Time-off notice: no new posts for the time being

Jobless future

If you’re worried about your kids and the fact that More than half of students chasing dying careers you are probably right.  If you think that electing a career that is not dying will help them you are probably wrong.  Of course this and other Odradeks will outlive parents, but the dismissal is not a kafkan one.  Problem is it is likely the case that the problem is not which careers, but more likely ‘careers’ itself is becoming an obsolete term.

Colleagues seem to be there for a while, though we might have to be Ready for a Robot Colleague.

In a broader view on workmate, A.I. may give us a ride in preparation for a new time occupation future.  Perhaps it’s better for us to Don’t Worry, Smart Machines Will Take Us With Them.  remember those kids chasing dying careers?  That’s only part time – the rest of it they are drooling obsessively at smart phones as much as we let them.  It may well be that the case that this is their robot education in the making.

Intelligence Design – natural selection and technology

Starting from a no-fun that more people have died from selfies than shark attacks this year as a anecdotal case for interaction between natural selection and technology.  It’s too far a shot, since anyone may well ponder that shark killing were never a key driver of human selection to begin with.

Having sex, tho, have always been a key driver.  And looking good to potential mates does have a play in this.  In this light the selfie-selection link start being not so naive.  Even then, selfie is too short a fling to make an impact in the big picture.  As a further analogy, though, it is arguable that selfie is the current mode of a mediated relation that has for a long time being around in human kind reproduction.

If we consider the big impact some fundamental technological innovations such as tool making, language, and culture have had in human survival and reproduction abilities, then the evidence turns around; it is very hard to deny technology has not been one of the key drivers of evolution even before homo sapiens.

A few short, recent articles on this discuss Is Technology Unnatural—Or Is It ‘What Makes Us Human’? makign the point that technology is part of us.  Looking forward, A Genomics Revolution: Evolution by Natural Selection to Evolution by Intelligent Direction points to the fact that if in the role of technology in human evolution was rather passive, genomics can shift that into a very active designing.  But then if Science Says the Internet Is Turning Us into Shallow Thinkers, what sort of evolution would technology-driven world lead us to?


What Happens Next Will Amaze you – speech by Maciej Cegłowski

Transcript of IdleWords.com’s Maciej Cegłowski talk at FREMTIDENS INTERNET conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.

This is a very good speech but not too short – brevity is for the weak in top of Idle Words page goes as a reminder.  Topics covered:

  • The corporate side of our culture of total surveillance – The odd story of how advertisers destoyed our online privacy and then found themselves swindled by robots.
  • Six fixes Maciej Cegłowski thinks could restore Internet privacy.
  • Capitalists who act like central planners, and an industry that insists on changing the world without even being able to change San Francisco:


“The Struggle to Define What Artificial Intelligence Actually Means” by Gary Lea

Posted at The Conversation:

“When we talk about artificial intelligence (AI) – (…) – what do we actually mean?

(…) having a usable definition of AI – and soon – is vital for regulation and governance because laws and policies simply will not operate without one.

(…)  Defining the terms: artificial and intelligence
For regulatory purposes, “artificial” is, hopefully, the easy bit. (…) , leaves the knottier problem of “intelligence”.

From a philosophical perspective, “intelligence” is a vast minefield, especially if treated as including one or more of “consciousness”, “thought”, “free will” and “mind”. (…)

Let’s take a step back and ask what a regulator’s immediate interest is here?

I would say that it is the work products of AI scientists and engineers, and any public welfare or safety risks that might arise from those products.

Logically, then, it is the way that the majority of AI scientists and engineers treat intelligence” that is of most immediate concern.(…)  read full post


“The Case for Teaching Ignorance” By JAMIE HOLMES

From NY Times Op-Ed

“In the mid-1980s, a University of Arizona surgery professor, Marlys H. Witte, proposed teaching a class entitled “Introduction to Medical and Other Ignorance.” (…)

(…) She wanted her students to recognize the limits of knowledge and to appreciate that questions often deserve as much attention as answers. Eventually, the American Medical Association funded the class, which students would fondly remember as “Ignorance 101.”

Classes like hers remain rare, but in recent years scholars have made a convincing case that focusing on uncertainty can foster latent curiosity, while emphasizing clarity can convey a warped understanding of knowledge.

 (…)  By inviting scientists of various specialties to teach his students about what truly excited them — not cold hard facts but intriguing ambiguities — Dr. Firestein sought to rebalance the scales.

Presenting ignorance as less extensive than it is, knowledge as more solid and more stable, and discovery as neater also leads students to misunderstand the interplay between answers and questions.

 (…) Questions don’t give way to answers so much as the two proliferate together. Answers breed questions. Curiosity isn’t merely a static disposition but rather a passion of the mind that is ceaselessly earned and nurtured.

(…) The resulting state of uncertainty, psychologists have shown, intensifies our emotions: not only exhilaration and surprise, but also confusion and frustration.

The borderland between known and unknown is also where we strive against our preconceptions to acknowledge and investigate anomalous data, a struggle Thomas S. Kuhn described in his 1962 classic, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.” (…)

The study of ignorance — or agnotology, a term popularized by Robert N. Proctor, a historian of science at Stanford — is in its infancy. (…)

 Our students will be more curious — and more intelligently so — if, in addition to facts, they were equipped with theories of ignorance as well as theories of knowledge.”  Read full story

Walt Whitman’s “A noiseless, patient spider” – animated


A noiseless, patient spider,
I mark’d, where, on a little promontory, it stood, isolated;
Mark’d how, to explore the vacant, vast surrounding,
It launch’d forth filament, filament, filament, out of itself;
Ever unreeling them — ever tirelessly speeding them.

And you, O my Soul, where you stand,
Surrounded, surrounded, in measureless oceans of space,
Ceaselessly musing, venturing, throwing, — seeking the spheres, to connect them;
Till the bridge you will need, be form’d — till the ductile anchor hold;
Till the gossamer thread you fling, catch somewhere, O my Soul.

read more in Maria Popova’s Brain Pickings


Invisible Computer Code Runs Your Life

Video works well as a teaser for the rather long, good read “What is Code” by Paul Ford

updating our maps for a new climate

sb thumbs artic ice shrinkingShrinking Ice cap in the artic are re-draqing maps.

Other geographical updates likely to be needed wht we face new rain, temperature and subsequent environmental changes.

Robots being bullied

This video show kids being bullies in a mall – victim this time was a robot.


It may relate to another recent case of a robot being vandalized in his hitchthiking trip.

For the time being such experiments are very useful to bring light to human behavior.  Let’s say someone argues that as many other human behaviour this might be one society opts to discourage.  And as in many other cases, way to set limits is to grant victims rights not be be molested.

As we are likely to see such events recurring more often, robot rights defendants may have a growing number of examples on their side.

’97 Q&A with Apple’s CEO advisor

AP video archive now on youtube