Category Archives: tech

robots

ALQUIST: It was a crime to make robots.
HARRY DOMIN: No, Alquist, I don’t regret that even today.
ALQUIST: Not even today?
HARRY DOMIN: Not even today – the last day of civilization. Was it a crime to shatter the servitude of labor, the dreadful and humiliating labor that man had to undergo? Work was too hard. Life was too hard. And to overcome that -
ALQUIST: Was not what the two Rossums had in mind?
HARRY DOMIN: It’s what I had in mind.
ALQUIST: How well you succeeded! How well we all succeeded. For profit, for progress, we have destroyed mankind.

FROM RUR — http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R.U.R.

As heard here:

http://www.onthemedia.org/story/on-the-media-2014-04-18/

Transcript here:

http://www.onthemedia.org/story/our-universal-robots/transcript/

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In the news…. some related links

The following are some related links. Computers are simultaneously making amazing things possible and helping make some people very rich, but also making it more difficult to make a living for many (see the income inequality video).
It’s touching everything for good or bad. Media, education, news, jobs, food, financial markets, politics. Some win (and we all hear about those people) and most lose (and news tries to not depress or mobilize us too much about that). “The limitation of the personal view” Jerry Mander calls it.

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- The Rise of the Blockbuster (blockbusters are actually on the increase. the “long tail” is still there, but aren’t the real winners %-wise)

http://wgbhnews.org/post/rise-blockbuster

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- Misconceptions about wealth Inequality in America

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- “Q: If someone from the 1950s suddenly appeared today, what would be the most difficult thing to explain to them about life today?”
“A: I possess a device, in my pocket, that is capable of accessing the entirety of information known to man. I use it to look at pictures of cats and get in arguments with strangers.”

https://twitter.com/SciencePorn/status/391419960817614848/photo/1

(original at: http://as.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/15yaap/if_someone_from_the_1950s_suddenly_appeared_today/?sort=top)

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- University megastar professors

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesmarshallcrotty/2012/08/07/the-coming-age-of-the-teaching-megastar/

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- Welcome, Robot Overlords. Please Don’t Fire Us?
Smart machines probably won’t kill us all—but they’ll definitely take our jobs, and sooner than you think.

http://ehaugsjaa.wordpress.com/2013/06/14/2040-our-robot-paradise/

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- BAY WATCHED: How San Francisco’s new entrepreneurial culture is changing the country.
BY NATHAN HELLER
OCTOBER 14, 2013

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2013/10/14/131014fa_fact_heller?currentPage=all

Naval Ravikant “… the cost to build and launch a product went from five million … to one million … to five hundred thousand … and it’s now to fifty thousand.”

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- The Nacho Dorito
“I visited Steven A. Witherly, a food scientist who wrote an insider’s guide, “Why Humans Like Junk Food,” and we raided his lab to taste and experiment our way through the psychobiology of what makes Nacho Cheese Doritos so alluring.”

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/10/01/dining/nacho-graphic.html?_r=0

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- TOO COMPLICATED TO FAIL

https://www.google.com/search?q=%22too+complicated+to+fail%22

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Filed under computers, contrarian, person: Jerry Mander, tech, thinking

Led by technology, humans abandon instincts?

FROM RANPRIER.com 2007

http://www.ranprieur.com/archives/015.html

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November 16. Creepy news: Led by Robots, Roaches Abandon Instincts. From the abstract of the scientific paper:

“Even when in the minority, robots can modulate the collective decision-making process and produce a global pattern not observed in their absence. These results demonstrate the possibility of using intelligent autonomous devices to study and control self-organized behavioral patterns in group-living animals.”

I was about to say, in a few years they’ll be doing it with humans… but they’re already doing it with humans, and I don’t mean television — they’re doing exactly the same thing with human children, integrating mechanical robots into groups to study and control their behavior. Patricia sends this article from a week ago, Could robots become your toddler’s new best friend?

The scariest thing is that cockroaches, over tens of millions of years, have evolved an egalitarian cooperative society, and yet they can still be controlled by shadowy powers without their knowledge. Even if humans, say in a million years, catch up to cockroaches and learn deep resistance to hierarchy, we still have to learn resistance to subtle manipulation of collective decision-making. But Patricia is is oddly optimistic:

“As cool as cockroaches are, they are not very high on the individual consciousness scale. I think many humans are quite capable of out-evolving this type of control. If we were not, we’d all be sending large checks to anonymous Nigerian bankers, right? In short, cockroaches lack the ability to assume the worst, to withhold their trust or belief. They are innocents, pre-Fall, in the Edenic eternal now — until they get squished.”

