This AI makes neologisms by portmanteau-ing the English language

Yesterday a smart person named Thomas Dimson, who formerly wrote “the algorithm” at Instagram, launched a site that uses the Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithm: Transformers, and OpenAI‘s infamous GPT-2 AI-powered text generator, to generate and define new English words, and use them in a sentence.

It’s called This Word Does Not Exist, and it has so far created gems such as:

A disclaimer at the bottom of the site reads: Words are not reviewed and may reflect bias in the training set.

You can also write your own neologism and the AI will define it for you. It’s a fun diversion, but does it have any use? Probably not in this form. But it speaks to how AI may be used in the fun-and-games side of life, but also how it may ultimately shape the foundations of how we communicate.

Why it’s hot:

It’s fun to participate in the creation of something new (without having to work too hard), and language is the perfect playground for experimentation.

As AI becomes more influential in our daily lives, it’s interesting (and perhaps a little disturbing) to imagine the ways in which it may take part in creating the very words we use to communicate. What else might AI give us that we have heretofore considered to be the exclusive domain of humans?

Source: TheNextWeb

Quarantine can’t keep Thao & The Get Down Stay Down down

From The Verge (emphasis mine):

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Oakland-based band Thao & The Get Down Stay Down had a problem. Their plan to shoot a music video for their single “Phenom” was abruptly canceled as shelter-in-place orders rolled in. The band, crew, and dancers could no longer meet up in person, and they were faced with a decision: put everything on hold or figure out a way to make the music video remotely. “At first we didn’t know if we would even release the song because it’s about people unifying,” Thao tells The Verge. “So it was never an option for me to shoot the video solo.” But then her manager had an idea. What if they shot the music video entirely within Zoom?

Featuring Thao alongside eight dancers, the “Phenom” video went from concept to completion within a week. There was one pre-production meeting, one five-hour rehearsal, and one shoot day, all of which took place on Zoom. “If we were going to do such a thing and commit to it,” says Thao, “we had to do it really quickly because it is so of the moment.”

Why it’s hot:

It’s cool to see creative people using the medium of the moment (video conferencing) to create art in a short amount of time. It goes to show that what’s most important is not having the highest production value, but connecting with your audience.

Using Zoom as a medium places the viewer in emotional proximity to the band, making them relatable, but the creative approach to choreography within the Zoom frames heightens the medium from mere communication to the level of art.

Source: The Verge

Crunchwraps + Forever 21 = A Collab You Never Saw Coming

Taco Bell has been known to inspire devotion in fans, from senior photo shoots to themed birthday parties. But what if you’re looking for a more everyday way to show off your allegiance to living mas? The brand’s latest collaboration with Forever 21 might just be your answer.
Today, the two companies have announced the release of Forever 21 x Taco Bell, the first for the restaurant. The line will include clothes for men and women that feature everything from eye-popping graphics to subtle patches that alert those around you to your taco fandom.
According to the press release, the line was designed to capture what fans expect from Taco Bell: “accessible, affordable, creative, and fun.” The full collection will feature tops, cropped hoodies, body suits, as well as sweatshirts and an anorak jacket. All of the looks will debut on October 10 in an event for fans in downtown L.A. and will be available for purchase on October 11 only in select U.S. stores and online.
A sneak peek at the collection features Taco Bell super fans Brittany Creech and Andrew McBurnie — who became internet famous for shooing their senior portraits at Taco Bell — as models. McBurnie wears the men’s sweater in millennial pink, embellished with a patch featuring some of our favorite Taco Bell items: tacos, burrito, drink, and a packet of hot sauce. Creech wears one of the body suits, a look inspired by a fire sauce packet.
While we only have the slightest hint at what this could mean for the rest of the collection, we’re hoping for something that pays homage to the beloved Crunchwrap, and (dare we say it?) maybe even a nod to the Doritos Locos taco. Does the world really need this fast food x fast fashion mashup? Of course not. But when something is cheap and good, we always find it hard to say no.
Source: Refinery 29
Why it’s hot:
  • What makes this partnership unique is that food brands don’t typically create apparel for purchase, it’s typically made for giveaways or to help promote a new campaign.
  • Taco Bell and Forever 21 pair together to show us how a brand can create apparel that speaks to their audience in the right way, in comparison to Bud Light who missed the mark last week (see here).

student teacher…

An 11 year old Tennessee girl recently found a way to instantly detect lead in water, cutting the time it used to take to do so drastically. Previously, you had to take a water sample and send it off to a lab for analysis, now all you need is her contraption and a smartphone. She discovered her solution when she read about a new type of nanotechnology on MIT’s website, and imagined its new application in its new context.

