Plus, “Game of Thrones” is the flagship of a sprawling and symbiotic media industry, we are what we email, and the Doctor is (finally) a woman.
Robots are getting better at impersonating humans, and robots posing as people have already become a menace. For popular Broadway shows (“Hamilton,” anyone?), it is bots, not humans, that may do most of the ticket buying. When directed by bad actors and sometimes even nation-states, robots pose a particular threat to democratic societies, which are premised on being open to the people. [Tim Wu / The New York Times]
Elon Musk isn’t afraid of the technological future, but he wants to regulate artificial intelligence before it’s too late and the robots take over. Musk also told a gathering of U.S. governors that the biggest risk to autonomous cars is a “fleet-wide hack” of the software controlling them, and that in 20 years, owning a car that doesn’t drive itself will be the equivalent of someone today owning a horse. You can watch Musk’s talk here. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]
“Game of Thrones” isn’t the biggest show on TV, numbers-wise. But for the media business, it’s bigger than the Oscars and the Super Bowl — the peakest Peak TV. Trailers, podcasts and especially immediate online recaps of episodes are part of a symbiotic
cottage castle industry of “Thrones”-related content. [Peter Kafka / Recode]
Facebook is putting ads everywhere, hoping to hit upon another cash cow like its News Feed, which is maxed out on the number of ads it can carry without harming the user experience — which is why you’re seeing ads in Instagram Stories, Messenger and WhatsApp. Facebook is also testing ads inside Marketplace, its new Craigslist-style section for buying and selling used goods. [Kurt Wagner / Recode]
After the Enron Corporation imploded in 2001, more than 200,000 emails of 151 employees were made public, and that data dump has since spawned more than 3,000 academic papers in the relatively new field called “digital humanities.” Discoveries include clues to corporate malfeasance, of course, and hieroglyphics of everyday work life, including unspoken hierarchies and gender condescensions, and endless variations on “ball” metaphors (“I thought I’d get the ball rollin”). [Nathan Heller / The New Yorker]
Humans and AI will work together in almost every job, says Tolga Kurtoglu, the CEO of Parc, the iconic Silicon Valley research and development firm previously known as Xerox Parc. On the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher, Kurtoglu says that we’re seeing significant advancements and penetration of AI technologies in almost all industries. [Eric Johnson / Recode]
An item in Friday’s newsletter incorrectly identified Susan Wojcicki as the CEO of Google; she is, of course, the CEO of YouTube, which is owned by Google. We regret the error.
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This is cool
The BBC’s “Doctor Who” has cast its first female Doctor since the sci-fi TV series began in 1963. The 13th Time Lord, Jodie Whittaker, will succeed Peter Capaldi, who will leave during the annual Christmas special episode. Dedicated Whovians were quick to react to the news of a woman taking over the Tardis. On social media, some said it would encourage them to watch the show for the first time; others said the casting meant they would be switching off, and that the Doctor should be played by a man. [BBC News]