilizer, Fridgidaires and faxes get things rolling…

The dark side of AI
Artificial intelligence does a lot of good, but some new advancements are downright scary, says Justin Stoltzfus in Scenarios that give him the heebie-jeebies are a robot that killed a human co-worker (an accident!), AI-led weapons triggering global conflicts, and inaccurate medical diagnoses. UMSI’s Kentaro Toyama is quoted on AI’s ability to create disturbing images, such as Google’s Deep Dream. Sleep tight!

News from UMSI

UMSI takes the Hill

UMSI’s commencement ceremony will take place a month from now, on May 5 in the Hill Auditorium. This is the first year in which UMSI will cross the stage at Hill, the school having outgrown three other campus venues over the past five years. Our guest speaker will be Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Bridget McCormack. Read more