Options Techtonic with Mark Hurst: Playlist from November 11, 2019 Options

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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.

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Options November 11, 2019: Tim Maughan, author, "Infinite Detail"

Listen to this show: MP3 - 128K | Pop-up listen Pop‑up player!

Tonight, journalist and author Tim Maughan talks about his novel Infinite Detail.

Pointers to Tim Maughan's work:

Infinite Detail, by Tim Maughan

Paintwork, short-story collection by Tim Maughan (which he references during the interview)

Tim Maughan's journalism

How Shipping Giant Maersk Dealt With a Malware Meltdown (Wired, July 2017)

The Environmental Toll of a Netflix Binge, by Ingrid Burrington in the Atlantic (Dec 2015): "The data centers that support the Internet use a huge amount of energy."

Review of Infinite Detail (LA Times, Oct 26): "Infinite Detail is a challenge as much as a warning. How can we remake the technological world in the name of ethics and equity?"

Source: AP

Recent tech news:

Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Jamal Khashoggi's murder was 'a mistake' by the Saudi government (Business Insider, Nov 10): "Speaking to 'Axios on HBO,' Khosrowshahi defended his company's ties to the Saudi state, which represents Uber's fifth-largest investor."

The failure of Uber's self-driving car (Nov 10): "According to investigators, Uber's organizational structure wasn't built to catch safety errors, and its software included glaring safety holes. Like that the cars were explicitly programmed not to react to an oncoming crash for the space of 1 second, apparently because the software saw so many 'ghosts' that engineers seemed more worried about hard braking for no reason than because the vehicle was about to hit something. Or that the car wasn’t 'taught' to recognize pedestrians outside of crosswalks. It's ugly stuff."

Interview with Zadie Smith on fighting the algorithm (The Star, Nov 8): "Any young writer who (isn’t) fully dominated by the algorithm is to me, godlike, because it’s so hard to resist. If you are under 30, and you are able to think for yourself right now, God bless you."

- - -

Check out techtonic.fm for recent Techtonic interviews and Little Slice of Tech Pie segments.

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Artist Track Album Label Images Approx. start time
  What would happen if the Internet turned off? Tim Maughan discusses his novel "Infinite Detail," which compares an Internet-free world with today's tech-saturated society.
Tomaš Dvořák  Game Boy Tune   Options Machinarium Soundtrack  No label 
  Mark's intro      
  Interview with Tim Maughan      
0:15:14 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
  Your comments      
0:43:36 (MP3 | Pop‑up)
DRONEGOD$  DRONEGOD$ by Tim Maughan   Options No album  No label    0:54:47 (MP3 | Pop‑up)

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Listener comments!

Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:00pm ultradamno:

Hello Mark! Techstaways!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm listener james from westwood:

Oh, jeez, Olivia just said this show is especially grim ... ::shudder::
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:01pm ultradamno:

Not the usual ray of sunshine?
Avatar 6:01pm herb.nyc:

tuning in at apple store, soho - let me try and have the audio piped into the store...
  6:02pm Dave Miss:

Back to especially Grim!
  6:02pm John from Florham park:

Hello fellow technoids
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm annie:

yes i am!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:03pm chresti:

Hello Mark and Techtoniacs
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:08pm Franco Twinkie:

There will be fist fights over postage stamps if the internet goes flooey.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Hello, Mark and those circling the Techto-drain.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:09pm ultradamno:

Avatar 6:09pm Bas NL:

Hi Mark! All!
  6:10pm JakeGould:

Hey Mark! Thanks for playing that! Whoopsie, I just cut up a journalist with a bonesaw! My bad! WHOOPSIE!!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:12pm ultradamno:

Will self-driving cars soon use facial recognition to determine if a pedestrian is worth braking for?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:13pm Webhamster Henry:

"Who among us can honestly say they've not burned down some great public building? I know I have!"
-- obligatory Python quote
Avatar 6:14pm Fredericks:

It could have been a deer, a toddler, a puppy, a terrorist!
  6:14pm JakeGould:

@UtlraDamno: Nah, they will have self-driving cars identify hot chicks and then the car breaks and boats the “Ooo-la-la…” part of Van Halen’s “Beautiful Girls” and then AirDrops a bikini wax coupon to said woman and drives off.
  6:14pm JakeGould:

Correction: Should read, “…breaks and blasts…”
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm Franco Twinkie:

I started many fires as a carefree youngster and I turned out just fine!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm chresti:

How do we know he's human?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:15pm ultradamno:

It's the kind of rationale you'll hear if you watch the documentaries The Act of Killing/The Look of Silence
Avatar 6:16pm Fredericks:

It was only one journalist, Jake. They're still learning.
  6:17pm JakeGould:

You got break some eggs to make a omelette I get… Pobody’s perfect!!!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm annie:

i get my socks made locally
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:17pm Phillippe Bastille:

Hi all
  6:18pm JakeGould:

  6:18pm Barbie:

Looking down 6th Avenue there are few yellow cabs but a steady stream of black suv Uber cars
So sad
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:19pm Folsom:

If you think an internet outage is bad, watch Connections by James Burke in the 70's about an electricity outage, better hope you know how use a horse and plow, everything else is down.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:19pm ultradamno:

