Tagged with “technology” (383)

  1. 332: Design for the good, the bad and everything in between - Home | Spark with Nora Young | CBC Radio

    A Spark special look at how design can have an impact on our daily, messy lives.

    Designing tech for happiness and for stress. How to design your life. And, designing solutions for storing books.


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  2. Margaret Atwood Takes a Phone Call From Paul

    Margaret Atwood talks to Paul Holdengraber and it is wonderful.

    Original video: https://soundcloud.com/lithub/margaret-atwood-takes-a-phone-call-from-paul
    Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/ on Fri, 21 Oct 2016 09:31:23 GMT Available for 30 days after download

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  3. Secret Histories of Podcasting | Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything

    It turns out there are (at least) three ways to tell the secret history of podcasting: it is a story about technology, it is a story about a business model for audio, and it is also a story about the birth of a new art form. What’s really cool is that the whole thing is sort of a Rashomon narrative – in this special edition to mark the radiotopiaforever campaign your host attempts to tell all three versions using the same people.


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  4. Enchanting By Numbers (2015 version) | Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything

    We take another look at algorithms. Tim Hwang explains how Uber’s algorithms generate phantom cars and marketplace mirages. And we revisit our conversation with Christian Sandvig who, last year asked Facebook users to explain how they imagine the Edgerank algorithm works (this is the algorithm that powers Facebook’s news feed). Sandvig discovered that most of his subjects had no idea there even was an algorithm at work. Plus  James Essinger and Suw Charman-Anderson, tell us about Ada Lovelace, the woman who wrote the first computer program (or as James puts it – Algorithm)  in 1843.


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  5. Kevin Kelly on Tech: the Unabomber was Right; the Amish, too. - Open Source with Christopher Lydon

    In considering how to address the issue of theology, specifically the “third grade god,” it occurred to me to share an excerpt from William of Rubruck’s account of a religious debate he participated in between Christians, Muslims (referred to in this translation as “Saracens”), and Buddhists (referred to as “Tuins”) held in the court of Mongke Khan (referred to as “Mangu Chan”), brother and predecessor of Kublai Khan:

    So I said to the Tuin: “We believe firmly in our hearts and we confess with our mouths that God is, and that there is only one God, one in perfect unity. What do you believe?” He said : “Fools say that there is only one God, but the wise say that there are many. Are there not great lords in your country, and is not this Mangu Chan a greater lord? So it is of them, for they are different in different regions.”

    I said to him: “You choose a poor example, in which there is no comparison between man and God; according to that, every mighty man can call himself god in his own country.” And as I was about to destroy the comparison, he interrupted me, asking: “Of what nature is your God, of whom you say that there is none other?” I replied: “Our God, besides whom there is none other, is omnipotent, and therefore requires the aid of none other, while all of us require His aid. It is not thus with man. No man can do everything, and so there must be several lords in the world, for no one can do all things. So likewise He knows all things, and therefore requires no councilor, for all wisdom comes of Him. Likewise, He is the supreme good, and wants not of our goods. But we live, move, and are in Him. Such is our God, and one must not consider Him otherwise.”

    “It is not so,” he replied. “Though there is one (God) in the sky who is above all others, and of whose origin we are still ignorant, there are ten others under him, and under these latter is another lower one. On the earth they are in infinite number.” And as he wanted to spin (texere) some other yarns, I asked him of this highest god, whether he believed he was omnipotent, or whether (he believed this) of some other god. Fearing to answer, he asked: “If your God is as you say, why does he make the half of things evil?” “That is not true,” I said. ” He who makes evil is not God. All things that are, are good.”

    At this all the Tuins were astonished, and they wrote it down as false or impossible. Then he asked: “Whence then comes evil?” “You put your question badly,” I said. “You should in the first place inquire what is evil, before you ask whence it comes. But let us go back to the first question, whether you believe that any god is omnipotent; after that I will answer all you may wish to ask me.”

