Hello. This is no longer Bix's blog.


David O'Hara's thoughts on whether an artificial intelligence could have a mystical experience (be it real or imagined) is sort of the plot of Battlestar Galactica. The question of whether or not AI in fact could perceive something real through its consciousness that we cannot through ours sort of makes me wish that idea had been a part of The Thing Itself, which spent a lot of time on the question of how much of reality we might be incapable of seeing.

#Books #PopCulture #Science #Technology #Television #September2019

While I don't entirely disagree that psychotherapy could use some disruption, any such disruption should be prompted by and focused on addressing, say, that idea that methods and approaches designed for neurotypical minds aren't necessarily apt, appropriate, or effective for the realities of a neurodiverse population. Forgive me if I don't much trust any such disruption instead being driven by technologists “who long ago fused their sense of self-worth to their work, and who are emotionally adrift now that the industry is under assault” feeling sad and unfulfilled about having spent their lives carelessly disrupting other sectors and segments of society.

#MentalHealth #Psychotherapy #Technology #September2019

U.S. Forest Service fire lookout Philip Connors is right that “[e]very culture should have a couple of outsiders bringing a message from outside of the dominant culture” but I'm not sure an old white guy sitting atop a tower in a forest is really outside the dominant culture. That said, Nathan Rott's profile of Connors (via Digg) is a nice little look at the vocation and the ways in which it's being impacted by new technology. Once upon a time, long ago, I think after reading some Kerouac book (probably The Dharma Bums), I briefly flirted with following in his footsteps, but I don't think I would have managed very well.

#Nature #Technology #September2019

Why am I unsurprised that Dave Winer is defending both Shane Gillis and Richard Stallman despite the former's racist “comedy” and the latter's Jeffrey Epstein apologia? Winer himself has this weird history where despite how much credit he's gotten for his work, there's always this ugly undercurrent where he suggests that he hasn't gotten his due, and threaded throughout is a self-righteous sense that people who criticize him are being unfair and they should just be thankful for all he's done, or at least keep quiet when he's being some sort of a dick out of respect for the good he's done. He believes, in other words, that there's some set of allowances that accrue from doing good works that are meant to give you a free pass for the bad that you do. What I don't get is that this attitude makes sense of his defense of Stallman (although, you know, not really, because rape apologist), but it hardly applies to Gillis, who just was out there making racist remarks on podcasts.

#Abuse #Men #Nonsense #PopCulture #Technology #September2019

In a weird bit of coincidence, Warren Ellis republished an item in which he describes dystopia as “one of those parts of speculative fiction that function as early-warning systems for bad sociocultural weather” on the same day that Danah Boyd published her speech to the Electronic Frontier Foundation in which she urged the industry to “stop designing the technologies envisioned in dystopian novels” and “heed the warnings of artists, not race head-on into their nightmares”.

#Books #PopCulture #Technology #September2019

So here we are… I’m receiving this award, named after Barlow less than a week after Joi resigned from an institution that nearly destroyed me after he socialized with and took money from a known pedophile. Let me be clear — this is deeply destabilizing for me. I am here today in-no-small-part because I benefited from the generosity of men who tolerated and, in effect, enabled unethical, immoral, and criminal men. And because of that privilege, I managed to keep moving forward even as the collateral damage of patriarchy stifled the voices of so many others around me. I am angry and sad, horrified and disturbed because I know all too well that this world is not meritocratic. I am also complicit in helping uphold these systems.

From Facing the Great Reckoning Head-On by Danah Boyd

#Abuse #Business #Internet #Technology #Highlights #September2019

Over in Micro.blog's “discover” feed (parenthetically, I'm again wondering if I should be over there instead of here on Write.as) I found these pretty great thoughts by Ton Zijlstra on technology, scaling, and community, in which he laments technologists “talking about how to create a community for their tech to help it scale”.

While crediting that, yes, some technologies help “communities ... form that otherwise wouldn’t, because of geographic spread, shame, taboo or danger to make yourself visible in your local environment”, Zijlstra argues that tech perhaps should “focus on me using it for my communities as is, and rather present itself as having me join a made up community whose raison d’etre is exploiting our attention for profit”.

This, perhaps, is the failing of Twitter, and one of the strengths of federation, in that what we need are technologies which enable people to support their existing communities, or ones they wish to create, while then also providing bridges into other communities and wider, more general streams of “content”. The model behind Twitter somehow thinks an unfettered river of such “content” alone is good enough.

Sites that are fundamentally about ads (and, really, that's typically what “scaling” is all about: adding more and more eyeballs for what advertisers are serving up, not for what users are doing) perhaps can never also fundamentally be about any sort of community for which it would be worth using that word.

#Community #SocialMedia #Technology #Web #September2019

Put into action, the “third culture” is a safe haven for breathless bullshit, a place where the ultra-rich might fantasize about, say, administering a eugenics scheme in New Mexico with the semen of a convicted serial sexual predator. Whether or not “third culture” progenitors like the Media Lab actually go forward with such an insane idea is beside the point, as they’re just happy to help cash a check. What the Lab actually produces is something much dumber and more banal. It looks something like a conference about food sponsored by the pork lobby, during which soup company executives tell a moderator from the Times (where Joichi Ito, until this week, held a corporate directorship) that it’s an awful shame how many people in the world go hungry.

From Destroy the MIT Media Lab by Noah Kulwin

#Business #Education #Research #Technology #Highlights #September2019

Yes, I am one of the people who have been asking about iCloud sync for NetNewsWire, and Brent Simmons' gives some perspective on the pros and cons of where and when in the list of development priorities such a feature would make sense.

#Blogging #Technology #Web #September2019

Literally I only use Goodreads to track what I'm reading, host my highlights, and follow authors. For reasons of cognitive overload, not site design, I stopped having a friends list there ages ago. I don't even get recommendations from Goodreads, because it recommends based upon ratings, not readings, and I don't rate things anywhere because, again, cognitive overload. There's no question, though, as Angela Lashbrook details, that much of Goodreads is abandonware. Off-topic: we still need a decent Goodreads-style app specifically for comic books.

#Books #PopCulture #Technology #Web #September2019