PROFESSIONAL NERD.

PERSONAL BLOG.

What I'm Reading - 4/2/2018

Three to five links every weekday - tech, entertainment, and other human oddities.

H&M, A FASHION GIANT, HAS A PROBLEM: $4.3 BILLION IN UNSOLD CLOTHES

In the world of fashion retailing, where shopping is fast moving online and stores try to keep inventories closely matched to sales, even a small stack of unsold clothes can be a bad sign. What about a $4.3 billion pile of shirts, dresses and accessories? That is the problem facing H&M, the Swedish fashion retailer, which is struggling with a mounting stack of unsold inventory. H&M outlined the buildup in its latest quarterly report on Tuesday, prompting questions of whether the company is able to adapt to the fierce competition and changing consumer demands reshaping the global apparel market.

THE END OF WINDOWS

...the story of how Microsoft came to accept the reality of Windows’ decline is more interesting than the fact of Windows’ decline; this is how CEO Satya Nadella convinced the company to accept the obvious.

BADLY IMPLEMENTED AI COULD ‘JEOPARDIZE DEMOCRACY,’ SAYS FRENCH PRESIDENT EMMANUEL MACRON

France has announced a new national AI strategy, including government funding worth nearly €1.5 billion ($1.85 billion). But the country’s president, Emmanuel Macron, is worried about the damage this technology could do if not properly guided. In an interview with Wired, he said there was even a risk AI could “jeopardize democracy.”

Macron is worried about unaccountable “black box” algorithms being introduced into society and making decisions formerly entrusted to humans. He gave the example of an algorithm used to sort students into universities and said that if its workings were not easy to understand, it could destroy trust and encourage people to “reject” innovation. “I have to be confident for my people that there is no bias, at least no unfair bias, in this algorithm,” he said.

HELLO FROM THE MAGIC TAVERN IS A HILARIOUS IMPROVISED FANTASY EPIC IN PODCAST FORM

Essentially, it’s an epic fantasy story created by Chicago comedian Arnie Niekamp. In it, his character (also named Arnie Niekamp) is getting food at Burger King when he suddenly falls through a portal to a magical world known as Foon. Fortunately, he has his podcasting equipment, and a weak Wi-Fi signal from said Burger King, and decides to host a weekly podcast with a Wizard (played by Matt Young) named — and yes, this really is his name— “Usidore, Wizard of the 12th Realm of Ephysiyies, Master of Light and Shadow, Manipulator of Magical Delights, Devourer of Chaos, Champion of the Great Halls of Terr’akkas. The elves know me as Fi’ang Yalok. The dwarfs know me as Zoenen Hoogstandjes. And I am also known in the Northeast as Gaismunēnas Meistar,” as well as a shapeshifter named Chunt (Adal Rifai), who often takes the form of a badger.

WRITING WHEN DRUNK AND TURNING IN YOUR SCRIPT MONTHS LATE: A NIER: AUTOMATA INTERVIEW

Yoko Taro is, in many ways, a caricature of a game developer. 

There’s the obvious factor — he wears a mask during interviews and public appearances, saying that he wants games to stand on their own and that he thinks it’s more appealing for players to look at a strange character than an old man. And there’s the slightly less obvious — he goes by a pen name to differentiate himself from his persona. In English, that means Yoko Taro (officially, “YOKO TARO”) despite Taro Yoko being his real name, and in Japanese he uses a similar twist to separate the real from the persona.

But he says he doesn’t care what name people use to refer to him. In fact, he says he’s happy if people don’t mention him at all. “If anything, I could just be called 01 and I’d be happy with that,” he says.

What I'm Reading - 4/3/2018

What I'm Reading - 3/30/2018