Here’s how it works:
“Her test device, which she has dubbed “Tethys,” uses a disposable cartridge containing chemically treated carbon nanotube arrays. This connects with an Arduino technology-based signal processor with a Bluetooth attachment. The graphene within the nanotube is highly sensitive to changes in flow of current. By treating the tube with atoms that are sensitive to lead, Rao is able to measure whether potable water is contaminated with lead, beaming the results straight to a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone. When it detects levels higher than 15 parts per million, the device warns that the water is unsafe.”

Why it’s hot:

1) Never let “can we do this” stop you
2) Never let “how can we do this” stop you
3) Some of the best solutions come when you put two (or more) things together

This offers a good lesson in a few important ingredients for innovation – how much you care, how much you believe, and how creative you can be. When all are high, you can create amazing things. Know what’s possible, believe that anything is, and let nothing stop you. Let’s do it.

googler creates AI that creates video using one image…

One of the brilliant minds at Google has developed an algorithm that can (and has) create video from a single image. The AI does this by predicting what each of the next frames would be based on the previous one, and in this instance did it 100,000 times to produce the 56 minute long video you see above. Per its creator:

“I used videos recorded from trains windows, with landscapes that moves from right to left and trained a Machine Learning (ML) algorithm with it. What you see at the beginning is what the algorithm produced after very little learnings. It learns more and more during the video, that’s why there are more and more realistic details. Learnings is updated every 20s. The results are low resolution, blurry, and not realistic most of the time. But it resonates with the feeling I have when I travel in a train. It means that the algorithm learned the patterns needed to create this feeling. Unlike classical computer generated content, these patterns are not chosen or written by a software engineer.

Why it’s hot:

Creativity and imagination have been among the most inimitable human qualities since forever. And anyone who’s ever created anything remotely artistic will tell you inspiration isn’t as easy as hitting ‘go’. While this demonstration looks more like something you’d see presented as an art school video project than a timeless social commentary regaled in a museum, it made me wonder – what if bots created art? Would artists compete with them? Would they give up their pursuit because bots can create at the touch of a button? Would this spawn a whole new area of human creativity out of the emotion of having your work held up next to programmatic art? Could artificial intelligence ever create something held up against real human creativity?

How Being Bored Out of Your Mind Makes You More Creative

Two fascinating new studies, covered in Wired this week, are giving credit to the idea that when you are focused on incredibly dull, boring tasks, you’re more easily able to spark creativity. The thinking here is that boredom may bring about creativity because “a restless mind hungers for stimulation.” In today’s hyper-stimulated world, it can feel like every waking moment needs to be filled with a click, scroll, or search. Many people feel they spend too much time in front of screens– and studies like this raise an interesting notion of the potential implications of how our brains function on overdrive. 

Why It’s Hot:

We’ve also seen brands begin to play into the notion of mental and psychological wellness as it relates to their category – REI’s #OptOutside campaign comes to mind – to it will be interesting not being in the creative industry but also paying attention to the broader trend of health and wellness, including mental health, in the digital age. 

“A selfie is only as good as it’s stick…”

Every year, marketers and agencies take a stab at April Fool’s Day. It’s a great opportunity for good, safe fun that vaguely carries brand messaging. This year, we also got some interesting messages.

 

Zappo’s Fools Day – STFU Service

Why It’s Hot: As we grow up, April Fools Day sort of looses its funny grip on us. The pranks are rare and the fun is predictable. On a gray, used-to-be-fun April Fools Day, advertising agencies are braving to bring the fun back.

 

 

Diesel’s “The A-Z of Dance” Video has the Right Rhythm

fashion14_150Diesel’s “The A-Z of Dance” Video has the Right Rhythm //


Lifestyle content rooted in creativity and culture continues to be a main focal point for brand marketers. It all about mastering the emotional connection with consumers and sparking the meaningful engagement that follows. Diesel seems to have had success only one year after a similar execution by PUMA that fell flat on its face.
Diesel joined forces with i-D Fashion Magazine to create a video in April 2014, “The A-Z of Dance,” featuring Diesel’s #joggjeans. The video features the top talent making waves in pop culture today. Then Diesel makes it your turn to be The Star of their Next Video.

joggjeans

Now slip into your Jogg Jeans and show us your moves…We are now inviting fans across the globe to dance their way into a one-of-a-kind follow up film – upload your moves to Instagram, Vine etc using the hashtags #joggjeans and #iDdance.

