“I Am Human” explores the future of neurotechnology

“I Am Human” explores the future of neurotechnology

Source:  The Verge

We’re in a dark moment for the tech industry: a time when some new technologies have been adopted recklessly and backfired terribly, and others have developed far more slowly than their creators hoped.

Against the backdrop of this pessimism, a film like “I Am Human” — a fundamentally optimistic documentary about neuroscience and brain medicine — feels surprisingly refreshing.

“I Am Human” is a moving trio of narratives about people who are trying to overcome serious physical limitations with cutting-edge brain science.

The debut feature from Taryn Southern and Elena Gaby offers an accessible look at a complicated subject — even if it occasionally succumbs to unnecessary hype.

“I Am Human” recently screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Read the story at The Verge.

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“Picture Character” explores the mysterious emoji approval process

“Picture Character” explores the mysterious emoji approval process

Source:  The Hollywood Reporter

Chances are you use them every day and know very little about them.  We’re talking about emojis, those cute graphics which apparently no email or text message can be without these days.

Martha Shane and Ian Cheney’s documentary, whose title is the English translation of the Japanese word “emoji,” delivers a quick primer on their history and several human interest stories about people petitioning to get new emojis approved.

If you had no idea such a thing was even possible, then “Picture Character,” receiving its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival, will prove enlightening.

Emojis don’t spring into being all by themselves.  They must be approved by the Unicode Consortium, whose name makes it sound like an evil organization in a dystopian sci-fi thriller.  It’s actually a nonprofit organization based in Silicon Valley, composed in part of representatives of all the major tech companies.

Anyone is free to petition for a new emoji and make an argument for its existence.  In recent years, bagel and sloth emojis have been approved, while Jesus and condom emojis have been rejected.

Read the story at The Hollywood Reporter.

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In “Anonymous Comes to Town,” hackers take on sexual assault in Ohio

In “Anonymous Comes to Town,” hackers take on sexual assault in Ohio

Source:  The Guardian

The sleepy, rust-belt city of Steubenville, Ohio was once best known for high school sports and for being the birthplace of Dean Martin.

That all changed after the 2012 rape of a 16-year-old girl by members of the local high school football team, brought to national attention by the hacking network Anonymous, which published videos and social media from the night of the assault.

“Anonymous Comes to Town” explores the aftermath of the events of August 11, 2012—a night that divided Steubenville but in the process emboldened generations of women to speak up about abuse.

The documentary also asks: when is it OK for outsiders to intervene?

Watch “Anonymous Comes to Town” above and read the story at The Guardian.

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“Sakawa” exposes the underbelly of Ghanaian internet scammers

“Sakawa” exposes the underbelly of Ghanaian internet scammers

Source:  The Austin Chronicle

How much flirting does it take to unlock a lonely man’s wallet?

Spoiler alert: For the Ghanaian scam artists in “Sakawa,” the answer is “roughly seven days’ worth.”

Much of “Sakawa” takes place inside a cramped house where a dozen Ghanaian men sit on couches, tapping away at their keyboards to build relationships with “clients” on dating sites.

The scammers pose as women, augmenting their voices with special cell phones or simply by speaking in a higher pitch.

Female scammers “use what they have to get what they want.” (For better or worse, the gritty, long-distance sex acts described never appear on screen.)

It’s lucrative: The first ask is usually for $50, but the sky is the limit once a client is hooked.

Read the story at The Austin Chronicle.

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“Autonomy” makes the convincing case that self-driving cars will change everything

“Autonomy” makes the convincing case that self-driving cars will change everything

Source:  The Verge

“Autonomy,” a new documentary on self-driving cars directed by Alex Horwitz and produced by Car and Driver magazine, gets its most grievous sin out of the way in the first 15 minutes.

Executive producer and New Yorker magazine writer and author Malcolm Gladwell discusses his vintage BMW, while a rotating cast of other talking heads wax poetic about the rise and fall of American car culture.

Thankfully, the movie’s nostalgic phase passes quickly.  Even better, they’re actually making a point.

The film, which had its world premiere here at SXSW in Austin this past week, is a comprehensive, thorough examination of the state of autonomous vehicles, and a vital bit of education for people who haven’t paid close attention to the technology’s slow, steady arrival.

“Autonomy” is currently seeking distribution.  Visit the film’s website for additional festival and local screenings.

Read the story at The Verge. 

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There’s a documentary about Ember.js and it’s really good

There’s a documentary about Ember.js and it’s really good

Source:  TNW

Ember.js is a hugely popular JavaScript framework. Used across web, mobile, and desktop, it powers the likes of LinkedIn, Groupon, and even Apple Music.

Behind its thousands of lines of code is a deeply human story of innovation and risk-taking, as portrayed in “Ember.js: The Documentary.”

Beautifully shot with impressive production values, the short film tells the story of Ember.js, starting with the JavaScript revolution that took place toward the late 2000s.

The documentary leans heavily on interviews with the framework’s co-founders, Tom Dale and Yehuda Katz. Although it’s clearly geared towards those with an interest in programming, it’s not really a “programming” documentary per se.

The film discusses events and concepts even non-technical people can understand — like the risky decision to leave a stable job to start something new.

Read the story at TNW.

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