Tech

Tech Buys Into Tune Out

It’s the “attention economy” someone somewhere told us. Silicon Valley sure got the message. But more and more the major technology mavericks-turned-behemoths are buying into and growing the “distraction economy”. Google is the latest. On Tuesday this week the company that once preached “Don’t be evil” embraced “Just chill” when it revealed its gaming platform…

Did We Stop Dreaming Big in the 1970s?

An audiophile and a cinephile could surely make the case that some of the best music and movies came from the 1970s. No need to get started on the lists. But the decade is rarely considered an acme of innovation. For good reason. It wasn’t. And yet, the anniversary of the Voyager I and Voyager II…

Repurposing Teachers

The idea that technology = progress continues to catch hold. Another recent example comes from Tyler Cowen, who suggests that the time is right to replace teachers with robots. Why robots and not an Echo or an app, he doesn’t say. He has a few flimsy reasons why we owe ourselves and our children such…

Google Teaches AI to Edit Images for Other AI to Enjoy

Another AI breakthrough from Google. According to The Next Web, Google’s “Machine Perception researchers have trained a deep-learning system to identify objectively fine landscape panorama photos from Google Street View, and then artistically crop and edit them like a human photographer would.” Every human with a smartphone already has too many photos not worth looking…

The Climate Engineering Wimp Out

There must be a term for it, for accepting a solution to a problem you deny exists. Ah yes, today it is climate engineering, another cop-out solution to the climate destruction produced by humans. Greed and laziness have put scales over our eyes. Even as humans gobble up the oceans, poison the air, suck rivers and…

Fake Is about to Get a Whole New Meaning

Fake news, so much in the news, is a matter of semantics, ideology, deceit, power, money, and, increasingly, technology. Tech has a role creating, disseminating, sharing, detecting, exposing, debunking, and correcting fake news. And not surprisingly the technology is getting more sophisticated. Probably most people whose technology is used to create fake news didn’t get…

Pretty But… Deadly?

We’re nearly at the 17th anniversary of Bill Joy’s warning that “the future doesn’t need us.” On April 1st, 2000, the co-founder of Sun Microsystems warned us that if we remained on our then-current innovation path, moving forever forward but seemingly without a driver, our technology could endanger our existence. The warnings since haven’t ceased, and…

This Isn’t How Social Media Was Supposed to Be

According to Bloomberg, Social Media Are Driving Americans Insane.  Before we dig into this, the headline deserves an aside. Because does author Deena Shanker mean that Americans are in the process of going insane, thereby implying that they weren’t already? Or — keeping in mind who millions of Americans recently voted for — does she take…

Tech Rules Us – Will It Ruin Us?

We love our gadgets, apps, and Internet. We use them, they rule us. This isn’t an alternative fact, and your skepticism won’t save you. Director James Cameron, discussing the relevance of The Terminator stories, in which technology evolves to the point of logically concluding humans must die, said recently: “if Terminator was about the war between the…

Facebook Readying Tech to Bring out the Worst(est) in You

Facebook just might be laying the groundwork for mind-reading technology that would let you order from Amazon, search the Web, and play video games just by thinking ‘it’. Forget for a moment the hurdles the company has to overcome for this to work. Why does the vision of this future resemble a nightmare? Think viruses and ransomware…