January 31, 2020

Do Russians Dream of Electric Sheep?



Do Russians Dream of Electric Sheep?
Fun fact: the 1921 Italian movie "The Mechanical Man" was the first film to feature a fight between robots. AlejandroLinaresGarcia, Wikimedia Commons

A recent survey of Russians has found that, despite widespread knowledge of artificial intelligence (AI), few understand the technology itself.

The study, conducted by VTsIOM (ВЦИОМ, the Russian Public Opinion Research Center), records that 75% of Russians have heard of AI. However, only 29% were able to define it, while 38% could name its applications. 

Overall, though, Russian opinions towards AI are positive, with only 12% of respondents reporting negative feelings towards the technology, and 68% unconvinced that AI will take their jobs.

By contrast, Americans tend to be more apprehensive. But we, too, are a little confused. So until we come to a consensus of what we should look out for, be wary of Alexa saying something like, "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that."

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Some of Our Books

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Bears in the Caviar

Bears in the Caviar is a hilarious and insightful memoir by a diplomat who was “present at the creation” of US-Soviet relations. Charles Thayer headed off to Russia in 1933, calculating that if he could just learn Russian and be on the spot when the US and USSR established relations, he could make himself indispensable and start a career in the foreign service. Remarkably, he pulled it of.
The Samovar Murders

The Samovar Murders

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93 Untranslatable Russian Words

93 Untranslatable Russian Words

Every language has concepts, ideas, words and idioms that are nearly impossible to translate into another language. This book looks at nearly 100 such Russian words and offers paths to their understanding and translation by way of examples from literature and everyday life. Difficult to translate words and concepts are introduced with dictionary definitions, then elucidated with citations from literature, speech and prose, helping the student of Russian comprehend the word/concept in context.
Murder and the Muse

Murder and the Muse

KGB Chief Andropov has tapped Matyushkin to solve a brazen jewel heist from Picasso’s wife at the posh Metropole Hotel. But when the case bleeds over into murder, machinations, and international intrigue, not everyone is eager to see where the clues might lead.
The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The Frogs Who Begged for a Tsar

The fables of Ivan Krylov are rich fonts of Russian cultural wisdom and experience – reading and understanding them is vital to grasping the Russian worldview. This new edition of 62 of Krylov’s tales presents them side-by-side in English and Russian. The wonderfully lyrical translations by Lydia Razran Stone are accompanied by original, whimsical color illustrations by Katya Korobkina.
Moscow and Muscovites

Moscow and Muscovites

Vladimir Gilyarovsky's classic portrait of the Russian capital is one of Russians’ most beloved books. Yet it has never before been translated into English. Until now! It is a spectactular verbal pastiche: conversation, from gutter gibberish to the drawing room; oratory, from illiterates to aristocrats; prose, from boilerplate to Tolstoy; poetry, from earthy humor to Pushkin. 
Woe From Wit (bilingual)

Woe From Wit (bilingual)

One of the most famous works of Russian literature, the four-act comedy in verse Woe from Wit skewers staid, nineteenth century Russian society, and it positively teems with “winged phrases” that are essential colloquialisms for students of Russian and Russian culture.
Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

Maria's War: A Soldier's Autobiography

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Russia Rules

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