Looks like our robot overlord is going to be a 13-year-old boy: the Turing Test has been passed for the first time by a bot simulating a preteen, making history for artificial intelligence research and teenagers alike. "Our main idea was that he can claim that he knows anything, but his age also makes it perfectly reasonable that he doesn't know everything," researchers explained.
For Guernica, Tana Wojcznick explores the belief in populism in Shakespeare’s often-misread play Coriolanus. She writes, “Coriolanus criticizes the people he claims to want to represent not simply because they are a mob, but because as a single body they are too easily swayed in their opinion, too easily flattered.” Pair with this Millions essay on rewriting Shakespeare.
The Welsh government is hoping that Dylan Thomas can do for Swansea what James Joyce has done for Dublin. This year, officials have announced that £750,000 will be made available for the DT 100 Festival, which will celebrate the centennial of the poet’s birth. Aside from boosting tourism, however, the festival’s organizers also hope to “raise the status of Thomas,” who many feel has “[been] neglected [and had] his work … overshadowed by a conception of the man as a drunkard, scrounger and womaniser.”
The final installment of Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan Novels, The Story of the Lost Child, hits shelves next week. Emma Adler at Electric Literature has compiled a helpful Ferrante Study Guide if you’re feeling a bit lost. Cora Currier’s Millions essay on “reading Italy” through Elena Ferrante’s body of work is an ideal complementary read.
New this week: Satin Island by Tom McCarthy; The Infernal by Mark Doten; The Half Brother by Holly LeCraw; All the Wrong Places: A Life Lost and Found by Philip Connors; Green on Blue by Elliot Ackerman; Making Nice by Matt Sumell; After Birth by Elisa Albert; Blue Stars by Emily Ray Tedrowe; The Illuminations by Andrew O’Hagan; The Unfortunate Importance of Beauty by Amanda Filipacchi; and Find Me by Laura van den Berg. For more on these and other new titles, go read our Great 2015 Book Preview.
As evidenced by the amazing quiz “Jonathan Franzen Gripe or YouTube Comment about Saggy Pants,” a perception exists that the widely acclaimed writer is allergic to new technology. At Slate, Benjamin Nugent argues that Franzen’s new book, The Karl Kraus Project, proves inadvertently that Franzen is less of a Luddite than we think.