Th3 Core

Why We Are Here => Water Cooler => Topic started by: ergophobe on May 15, 2018, 11:42:12 PM

Title: Don't get distracted
Post by: ergophobe on May 15, 2018, 11:42:12 PM
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Iím going to tell you about how I took a job building software to kill people.

But donít get distracted by that; I didnít know at the time.

...

We got WiFi hotspots located! Great, does it find phones?

Itís taking seconds instead of minutes! Great, does it find phones?

We looked into it finding phones, it seems unlikely but maybe! Ok, weíll come back to it.

We got moving targets working! Great, does it find phones?

I had been distracted.

Does it find phones.

https://www.calebthompson.io/talks/dont-get-distracted/

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A year and a day ago, a developer named Bill Sourour wrote a blog post. It opened with the line: ďIf you write code for a living, thereís a chance that at some point in your career, someone will ask you to code something a little deceitful Ė if not outright unethical.Ē

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As his conclusion, Bill writes: "As developers, we are often one of the last lines of defense against potentially dangerous and unethical practices."
Title: Re: Don't get distracted
Post by: ergophobe on May 15, 2018, 11:58:20 PM
Seems like a theme to today

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With Googleís AI assistant making calls on our behalf, I worry it will become easier for us to abuse small businesses.
https://www.theverge.com/2018/5/9/17335710/google-duplex-phone-call-ai-assistant-service-industry

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Thousands of jails and prisons across the United States use a company called Securus Technologies to provide and monitor calls to inmates. But the former sheriff of Mississippi County, Mo., used a lesser-known Securus service to track peopleís cellphones, including those of other officers, without court orders, according to charges filed against him in state and federal court.
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/10/technology/cellphone-tracking-law-enforcement.html
Title: Re: Don't get distracted
Post by: aaron on May 16, 2018, 12:38:28 AM
In the context of this thread, the following - from our future AI overlords at Google - is easily one of the most heartwarming lines I have read in years.
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-05-14/inside-google-a-debate-rages-should-it-sell-artificial-intelligence-to-the-military
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One says a recent justification for moving ahead amounted to: If we donít do this, a less-scrupulous rival will.
So the only way that logic stops working is to become the singular least-scrupulous entity in the world.

Talk about justifying a race to the bottom!
Title: Re: Don't get distracted
Post by: ergophobe on May 16, 2018, 01:24:01 AM
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So the only way that logic stops working is to become the singular least-scrupulous entity in the world.

I just finished Nick Harkaway's "Gone Away World" (my favorite read since Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk). He has this whole thing where the narrator explains that there are no humans in corporations.

You start with someone with great humanity and you tell him to fire someone without cause. He says no, so you fire him and find someone with just a little less humanity to fire the employee in question and he does. Then they ask him to hide the fact that their product is harmful and he he says no. So they fire him and find someone with just a little less humanity who is willing to hide the harmful nature of the product. And so on, until there are no actual humans left in the corporation.
Title: Re: Don't get distracted
Post by: Brad on May 16, 2018, 12:13:55 PM
>humans

One of my old bosses used to say, "It's a rat race and the rats are winning."
Title: Re: Don't get distracted
Post by: Rupert on May 16, 2018, 01:48:46 PM
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Gone Away World"
  I will put it on my list if you recomend it. 
Just listening to "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind"
Title: Re: Don't get distracted
Post by: ergophobe on May 16, 2018, 06:22:09 PM
I will put it on my list if you recomend it.

I thought of you when I posted that. I know you liked the Vernor Vinge recommendation. This is really, really different. But I thoroughly enjoyed it. It does get rather dark.

Just listening to "Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind"

You're the second person to mention this, but neither you nor he said much. Worth a read?
Title: Re: Don't get distracted
Post by: Rupert on May 16, 2018, 09:52:48 PM
Ergo....
Absolutely.  A lot of what you already know of the history of mankind. But for me he spins it in a new light. It might be old hat for you but I am sure you will pick up some insight.

I think I will need to listen to it a second time, as there is so much in it that I find it too much to digest.

He covers religion, social structures, extinctions, empires, revolutions, agreculture, currency, population, communication, trade,  and so much more.

I think it is right down your street...  let me know  :)