Science, pop culture & comedy collide on StarTalk w/ astrophysicist & Hayden Planetarium director Neil deGrasse Tyson, comic co-hosts, celebrities & scientists.
Tagged with “culture” (93)
"Those who donât remember history are doomed to repeat it. Those who can’t imagine the future are doomed to fuck it up."
Jaron Lanier is a technology inventor and philosopher who has been dubbed the prophet of the digital age. He coined the phrases ‘Virtual Reality’ and ‘digital Maoism’. His last book, You Are Not A Gadget, was a hugely influential and hotly debated critique of the ‘hive mind’. Here he talks about his new book, Who Owns the Future?, with artist and writer James Bridle.
Digital technologies dawned with the promise that they would bring us all greater economic stability and power. That utopian image has stuck. But, Lanier argues, the efficiencies brought by digi-techs are having the effect of concentrating wealth while reducing overall growth. He predicts that, as more industries are transformed by digital technologies, huge waves of permanent unemployment are likely to follow those already sweeping through many creative industries.
But digital hubs are designed on the principle that people don’t get paid for sharing. Every time we apply for a loan, update Facebook, use our credit cards, post pictures on Instagram or search on Google, we work for free says Lanier. He argues that artificial intelligence over a network can be understood as a massive accounting fraud that ruins markets. Past technological revolutions rewarded people with new wealth and capabilities. He will explain why, without that reward, the middle classes - who form the basis of democracy as he sees it - are threatened, placing the future of human dignity itself at risk.
Lanier discusses his analysis of the deep links between democracy and capitalism, and shares his thoughts for how humanity can find a new vision for the future.
This event was part of The School of Life’s ‘In Conversation’ series and took place at Conway Hall on 6th March 2013.
Audio rip, original here under CC by-nc: http://vimeo.com/61418990
How Cooking Can Change Your Life 30th May 2013;
Cooking involves us in a dense web of social and ecological relationships: with plants and animals, the soil, farmers, our history and culture, and, of course, the people our cooking nourishes and delights. Cooking, above all, connects us.
And yet many people now spend a lot more time watching other people cook on TV than doing it themselves. And the outsourcing of this work to corporations has had disastrous effects on our health, our family life, and even on our agriculture.
Renowned journalist, activist and author Michael Pollan presents a compelling case that cooking is one of the simplest and most important steps people can take to improve their family’s health and well-being, build communities, help fix our broken food system, and break our growing dependence on corporations. Approached in the proper spirit, Pollan suggests, cooking becomes a political act.
Speaker: Michael Pollan is a food activist, and the author of Second Nature, A Place of My Own, The Botany of Desire, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defence of Food and Food Rules.
Chair: Tim Lang, professor of Food Policy at City University London.
Blogger Anil Dash says we tend to trumpet the tech revolution, with its vast social networks and slick smartphones, as a triumph of usability and empowerment. But Dash says a spirit of collaboration and emphasis on the user experience has been lost along the way.
He wrote about this shift on his blog in a post called The Web We Lost.
“There is an ignorance or a lack of history to the way that a lot of people that build the social networks, especially the young engineers, think about this because they weren’t around to see it any other way,” Dash told Manoush Zomorodi, host of WNYC’s New Tech City.
Dash cites as example Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram. “The first thing that happened as soon as Facebook bought Instragram was they shut off the ability for you to import your friends and find your friends through Twitter because Facebook and Twitter are enemies now.”
Dash says that may be good for Facebook’s shareholders, but it’s not good for users who want to Tweet photos to their friends. He adds that the walling off of content wouldn’t have happened in the earlier days of the Internet.
“There used to be a time when you put the goals and desires of the user ahead of the corporate infighting and battles,” he said.
Dash believes technology’s new vanguard should take a look at the philosophies that drove their forbearers.
“There are cycles to this stuff,” he said. “The pendulum swings back and forth.”
RSA Keynote 7th Feb 2013; 18:00 (full recording including audience Q&A)
Technologist and writer Ben Hammersley explores the role of the internet and digital technologies in today’s workplace.
As social media, mobile devices, constant communication, online sharing, and open collaboration become the norms in the rest of our lives, the traditional workplace is failing to adapt.
How do our traditional workplace models conflict with our new internet-driven expectations of how we might live and work to our full potential, and how might companies and organisations learn to adapt in the 21st century?
Speaker: Ben Hammersley, Prime Minister’s Ambassador to TechCity, contributing editor, Wired UK, innovator in residence, Goldsmiths, University of London and author of ‘64 Things You Need to Know Now for Then’.
Chair: Matthew Taylor, chief executive, RSA.
A History of the World in Maps - Late Night Live - ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
Throughout history, maps have always been as much about their creators and their worldviews as about reproducing an accurate replica of the world. Early maps were also about the unknown and how to display the borders of the known world. Monsters in illustration were often used to represent what lay beyond the edge of the world, and cartographers competed to create the best and scariest monsters on their creations.
Professor and BBC documentary presenter Jeremy Brotton has produced a study of the cultural values embodied in maps and collected them in a book called A History of the World in Twelve Maps.
