Blog: Friday Fives, Vol. 80


Every Friday we highlight five things we have on our radar that we think should be on yours, too.

Next week we’re taking a break from Friday Fives for an extended Memorial Day weekend. We’ll be back with Volume 81 on Friday, May 31st!

Here’s this week’s Friday Fives.

Nacho ordinary holiday
You deserve a vacation. Exotic location? We got you. Look no further than the hottest hotel in Palm Springs: The Bell. Created by none other than Taco Bell, the hotel is designed to be the biggest (and weirdest) expression of “the Taco Bell lifestyle” to date. Cheesy? Very. This desert “Tacoasis” lets you live out your taco-inspired dreams of sleeping in an immersive Taco Bell experience, complete with poolside cocktails and flavorful cuisine, all infused with a Taco Bell twist. For those who are hungry for the finer things in life and have good taste in getaways, the boutique hotel will be open for a limited time this August. The secret to the branded experience of a lifetime? Just add queso. — LK

Thinking out loud
While it’s easy for most people to take the seemingly simple act of speaking for granted, it’s actually one of the most complex motor tasks that our bodies perform. Our internal speech muscles vibrate very subtly in accordance with the words we’re thinking, creating signals that are almost undetectable. For those who have trouble communicating thoughts out loud due to ALS, oral cancer, or other physical limitations, it looks like a solution may be on the horizon thanks to (what else?) Artificial Intelligence. Arnav Kapur, a researcher at MIT Media Lab, has just demoed an AI-enabled headset called AlterEgo that can not only translate your thoughts into speech, but also transmit audible answers BACK INTO YOUR HEAD like some sort of dystopian mind control machine. Despite the intense creep-factor, Kapur stresses that this is not, in fact, a mind-reading device — the wearer must consciously choose to use it. Although not available to purchase commercially just yet, it seems like the voices in our heads may soon have a bit of extra company. — LK

The ending that was promised?
NOTE: This Friday Five does not contain spoilers for GoT!The series finale of Game of Thrones is upon us, with one last 80-minute episode remaining to wrap up nearly a decade of storytelling. And while ratings take a nosedive and fans petition to redo the whole season, we still have to talk about the most important question of all: how will this Sunday’s episode end? Will the wheel be broken, or will it spin on? Was it all a dream (of spring), or a nightmare for the fans? This article takes a look at some of the common ways in which other TV shows conclude, while presenting the odds of them happening with GoT. And while you can’t control anything that happens in the last episode, you can at least ensure that whoever comes over to watch it with you is treated to some fantastic homemade Game of Thrones themed snacks. — MC

Freelancing is the *lease* of your problems
Anyone who has ever considered themselves a New Yorker understands the existential battle between good and evil that is finding an apartment in New York City. In a city with over a million apartments, how can it possibly be so impossible to find a place to rest your head at night (that doesn’t have bedbugs or a bedroom wall stain that looks like a dementor trying to suck your soul)? And if those of us who work a 9–5 job think we have it bad, there’s another group of unlucky renters who have it even worse (75% worse, according to statistics) — freelancers. Without a letter from an employer proving that you’re financially stable, landlords are reluctant to hand over the keys to your not-so-dream apartment. Since I’m already living in a musty Bushwick closet with walls as thin as Swiss cheese, it looks like I won’t be giving up my day job anytime soon. — KY

Designing for a creative future
Design can be daunting, especially for those of us whose artistic experience is limited to that one poster we made in middle school and Microsoft Paint circa 1990. As we’ve gradually become more attuned to design’s increasing presence in our day-to-day lives, people are now seeking out ways to bridge that gap. With the rapid rise of DIY design tools like Squarespace, we’re seeing a surge in demand for user-friendly platforms that place the creative reins and the hands of users (with a few bumpers in place). One such experiment is Space Type Generator by Kiel Mutschelknaus, which lets you create mesmerizing, one-of-a-kind motion typography pieces through the simple manipulation of a few sliders. Kiel, like many modern designers, believes that the future of design lies in the creation of design tools for the masses, rather than the creation of designs themselves. Although this sounds like a slippery slope towards the technological singularity where robots have completely taken over our jobs (and the planet), tools like Space Type Generator may be the only way to keep up with the growing demand for beautiful, fast, and cheap design. At least the end of the world will look good. ✨ — KJ

Source: Artificial Intelligence on Medium

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