Algorithmia Blog

Emergent // Future Report: Internet Trends Report, Facebook’s AI Tool, Elon Musk, Blade Runner, and More

Issue 12
This week we recap Mary Meeker’s latest
Internet Trends Report, and check in on Facebook’s latest AI project. Prepare to be shocked by Elon Musk’s wildest ideas yet (spoiler: you live in a video game, and we’re going to Mars!), and a researcher used a neural network to recreate Blade Runner. Plus, what we’re reading and a few things for you to try at home. Not a subscriber? Join the Emergent // Future newsletter here.

Internet Trends Report 📈

You Might Have Heard: Mary Meeker released her annual Internet Trends report.

Now in its 21st year (!), the 213-slide deck covers all sides of the internet economy, including the rise of messaging apps, voice assistants, and more. This essential report is the fastest way to learn everything going on in tech.


  1. The internet now reaches 3 billion users – or about 42% of the world’s population
  2. Smartphone adoption is slowing; Android is increasing marketshare
  3. Mobile video is rapidly growing, led by Snapchat and Facebook Live

Facebook, AI, and DeepText 🔮

Facebook announced DeepText, their AI system built to understand the meaning and sentiment of all text posts on the platform, with the goal of building a better search engine.

“With this new project, Facebook is essentially building the capacity to track all the information put into the network, just as Google crawls the entire web for information and indexes it,”Quartz writes.

DeepText will analyze thousands of posts per second across 20 languages with near-human accuracy.

“The gap between the AI haves and have-nots is widening,”TechCrunch writes.

“If every News Feed post looks interesting, you’ll spend more time on Facebook, you’ll share more text there, DeepText will get smarter, and the Facebook AI feedback wheel will spin faster and faster towards becoming the perfect content recommendation engine.”

Everybody’s Talking About: Elon Musk 🚀

The tech billionaire says “there’s a billion to one chance we’re living in base reality.”

Meaning, our existence is probably really just a video game.

Simulation or not, Musk said he plans to send people to Mars as early as 2024 during an interview with Kara Swisher and Walt Mossberg at Code Conference.

But that’s not all, here’s 7 other not-so-crazy crazy things Elon Musk believes.

WATCH: The full Elon Musk interview

PLUS: These are the vehicles that will being taking you to space

Sci-Fi Serious: Blade Runner 🤖

A London researcher trained a computer to watch the movie Blade Runner. Then, using a neural network, had the computer attempt to reconstruct its impression of the movie in order based on what it had seen.

Essentially creating a new film from the “memories” the neural net had formed – the computer’s interpretation of the film through the eyes of an AI.

But that’s not the weird part.

Warner Bros., which owns the Blade Runner copyright, issued a DMCA takedown notice (!) for an “apparently real” film.

In other words, Vox writes: “Warner had just DMCA’d an artificial reconstruction of a film about artificial intelligence being indistinguishable from humans, because it couldn’t distinguish between the simulation and the real thing.” 😳

To its credit, Warner later rescinded the DMCA request.

The researcher, Terence Broad, has posted a detailed post about autoencoding Blade Runner, and reconstructing films with artificial neural networks.

PLUS: ‘2001’ rendered in the style of Picasso using deep neural networks

What We’re Reading 📚

Try This At Home 🛠

Emergent Future is a weekly, hand-curated dispatch exploring technology through the lens of artificial intelligence, data science, and the shape of things to come. Subscribe here.

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