David Ryan Polgar

How Can We Ensure Big Data Doesn’t Perpetuate Discrimination?

The concepts of big data and algorithms often have a mythological feel. Add some data, filter it through a mathematical formula, and voila—insight from the algorithmic gods. The detachment from the human-origin of all data is reminiscent of the famous line by infomercial legend Ron Popiel, when pitching the benefits of the hands-off cooking process […]

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How AI and Humans Are Working Together to Reduce Online Toxicity

“Creating non-toxic communities on the net is the Next Big Thing,” tweeted Walter Isaacson, president of the Aspen Institute in a post earlier this fall. Isaacson, a well-known figure on predicting trends, was pointing to a WIRED interview with Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom and others on the platform’s efforts to curb online toxicity. Instagram, and […]

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Is augmented reality the future of brand storytelling?

Should you be using augmented reality (AR) for your next brand campaign? With a projected $590 billion to be spent on advertising worldwide in 2018, companies are making important decisions as to where their money is best served. AR, having long promised to be an effective way for brands to engage their audiences, may finally […]

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How VR Can Be an Engine for Empathy

Virtual Reality is often called an “empathy machine.” The underlying promise is that VR will present an immersive experience with realistic emotive characters that will bleed off onto the headset user. In comparison to the detached position we may take with TV or film, VR’s allure is its capacity to more meaningfully convey the feelings […]

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Building a brain trust for good AI?

Whether or not rapidly-advancing artificial intelligence has doomsday potential is a debated topic, with luminaries such as Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg disagreeing about the degree of risk. The overall threat to employment through automation and digitization, along with the possibility of AI learning to act against human interest, is either grossly exaggerated or a […]

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“Alexa: What’s the future of conversational interface?”

Inspired by the conversational system from Star Trek’s Starship Enterprise, Amazon announced the release of Alexa, alongside its Echo device, in November 2014. What at first seemed unusual and futuristic has since become accepted and commonplace. Consumers are becoming more comfortable talking to their gadgets. Instead of going to a website or downloading an app, […]

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How Human Do We Want Our Virtual Assistants?

Should you refer to Amazon’s Alexa as “it” or “her”? As our daily lives become more integrated with virtual assistants and conversational bots, we must ask, how “human should we design the underlying technology with which we are chatting. Conversation as a platform is positioned to disrupt how we relate to our technology, so it […]

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Has human communication become botifed?

How often do you receive a message and wonder, “Did a person really write this?” When receiving a message online, it can often be difficult to discern whether it came from a human or a chatbot. Given the rapid rise in automated forms of communication, it would be foolish to assume that words attached to […]

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