OkCupid Redefines ‘DTF’

OkCupid is DTF, but not like that.

The dating site rethinks that blunt old acronym, originally meaning “down to fuck,” by making it the centerpiece of a new campaign from Wieden + Kennedy New York—with the F word replaced by dozens of enlightened alternatives, leading to phrases like “down to feel fabulous,” “down to forget our baggage” and “down to fight about the president.”

The point being: Dating can and should be about more than hookups. The tagline is, “Dating deserves better.”

The headlines are matched with fun, brightly colored photographs. Several of the ads also have a political message, adding to the already provocative use of “DTF” as a theme. It’s a highly artistic campaign, too—W+K worked with artist Maurizio Cattelan and photographer Pierpaolo Ferrari, the creators of Toilet Paper magazine, on the ads.

The campaign marks the latest attack on dating culture, which has come to seem dehumanized in the binary, swipe-left-or-right age of Tinder. (Other dating apps, including Hinge, have also based recent ads around fostering deeper connections between users.)

OkCupid CMO Melissa Hobley tells AdFreak that the new campaign signals the brand’s commitment to being focused on substance and depth, while also reflecting the issues and passions that people care about.

“In the current political and social climate, we felt a responsibility and saw an opportunity to play a part in changing the conversation about dating culture and empowering each individual to reclaim the meaning of DTF and make it theirs,” she says.

OkCupid aims to achieve substance and depth through the app’s features. It asks users more than a dozen questions while setting up a profile and recently launched OkCupid Discovery, which lets users search by passions and interests. It aims to achieve relevance through the brand voice, having found traction by leaning into politics over the past year—including adding a “Trump Filter” to its list of questions.

“The response to this blew us away, and most importantly, signaled how important it was for people to be able to talk politics in dating,” Hobley says. “We do this better than anyone, and regularly add political questions into the OkCupid experience.”

Source: Adweek

Why it’s hot: 

  • In a world of political correctness, choosing to push the limits with a risque campaign is a risk for a brand looking to win over more users. However, in a sea of competitors like Tinder that are pushing they envelope it is a risk worth taking in order to stand out.

Life, liberty and the pruisuit of sassiness

We’ll Wendy’s held their National Roast Day on Twitter yesterday and it was magic. They are a brand that knows their audience and they got a lot of people involved as well as some verified friends. The engagements they hot on each post to just random people is insane, some north of 30k likes.

Why its hot?

  • Wendy’s hasn’t messed up even though they’re trying to hit below the belt with their fans
  • Their posts are calculated, they know the risk but it seems like they do a good job getting rid of the tweets that are a little too risky
  • They’re getting other Verified accounts involved and it makes me wonder, are they reaching out to brand spreading the word? Or is it voluntary…

And if you’re wondering, no, i did not ask to be roasted but its something I’ll regret until next year.

Could genetic testing help thwart the opioid crisis?

Why some people become addicted to oopiods and some do not has become somewhat of a mystery in the medical community. But the story is familiar; patient gets prescribed an opioid pain killer, and by the end of their course of treatment, they have developed a dependency (knowingly or not). But what if a genetic test could signal whether a person is more likely to develop an addiction, and therefore at higher risk from the moment they enter the doctor’s office?

That’s exactly what the medical analytics company Prescient Medicine has set out to do with their LifeKit Test- a genetic test that determines within 97% sensitivity how addictive your genetic response to opioids will be. Using an algorithm they developed based on genes that signal addiction in neural pathways, they give each test subject a score out of 100, with anything 52 or higher showing an elevated risk of addiction.

WHY IT’S HOT

Perhaps LifeKit and advancements in genetic testing could be the preventative measure needed to stop this national health crisis, and even aid with substance abuse of all kinds. As genetic testing becomes cheaper and more ubiquitous, it may arm doctors with the knowledge to offer alternatives that could saves millions of lives.

SOURCE: https://www.fastcompany.com/40513391/is-genetic-testing-part-of-the-solution-to-the-opioid-crisis

Explore the largest early map of the world

Drawn by hand in 1587 by Italian cartographer Urbano Monte, the above map is the largest known early map on the world, now digitized for the first time at the David Rumsey Historical Map Collection at Stanford University.

