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Is there any point of teaching a dog to use a digital device?

Is there any point of teaching a dog to use a digital device?

Four Technology News Stories That Will Either Delight or Dismay …

The natural human response to any new development is either embracing or rejecting. People can go off something later or vice versa, but the fact is that our world is constantly driven by new developments, things and ideas.

So, readers will have different responses to these 4 random stories from tech news.


Cade Metz reported in Wired (20 March 2014) that Facebook engineers Bryan O’Sullivan, Julien Verlaguet and Alok Menghrajani have built a new language, ‘a programming language for the future.’

‘Working alongside a handful of others inside the social networking giant, they fashioned a language that lets programmers build complex websites and other software at great speed while still ensuring that their software code is precisely organized and relatively free of flaws — a combination that few of today’s languages even approach. In typical Facebook fashion, the new language is called Hack, and it already drives almost all of the company’s website — a site that serves more than 1.2 billion people across the globe.’

It is already open sourced and the fact that it’s in use by Facebook gives it an instant credibility – 1.2 billion global users! As does the fact that respected O’Sullivan is behind it.

There is controversy about it, not surprisingly given it’s at Facebook.

Facebook began with PHP, the most popular language of its day. As Facebook grew the limitations of the writing became obvious. Since then constant evolving and updating programming is inevitable with no apparent limits.

There is controversy. Is HACK a new programming language or an update of PHP?


Dominic Rushe reported in The Guardian (21 March 2014) that ‘San Francisco startup Vicarious aims to create a computer that thinks like a person except it doesn’t need to eat or sleep’.

The project is attempting to recreate the human neocortex as computer code.

Rushe explained: ‘The neocortex is the outer layer of the cerebral hemispheres and in humans is crucial to the use of the senses as well as activities such as language, motor commands and spatial reasoning.’

It comes as money is starting to flood in for research for artificial intelligence exploration.

The medical, psychological and economic connotations are legion.

Teaching a Dog to Read

On the same day and in the same publication, Shiona Tregaskis explained that ‘a new canine masterclass promises to teach dogs how to paint and read commands on a touchscreen.’

Yes, that’s right. Teaching dogs to read, or at least operate a digital device. Tregaskis said that ‘given the irrepressible rise of the selfie’ it was only a matter of time till we attempt to teach dogs to capture images of themselves.

Is there an application (not an app) for human benefit in this one? Maybe, but it’s not entirely clear.

And Finally, Anti-Social Networking

And again on 21 March, Sam Rowe suggested that for the anti-social minded person, there is now a new app, Cloak

It may be named after the invisibility cloak in Harry Potter. But it has wider implications that that.

‘Social media has made creepy over-sharers of us all. Annoying, right? Sure – except now a new app promises to turn it to your advantage by flagging the whereabouts of your acquaintances so you never have to bump into them again. Gentlemen, life just got a tiny bit easier.’

Interesting that Rowe assumed that it will appeal to men rather than women. It is styled as an ‘incognito mode for real life’ and ‘removing the social from social media.’ It’s a breathing space from digital oppression.

For confirmation, check out There Is No Off-Switch in Today’s 24/7 Connected World, 6 August 2013

Image: Almonroth