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How to Make Friends

8 Comments and 19 Shares
No, wait, come back! I want to be friends at you!
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adamgurri
6 days ago
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New York, NY
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8 public comments
daanzu_alt_text_bot
59 minutes ago
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No, wait, come back! I want to be friends at you!
tante
3 days ago
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It me.
Oldenburg/Germany
smallfrogge
5 days ago
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Oh dear lord yes
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
sdevore
5 days ago
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And again too real
Tucson, AZ
Covarr
6 days ago
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I thought it was as simple as indiscriminately clicking "Add friend" on thousands of Facebook accounts. Surely with that wide a pool of potential friends, at least SOME of them will accept a friend request from a complete stranger without a second thought.

Boom. Friendship.
Moses Lake, WA
taddevries
6 days ago
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Sometimes XK cuts too the bone.
lrwrp
6 days ago
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Too real man, too real :(
??, NC
alt_text_bot
6 days ago
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No, wait, come back! I want to be friends at you!

Dark Euphoria in the 2010s

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Bruce Sterling has a knack for coining/adopting rich phrases to describe cultural sensibilities. I watched some of his recent (2017) talks, and I wanted to record some notes on them to share. I figured a good place to start would be on his earlier talks on the current cultural moment. Bruce Sterling’s talks on “Dark more »

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Copyright © fogbanking [Dark Euphoria in the 2010s], All Right Reserved. 2017.
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adamgurri
6 days ago
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New York, NY
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Might tech super-firms mean the Great Stagnation is over?

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I am now giving this a chance of somewhat over 50 (!) percent, and that is the topic of my latest Bloomberg column.  Here is one bit:

Gross domestic product growth for the last two quarters was over 3 percent, even in light of hurricane damage in August and September, and middle-class income growth has resumed. You might think that would mean high price inflation from credit growth and “overheating,” but the 12-month change in core prices for personal consumption expenditures has fallen to 1.3 percent.

And:

Low rates of inflation, however, reflect productivity gains that already are here. The tech giants — Google, Amazon.com Inc., Facebook Inc. and Apple Inc. — have become major managers of our information, our businesses and our lives. They’re meeting political resistance, but whatever you think of those complaints, they are signs the major tech companies are having transformative effects. I used to say that we are overrating what tech has done for us to date, and underrating what it will do in the future. Perhaps reality has caught up with that prognostication.

And:

The major tech companies are growing their platforms quickly, supporting low prices with scale, product diversity, data ownership and superior service. Hardly anyone today worries about the eventual disappearance of competition and monopoly prices from Amazon or the other major tech companies. Do you really think Amazon is going to double book prices five years from now?…The tech companies have shown that their radical model of low price, high market share, high quality rapid expansion will keep them profitable for a long time to come.

Big if true, as they say…do read the whole thing.  The still-remaining negative possibility, of course, is that the current positive wave is like 1995-1998, and we will sink back to less positive economic times, as we did back then.

The post Might tech super-firms mean the Great Stagnation is over? appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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adamgurri
13 days ago
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New York, NY
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Reality vs. Kurzweil’s expectations

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One way to track scientific and technological progress is to compare outcomes to predictions that were made by futurists. So I pulled out my copy of Ray Kurzweil’s The Age of Spiritual Machines, written 20 years ago, which has predictions for 2009 and every decade thereafter. Are there predictions that he made for 2019 that came true sooner? Are there predictions that he made for 2009 that came true much later?

I will get into some specifics below, but some general points that occur to me from re-examining these predictions are the following.

1. Relative to his predictions, I can think of few “upsides” (something that appeared sooner or turned out better than predicted) and many “downsides.” Most of his predictions for 2009 have come to pass only in the past few years, and some are still remote. But to offer a more positive take, the fact that most of his milestones for 2009 have been hit as of 2017 is probably a better outcome than most other prognosticators would have been willing to bet on in 1999.

Roughly 50 percent of his predictions for 2019 now appear likely to be realized between 2025 and 2030, and the remaining 50 percent ought to be pushed back even farther.

2. I sense that a lot of progress that he expected has been held back by ergonomic issues. For example, language translation software may be effective, but people find ear buds and microphones to be uncomfortable. Similarly, augmented reality has been held back by the poor ergonomics of what goes over your eyes and ears. Collaboration across distance is not nearly as effortless as Kurzweil anticipated, even though software firms have put a lot of resources into “collaboration tools.”

Maybe more venture capital resources ought to be focused on finding breakthroughs in ergonomics.

3. Progress also has been slow in developing applications that react to the emotional state of human users. This is particularly important if computers are going to contribute outstanding value in education.

4. There is considerable cultural drag. Kurzweil predicted that by 2019 there would be parts of the road system dedicated exclusively to self-driving cars. One can argue that the technology is here to do that, but the culture is not ready to accept the idea.

I think that this cultural drag is becoming increasingly important. William Gibson’s saying that “The future is already here. It’s just not very evenly distributed” is even more apt than when he said it.

