Category Archives: Uncategorized

Artificial Intelligence Creates an Ad for Lexus

You have to watch this excellent ad for the Lexus ES that used artificial intelligence to write the script. I’m not sure how much of this is really the algorithm and how much is due to the human creative direction. The accompanying narrative provides a valuable list of takeaways that all ad message creators should endeavor to employ. Thanks to Muse by Clio for this fine piece.

Limiting children’s screen time linked to better cognition

A study published in The Lancet Childhood and Adolescent Health Journal with 4,500 participants looked at the effects of screen use on cognition and has come up with some interesting results that suggest limiting screen time to under two hours a day is a good idea.

BBC News reports on the study here:

Mind Hacking with Long Copy

I recently subscribed to “Muse by Clio,” an email newsletter from the eponymous awards company. I invariably find interesting items and heartily recommend it to any of my readers who are interested in creativity. It’s free.

In one recent issue,​ there was a clip on a Swiss advertising company that has taken David Ogilvy’s advice that long copy sells to contemporary extremes. In this day of notoriously short attention spans and advertising clutter beyond belief or relief, Scholz and Friends has crafted a series of transit stop posters promoting a trial subscription to Neue Zürcher Zeitung (The New Zurich Times) that are well worth looking at…and reading.

Here’s the link:

Taste and the Lack Thereof

Now that the Emmy nominations for 2018 have been released ( I would like to comment on how the Academy sees the world of television entertainment for the top three program categories, drama series, comedy series, and limited series.

A perusal of the nominations for drama, comedy, and limited TV series leads me to the conclusion that my fellow ATAS members have excellent taste. In particular, it seems to me no matter which limited series wins, it’s a well-deserved achievement.

So why don’t our producers and distributors offer us more like these?

How to explain the presence on our various screens of the likes of Twin Peaks (an utter catastrophe​ I sincerely hope never sees another​ sequel), Claws (a season 2? OMG), or the upcoming​ Purge (violence porn)? Tasteless vehicles of unbridled exploitation all.

Add Shameless to that list. I think William H. Macy deserves his comedy lead actor nom for his portrayal on that show, but my broader point is that the show is an utterly unredeemable piece of trash that objectifies human fallibility​ at its worst. Watching it is surely a masochistic exercise akin to listening to someone drag fingernails across a chalkboard. I liberated myself about halfway​ through season 1.

What are we to make of the apparently unlimited popularity and programmed availability of zombies? Multiple programs drenched in blood. Why?

I confess the psychological appeal of these shows amazes me. But I did some online research and found a piece from Concordia University that I think does a good job of explaining that appeal:

Nonetheless, I still find it unsettling to see the degree to which people will seek out these exemplars of tension relief. Certainly, there are others more edifying, like​ the shows nominated in the three categories that led off this post.

What do you think?

Media Ethics

It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but an article I just came across has prompted me to get back online. The article is about how the media treat mass slayings by always publicizing the name of the perpetrator. As the article points out, the recent​ Parkland shooter was bragging in his vidoes about how big a deal this would be.

I’m old enough to recall that this is not the first time that murderers have included a desire for fame among their motives to engage in such heinous behavior. And our mass media do nothing to stop it. Instead, they encourage it.

It’s time for us all to start reaching out and demanding that the media stop publicizing the names of the killers. Yes, I know that things like arrest records and certainly legal proceedings are subject to public records and that countless​ idiots out there will be more than happy to release the names anyway. But their public impact is a far cry from that of the likes of our major and minor “licensed” news networks, both online and off.

What the likes of ABC, CBS, NBC, the CW, and Fox do in this regard is quite legal. But just because something is legal does not mean it is ethical.

Here’s the article from the National Review:

Violent Video Games and Real-World Behavior

Much has been written about violent video games and a number of studies claim to find a link between people who play them and subsequent incidents of acting out (e.g. the current coverage of the Florida school shootings). While it is quite true that laboratory studies demonstrate an increase in aggressive thought and behavior among violent video game players, those studies fail to find a causal link to subsequent real-world behaviors. Inferences are speculative.

But now a new German study by the Max Planck Institute finds that “two months of daily GTA [Grand Theft Auto] causes ‘no significant changes’ in behavior.”

The study was published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. An article from the March 15th online issue of Ars Technica reviews the study and the research.

Here’s the link

Smart Phones Make People Dumber

I just became aware of an excellent Wall Street Journal article, published on October 6, 2017, about the negative effects of smart phones on our ability to think. The article cites a number of peer-reviewed research studies that seem to leave little doubt about how smart phones invade our non conscious selves to such a degree that they actively inhibit our ability to remember, to reason, to create social ties. Author Nicholas Carr is to be commended for this contribution to the literature.

Here’s the link:

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