Back to shortwave!
  6:19pm steuben:

so funny - I just listened to the audio book last week and went to recommend it to you on... Twitter!! haha, of course Mark Hurst doesn't have Twitter
Avatar 6:19pm herb.nyc:

was at big tag sale yesterday - I bought a board game and radio. told older man that "when Armageddon comes, I'll be ready". wait, my radio is plug-in. there was a solar powered radio available.
  6:20pm JakeGould:

@steuben: Mark has a tweeter. twitter.com...
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm Mark Hurst:

Hi all, thanks for logging in tonight!
@Steuben, I am on Twitter, at @markhurst
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:20pm Ken From Hyde Park:

(This would be a good spot for a steel drum interlude.)
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:22pm Franco Twinkie:

One thing is certain if the internet goes down, I'll finally read some of these books that have been piling up and collecting dust for the past twenty years.
  6:23pm steuben:

oh lovely, now I can follow :) the search algos obviously didn't want me to find you
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:23pm Franco Twinkie:

I might even fix the turntable and listen to a record.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm ultradamno:

I've always thought it was odd how quickly all our eggs got put in this one basket and how people seemed to scorn the idea that not everything had be done online.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:25pm Webhamster Henry:

When the electricity goes out here, I crank up the VV-IXa and spin some shellac.
  6:26pm kevlicki:

Evening mark and all us paratechnoids
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:26pm Webhamster Henry:

I'm trying to get local businesses to start running tabs instead of using credit cards.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:27pm Ken From Hyde Park:

Assuming it's not below freezing, I'm going camping in the back yard when the internet goes down.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:27pm chresti:

Bite for a five?
  6:30pm kevlicki:

I guess I won’t be refreshing this message boardwhen the internet goes down
Avatar 6:31pm herb.nyc:

let's start downloading the internet, pre-armagedon. I'll do the H websites. plz do the others.
Avatar 6:32pm Fredericks:

A couple years back, after a severe storm, we lost internet access for a day or so. I was playing records and cassettes. Reading a book. It was like Deja Vu all day.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:36pm Folsom:

Microsoft Hololens 2 just went on sale recently, $3500, pretty bulky though
  6:37pm ignatatus666:

Sounds like Halloween part 3
The masks had a chip that controlled the children
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:37pm Folsom:

Apple supposed to be working on augmented reality, supposed to come out with glasses like 2022.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:38pm Webhamster Henry:

A lot of startups twist their business plans to find some way to stuff in advertising.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:39pm Mark Hurst:

@Folsom, you're right, & I'll probably dive into that in a future show. SPEX ARE COMING.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:40pm Mark Hurst:

Josh Fruhlinger on Twitter:
"UBER CRITICS: uber programmed their self-driving car to kill
UBER DEFENDERS: that's a gross oversimplification. software errors are not murder
UBER CEO: our self-driving cars are sort of like that time the saudis dismembered a journalist"
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:41pm Mark Hurst:

@hunterwalk on Twitter:
“We killed a person too” is the strangest dodge.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm Ken From Hyde Park:

On the bright side, Uber and Lyft are dead in their tracks when the internet goes down.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:42pm Mark Hurst:

Mathana on Twitter: **it wasn't a "mistake" - it was criminal negligence & manslaughter**
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:43pm Webhamster Henry:

The answer is simple - pay everyone well (or make everything free) so they don't have to work, and they won't need to exploit other people.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm Webhamster Henry:

I will say this about self driving cars or any AI in general: it learns from its mistakes, unlike people.
Also, if the model is in the cloud, EVERY client of that AI also learns.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:45pm Franco Twinkie:

I can start a fire with two cloths pins, can you?
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:47pm Folsom:

Peter F Hamilton had a sci fi series where everyone was augmented, you had implants in the eyes to avoid glasses, could look up knowledge, sensors that could see your heartrate, etc.
  6:47pm John from Florham park:

Just put iniifinte detail on hold from the library
Avatar 6:48pm Fredericks:

Speaking of eggs, never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket.
  6:51pm P-90:

Important interview. SF authors reliably prove themselves not so much capable as simply willing to consider the potential consequences of all-too possible events and trends.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:53pm annie:

she uses a vintage 1910 weaving machine designed to make socks..
  6:53pm P-90:

The Moral of the Story: “Get to know your local sockmaker”
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm melinda:

I started thinking about the environmental costs of Netflix and Youtube viewing when my cable internet went down and I was relying on a limited mobile hot spot plan. Casual viewing jacked up my bill at at an alarming rate and I realized I was using more juice without realizing it.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:54pm ultradamno:

In The Walking Dead they're using horse-drawn automobiles now that the gas has gone bad, which seems hard on the horses.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:55pm Ken From Hyde Park:

For $X, your company's advertisement will be stored locally and prominently displayed should the internet go down.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:56pm Webhamster Henry:

There's also this Peak Oil Dystopia: en.wikipedia.org...
  6:57pm Dave Miss:

Loved Connections! Great Interview MH.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm Webhamster Henry:

When it all goes down, I can still make some flip books to replace TikTok.
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:58pm coelacanth∅:

Thanks Mark
Avatar Swag For Life Member 6:59pm chresti:

Thanks Mark!
Avatar Swag For Life Member 7:00pm Mark Hurst:

Thanks, everyone!
Avatar 7:01pm Fredericks:

Invest in Socks not stocks!
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