These days, many teenagers live half their lives on social media sites, and they’re writing the rules as they go. One online trend 16-year-old Radio Rookie Temitayo Fagbenle finds disturbing is something she calls "slut-shaming," or using photos and videos to turn a girl’s private life inside out.
There are countless websites, Facebook pages and Twitter handles that are created to shame girls online, many are literally called "exposing hos." When Temitayo logs in to Facebook her newsfeed is often inundated with sexually explicit photos and videos of other teenage girls that are posted, commented on, and shared countless times by her peers. Once these images make it online the repercussions can haunt a girl far beyond the schoolyard.
"Once it gets to a social media network it’s over for her life," one of Temitayo’s classmates said. She gathered a group of girls from her school to talk about why so many teenagers, especially girls, harass each other online. "Girls do it to themselves," another girl explained, "half the time we can’t even blame guys."
But another student pointed out that a lot of girls don’t even know they’re being recorded. She said, "it’s not fair that a guy can actually hide his phone, have sex with you and record you, and then show it to his friends, like, ‘Yo, look, look, look!’"
That nightmare scenario was a reality for another one of Temitayo’s classmates. When the young girl was only 14, her boyfriend filmed a sexually explicit video of her without her knowledge and then posted it on Facebook and other social media sites. "He was going around holding his head high saying, “’Oh well, I was able to do this with her.’ He gave me a bad name," the girl said.
Schools have had to take on a new role in the age of social media.
Some students screenshot the cyberbullying they see online, print it out and bring it to their teachers as evidence. Erica Doyle, the Assistant Principal at Temitayo’s school said, "Once we’re dealing with digital media that is sexually explicit that has been captured and shared with the public, that actually now is a criminal matter."
One of Temitayo’s male friends was arrested in the 8th grade for emailing a topless picture of his girlfriend to hundreds of students at their middle school. Temitayo asked him if he did it out of malice, but he brushed the question off and said he just thought it would be cool. "I regret doing it to her but still, I didn’t have to go to jail. Porn websites do it everyday."
“Nothing can be more gentle than man in his primitive state,” declared Rousseau in the 18th century. A century earlier, Thomas Hobbes wrote, “In the state of nature the life of man is solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” The evidence shows that Rousseau was wrong and Hobbes was right, said Pinker. Forensic archaeology (“CSI Paleolithic”) reveals that 15 percent of prehistoric skeletons show signs of violent trauma. Ethnographic vital statistics of surviving non-state societies and pockets of anarchy show, on average, 524 war deaths per 100,000 people per year.
Germany in the 20th century, wracked by two world wars, had 144 war deaths per 100,000 per year. Russia had 135. Japan had 27. The US in the 20th century had 5.7. In this 21st century the whole world has a war death rate of 0.3 per 100,000 people per year. In primitive societies 15 percent of people died violently; now 0.03 percent do. Violence is 1/500th of what it used to be.
The change came by stages, each with a different dynamic. Pinker identified: 1) The Pacification Process brought about by the rise and expansion of states, which monopolized violence to keep their citizens from killing each other. 2) The Humanizing Process. States consolidated, enforcing “the king’s justice.” With improving infrastructure, commerce grew, and the zero-sum game of plunder was replaced by the positive-sum game of trade. 3) The Humanitarian Revolution. Following ideas of The Enlightenment, the expansion of literacy, and growing cosmopolitanism, reason guided people to reject slavery, reduce capital crimes toward zero, and challenge superstitious demonizing of witches, Jews, etc. Voltaire wrote: “Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.”
4) The Long Peace. Since 1945 there has been zero use of nuclear weapons, zero combat between the Cold War superpowers, just one war between great powers (US and China in Korea, ending 1953), zero wars in western Europe (there used to be two new wars a year there, for 600 years), and zero wars between developed countries or expansion of their borders by conquest. 5) The New Peace is the spreading of the Long Peace to the rest of the world, largely through the decline of ideology, and the spread of democracy, trade, and international organizations such as the UN. Colonial wars ended; civil wars did flare up. 6) The Rights Revolution, increasingly powerful worldwide, insists on protection from injustice for blacks, women, children, gays, and animals. Even domestic violence is down.
Such a powerful long-term trend is the result of human ingenuity bearing down on the problem of violence the same way it has on hunger and plague. Something psychologists call the “circle of empathy” has expanded steadily from family to village to clan to tribe to nation to other races to other species. In addition, “humanitarian reforms are often preceded by new technologies for spreading ideas.” It is sometimes fashionable to despise modernity. A more appropriate response is gratitude.
In the Q & A, one questioner noted that violence is clearly down, but fear of violence is still way up. Social psychologist Pinker observed that we base our fears irrationally on anecdotes instead of statistics—-one terrorist attack here, one child abduction there. In a world of 7 billion what is the actual risk for any individual? It is approaching zero. That trend is so solid we can count on it and take it further still.
Aleks Krotoski looks at how story telling has changed in the digital age and whether it is has more in common with how we told tales in the past than we might think.
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