Diesel drives fans to their Jogg Jeans site where they connect the video, the CTA and all social engagement with the hashtag, #joggjeans seamlessly in one place sealing the deal by featuring fans.

While the Diesel video has recently resurfaced thanks to Fast Company, it is difficult to forget that PUMA released the PUMA Dance Dictionary a year earlier in 2013. The concept was “Encrypt your messages into dance moves.” The video was created to celebrate the launch of the new PUMA “Sync” fragrances, the PUMA Dance Dictionary is a digital application that encrypts messages into dance moves. Don’t say it, move it. However, the effort was an epic failure and their site, pumadancedictionary.com, has become nothing more than inoperable code.

Why It’s HOTThis shows that hitting the mark by understanding the social media landscape and understanding your audience in a manner that allows a team to create something that not only resonates but generates authentic engagement is a skill set only the few can master.

CHECK OUT THE VIDEOS BELOW:

Diesel’s “The A-Z of Dance” // WARNING: Video Contains Twerking. Content Potentially Not Suitable for Children Under Age 13.

PUMA’s Dance Dictionary // WARNING: You will never get the next 2 minutes and 44 seconds of your life back after watching the video below in its entirety. 


Adweek summed it up best:

The Puma Dance Dictionary, created by Grey London to push the brand’s new Sync fragrances (yes, Puma makes fragrances), allows users to select words and phrases which are then translated into dance moves by freestyle performers. These “moving” messages can be shared via social media or emailed to friends. You start with various templates and then shift a few words in and out to create sentences. The pre-set “I love women with heart,” for example, can be changed to “I love women with popcorn.” Or “I love guys with muscles.” Or even “I love women with nuts,” if you’re into that. Manipulating other templates yields sentiments like “Money makes me want to get naked,” “Hey bro, your face is crazy” and “Will you stroke my girlfriend?” This can be amusing, but not very, as the vocabulary is too limited. I understand the dancers could interpret only so many words, and Puma naturally wants to avoid potential hate speech or outright vulgarity. But the enterprise seems hamstrung by a lack of true interaction.

Ouch. Sorry, PUMA.You were just out of “Sync” on this one. Better luck next time.

Isaac Asimov 1959 Essay on Creativity was Revealed

isaac-asimov

Most people for sure heard and read Isaac Asimov works. A prolific science fiction author, he was also a professor of biochemistry, often consulted on subjects of national importance that required ‘out of the box’ thinking.

His 1959 essay on creativity was written but never published after working on one of those sensitive government projects. Now that it came to public view, it is an enlightening read and relevant to many things we do now.

Here are just some nuggets

“How do people get new ideas?” Asimov muses. Asimov himself wrote and edited more than 500 works and was famed for his science fiction novels. One can surmise that he was not short on ideas — or a method of cultivating creativity.

Asimov instead looks at how Darwin and Alfred Wallace came up with the theory of evolution via natural selection, and breaks down the essentials of creativity. Just as important as Darwin and Wallace’s background and travels was their ability to make connections between granules otherwise detached:

“Obviously, then, what is needed is not only people with a good background in a particular field, but also people capable of making a connection between item 1 and item 2 which might not ordinarily seem connected.”

The “cross-connection” Asimov explains is specially cultivated from certain personality and societal factors.

“Making the cross-connection requires a certain daring. It must, for any cross-connection that does not require daring is performed at once by many and develops not as a ‘new idea,’ but as a mere ‘corollary of an old idea.’”

“It is only afterward that a new idea seems reasonable. To begin with, it usually seems unreasonable. It seems the height of unreason to suppose the earth was round instead of flat, or that it moved instead of the sun, or that objects required a force to stop them when in motion, instead of a force to keep them moving, and so on.”

Asimov also touches on how creative work should be done (mostly in isolation).If coming of several people is desirable it shouldn’t be a group of more than 5 and the work environment should be characterized as informal and jovial. He says that probably more inhibiting than anything else is a feeling of responsibility. Creativity is not rushed.
To read a little more: http://www.technologyreview.com/view/531911/isaac-asimov-asks-how-do-people-get-new-ideas/