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ageism and creativity in programming

“I am 57 and I am a programmer, the same way Martin Scorcese is 70 and is a movie director. Or Ron Howard is 59, and Rob Reiner is 66. And that’s just film.”
— Dave Winer

GREAT POST!!!

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Filed under art, creativity, programming, tech

Blogroll – Programmers on programming

Dave Winer – Scripting News
e.g. Why don’t programmers speak for programming?

http://threads2.scripting.com/2013/march/whyArentProgrammersSpeakingForProgramming

The soul of the new developer

http://threads2.scripting.com/2013/march/theSoulOfTheNewEngineer

Why you should learn to code

http://threads2.scripting.com/2013/february/whyYouShouldLearnToCode

Educating the journo-programmer

http://scripting.com/stories/2011/01/21/theJournoprogrammer.html

Joel Spolsky – Joel on Software
e.g. http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/ThePerilsofJavaSchools.html

Dan Bricklin

http://www.bricklin.com/writings.htm

Paul Graham
e.g. http://www.paulgraham.com/knuth.html

Imran on Tech
e.g. Programming Knowledge versus Programming Ability

http://imranontech.com/2007/05/16/programming-knowledge-versus-programming-ability/

Patrick McKenzie -

http://www.kalzumeus.com/greatest-hits/

James Hague – http://prog21.dadgum.com/
e.g. Expertise, the Death of Fun, and What to Do About It

http://prog21.dadgum.com/169.html

Rys McCusker – doesn’t write much anymore. old stuff not visible

http://www.ythorn.com/etc.html

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See also…

http://techbyproducts.com/programming-is-not-a-glamorous-job/

http://dannorth.net/2011/01/11/programming-is-not-a-craft/

Jaron Lanier

Older
– Microserfs (a novel)
– Close to the Machine: Technophilia and Its Discontents, 2001 Ellen Ullman
– Computer Power and Human Reason, 1984 Joseph Weizenbaum

Not a programmer, but…
Malcolm McCullough
Abstracting Craft: The Practiced Digital Hand, 1998

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Facebook Home

Facebook was clever to do Facebook Home as they did. As Zuckerberg said in an interview, doing an entire phone would have meant they would have reached much much fewer people than they can with the Android approach.

Here are some related blog posts/articles related to Facebook Home (and the bigger picture battle between Apple, Google, Amazon, and Facebook)

Matt Drance

http://www.appleoutsider.com/2013/04/05/home-turf/

I Like It, but I Don’t Like It Like It
The Facebook phone is not as dumb as I thought it was going to be.
By Farhad Manjoo

http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2013/04/facebook_home_the_facebook_phone_is_not_as_dumb_as_i_thought_it_was_going.html

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The problem with twitter (and facebook (and wordpress))

The problem with twitter is that it isn’t more like facebook.
And the problem with facebook is that it isn’t more like twitter.
And the problem with wordpress is that it isn’t more like facebook and twitter.

By which I mean:

Facebook is annoying because:
– images are big now and everyone has figured out that the clever way to advertise their website is to put a clever saying in an image which is now huge and I have to scroll like mad now to read anything. I mean, I am guilty of sharing these sometimes, but will resist now I think. I usually hide article previews too.
– It’s not open

Twitter is annoying because:
– It’s a river (vs folders like is an option in RSS reader) so you can’t easily do things like group feeds, click to read one person (or one cluster) when you want to, etc. I know you can click (TWICE!) to read more from a person, but come on!
– It’s suggesting celebs to subscribe to. Uh, no.
– I pretty much totally hate URL compressor things since I can’t tell if I am interested cause the website name is hidden
– I am sorry but I am not conversing with you there
– hashtags are ugly and painful and useless unless it is a niche.
– It’s not open

WordPress is annoying because:
– It’s slow
– It doesn’t do nice/automatic previews of articles when you paste them in
– It’s slow
– All my friends aren’t there
– I can’t easily protect posts by friendship

The future:
– Might bring some open way of doing things like all of the above but in an open “internet standards” sort of way.
– simpler but also maybe more modular/programmable
— examples of tiny evidence of hope:
—– RSS
—– Dave Winer’s littleoutliner.com (see http://scripting.com/) is a sign (I hope) of things to come.
—– https://ifttt.com/
—– flickr.com API and APIs in general
—– bootstrap, and responsive design / HTML5
—– some google tools (books, forms) seem hopeful, but I won’t count on them now that I see that Google just close things down (ala Google Reader)

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Filed under computers, freedom, future, tech, thinking