Zeitgeist

The search space is always bigger…

by reestheskin on 02/07/2020

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Defining the appropriate probability space is often a non-trivial bit of statistics. It is often where you have to end up leaving statistics and formal reasoning behind. The following quote puts this in a more bracing manner.

There are no lobby groups for companies that do not exist.

The same goes for research and so much of what makes the future captivating.

The man from Cyberspace on the FQ

by reestheskin on 01/07/2020

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Some quotes from William Gibson in an interview with the FT

“we’re looking at the collapse of the only liveable planetary ecosystem we know of anywhere”.

He fears that the world’s FQ — or F***edness Quotient, as he calls it — is rising to a worrying degree.

And this one gets you

If I could learn one thing about the future,” he says, “I would want to know what they think of us because that would tell me everything I’d want to know about them.”

William Gibson — the prophet of cyberspace talks AI and climate collapse | Financial Times

Read that again

Zuckerberg also said the company will not be changing its policies that allow lying in paid political advertisements.

Facebook policy changes fail to quell advertiser revolt as Coca-Cola pulls ads | Facebook | The Guardian

Quote of the day

by reestheskin on 27/06/2020

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‘Today’s meritocratic ideology glorifies entrepreneurs and billionaires. At times this glorification seems to know no bounds. Some people seem to believe that Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg single-handedly invented computers, books, and friends.’

Thomas Piketty, Capital and Ideology. p713

Berufmensch

by reestheskin on 05/06/2020

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Two quotes from an article on Max Weber caught my attention. They are both from his book The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (which I have not read).

In the closing lines of The Protestant Ethic, Weber described the typical capitalists of his own time as mediocrities much like the stunted creatures that Nietzsche had called “the last men.” A world populated by such soulless beings ran not on individual initiative but on the imperatives of the system: “Today,” Weber wrote,

this mighty cosmos determines, with overwhelming coercion, the style of life not only of those directly involved in business but of every individual who is born into this mechanism, and may well continue to do so until the day when the last ton of fossil fuel has been consumed. [emphasis added]

Peter Gordon adds, ‘Those final lines were prescient.’

Max the Fatalist | by Peter E. Gordon | The New York Review of Books

We are not of this world

This is from Larry Page of Google (quoted in “The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power” by Shoshana Zuboff)

CEO Page surprised a convocation of developers in 2013 by responding to questions from the audience, commenting on the “negativity” that hampered the firm’s freedom to “build really great things” and create “interoperable” technologies with other companies: “Old institutions like the law and so on aren’t keeping up with the rate of change that we’ve caused through technology. . . . The laws when we went public were 50 years old. A law can’t be right if it’s 50 years old, like it’s before the internet.” When asked his thoughts on how to limit “negativity” and increase “positivity,” Page reflected, “Maybe we should set aside a small part of the world . . . as technologists we should have some safe places where we can try out some new things and figure out what is the effect on society, what’s the effect on people, without having to deploy kind of into the normal world.

As for his comments on safe spaces, I agree. There are plenty of empty planets left.