    He sat for a long time without replying, so that it became necessary for the secretaries who were listening on the part of the Chan to tell him to reply. Finally he answered that no god was omnipotent. With that the Saracens burst out into a loud laugh. When silence was restored, I said: “Then no one of your gods can save you from every peril, for occasions may arise in which he has no power. Furthermore, no one can serve two masters: how can you serve so many gods in heaven and earth?” The audience told him to answer, but he remained speechless. And as I wanted to explain the unity of the divine essence and the Trinity to the whole audience, the Nestorians of the country said to me that it sufficed, for they wanted to talk. I gave in to them, but when they wanted to argue with the Saracens, they [the Saracens] answered them: “We concede your religion is true, and that everything is true that is in the Gospel: so we do not want to argue any point with you.” And they confessed that in all their prayers they besought God to grant them to die as Christians die.

    There was present there an old priest of the Iugurs, who say there is one god, though they make idols; they (i.e., the Nestorians) spoke at great length with him, telling him of all things down to the coming of the Antichrist into the world [J: the coming of Christ in judgement], and by comparisons demonstrating the Trinity to him and the Saracens. They all listened without making any contradiction, but no one said: “I believe; I want to become a Christian.” When this was over, the Nestorians as well as the Saracens sang with a loud voice; while the Tuins kept silence, and after that they all [J: everyone] drank deeply.

    I hope my saying this isn’t too mean or too presumptive, I have not read the man’s book, but as presented in the show, many of Mr. Kelly’s ideas should have the limits of their use stated clearly, or else the conclusions reached begin sounding silly.

    I hope I don’t in turn sound too silly explaining myself, although I know my opening sentence will sound very new age: The universe can be understood to be a seamless whole, from beginning to end, in every dimension including time. I am not saying reality is in some abstract way uniform, all I intend to say is one can see that seeing something as a distinct, whether it be what would be understood of as an object or a concept, could be seen as ‘dividing’ it from the rest of reality. (I use the word “can” and “could” with intention, not doubt.)

    A different way of illustrating the same idea is to use the concept of grouping basic units. Category is just division from a different perspective, and I use the words interchangeably. The reason I tend use the explanation I use, even though this bottom-up approach seems more intuitive to the people I talk to is because there is a limit on how inclusive a category can be, but one can always further divide. Greek atomists contended that atoms were indivisible, their critics answered you could divide into left and right. Atomists responded by claiming atoms were dimensionless, their critics questioned how something with dimensions could be made of something without.

    The divisions we make are usually based on their usefulness. We do not have a word for the left half of a potato plus whatever is an inch above it* because, honestly, when would we would ever have the opportunity to use it? But it’s, and here is where I connect this back to the original topic, is important to recognize that that is all that is happening, it’s important not to attribute more qualities to concepts than they actually have. And my feeling is this is what is being done.

    We can refer to a more abstract continuum of organic life, information, and artificial material technology as technology or the technium, we can refer to the contents of our genetic code as information, it can at times be useful to do so. But if what is being said is “this is what technology is,” “this is what information is,” as if there is a correct scope to one’s category, then there is a misunderstanding of the relationship between signifier and signified; no category is necessary, only useful. The technium isn’t a whole so much as it has been made a whole (this is true of every concept, it isn’t a slight against Mr. Kelly).

    I do think there is use in the idea that technologies have bias, both specific technologies and a larger conception of technology no matter the scope of the definition of that conception, but is it right to call it inherent in the technology itself, instead of our relationship with it? I will say it’s useful as a kind of shorthand to say technology has an agenda, but I can’t agree if what is being said is literally true. (I also will say I disagree with those who say “the only goal of life, in evolutionary terms, is reproduction.” The word “goal” in this case seems to be a metaphor that is forgotten to be a metaphor.)

    I will look into this more, I know I have been dismissive without even hearing the argument out. I am always looking to learn to utilize new perspectives, and this one could prove to be useful if I actually look into it and try to understand in detail.

    *Were we to, it would be called a portato.


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  6. Non Breaking Space Show #94: Q&A Panel from the World Movie Premiere of “What Comes Next is the Future” - Goodstuff FM

    For this episode, we have the Q&A panel after the world premiere of Matt Griffin’s documentary, "What Comes Next is the Future."

    The premiere took place at Code & Supply’s Abstraction conference in Pittsburgh, PA on August 18th.


