We look forward to the day when everything on every device just happens instantly. But until then, we will continue to see progress bars and spinning beachballs. Tom Scott digs into these First World annoyances and their most irritating properties – an inconsistent rate of movement and inability to predict completion time.
THE BEST Tom Scott
After multiple lockdowns in the UK, vlogger Tom Scott is starting to run out of ideas of things he can make videos about. So he turned to an artificial intelligence to see if it could come up with any. OpenAI’s GPT-3 tech came up with a mix of mundane, ridiculous, and surprisingly legitimate-sounding ideas, depending on its tuning.
It’s a debate that’s been raging since the first file was produced in CompuServe’s Graphical Interchange Format back in 1987. With the help of podcasters Molly Ruhl and Gretchen McCulloch, YouTube personality Tom Scott takes a couple of minutes to set us straight on the proper pronunciation of the popular “.GIF” file extension.
Around the globe, there are numerous decommissioned nuclear power plants. In the case of this plant that never opened along the German-Dutch border, it’s now home to an amusement park that includes a vertical swing ride inside of its cooling tower. A scenic mural on its outside helps it blend into its surroundings.
TV news channels, YouTubers, and even blockbuster movies us green screens to place people in alternative locations by removing their background and replacing it with another. Tom Scott explains why it’s challenging to get a really convincing background swap, and how the effect is really easy to spot when done badly.
If you work with computers regularly, you probably have a story about a time when you lost a bunch of work due to either a crash or a mistake. Tom Scott recounts a time that he made an irreversible rookie mistake that cost countless hours of work, and talks a bit about the importance of backups and undo/redo systems.
It’s the year 2028, and while the world goes about its business, a system basically eradicates all knowledge of 20th century pop culture. Tom Scott explores one of the negative possibilities of artificial intelligence run amok in his own 6-minute episode of Black Mirror.
Anyone who lived through the 1990s can tell you that watching movies on videotape was a decidedly lower quality experience than today’s HD and UHD technologies enable. Tom Scott met up with the team from Red Giant to learn how their software can make modern footage look like it was recorded on VHS.
It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the most expensive display you can buy, gradients of color in dark scenes often look like a blocky mess. Tom Scott offers a great explanation of the technological limitations that cause these issues, and the visual mechanisms that make them less noticeable in brighter scenes.
Roborace is a new racing series with autonomous vehicles. Science reporter and smart guy Tom Scott scored some time with his hands off the wheel of one of these cars, while it did all of the work driving him around the UK’s famed Silverstone circuit. We’d love to see this at full speed, though safety concerns prevent that at present.
Spam has always been a big problem on the Internet. Tom Scott looks back at the history of CAPTCHA and other solutions attempted over the years to weed out bots from humans submitting forms, and the endless game of cat and mouse which is being fought on the digital battlefield.
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