If America is, for Amis, an easier place in which to grow old – fewer critics, for a start – he retains an expectation that he and his wife will move home one day. “I miss the English,” he says. “I miss Londoners. I miss the wit. Americans, they’re very, well, de Tocqueville saw this coming in about 1850 – he said, it’s a marvellous thing, American democracy, but don’t they know how it’s going to end up? It’s going to be so mushy that no one will dare say anything for fear of offending someone else.
After years of stagnation, the computer is evolving again, and this behind-the-scenes migration to a new kind of machine will have broad and lasting implications. It will allow work on artificially intelligent systems to accelerate, so the dream of machines that can navigate the physical world by themselves can one day come true.
“What is so obvious to me – a professional photographer – as well as colleagues, photography bloggers and social media users, was not obvious to Nikon. Instead, it seemed to have worked on the campaign, from the concept stage through to development, marketing and public relations, without a thought for its female clients.”
“In the twenty-first century, the face is a database, a dynamic bank of information points—muscle configurations, childhood scars, barely perceptible flares of the nostril—that together speak to what you feel and who you are. Facial-recognition technology is being tested in airports around the world, matching camera footage against visa photos. Churches use it to document worshipper attendance. China has gone all in on the technology, employing it to identify jaywalkers, offer menu suggestions at KFC, and prevent the theft of toilet paper from public restrooms.”
“The report found that across the five main broadcasters, women accounted for 48% of the total workforce – compared with 51% across the general population – and held 39% of senior roles. Ofcom also said those from a black, Asian or minority ethnic background made up 12% of workers, and disabled people just 3%, despite accounting for 14% and 18% of the general population respectively.”
Coming to shoulder the burden is a generation the psychologist Jean Twenge calls iGen — like iPhones, but people. They love not only iPhones but also a number of other things beginning with i, such as individualism, irreligiosity, and (we’re straining a touch here) “in person no more.” Twenge defines them thus: “Born in 1995 and later, they grew up with cell phones, had an Instagram page before they started high school, and do not remember a time before the internet.”
“A lot of mathematics ultimately is artistic rather than useful. Sometimes you see a picture that’s got a lot of symmetry in it, like an M.C. Escher sketch, and it’s like, ‘Wow, that’s just so amazing!’ But when you study mathematics, you start to “see” things in higher dimensions. You’re not necessarily visualizing them in the same way that you could with a sculpture or piece of art. But you start to feel like this whole system of objects that you’re looking at, and the symmetries it has, are really just beautiful. There’s no other good word.”
Lewis, who sang for a decade with the Metropolitan Opera and for two decades with the New York City Opera, was known for interpreting the music of living American composers. She originated two signal roles in contemporary opera: the alcoholic Birdie Hubbard in “Regina,” Marc Blitzstein’s adaptation of Lillian Hellman’s drama “The Little Foxes,” and the title role in “Lizzie Borden,” by Jack Beeson.
“The inaugural festival, held last spring, fell short of box-office expectations – so from lessons learned, changes are happening. As it works to balance the books, VO is targeting expenses, affecting staff and performers. In another significant change, it will lose its long-time music director at the end of the season.”
“An Emmy is not necessarily the mark of true greatness, any more than an Oscar win is. What the Emmys reflect is the taste of the voters who work in the TV industry. Not all will be familiar with nominated series on FX, National Geographic or PBS. But you can bet they all have access to Netflixand all the networks.”