This is the first time anyone can see the map as a single unit, as Monte intended 430 years ago. It is available for viewing using AR Globe, an iOS augmented reality app, or via download in Google Earth.

Rumsey told Fast Co. Design, “the 60-plus sheets “were digitally assembled by Brandon Rumsey using Photoshop” totally by hand, without having to use distortion or custom programming, just “alignment of layers and edges” tools.”

The map uses azimuthal equidistant projection, a circular projection of Earth from the North Pole, which Monte believed shows the world more accurately by showing a three-dimensional sphere as a two-dimensional surface.

Why its hot

My favorite thing about technology isn’t the new things it can create, but the old things it can preserve. This incredible piece of history is now available to just about anyone, anywhere in the world, right on their mobile phone. Technology has increased access to history, which I think gives us lessons that will inform our future.

Justin O’Beirne on Google Maps Moat

Justin O’Bierne, a cartographer from San Francisco, has a great article about the huge distance between Google Maps, and Apple Maps. Mr. O’Beirne writes a lot about maps, especially online maps. His most recent article centers around buildings. Namely, how is it possible that Google has so many buildings on their maps, even in very small towns?

Gif by Justin O’Beirne

This is something that Google has been adding in the last few years. Mr. O’Beirne notes that Google isn’t just adding addressed places, but they’re adding garages and other structures as well.

Gif by Justin O’Beirne

Not only are they doing that, their buildings are highly detailed..

Image by Justin O’Beirne

He goes on to examine a full range of buildings across the US, that show up as highly detailed models in Google Maps. He also shows that Apple and Bing have nothing even close to this imagery, so what’s going on? How are they doing it?

The answer lay in an old press release, dug up by Mr. O’Beirne. The models are coming from computer vision analysis of Google Earth satellite imagery. So, as summed up in a gif:

Gid by Justin O’Beirne

Not only is Google doing this, but it’s doing it FAST, and much faster than it’s competitors. As Mr. O’Beirne notes:

Just two years after it started adding them, Google already had the majority of buildings in the U.S. And now after five years, it has my rural hometown—an area it still hasn’t Street View’d (after 10+ years of Street View).

Graph by Justin O’Beirne

Finally, Google has also introduced another feature into Maps: Areas of Interest. Area’s of Interest are known by another name is academic research: Commercial Corridors. They’re typically defined by locations with densely packed shops and restaurants. This may seem simple, but it presents a problem to Google: how do you display all of those places on a map without the place names overlapping? If you can’t show all of the businesses, which businesses get picked? How will the user know, at a glance, which areas of the city are areas of interest?

As you can see in this screenshot of my neighborhood, Google has solved this by creating areas of lightly shaded orange.

Not a fancy gif

Justin O’Beirne notes that these areas are not smoothly defined, they seem to be form by conglomerations of actual buildings, and when you zoom in, Google is actually locating where physically the businesses sit in each building.

Also not fance

So how do they do THAT?

Well, this post is very long now so I’ll just show you a couple more gifs that Mr. O’Beirne made:

As Mr. O’Beirne notes:

…so this makes AOIs a byproduct of byproducts:

To sum up: Google made a map of the entire Earth available on Google Maps, and then used computer vision to create detailed models of precisely located buildings. It also sent a car with a camera around the world to all the road’s that it could to give street view imagery, and then analyzed that information for signs and other details. It then combined all of that information to create precisely detailed, located buildings with precisely accurate location information for businesses and areas of interest in cities. As Mr. O’Beirne notes, Google is making data out of data.

And that’s why Google is so far ahead.

This sticker can fool AI vision systems

Researchers have generated imagery that can fool AI vision systems, like those on self-driving cars, into thinking they see something. While this technology has been around for a while, researchers at Google recently developed a method for printing these images on stickers.

Unlike other adversarial attacks, they don’t need to be tuned based on the image they’re trying to override, nor does it matter where they appear in the AI’s field of view. Here’s what it looks like in action, with a sticker that turns a banana into a toaster:

 

Although adversarial images can be disconcertingly effective, they’re not some super magic hack that works on every AI system every time. Patches like the one the Google researchers created take time and effort to generate, and usually access to the code of the vision systems they’re targeting. The problem, as research like this shows, is that these attacks are slowly getting more flexible and effective over time. Stickers might just be the start.

