02 MAR 2019 by ideonexus

 Star Wars as a Nonsensical Failed State

Most technologies in the Star Wars universe that don’t have some capability of being used in war… well, they kinda just suck. There are so many areas where it seems like average Star Wars tech should outdo itself given how advanced the military-grade technology is, but in practice it doesn’t appear to make much difference at all. Repair droids who aren’t astromechs—like the pit droid crews used in podracing—have nowhere near the sophistication of their battle-ready cousins. Commu...
Folksonomies: critical theory
Folksonomies: critical theory
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31 OCT 2018 by ideonexus

 Bumper Sticker Computer Science

A few of my favorites, not found in the linked article: "There are two ways of constructing software. One way is to make it so simple that there are obviously no deficiencies. The other is to make it so complex that there are no obvious deficiencies." C.A.R. Hoare "The purpose of software engineering is to control complexity, not to create it." Dr. Pamela Zave "The most important single aspect of software development is to be clear about what you are trying to build." Bjarne Stroustrup "T...
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31 OCT 2018 by ideonexus

 Homo Laborans and Homo Faber

Homo Laborans sails in the sea of “making things” where work is an end in itself, and is dictated by the needs imposed by technology. Subjected to technology or pleasantly attracted by it, we are ‘Animal laborans’, as Arendt would say, being enslaved to the tasks we are immersed in by the will of technology. Our doing is comparable to the manual work of past industrial revolutions. Think, for example, of the smartest machines, which can alert their human handlers when they will need m...
Folksonomies: two cultures
Folksonomies: two cultures
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 Shannon's Learning Mouse Theseus

Theseus was propelled by a pair of magnets, one embedded in its hollow core, and one moving freely beneath the maze. The mouse would begin its course, bump into a wall, sense that it had hit an obstacle with its “whiskers,” activate the right relay to attempt a new path, and then repeat the process until it hit its goal, a metallic piece of cheese. The relays stored the directions of the right path in “memory”: once the mouse had successfully navigated the maze by trial and error, it ...
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 How the Internet's Consensus of Information Undermines Au...

Heretofore, the technological advance that most altered the course of modern history was the invention of the printing press in the 15th century, which allowed the search for empirical knowledge to supplant liturgical doctrine, and the Age of Reason to gradually supersede the Age of Religion. Individual insight and scientific knowledge replaced faith as the principal criterion of human consciousness. Information was stored and systematized in expanding libraries. The Age of Reason originated ...
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 The Myth of the Solitary Villain

The more sophisticated and powerful a technology, the more people are needed to weaponize it. And the more people needed to weaponize it, the more societal controls work to defuse, or soften, or prevent harm from happening. I add one additional thought. Even if you had a budget to hire a team of scientists whose job it was to develop a species-extinguishing bio weapon, or to take down the internet to zero, you probably still couldn’t do it. That’s because hundreds of thousands of man-year...
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27 JUL 2018 by ideonexus

 The Information Age has Increased Abstract Intelligence

Most dramatically, an increase in one kind of abstract intelligence is visible all over the world: mastery of digital technology. Cyberspace is the ultimate abstract realm, in which goals are achieved not by pushing matter around in space but by manipulating intangible symbols and patterns. When people were first confronted with digital interfaces in the 1970s, like videocassette recorders and ticket machines in new subway systems, they were baffled. It was a running joke of the 1980s that mo...
Folksonomies: intelligence iq
Folksonomies: intelligence iq
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16 APR 2018 by ideonexus

 Pianos Make Music Accessible Like Computers Make Math Acc...

Though it has become a naturalized part of music-making since the first one was built in 1710, the pianoforte (its name means "soft-loud") was a technical marvel for its time, a machine that changed music in ways that are hard to imagine. Computer pioneer Alan Kay once observed that any technological advance is "technology only for people who are born before it was invented,' and in the case of the piano, this applies to no one alive today. Seymour Papert, the MIT researcher, concluded, "That...
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