Lately, I've been reading Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark which is a nonfiction book about the future of AI. (I'm on the second read through right now because there's so much to unpack. I do that with research that's a key part of whatever it is I'm writing.) It's a fascinating read, and I recommend it, but it has some serious problems.
If there's a marriage made in hell, it's the pairing of AI with Libertarianism. It disturbs me when wealthy tech barons blithely discuss disruption of economic markets as if it were a tiny nuisance that nations get past in a matter of moments. When the reality is that people's lives are thrown into chaos. Jobs are lost and--quite possibly in the instance of AI--whole careers destroyed. And yet, the fallout is merely hand-waved over like it's a minor inconvenience. I don't buy his statement that 'everything will be fine.' It won't be fine. Not for years, possibly decades, not even for your precious tech company. If you're going to argue ethics, and pose how one creates an ethical AGI whose goals don't conflict with humanity's, maybe you shouldn't espouse a political and financial system that is laissez-faire?
The opening fiction story about a small group of amoral, selfish, greedy AI geniuses working within a tech company is downright hair-raising. Have you never heard of Lord Acton? Dictatorships, especially those run for profit, aren't a good thing. It's quite eyeopening.
And ZOMG, people, PLEASE understand that Wikipedia is not an unbiased collection of encyclopedic data. For fuck's sake. You're this really smart man, and yet...
Also, there's an assumption that even though vast, unlimited wealth can be generated by AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), the majority of that wealth will be hoarded by the few. There's zero reason for that--particularly if this is a Utopic perspective, and it takes place after the current censure of Capitalism has completed. He doesn't explain why exploitation and/or the broad imbalance in the distribution of wealth is so essential He merely assumes it will be because: Capitalism. I see it as a flaw in a narrow political and philosophical perspective.
The cherry on top of the tea cake is the unexamined sexism. There are few women (if any) mentioned by name in the entire book. Those who are mentioned are wives of Great Men--and none are technical contributors to the project. Or if they are, their contributions aren't mentioned even in passing.
Yeah. Wow. So much to unpack. Still, there's a lot of really interesting ideas in it. And I do recommend reading it. More on that later. For now, videos.
Literary/Entertainment: Paul Greengrass’s New Netflix Film, 22 July, Is Excruciating and Essential. And this next link is a fun one. Hijabi Women Dressed Like the "Avengers" at Comic Con. And How the Charmed reboot updates the Power of Three. And from meme-vile... #HimToo: how an attempt to criticize #MeToo went delightfully wrong.
General: The first item is something that absolutely should get more coverage than it has. Supreme Court Enables Mass Disenfranchisement of North Dakota’s Native Americans. Also, Georgia’s Republican Candidate for Governor Is Blocking 53,000 Voter Registrations. In relation to the discussion about AI and unexamined bias, read this article. Why Amazon’s Automated Hiring Tool Discriminated Against Women. Next, Gendered school uniforms: only a problem if there’s a hijab involved? And October Highlights in U.S. Women’s History. And How Donald Trump put an end to the GOP’s Southern strategy. This next link is an important look at the label "bisexual." Bisexuality does not reinforce the gender binary. And this one is horrific. Against Their Will: Extended Conversation. Also, this next article. “CONSERVATIVE WOMEN DON’T FEEL VICTIMIZED”: HOW THE KAVANAUGH NOMINATION UNDERSCORED THE RIGHT’S COMPLEX INABILITY TO COPE WITH THE #METOO RECKONING. Yeah. Internalized misogyny is a bitch. Speaking of, When Feminism Is White Supremacy in Heels. So... Michelle Obama: Keep fighting for gender equality, even if it makes people uncomfortable. Next is an example of how history is complex. How Native American Slaveholders Complicate the Trail of Tears Narrative. And this next one is rage-making. The Mormon Church Just Urged a 10-Day Social Media Fast for Women. And Someone buys BrettKavanaugh.com and creates a site for sexual assault survivors. And EXCLUSIVE: Congress Bill Aims to Improve TSA Screening of Trans People. And although I'm disturbed by the wave of "be a real witch for the month of October because cool" things I'm seeing a lot lately, I'll give you this link. Join The "Resistance Witches" In Hexing The Trump Administration This Halloween Season (And Beyond). Also, don't assume that a spiritual movement (now, mostly) based upon (second wave) principles of Feminism is free from sexism. There's a Sexism Problem in the Modern Witchcraft Community. In more hopeful news, Technology Initiative--CLOSING THE GLOBAL GENDER GAP IN TECHNOLOGY, and THE FUTURE OF OUR WORLD IS ONLY AS BRIGHT AS OUR GIRLS.