 

Why it’s hot

As we rely more on AI with access to vision systems to unlock our phones, drive our cars, open our doors, and more, vulnerabilities of such systems will become apparent. As will all emerging technology, there are risks of misuse and neglect, but there are also brilliant computer scientists and information security professionals working to keep us from living episodes of Black Mirror. The more we understand about their work, the safer we become and the easier their jobs become as well.

Germany is Taking Hate Speech Online to Task

As of 1/1 Germany’s new anti-hate-speech law has come into effect. The new law promises fines of up to 50 million euros ($60 million, £44 million) for non compliance.

The law requires social networks to remove hate speech in under 24 hours from when it’s flagged by a user. Networks are given one week to deal with less clear cases.

Hate speech has seen a recent up tick online. YouTube stars accused of anti-Semitism; Trumps tweets against immigrants and Muslims.

Why it’s hot?

The real question is whether this has a positive effect on the rest of the internet.  With geolocation, it’s possible to keep the hate speech ban specific to Germany and German citizens. Depending on how tight the laws were written….the rest of us just might be in luck….

Also, fun fact. There’s a word in german for this kind of speech Volksverhetzung, in English “incitement of the masses”, “instigation of the people”

dragon drive: jarvis for your car…

The wave of magical CES 2018 innovations has begun to roll in, and among those already announced is a company called Nuance Communications’s “Dragon Drive” – an (extremely) artificially intelligent assistant for your car.

According to Digital Trends

“By combining conversational artificial intelligence with a number of nonverbal cues, Dragon Drive helps you talk to your car as though you were talking to a person. For example, the AI platform now boasts gaze detection, which allows drivers to get information about and interact with objects and places outside of the car simply by looking at them and asking Dragon Drive for details. If you drive past a restaurant, you can simply focus your gaze at said establishment and say, “Call that restaurant,” or “How is that restaurant rated?” Dragon Drive provides a “meaningful, human-like response.”

Moreover, the platform enables better communication with a whole host of virtual assistants, including smart home devices and other popular AI platforms. In this way, Dragon Drive claims, drivers will be able to manage a host of tasks all from their cars, whether it’s setting their home heating system or transferring money between bank accounts.

Dragon Drive’s AI integration does not only apply to external factors, but to components within the car as well. For instance, if you ask the AI platform to find parking, Dragon Drive will take into consideration whether or not your windshield wipers are on to determine whether it ought to direct you to a covered parking area to avoid the rain. And if you tell Dragon Drive you’re cold, the system will automatically adjust the car’s climate (but only in your area, keeping other passengers comfortable).

Why It’s Hot:

Putting aside the question of how many AI assistants we might have in our connected future, what was really interesting to see was the integration of voice and eye tracking biometrics. Things like using your voice as your key (/to personalize your settings to you and your passengers), the car reminding you of memories that happened at locations you’re passing, and identifying stores/buildings/restaurants/other things along your route with just a gaze, it’s amazing to think what the future holds when all the technologies we’ve only just seen emerging in recent years converge.

[More info]

Samsung debuts smart glasses for people with vision impairments

Samsung announced this week that they will be debuting Relúmĭno, a VR-based smartphone app for people with vision impairments, at CES 2018. Relúmĭno is a product of their C-Lab (Creative Lab) program.

Jeonghun Cho, one of the C-Lab creators of Relúmĭno, said he was inspired to create these glasses after learning that only 14% of people with visual impairments are totally blind, and the remaining 86% of people have low vision and are typically able to distinguish between light and dark. He wanted to find a way to use technology to improve their residual vision, and from that goal, the Relúmĭno glasses were born.

One of the most significant aspects of these glasses is their price. Many products that improve visual perception are very expensive, so the Relúmĭno is significant in that it’s much more accessible from a price standpoint. Samsung achieved this by harnessing the power of the user’s smartphones and VR technology, so the only additional components that users need beyond a Samsung smartphone is a VR headset.

