The Machines

The Machines

Raging Robots! SyFy Debuts Next-Generation Battle Bots Reality Show

FINISH HIM. (Photo: Entertainment Weekly)

Is there currently a hole in your late-night drunken cable schedule? Leave it to SyFy to oblige. Entertainment Weekly reports that in February, the channel will debut a program called–no joke–Robot Combat League. It is exactly what it sounds like: Big-ass robots in a boxing cage, slugging away at each other.

Something similar has been in the works for quite a while, it seems:

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The Machines

Google Wants to Insert Itself into as Many of Your Conversations as Possible

Mobile devices: For so much more than Instagramming your dinner. (Photo:

We’ve all done it: An argument breaks out at the bar/dinner table/book club meeting, about a half-remembered line of poetry or factoid about the American Revolution. What was Mick Jagger’s childhood nickname? Only Google can tell you for sure. So someone hauls out a smartphone and lickety-split, the matter is settled. Back to brunch! 

Well, the matter isn’t settled as far as Google is concerned, reports The New York Times. Rather than being a mere 30-second in-case-of-emergency argument ender, the company wants its search products integrated ever-deeper into your socializing, like that one dude who doesn’t know when to stop dropping Trivial Pursuit factoids at the cocktail party.

According to the Times: Read More

The Machines

The Crowdwire Aims to Make Sense of Twitter’s Tower of Political Babel

Mr. Powers (Photo: Bluefin)

With the Republican and Democratic conventions just days away, the presidential election is kicking into high gear, and suddenly everyone in your Twitter and Facebook feeds are self-appointed pundits. This isn’t the first election cycle supercharged by the existence of social media, but there’s more people online posting more content than ever–which makes all that sentiment both more valuable and more difficult to parse.

Enter The Crowdwire, a new effort devoted to making sense of all that chatter.

“This is the biggest conversation, in essence, that the world has ever known,” William Powers, the project head, told Betabeat. “There are now a couple of billion comments a week in social media. So how do you get your arms around that? How do you make sense of that? How do you make it more than just a Tower of Babel?” Read More

The Machines

In the Future, a Computer Will Probably Write this Post

Mr. Hammond (

Like any proud papa, Narrative Science cofounder and CTO Kristian Hammond has ambitions for his article-writing algorithm. In 15 years, he told Wired, 90 percent of news will be computer-generated. In 20 years, there’ll be no topic his company doesn’t cover. He even believes that a computer will win the Pulitzer Prize within five years. Well, it is Big Data Week, after all.

Narrative Science got its start covering the data-driven topics of sports and finance. Then came work from a fast-food company, turning sales figures into regular written reports for franchise-owners. Nowadays, they can even vary tone. Hammond wants to see the company breaking news, though that’ll require investment in data mining and natural language processing. All that leads to a future that looks a little something like this, according to Wired: Read More