February 17, 2019

The Advent of Interactive TV

“AS WE’VE TAKEN our small-screen destiny into our own hands—skinny bundles, “over the top” content, a device-agnostic smorgasbord of streaming—our hands have become empty, idle. Channel surfing feels futile, if not obsolete. TV is no longer a remote-controlled menu to peruse as much as it’s a Tube Goldberg machine carrying our eyes from one diversion to the next. Choice is everywhere; agency, not so much.

Algorithms forever recommend what to watch. Autoplay functions cue up the next episode without waiting for your input. With nothing left to do but gaze and glaze, a viewer’s chief responsibility is to not fall asleep (lest you wake to find yourself five episodes into an unwitting binge of Hell’s Kitchen). It’s strange, then, given its role as the architect of programmatic passivity, that Netflix is handing back the reins via choose-your-own-adventure experiences it’s calling “interactive content.””

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JJ Editor's Daily Picks

"Have world leaders really got the will to bring peace to Yemen? We hear much about Yemen’s crisis, but far less about the hypocrisy of states fuelling the very conflict they condemn."

"No poll so far in our database has tested Trump against the relatively unknown Weld... Indeed, Weld seems like one of the weakest candidates that anti-Trump Republicans could put up in a national campaign. "

"An initiative by the mayor of Tiberias for the municipality to help provide public transportation on the Sabbath has caused the issue of the social status quo to the forefront of public discussion."

"Like “30 Rock,” “Kimmy Schmidt” obviously slanted leftward, but most always exhibited a similar eagerness to skewer politics more generally than just the GOP."

"Yes, we’re all overwhelmed with email. One recent survey suggested that the average American’s inbox has 199 unread messages. But volume isn’t an excuse for not replying."

"... platforms now have a stranglehold over publishers who, individually and even as a group, have little-to-no bargaining power when it comes to algorithmic changes, ad rates, and much else."

"[There's] a subgenre known as National Socialist black metal, which espouses neo-Nazi views and has been described by the Southern Poverty Law Center as aiming to recruit youth to white-supremacist causes."

"“The Ideas That Made America” by Jennifer Ratner-Rosenhagen is an anomaly in the genre. Its brevity is a point of pride, yet it aspires to do a little of everything."

"My wish is to die in my own bed, cared for by people I love—clean, comfortable and relatively free from pain. I hope to have time to say my goodbyes and give my final blessings."

"A diet for fast weight loss is a pipe dream. Many of us want to lose weight without making permanent changes, because we view thinness instead of health as a success."

"Opportunity casts a long shadow over all subsequent Mars rovers, setting a gold standard of JPL engineering. Customized versions of its mobility software are used on the rovers Curiosity and upcoming Mars 2020."

"Biblical scholarship has deepened our understanding of the Torah and at the same time challenges us to consider the implications of our declaring the Torah to be emet. What is emet and what does it mean to say that the Torah is emet?"