Hugo Rifkind

Este archivo solo abarca los artículos del autor incorporados a este sitio a partir del 1 de noviembre de 2006. Para fechas anteriores realice una búsqueda entrecomillando su nombre.

‘The cat sat on the mat’ is not a story,” John le Carré told The New York Times back in 1977. ‘“The cat sat on the dog’s mat’ is a story.” Which is brilliant.

More than a mere storyteller, though, le Carré, who died this weekend, was one of those rare writers whose writerly vision immerses itself in the reader’s imagination. It is thanks to him that most of us feel it was usually raining behind the Iron Curtain. He also, perhaps more importantly, gave us a framework for understanding our own country. It was one in which you could see Britain in the context of all other countries, and despair of its flaws, and perhaps even dislike quite a lot of it, and yet still absolutely root for it over everywhere else.…  Seguir leyendo »

What’s in it for them? This is the question. Last week, Google’s Deepmind announced a scientific breakthrough. As you’ll know, it had used artificial intelligence to . . . do something. Perhaps you understand more. I do, a bit, but if you want a truly reliable guide to what “protein folding” is, then for God’s sake ask somebody else. This is not to be a column about what they did. This is to be a column about why they did it.

“They” in this context is Google, which bought Deepmind in 2014, reportedly for about half a billion dollars. According to the open resource that is Companies House (because, of course, Deepmind is British) the AI firm went on to lose tens of millions every year, right up to a really quite exciting £470 million in 2018, which is the most recent year you can see.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last week, parliament published 100 pages of pro-Leave adverts that appeared on Facebook during the Brexit referendum. Some were what you would have expected. “Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Turkey are joining the EU. Seriously,” read one, with a picture of an NHS doctor with her head in her hands. Of course, they probably aren’t. Seriously.

Others were more niche. One showed sad Arctic fauna, because “the EU blocks our ability to speak out and protect polar bears”. Who knew? Yet more focused on the threat that the EU posed to the British cuppa. “Now the EU wants to ban tea kettles!”…  Seguir leyendo »

Honestly, why can't the far Right just get its act together? I don't expect much from my recidivist Hitlerian bogeyman. A coherent desire for humanity to be ground under the jackbooted heels of the armies of the night, that'll do me. Is it too much to ask?

Seems so. Jörg Haider, wherever you are, you're a big disappointment. For a while, I really thought you were the one we were waiting for. You liked the Nazis, you really weren't fond of Jews. You were an anti-immigrant populist, and finally, you seemed destined for real power. You could have inspired thousands. Oh yes.…  Seguir leyendo »