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Conversations with creators and thinkers who are charting the way forward in a tech-saturated society. Tech, community, video games, and whatever else is next.
Today: James Bridle, author, "Ways of Being:
Animals, Plants, Machines: The Search for a Planetary Intelligence"
• Ways of Being Animals, Plants, Machines: The Search for a Planetary Intelligence, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
• James Bridle on August 13, 2018 Techtonic speaking about "New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future."
In the news
• A.I. Is Not Sentient. Why Do People Say It Is? (Cade Metz in the NYT, Aug 5, 2022): “Robots can’t think or feel, despite what the researchers who build them want to believe. ... Alison Gopnik, a professor of psychology who is part of the A.I. research group at the University of California, Berkeley, [said]: ‘The computational capacities of current A.I. like the large language models,’ she said, ‘don’t make it any more likely that they are sentient than that rocks or other machines are.’”
“The problem is that the people closest to the technology — the people explaining it to the public — live with one foot in the future. They sometimes see what they believe will happen as much as they see what is happening now.”
• Amazon bought iRobot to see inside your home (The Verge, Aug 5, 2022): “Amazon has bought iRobot for $1.7 billion. ... it seems clear Amazon wants iRobot for the maps it generates to give it that deep understanding of our homes. The vacuum company has detailed knowledge of our floor plans and, crucially, how they change. It knows where your kitchen is, which your kids’ rooms are, where your sofa is (and how new it is), and if you recently turned the guest room into a nursery. This type of data is digital gold to a company whose primary purpose is to sell you more stuff.”
“Amazon’s history of sharing data with police departments through its subsidiary Ring, combined with its ‘always listening (for the wake word)’ Echo smart speakers and now its thorough knowledge of your floor plan, give it a pretty complete picture of your daily life.”
• Bezos Didn't Even Need to Dismantle Bridge to Move Yacht (Jalopnik, Aug 5, 2022)
• I Didn’t Want It to Be True, but the Medium Really Is the Message: excellent essay by Ezra Klein in the NYT (Aug 7, 2022): “the line of Postman’s that holds me is his challenge to the critics who spent their time urging television to be better, rather than asking what television was: ‘The trouble with such people is that they do not take television seriously enough.’ I have come to think the same of today’s technologists: Their problem is that they do not take technology seriously enough. They refuse to see how it is changing us or even how it is changing them.”
• Just how often does NJ use babies' blood to ID criminal suspects? (Gothamist, Aug 3, 2022)
• Facebook Approved Pro-Genocide Ads in Kenya After Claiming to Foster 'Safe and Secure' Elections (Gizmodo, July 29, 2022)
• On the topic of last week's show, about the failure of the Big Tech antitrust effort in Congress, the New York Times published this: Clock Running Out on Antitrust Bill Targeting Big Tech (Aug 5, 2022)
• Double Dip Recess (Aug 6, 2022), guest-hosted by Mark Hurst: Stream it here, or see the playlist.
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|Artist||Track||Images||Approx. start time|
|James Bridle, author, "Ways of Being: Animals, Plants, Machines: The Search for a Planetary Intelligence"|
|Tomaš Dvořák||Game Boy Tune|
|Interview with James Bridle||0:02:56 (MP3 | Pop-up)|
|Mark's comments||0:40:35 (MP3 | Pop-up)|
|Moondog||Enough About Human Rights||0:53:48 (MP3 | Pop-up)|