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  7. 32 Dots Per Spaceship (Or, the Videogame That Changed Tech History)

    A look back at the origins of Spacewar!, the first original video game and one of the most influential pieces of software ever written. With special guests Stewart Brand and Spacewar! creator Steve Russell.

    Original video: https://soundcloud.com/wonderland-podcast/32-dots-per-spaceship-or-the-videogame-that-changed-tech-history
    Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/ on Sat, 10 Sep 2016 21:51:54 GMT Available for 30 days after download

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  8. Virtual Memories Show #182: Virginia Heffernan

    Cultural critic Virginia Heffernan joins the show to talk about her new book, Magic and Loss: The Internet as Art (Simon & Schuster)! We talk about what’s behind the screen, why the internet is bigger than the Industrial Revolution, her first experience online in 1979, what it’s like to be in a piece of performance art with half the world’s population, her crushing defeat at meeting Joan Didion, why she’s nostalgic for landline phones, the motive motive of Pokemon Go, asking The New York Times to host a shred-guitar competition, and why there’s value in Reading The Comments!


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  9. Seth Lloyd: Quantum Computer Reality - The Long Now

    The 15th-century Renaissance was triggered, Lloyd began, by a flood of new information which changed how people thought about everything, and the same thing is happening now.

    All of us have had to shift, just in the last couple decades, from hungry hunters and gatherers of information to overwhelmed information filter-feeders.

    Information is physical.

    A bit can be represented by an electron here to signify 0, and there to signify 1.

    Information processing is moving electrons from here to there.

    But for a “qubit" in a quantum computer, an electron is both here and there at the same time, thanks to "wave-particle duality.”

    Thus with “quantum parallelism” you can do massively more computation than in classical computers.

    It’s like the difference between the simple notes of plainsong and all that a symphony can do—a huge multitude of instruments interacting simultaneously, playing arrays of sharps and flats and complex chords.

    Quantum computers can solve important problems like enormous equations and factoring—cracking formerly uncrackable public-key cryptography, the basis of all online commerce.

    With their ability to do “oodles of things at once," quantum computers can also simulate the behavior of larger quantum systems, opening new frontiers of science, as Richard Feynman pointed out in the 1980s.

    Simple quantum computers have been built since 1995, by Lloyd and ever more others.

    Mechanisms tried so far include: electrons within electric fields; nuclear spin (clockwise and counter); atoms in ground state and excited state simultaneously; photons polarized both horizontally and vertically; and super-conducting loops going clockwise and counter-clockwise at the same time; and many more.

    To get the qubits to perform operations—to compute—you can use an optical lattice or atoms in whole molecules or integrated circuits, and more to come.

    The more qubits, the more interesting the computation.

    Starting with 2 qubits back in 1996, some systems are now up to several dozen qubits.

    Over the next 5-10 years we should go from 50 qubits to 5,000 qubits, first in special-purpose systems but eventually in general-purpose computers.

    Lloyd added, “And there’s also the fascinating field of using funky quantum effects such as coherence and entanglement to make much more accurate sensors, imagers, and detectors.”

    Like, a hundred thousand to a million times more accurate.

    GPS could locate things to the nearest micron instead of the nearest meter.

    Even with small quantum computers we will be able to expand the capability of machine learning by sifting vast collections of data to detect patterns and move on from supervised-learning (“That squiggle is a 7”) toward unsupervised-learning—systems that learn to learn.

    The universe is a quantum computer, Lloyd concluded.

    Biological life is all about extracting meaningful information from a sea of bits.

    For instance, photosynthesis uses quantum mechanics in a very sophisticated way to increase its efficiency.

    Human life is expanding on what life has always been—an exercise in machine learning.

    —Stewart Brand


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  10. Wonderland Podcast Episode 1: Babbage and the Dancer

    An eight-year-old boy’s encounter with a robotic toy doll ends up changing the course of technological history. With special guests Ken Goldberg and Kate Darling, we look at the uncanny world of emotional robotics. What if the dystopian future turns out to be one where the robots conquer humanity with their cuteness?

    Original video: https://soundcloud.com/wonderland-podcast
    Downloaded by http://huffduff-video.snarfed.org/ on Mon, 15 Aug 2016 20:22:40 GMT Available for 30 days after download

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