Using machine learning to read Sherlock Holmes

A while ago I posted about how to use machine learning to understand brand semantics by mining Twitter data — not just to count mentions, but to map the similitudes and differences in how people think about them. But individual tweets are brief snapshots, just a few words written and posted in an instant of […]

The mystical underpinnings of Facebook's anti-fake news algorithms

Imagine you're Rene Descartes, data scientist at Facebook in charge of saying true things. Problem is, your only input is what people say, and everybody lies. It's not a moral failure, it's just that you've built Facebook into the world's largest integrated content distribution machine, and convincing people of things that aren't true is where […]

Superman: The Last Son of Prague

Besides everything else, today Superman is an almost satirically strict exemplar of what a "good" immigrant has to look like: if you can pass as a white able-bodied heterosexual male, were raised in a small Kansas farm, got a prestigious job in a traditional professional field, and save the world two or a hundred times, […]