One topic I’m interested in is artificial intelligence and the AI-enabled future we’re all supposedly going to live in soon. The truth is that we already use AI every day, when we ask Siri to set a reminder for something, or request a Google Image search for “anime girls with twintails riding motorcycles.” Of course, there’s no actual “intelligence” in AI, just banks of computers that make deep-learning associations between, say, frogs and toads, amphibians, animals that are brown or green, all animals, etc., then estimate how far one category is from another to develop context. AI is increasingly playing a role in anime, with programs that automate the digital coloring process, or the harem anime-generating algorithm that was used to create the Infinite Stratos anime. (I’m actually kidding, but it sounded pretty believable, didn’t it?) I encounter AI while managing J-List’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, employing various tricks to get around automated systems that block our ecchi posts, and trying to format articles on our shiny new blog so that they get read. Recently I learned that a bot somewhere was spitting out memes based on my tweets, crawling my posts and creating content based on them, which seems like something out of a William Gibson novel. Who knows how anime fans will interact with AI in the future? Maybe watch them in our browser windows, like the virtual YouTuber Kizuna Ai?
As with Europe, Japan has had a long history which has left its mark on the country today. Most of Japan’s cities started out as castle towns, built up around the fortress of the local samurai lord during Japan’s feudal period, which are why so many cities have narrow and randomly curving roads. In J-List’s home prefecture of Gunma, each city has a different feel that goes back to its history in World War II. While Takasaki and Kiryu were never bombed and thus have streets that are extra narrow and cramped, Maebashi and Ota were heavily bombed, with the result that they were able to rebuild according to modern city plans that make them pleasant places to drive today. Our home city of Isesaki has the honor of being the site of the very last bombs dropped during World War II, just hours before the Emperor surrendered.
Everyone loves those bizarre open-backed sweaters that have come to be called Virgin Killing Sweaters, and now J-List has them in stock! It’s the perfect cosplay item if you live in a warm climate and want to be mostly naked, or have someone special you want to make sweet memes with. See them in stock here!