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Yuval Harari’s has an incredible insight during his talk at the World Economic Forum – His vision is that in the future, with the increase development of AI, our societies might be at risk for the rise of digital dictatorships.
He talks about the intrinsic difference between democracies and dictatorships, from the perspective of making decisions, and processing information – making a direct connection with the way that digital systems are designed.
In that sense, he compares distributed systems with centralized systems, a concept that is used all the time within computing and Internet-related systems.
This kind of perspective and insight reminded me of another interesting video by Hank Green (Vlog Brothers), in which he talks about the idea of corporate autocracies dominating digital spaces and communities.
Another thinker that has been considering this massive shift in our societies is Amy Webb. Her book, “The Big Nine: How the Tech Titans and Their Thinking Machines Could Warp Humanity” (https://www.publicaffairsbooks.com/titles/amy-webb/the-big-nine/9781541773752/) brings a great deal of knowledge and observations for us to digest on some of these ideas moving forward. Webb’s research in this book is primarily focused on the immense role and influence that big tech companies already have in our present, and will continue to have in our future.
She was interviewed recently by Leo Laporte (TWiT) on the show Triangulation. The full interview can be watched below.
These early perspectives into the impact of AI in our societies are quite fascinating and will continue to shape the public discourse for many years. It seems imperative to continue these conversations in the future.
We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.Abraham Lincoln
Alex Cross: You do what you are Jezzie.
Jezzie Flannigan: You mean you are what you do.
Alex Cross: No, I mean, you do what you are. You’re born with a gift. If not that, then you get good at something along the way. And what you’re good at, you don’t take for granted. You don’t betray it.
Jezzie Flannigan: What if you do, betray your gift?
Alex Cross: Then you betray yourself. That’s a sad thing.
In the US, your taxes fund academic research at public universities. Why then do you need to pay expensive, for-profit journals for the results of that research? Erica Stone advocates for a new, open-access relationship between the public and scholars, making the case that academics should publish in more accessible media.
And may you live to be 150 years old, and the last voice you hear is mine.
— Frank Sinatra
The past and present wilt—I have fill’d them, emptied them.
And proceed to fill my next fold of the future.
Listener up there! what have you to confide to me?
Look in my face while I snuff the sidle of evening,
(Talk honestly, no one else hears you, and I stay only a minute
Do I contradict myself?
Very well then I contradict myself,
(I am large, I contain multitudes.)
I concentrate toward them that are nigh, I wait on the door-slab.
Who has done his day’s work? who will soonest be through with
Who wishes to walk with me?
Will you speak before I am gone? will you prove already too late?
— Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass.
Blockchain is extremely interesting, but it can be difficult to understand. This video by PCMag is an attempt to visually show how the blockchain works, using building blocks as an analogy.
It does not fully explain how the technology side works, and it doesn’t go into full details in regards to cryptography. However it is a good first step if you are curious about decentralized networks, cryptocurrencies and online trust.
Plus, it has Lego, so I had to share it 🙂
Remember young sir, it’s all illusion; and dreams though potent, are no solution to the problems that we face. The rainbows that we chase are no more real than the idea that your foot will heal. My words no doubt seem strange to you, but please remember that they’re true.
— The Pied Piper of Hamelin – Faerie Tale Theatre.
A son takes what should be a simple tech support call from his mother in the middle of his workday. Have you been there?
I came across this short animation by Ben Meinhardt from an email sent by Mozilla a few weeks ago.
On Saturday, July 29, Rooftop Films and Mozilla presented a screening of thought-provoking short films about our favorite shared resource, the Internet. Hundreds of film fans and Web lovers gathered in Brooklyn, NYC for Net Positive, Internet Health Film Shorts to get a filmmaker’s view on what’s helping and what’s hurting the Web.
You can find the complete list of films here. I highly recommend watching these gems that speak so much about the Internet and our lives today.
If you don’t know anything about Brené Brown, start here. She will help you expand your perception in so many ways, I can’t even describe. Plus, she will do it (as she always does) with a rare combination of research and humor.
Personally, this talk led me to read and look for more about her research, however if you just watch this talk alone, it should fundamentally change many of your ideas and conceptions about vulnerability, courage, shame and connection.
In fact, one of my favorite quotes in this talk is this:
by the time you’re a social worker for 10 years, what you realize is that connection is why we’re here. It’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. This is what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter whether you talk to people who work in social justice and mental health and abuse and neglect, what we know is that connection, the ability to feel connected, is — neurobiologically that’s how we’re wired — it’s why we’re here.
With more time I’ll write more about her research and published books. For now, enjoy this insightful TED Talk.
A new and interesting research report has been published by Chelsea Barabas, Neha Narula, Ethan Zuckerman, in a group effort between The Center for Civic Media & The Digital Currency Initiative @ MIT Media Lab. The title is Defending Internet Freedom through Decentralization: Back to the Future?
When someone shows you who they are believe them; the first time.
— Maya Angelou
Where there is sunrise, there is Barbara, only Barbara clothes that way,
Where there is laughter, there is Barbara, always Barbara warm and gay.
And when there’s music, she is the song, the song I’m singing my whole life long.
There’s no one just like her, like Barbara, only Barbara is so rare.
Wherever she is, I’ll be there.
There’s no one just like her, like Barbara, only Barbara, she’s so rare,
Wherever she is, I’ll be there.
— Frank Sinatra
Someone once told me to say the following words, and they have been stuck with me ever since.
“I will be there, in that blank space with you. That is our place and you are mine”.
I have been thinking a lot about the way the internet works now, primarily with social networks and advertising.
There is a tremendous amount of articles, videos and discussions on these topics, so this post will first start with a (constantly updated) list of resources I recommend reading and watching. Eventually I’ll expand on each of these topics into separate posts (and I’ll update this post with more links). Read more
“We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infintesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future. We have no present. Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation. We do not realize that there never was, is, nor will be any other experience than present experience. We are therefore out of touch with reality. We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names and numbers, of symbols, signs, conceptions and ideas.”
In an information-rich world, the wealth of information means a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that attention efficiently among the overabundance of information sources that might consume it.
— Simon, H. A. (1971) “Designing Organizations for an Information-Rich World” in: Martin Greenberger, Computers, Communication, and the Public Interest, Baltimore. MD: The Johns Hopkins Press. pp. 40–41.