Spark 422: Instagram egg, queer video games, inbox infinity, airline ticketing, and counterfactual explantions


What Instagram's world record egg says about us: Chris Stokel-Walker says the success of the Instagram egg is a rare victory in a world where most viral campaigns on social media are now paid for. Adrienne Shaw is part of the team behind "The Rainbow Arcade," a first-of-its-kind exhibit on LGBTQ representation in videogame culture happening at Berlin's Schwules Museum. Might ignoring all your emails might be the secret to a happy 2019? André Spicer weighs the pros and cons of 'Inbox infinity' Did you ever wonder what goes on behind the scenes when you go to your favourite travel website and book a ticket on a plane? Taimur Abdaal does. And the data scientist and mathematician has unearthed a lot of interesting history about how a travel agent-real or virtual-makes it possible for you to get a seat on the correct flight, to the correct place, at the correct time, in a matter of seconds. AIs now make decisions about everything from jail sentences to job applications. But often they, or their creators, are unable or unwilling to explain just how a particular machine-learning decision is made. Sandra Wachter has a solution that doesn't involve opening the murky black box at the heart of many algorithms.

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