This product is still in its early stages, and their next hurdle will be completing a version of Relúmĭno that is fully housed within regular sunglasses, rather than the VR headset. This would make the product much more mobile, and would work better in outdoor conditions.

Why It’s Hot: Another incredible example of existing technology being used to bring life-changing quality of life improvements to people who really need it. What other significant medical problems can be solved with the tech we use every day?

Read more: Ars Technica | Samsung

Amazon’s Alexa may eventually serve up ads…maybe, maybe not?

It was only a matter of time, folks.

According to a report from CNBC, Amazon is in talks with brands and advertisers to include ads on the Echo through via Alexa. The report says that Amazon is discussing these opportunities with Procter & Gamble and Clorox.

Just as ads found their way to the newspaper, the radio, the television, the internet, and even to our inbox and inside our apps, it only makes sense for advertisers to follow us to the next frontier of voice-powered AI.

There are two obvious paths to potentially advertising on Alexa.

The first is to let brands pay for placement when users are shopping through Alexa. For example, Proctor & Gamble could pay for Bounty to be the first brand recommended when a user asks for Alexa to purchase paper towels. Of course, these ads could be ultra-smart given the data Amazon already has about each individual user’s buying history.

The second channel for advertising could come via Alexa Skills. For example, a skill that tells users movie showtimes could suggest buying tickets through Fandango.

Paid search ads via voice could be much more effective than the paid search ads you see on the web, as with Google. On the web, many have grown numb to ad search results and can easily scroll past them to real search results. On a voice platform, it takes far more work to ‘scroll past’ the first result presented. Plus, depending on how Amazon presents paid results, it may be more difficult to decipher paid results from actual results.

Amazon, however, responded to CNBC saying that “the company has no plans to add advertisements to Alexa.” Obviously, this is just a rumor at the moment but it would be far from shocking if ads hit the Alexa platform. An Amazon spokesperson responded to request for comment with the same quote they gave CNBC: “There are no plan to add advertising to Alexa.”

Source: TechCrunch

Why It’s Hot

Regardless of whether this is real news now or not, it’s still interesting to consider and potentially inevitable. Brands are bound to want in on this expanding space — can the Amazons and Google’s of the world hold them back? Should they?

Parenting Hero, an illustrated app for talking to your kids

Parenting Hero is an iOS app that presents new parents with role-playing scenarios that guide the user through responses to common parenting challenges. The idea is that parents often forget the advice of parenting books in the moment, especially when their child is headed towards a tantrum. The app is illustrated with 1,500 hand-drawn panels illustrated by Katarzyna Struczynska.

The designers observed that parents have so little time nowardays, and it might be better for them to retain information in an interactive app than reading through dozens of parenting books. The designers believe there are two main benefits of getting the app over the book the app is based on: 1) parents can familiarize themselves with parenting advice quickly; 2) it serves as a quick reminder about the book’s tenets when faced with conflict. Parents can even print out cards with tips when they complete a scenario in the app. The team hopes to incorporate feedback from parents who use the app to craft new scenarios in upcoming versions.

 

Holy contextual bandits batman!

Netflix is at it again – schooling us all on what personal really means.

For a long time, Netflix has been perfecting personal recommendations on what to watch. Now it’s delivering a new feature to enhance how it makes those recommendations – personalized artwork.

Netflix

So OK, that’s cool enough thinking about the thousands of titles, millions of users and all the potential key art variations needed to meaningfully personalize content. But what’s equally cool is their approach to measuring the performance of recommendations. It’s basically impossible to control for all the variables behind personalized artwork to understand what works best. So Netflix employed a methodology called Contextual Bandits.

Netflix

You’re going to have to read the blog post to really understand it (and then explain it to me!) but here goes: contextual bandits are a class of online learning algorithms that trade off the cost of gathering training data required for learning an unbiased model on an ongoing basis with the benefits of applying the learned model to each member context. In other words, rather than waiting to collect a full batch of data, waiting to learn a model, and then waiting for an A/B test to conclude, contextual bandits rapidly figure out the optimal personalized artwork selection for a title for each member and context.

Anyway, it’s all pretty fascinating. And you can read more about it on the Netflix tech blog.

