Buying your fresh fruit and veg at local market is a valuable social connection. When I take my daughters to our local food market on Saturday’s they get to interact with our local community. The market sellers always chat to them. They often count the money (cash) when we pay, and help work out the change. One lady that serves us asks them what they’re doing for the rest of the weekend, and they learn to interact with other adults that aren’t their family or school teachers.
I can get supermarket fruit and veg delivered to my door (probably more cheaply), but this convenience comes at a cost of social value.
There is always a cost to convenience. As a business, the question is where you offset your costs. It’s 2017, and Amazon have just bought Whole Foods Market. What does that really say about our interactions with our local shops and markets?
My question for companies like Amazon is how will they think about the social value of what they sell in the future? Or, how will they think about offsetting the social cost of the speed and convenience they’re prepared to offer? My expectation is that they won’t think about these things at all.
Amazon’s answer appears to be unmanned stores where your every move is tracked, all for the ‘convenience’ of not having to use a checkout.
The real potential of emerging technology should be how it helps us to design for increased social value. I don’t want to live in a world where everything is so seamless and so fast that most moments pass me by.
Amen to that.
The WHO advised that consuming 50g of processed meat a day – equivalent to just a couple of rashers of bacon or one hotdog – would raise the risk of getting bowel cancer by 18% over a lifetime. (Eating larger amounts raises your risk more.) Learning that your own risk of cancer has increased from something like 5% to something like 6% may not be frightening enough to put you off bacon sandwiches for ever. But learning that consumption of processed meat causes an additional 34,000 worldwide cancer deaths a year is much more chilling.
I’ve been thinking about reducing the amount of meat I consume – for many reasons – but wasn’t aware of the health risks associated with the processed variety. Looks like bacon is off the menu.
I haven’t posted a video here for a while, so in an attempt to change that, let me direct your attention to this charming animation by Katy Wang. It’s the music video for Ma Mama, a song by Toto Bona Lokua, a trio of Afro-French musicians.
This is precisely the sort of thing I had hoped Apple Music would recommend to me, but that dream faded a long time ago. I could join Spotify but… reasons. Good job I have Claire’s recommendations to fall back on.
The Doctype Brighton drinks are a regular monthly social meetup for those in the web industry in Brighton & Hove. It doesn’t matter if you’re a developer, designer, project manager or do something entirely different, if you work, play or simply dabble in the web industry then come and have a drink with people that will understand your code jokes and talk to some like-minded folk.
Well, this is handy – the venue is practically at the end of my street!
There are industry observers talking about the need for AIs to have a sense of ethics, and some have proposed that we ensure that any superintelligent AIs we create be “friendly,” meaning that their goals are aligned with human goals. I find these suggestions ironic given that we as a society have failed to teach corporations a sense of ethics, that we did nothing to ensure that Facebook’s and Amazon’s goals were aligned with the public good. But I shouldn’t be surprised; the question of how to create friendly AI is simply more fun to think about than the problem of industry regulation, just as imagining what you’d do during the zombie apocalypse is more fun than thinking about how to mitigate global warming.
The perceived threat posed by superintelligence is an idea that was shot to pieces by Maciej, but this framing – that it’s an insight into the minds of Silicon Valley’s corporations and its leadership – actually makes a lot of sense.
Perhaps we can use it to understand another of its weird obsessions, ‘curing’ death. As noted by Emily Dreyfuss (Silicon Valley Would Rather Cure Death than Make Life worth Living):
The harm here isn’t just that Silicon Valley is trying to solve the wrong problem, which wastes brainpower and resources. The focus on innovating away death sets a cultural tone that directs attention from answers that might actually help, like infrastructure or education.
I tend to agree with Steve Jobs, who said death is the greatest invention of life. Maybe this particular obsession is just a manifestation of what corporations perceive as death: regulation. As the original title of Ted’s article stated – the real danger to civilisation isn’t AI. It’s runaway capitalism.
Facebook started as a way for college students to connect with each other, and has eventually gotten to the point where it’s changing people’s behavior, tracking their usage, and possibly aggregating information for the government.
The problem is that each person, whether he or she uses Facebook or not, is implicated in its system of tracking, relationship tagging, and shadow profiling. But this is particularly true if you are an active Facebook user.
So the most important thing to is to be aware that this is going on and give Facebook as little data as possible.
An alarming – but unsurprising – analysis of the data Facebook collects and who has access to it.
Climb Dance is a famous cinéma vérité short film, which features Finnish rally driver Ari Vatanen setting a record time in a highly modified four-wheel drive, all-wheel steering Peugeot 405 Turbo 16 GR at the 1988 Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in Colorado, USA. The film was produced by Peugeot and directed by Jean Louis Mourey.
I love everything about this film (which I had not seen until Adam Perfect mentioned it on his blog): the cinematography, the score, and of course Vatanen’s daring cliff-edge driving.