Categories
Books & Reading

Douglas Rushkoff Playing for Team Human

I caught Douglas Rushkoff on Sam Harris’ Making Sense podcast the other day and it really resonated with me. I look forward to reading his new book, Team Human.

A few nuggets I gleaned from the podcast:

Rushkoff, speaking about his book Media Virus: Hidden Agendas In Popular Culture, “It was celebrating this new stuff called viral media – which seemed like a good idea at the time…”

“…algorithms are taking all of these painstakingly evolved social mechanisms and using them against us…we are no longer the users of this technology, but the used….”


Team Human is a manifesto—a fiery distillation of preeminent digital theorist Douglas Rushkoff’s most urgent thoughts on civilization and human nature. In one hundred lean and incisive statements, he argues that we are essentially social creatures, and that we achieve our greatest aspirations when we work together—not as individuals. Yet today society is threatened by a vast antihuman infrastructure that undermines our ability to connect. Money, once a means of exchange, is now a means of exploitation; education, conceived as way to elevate the working class, has become another assembly line; and the internet has only further divided us into increasingly atomized and radicalized groups.” – Norton Publishing

Full info on Douglas’ Team Human project

Categories
Music Science & Technology

Nick Cave Kicks Out The Jams While All the World’s AI Moshes in the Pit

In this great post over at Brain Pickings – Maria Popova shines a light on Nick Cave’s answer to a fan question about future artificial intelligence creating ‘perfect songs’ with no humans needed. The short answer is, yes they will, but the long answer is they still won’t be the same.

Nick fucking lays it down and single-handedly summarizes what I’ve been feeling but was unable to get out in any coherent way when I’ve been thinking about the future of music in an AI world. Get over there and witness his glory for yourself.

I don’t feel that when we listen to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” it is only the song that we are listening to. It feels to me, that what we are actually listening to is a withdrawn and alienated young man’s journey out of the small American town of Aberdeen — a young man who by any measure was a walking bundle of dysfunction and human limitation — a young man who had the temerity to howl his particular pain into a microphone and in doing so, by way of the heavens, reach into the hearts of a generation.

Nick Cave

Amen, Brother.

Categories
Quotes The Internet & Media

Future Goggles

“The next medium, whatever it is—it may be the extension of consciousness—will include television as its content, not as its environment, and will transform television into an art form. A computer as a research and communication instrument could enhance retrieval, obsolesce mass library organization, retrieve the individual’s encyclopedic function and flip into a private line to speedily tailored data of a saleable kind.”

Marshall McLuhan, 30 years prior to the invention of the World Wide Web. (Emphasis, mine) Source: wikipedia
Categories
Psychology

Why What You Think You Know is Wrong – And Right – at the Same Time

Why we can’t have nice things. Or agree.

Great episode here of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast. Discussion centering around tribalism and polarization and the misconceptions we have about how we view what are ‘facts’ and what aren’t. Why what can be ‘true’ for one person is not necessarily so for another.

In this episode of the You Are Not So Smart Podcast, we spend time with political scientist Lilliana Mason and psychologist Dan Kahan, two researchers exploring how our tribal tendencies are scrambling public discourse and derailing so many of our best efforts at progress — from science communication, to elections, to our ability to converge on the truth and go about the grind of building a better democracy…

…Now this is something we talk about a lot on this show. In fact it’s the foundations of everything you are not so smart about. We are unaware of how unaware we are, yet we proceed with confidence in the false assumption that we are fully aware of our motivations and the sources of our thoughts, feelings, and emotions. In fact, much of the time, if not most of the time, the true source of those things, the true motivations behind our behaviors, is often invisible or unknowable, or in the case of tribal psychology something we’d rather not believe about ourselves. None of us wants to think that we are simply parroting the perspectives of elites or going along with the attitudes of our tribes, but the work of Dan Kahan and Lillanna Mason and many others suggests that for many issues that is exactly what is happening.

David McRaney

Podcast transcript available here if you’re more of a reader.

Categories
Bikes Photos

Went for a Bike Ride

Photo: A. Titus

Visited the UNB Woodlot for a nice 15km spin before the pending storm. -16°C but sunny. Trails were spectacular. Well beaten double track thanks to snowmobiles and fantastic single track thanks to snowshoers and other riders. Harmonic convergence.