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37 hidden clues I only spotted when I reread 'Harry Potter' in my 20s


It's really no big shock that J.K. Rowling went on to write crime fiction. Some people -- including me -- were a bit surprised at first with the route she took after finishing the Harry Potter series, but in hindsight it makes beautiful sense. Each and every Harry Potter book has a mystery at its core. Despite the fantasy backdrop and the themes of adventure and coming-of-age that run through the series, every individual story is packed with the elements you might normally find in a crime tale: there are red herrings, countless clues, detective work, and normally at least one major twist or revelation at the conclusion. SEE ALSO: The'Fantastic Beasts' sequel announcement just marked the end of endings With the exception of the Cursed Child play, it's been about 10 years since I read any Harry Potter books.

Every single 'Harry Potter' spell, ranked by usefulness


Not all magic is created equal. In the sprawling universe that is JK Rowling's Harry Potter series, there are countless spells for wizards and witches to master. In the books (which we'll be focusing on here) there are around 80 alone. These spells range from the spectacularly pointless (looking at you, Densaugeo) and the cruel (Crucio) to the quite literally life-saving (Anapneo, which gets barely any page-time but is basically the wizarding version of CPR). Anyway, we've had a go at ranking every Harry Potter series spell. The list below is a countdown, from the least useful spell in the magical world to the most useful. A couple of quick notes before we dive in, though -- first of all, this list is based on general, widespread usefulness in the magical world (not just how useful the spells were in the books); second, it's worth noting that some spells (hello, Prior Incantatem) were a little tricky to rank due to their relevance to one particular wizarding profession, but lack of relevance elsewhere -- we've done our best to slot them in where we can, but certain members of the magical community may well disagree. It's used to kill people, it's an Unforgivable Curse, and it was Voldemort's favourite, so it's going last.

The Great A.I. Awakening -


Late one Friday night in early November, Jun Rekimoto, a distinguished professor of human-computer interaction at the University of Tokyo, was online preparing for a lecture when he began to notice some peculiar posts rolling in on social media. Apparently Google Translate, the company's popular machine-translation service, had suddenly and almost immeasurably improved. Rekimoto visited Translate himself and began to experiment with it. He had to go to sleep, but Translate refused to relax its grip on his imagination. Rekimoto wrote up his initial findings in a blog post. First, he compared a few sentences from two published versions of "The Great Gatsby," Takashi Nozaki's 1957 translation and Haruki Murakami's more recent iteration, with what this new Google Translate was able to produce. Murakami's translation is written "in very polished Japanese," Rekimoto explained to me later via email, but the prose is distinctively "Murakami-style."

Robo-writers: the rise and risks of language-generating AI


In June 2020, a new and powerful artificial intelligence (AI) began dazzling technologists in Silicon Valley. Called GPT-3 and created by the research firm OpenAI in San Francisco, California, it was the latest and most powerful in a series of'large language models': AIs that generate fluent streams of text after imbibing billions of words from books, articles and websites. GPT-3 had been trained on around 200 billion words, at an estimated cost of tens of millions of dollars. The developers who were invited to try out GPT-3 were astonished. "I have to say I'm blown away," wrote Arram Sabeti, founder of a technology start-up who is based in Silicon Valley. "It's far more coherent than any AI language system I've ever tried. All you have to do is write a prompt and it'll add text it thinks would plausibly follow. I've gotten it to write songs, stories, press releases, guitar tabs, interviews, essays, technical manuals. I feel like I've seen the future."