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This was a refreshing read, though disappointing that we let something really interesting get away from us. I particularly liked his comments on science at the end:
- "The populist movements in the United States and Europe rest in part on the fact that the public has lost faith in the scientific process. That’s why people deny global warming, for example. One of my interviewers in Germany said, ‘There are scientists who maintain that it’s a mistake to go public when you’re not yet certain.’ Those scientists think that if we reveal situations of uncertainty, we won’t be believed when we talk about climate change. But the lack of credibility is due precisely to the fact that we show the public only the final product. If a group of scientists closet themselves in a room, and then emerge to deliver a lecture on the result as though to students, people won’t believe them – because they won’t have seen the doubts, they won’t have seen that there weren’t enough data in the earlier stages.
“The right way is to persuade the public that the scientific process is a normal human activity, that it’s no different from what a police detective does or a plumber who comes to fix a drainpipe. Scientists are considered an elite, because they themselves create that ivory tower artificially. They say, ‘The public doesn’t understand, so there’s no need to share with them. We’ll decide among ourselves what’s right, and then we’ll tell the politicians what needs to be done.’ But then the populist politician says, ‘Only the elite say that, they are hiding other things from us.’ Because there’s a leap to the stage of conclusions and policy. The differences of opinion in the scientific community are what lend humanity to the scientific process, and humanity lends credibility."
Crazy world we live in, where the guy who thinks we might just have been visited by aliens is one of the most rational and intelligent voices I've come across lately.
To pick up on a very old thread...
I've been reading David Abram's The Spell of the Sensuous lately. He has a chapter in there about how in oral cultures stories are very closely bound up with particular places, so that it makes no sense to tell a story without saying where it happened. The powers of the place are actively involved in the story. Only in cultures with alphabetical writing, he says (roughly), do we find being treated as a neutral setting (space) for action. I wonder if part of the issue isn't a prejudice against science fiction, but that we naturally need to understand stories in terms of relatable places - that we relate better to the story when the setting is relatable and naturally absorb it more deeply? Presumably most of us don't have much familiarity with spaceships and airlocks.
As someone who builds software for a living, it's interesting to see how this is an issue for AI in exactly the same way it's an issue for software teams. If you just build what you are asked for, it will be the wrong thing. And even if you're careful, you will learn what people actually want only from their disappointed response to you actually building something. This is why we build things in small chunks and get feedback along the way: people are not good at converting their imaginative vision into written, spoken or encoded instructions, and there will always be something silently assumed.
The AIs have it even harder than the human teams though, since we humans are (for the time being) better at predicting common human oversights and reading between the lines of the instructions. Perhaps one day we'll be able to preprocess our instructions through a "figure out what the human probably meant to say" AI.
Absolutely plausible - thanks. It seems there are only 3 music files in use in the marketing business these days: the one you mentioned, the upbeat quirky fun one with the acoustic guitar strumming and claps, and the one that sounds like an endless intro to a lost U2 song circa 1987 that never quite arrives. Honestly, these folks should have gone with number 2. Or Yakkity Sax.
I can't tell whether the video here is supposed to be absurd or whether people who spend their lives developing a burger-flipping robot have lost all sense of absurdity.
You seem to have the wrong link. Maybe you want this:
An alternative would be to charge users for entry to the site. If the charge were set low enough it might work. But I don't know how many people consider social media sites to be enough of an enhancement to their lives to be worth paying for. It's hard enough to get people to pay for music, art, movies, books, etc. Also by charging a fee you'd be skewing the demographic towards wealthier people, which would suck.
Hubski has a better mechanic than reddit: because it's sharers and followers I find it makes me think more about whether other people really need to see what I'm about to share or whether I'm wasting their time. And it's great to be able to remove someone from my feeds without censoring them for others.
Then again, I felt similarly about reddit when I first used it back in 2008 or so. Reddit seemed like such a sensible site where people with expertise discussed serious topics, compared to the fluff on Digg. You would think twice before posting on reddit. Things change, and it's still an open question whether Hubski's more civilized culture would survive a huge influx of users. Especially if that growth put it on the radar of the various propaganda "influence" campaigns.
But one thing Hubski certainly has going for it is the lack of corporate pressure for growth at all costs. This guy hits that nail right on the head.
Sorry you're subject to his fuckery. I hope you find a way to register. It's terrible the way these Republicans are systematically gnawing away at all the supports of democracy, trying to get the whole system to fall permanently to them. There's nothing they won't stoop to. It drives me nuts just observing from outside the USA, but it must be so much worse to be directly on the receiving end. May all you decent Americans win your country back from these crooks, soon.