Why It’s Hot
Netflix takes the idea of dynamic creative to a whole new level, continuing to set the bar for 1-to-1 marketing.

Laundry folding robot? Yes, please.

FoldiMate debuted a prototype of its laundry-folding machine at CES 2017, but it has yet to actually deliver a product to market, though it has an updated the design that will be unveiled at CES 2018 (a few days from today).

The product video below is all style, no substance with no actual images of laundry being folded but it’s meant to be a teaser.

Why It’s Hot

If the concept works, it will probably excite the average Joe so much more than another bulky VR headset because it is practical.

Fender Just Eliminated the Need For Pedals and Stomp Boxes

The worst thing about being in a band is waiting for the guitarist to set up and adjust—and re-adjust, and then re-re-adjust—his collection of effects boxes and pedals. But it seems the biggest name in guitars is out to fix that. The Fender Tone app for iOS and Android manages thousands of pre-set guitar effects and delivers them via Bluetooth or WiFi to Fender’s new line of Mustang GT guitar amps.

Why It’s Hot:

Similar to other consumer technologies, Fender has built the amp so that it does not get outdated. Fender has built around an ARM computer processor system, and can use Bluetooth and wifi to send updates in the form of presets, hardware tweaks, and features whenever Fender has updates. The amp will continuously update as other sounds, new amps, and features roll-out through Fender’s offering creating a one size fits all system.

“If we release a new amp, we can do a simulation of it on this amp,” Kaplan said. The Mustang models come in three sizes, ranging from a small $250 tabletop practice amp, up to a $600 model that can fill a venue with sound. In testing out the Mustang, Kaplan said the team created simulations that the average player would be “hard pressed to tell apart” from the amps they were copying the tone of.

Is There Room For Innovation in Music? We May Find Out Soon.

Billboard is reporting that music titan Jimmy Iovine will exit his role at Apple Music this August. When the founder of the most lucrative brands in music fires himself, predictions start running wild.

Iovine joined Apple Music in 2014, at the same time of the Beats Electronics acquisition, which Iovine was a founder. For the past two years, Iovine has been responsible for negotiating many of the streaming deals for the service which has grown to 30 million subscribers.

To say Iovine is a visionary is an understatement. He pitched an online music subscription service to Steve Jobs back in 2003! In the 70s he earned his chops as a recording engineer for John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty. Then, in 1990 he co-founded Interscope, where he was personally responsible for signing Tupac Shakur, Eminem, Gwen Stefani, Lady Gaga and more.

Why It’s Hot

The timing of Iovine’s departure aligns with the vesting of stock he acquired when he first joined Apple. He could just be taking his hard earned money and riding off into the sunset. Or, at 64 years young, this titan may be investing in the next music frontier. He’s done it twice already.

Source: Billboard

Timeline Plugin for Sketch

There are a lot of great Sketch plugins but this is the first one I’ve seen that let’s you animate right in Sketch. Currently, to make animated prototypes you’d have to make wireframes in Sketch and then import them into Principle or a similar program to animate them.

It’s only available for pre-order at the moment but should be releasing in about 11 days.

Why it’s hot:

  • Awesome plugin to streamline the wireframing to prototype workflow
  • Invision Studios is also releasing later this month too, it’ll be a good month for new prototyping software!

More info here: https://timeline.animaapp.com

Earthquake Warning App

QuakeAlert is an app currently in beta testing that sends push notifications to users for impending earthquakes. For a 4.4 Earthquake yesterday in the Bay Area it alerted two beta-testers at the University of Berkeley 2 and 5 seconds before feeling the quake. Another beta-tester in Sacramento received a notification 27 seconds before they felt tremors in their location. In addition to sending text alerts it can trigger safety measures for infrastructure such as stopping trains, sending elevators to the nearest door and keeping the doors open, de-pressurize gas lines, and de-energize electric lines.

Why it’s Hot: Other countries such as Japan and Mexico already make use of advanced warning systems (texts and sirens) to alert people about impending quakes. The US has no current system to do so, which can in turn help save lives and infrastructure. This also seems like a good way to integrate people checking in after an earthquake to let friends and family know they are safe. As with all technology, this also means there are way to hack these systems and cause panic throughout the population.