Sneak through 'Cat Burglar,' learn about early Pornhub and find work-life balance with 'Severance'

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Sneak through 'Cat Burglar,' learn about early Pornhub and find work-life balance with 'Severance'
Image: HBO Max; Netflix; Pornhub

This week we’re playing a new Netflix interactive cartoon from the makers of “Black Mirror” that’s violent, silly and lots of fun; we’re diving into the early days of Pornhub, written by a former content moderator who admittedly wasn’t very good at the job; and we’re getting creeped out by the very extreme answer to work-life balance in Apple TV+’s latest sci-fi flick, “Severance.”

Inside the early days of Pornhub

A former content moderator, whose job also involved tweeting dirty jokes, talks about the early days of the porn empire in this piece from The Verge. A nuanced and necessary look at a company that’s dominated online porn for more than a decade.

‘Cat Burglar’ is a game, a show and lots of fun

From the people who brought you “Black Mirror” comes a goofy interactive cartoon in the style of “Tom & Jerry” that is as nonsensical as it is violent. Most of the multiple-choice questions in “Cat Burglar” have no rhyme or reason to them, but it’s still fun to play through the story and see whether you can help the unlucky cat burglar steal the treasure. But is it a game? Or a show? Turns out there’s no wrong answer for that one.

‘Severance’ takes the concept of ‘work-life’ balance to the extreme

Ever felt like you’re turning into a different person when your workday begins? That’s very much true for the protagonists of “Severance,” a new Apple TV+ sci-fi drama in which people are undergoing a procedure to permanently sever their work selves from their personal lives. Creepy, weird and utterly fascinating.

‘Inhabiting the Negative Space’ is a quick lesson in how to do less

I was a big fan of Jenny Odell’s 2019 book “How to do nothing: Resisting the attention economy.” This 2021 followup is the transcript of her 2020 commencement speech for Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. In many ways, it also serves as a kind of CliffsNotes version of “How to do nothing,” updated with a few thoughts on the pandemic that forced us all to do a whole lot less.

Falling in love with ‘Namoo’

Erick Oh’s beautiful animated short film “Namoo” previously debuted in VR, and a 2D version found its way to HBO Max at the end of January. The film tells the story of a man’s journey through life, visualized through a tree, and reminds us to pay attention to what’s important in these uncertain times.

A version of this story also appeared in today’s Entertainment newsletter; subscribe here.


Judge Zia Faruqui is trying to teach you crypto, one ‘SNL’ reference at a time

His decisions on major cryptocurrency cases have quoted "The Big Lebowski," "SNL," and "Dr. Strangelove." That’s because he wants you — yes, you — to read them.

The ways Zia Faruqui (right) has weighed on cases that have come before him can give lawyers clues as to what legal frameworks will pass muster.

Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Cryptocurrency and related software analytics tools are ‘The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic.’”

That’s not a quote from "The Big Lebowski" — at least, not directly. It’s a quote from a Washington, D.C., district court memorandum opinion on the role cryptocurrency analytics tools can play in government investigations. The author is Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui.

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Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

The financial technology transformation is driving competition, creating consumer choice, and shaping the future of finance. Hear from seven fintech leaders who are reshaping the future of finance, and join the inaugural Financial Technology Association Fintech Summit to learn more.

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The Financial Technology Association (FTA) represents industry leaders shaping the future of finance. We champion the power of technology-centered financial services and advocate for the modernization of financial regulation to support inclusion and responsible innovation.

AWS CEO: The cloud isn’t just about technology

As AWS preps for its annual re:Invent conference, Adam Selipsky talks product strategy, support for hybrid environments, and the value of the cloud in uncertain economic times.

Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

AWS is gearing up for re:Invent, its annual cloud computing conference where announcements this year are expected to focus on its end-to-end data strategy and delivering new industry-specific services.

It will be the second re:Invent with CEO Adam Selipsky as leader of the industry’s largest cloud provider after his return last year to AWS from data visualization company Tableau Software.

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Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Image: Protocol

We launched Protocol in February 2020 to cover the evolving power center of tech. It is with deep sadness that just under three years later, we are winding down the publication.

As of today, we will not publish any more stories. All of our newsletters, apart from our flagship, Source Code, will no longer be sent. Source Code will be published and sent for the next few weeks, but it will also close down in December.

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Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson ( @bennettrich) is the president of Protocol. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, Bennett was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO, where he led strategic growth efforts including POLITICO's European expansion in Brussels and POLITICO's creative agency POLITICO Focus during his six years with the company. Prior to POLITICO, Bennett was co-founder and CMO of Hinge, the mobile dating company recently acquired by Match Group. Bennett began his career in digital and social brand marketing working with major brands across tech, energy, and health care at leading marketing and communications agencies including Edelman and GMMB. Bennett is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his bachelor's degree from Colgate University.


Why large enterprises struggle to find suitable platforms for MLops

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, and as larger enterprises go from deploying hundreds of models to thousands and even millions of models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

Photo: artpartner-images via Getty Images

On any given day, Lily AI runs hundreds of machine learning models using computer vision and natural language processing that are customized for its retail and ecommerce clients to make website product recommendations, forecast demand, and plan merchandising. But this spring when the company was in the market for a machine learning operations platform to manage its expanding model roster, it wasn’t easy to find a suitable off-the-shelf system that could handle such a large number of models in deployment while also meeting other criteria.

Some MLops platforms are not well-suited for maintaining even more than 10 machine learning models when it comes to keeping track of data, navigating their user interfaces, or reporting capabilities, Matthew Nokleby, machine learning manager for Lily AI’s product intelligence team, told Protocol earlier this year. “The duct tape starts to show,” he said.

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Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

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