For 2009, Kurzweil predicted that we would have “at least a dozen computers on and around our bodies.” This seems wrong, but if you look at the functions that he expected these computers to perform, they are embedded in smart phones. Some of these capabilities matured after 2009, though, so I think Kurzweil was somewhat optimistic.

Also for 2009, he wrote,

The majority of text is created using continuous speech recognition (CSR) dictation software. . .

That prospect seems remote as I write this in 2017, so I have to count that as a really big miss. The software for speech recognition on my phone works quite well, but the ergonomics for, say, blogging, using speech recognition are not there.

Kurzweil saw distance learning becoming commonplace by 2009. I think that distance learning started to take off a few years after that, and even now it is not comfortable for most teachers and students.

Kurzweil foresaw translating telephone technology by 2009, but it only now seems to be emerging. He foresaw telemedicine in wide use in 2009, but in fact it is just starting to penetrate the health care industry.

About the only “upside” I can come up with is the Kindle reader, which appeared in 2007 and resembles something he predicted for 2009.

For 2019, Kurzweil predicted virtual reality glasses being in “routine” use. That does not look like it will happen.

For 2019, he thought that virtual teachers would have replaced real teachers. Maybe if you count YouTube videos as virtual teachers, but otherwise I think that this has not happened.

For 2019,

You can do virtually anything with anyone regardless of physical proximity. The technology to accomplish this is easy to use and ever present.

Nope.

“Phone” calls routinely include high-resolution three-dimensional images projected through the direct-eye displays and auditory lenses. . .users feel as if they are physically near the other person.

Relative to where we were when Kurzweil wrote this, FaceTime and Google Hangouts have taken us part of the way toward his vision, but we do not seem close to getting all the way there.

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adamgurri
13 days ago
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New York, NY
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Spinosis Ventrem

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Please consider becoming a patron An excerpt: Carla sniffed the spray as the breeze brought it from gentle breakers, tickling her nose with a curl of her own hair, which, on occasion, she caught in her teeth, playing with her hair even as the toddler played with the sea. The sand beneath the towel was […]





Download audio: http://johndaviddukejr.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/spinosis-ventrem.mp3
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adamgurri
13 days ago
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New York, NY
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Andre Staltz on the new tech business environment

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I promised a post on this piece. Here goes. He writes,

GOOG’s goal is to gather as much rich data as possible, and build AI. Their mission is to have an AI provide timely and personalized information to us, not specifically to have websites provide information. Any GOOG concerted efforts are aligned to the AI mission.

Try a search for mortgage calculator. Once you scroll past the ads, what you get is. . .a mortgage calculator! It used to be that all you got were links to web sites. The new approach is very convenient if you want to figure out a monthly payment, but not so nice for all those web sites that put up mortgage calculators to try to attract visitors.

This suggests that Google has reached the cannibalization phase of the O’Reilly cycle. Staltz seems to think that it has. But if Google eats all of the revenue without sending you to anyone’s web site, then I presume people will stop putting up web sites. And in that case Google is going to have less new data to mine to produce answers to queries.

He speculates,

There would be no more economical incentive for smaller businesses to have independent websites, and a gradual migration towards Facebook Pages would make more sense.

Later,

There is a tendency at GOOG-FB-AMZN to bypass the Web which is motivated by user experience and efficient communication, not by an agenda to avoid browsers. In the knowledge internet and the commerce internet, being efficient to provide what users want is the goal. In the social internet, the goal is to provide an efficient channel for communication between people. … Already today, most people on the internet communicate with other people via a mobile app, not via a browser.

Some random thoughts:

1. For me, it’s starting to sink in that this is not 1997 any more. Smart phones are more closed and proprietary than was the Web. At this point, artificial intelligence and machine learning seem to be mainframe-like, favoring established giants, rather than PC-like or Web-like, favoring upstarts.

2. Google, Amazon, and Facebook may already have entered the cannibalization phase.

3. Content creators have always whined that they deserve more income. But the idea that “content is king” was baloney sandwich from the get-go. I can remember almost twenty years ago hearing Ted Leonsis (AOL) say that “convenience is king.” And now Staltz is telling us that the Web is just not convenient enough to cut it these days. Facebook is going to help us connect over mobile devices. Google is going to give us information directly. Amazon is going to enable us to order stuff without using a personal computer.

4. My counter to Staltz’s dystopian forecast is to suggest that effervescence is king. Effervescence in tech means that lots of talented people are working on stuff. Personal computers were effervescent in the 1980s. The Web was effervescent in the 1990s and early 2000s. The smart phone became effervescent when Apple encouraged app development. Cannibalization and walled-garden strategies kill off effervescence, and when you kill off effervescence, that leaves talented, driven people with a need to find an outlet. At some point, they will succeed, and then today’s giants will be cut down to size.

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adamgurri
13 days ago
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New York, NY
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