The apocalypse is already here

https://m.signalvnoise.com/the-ai-apocalypse-is-already-here-3bd3267cc151

We’re made increasingly miserable because connect-the-world imperialists are unleashing machine learning on our most vulnerable and base impulses. A constant loop of refinement that prods our psyche for weak spots, and then exploits them with maximal efficiency. All in the service of selling ads for cars, shampoo, or political discord.

~ David Hansson

Sometimes it’s nice to stop worrying about the existential threat of the rise of the machines…

…and to instead worry about the existential threat of people doing stupid things.

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On blame

http://www.raptitude.com/2009/11/blame-is-useless/

What I like about that phrase, “I hate the person who invented Mondays,” is that it reveals the absurdity of one of our very human habits. We have a tendency to find some part of our environment to scold — a person or thing — whenever we run into some kind of problem in our lives. Something unpleasant happens unexpectedly, and the emotion of blame arises. We search for a source to our suffering, and fix our dislike on it and align ourselves against it, as if our sheer, bitter ill-will can transmute a part of life we hate into something we like.

~ David Cain

It’s important for me to distinguish between cause and blame. Cause—it seems to me—is something I can work at picking apart. It’s unlikely I’d have a full understanding of cause-and-effect in any random situation, (“why exactly did that guy just spill his beer on me,” is pretty complicated after all,) but picking at the threads of the seemingly unknowable knot-that-is-the-cause… That tends to lead me to a more thoughtful view of the world. And a more thoughtful view invariably leads me to a more optimistic view of the world.

Here’s a tangential thought as an example: Is it “Western Civilization” that is taking over the world? Or is it “Best Civilization” is taking over, and the areas we label “western” have just gotten to the ideas [all, some, or just one in particular under discussion] first? If I ditch, “who’s to blame,” for the specific changes in civilization which I dislike [think: social media] and instead ask, “what is causing that change?”… well, that changes my view of things significantly.

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A big part of their vapid and shallow social lives

https://rework.fm/dont-like-this/

I think what I notice with people who are a little older is it’s really easy for them to dismiss social media as, like, this vapid and shallow thing in which you’re trying to get likes and engagement, but what they don’t realize is it’s like a huge part of some people’s social lives and it’s, like, very much a part of how you see this world and interact with the world. And it’s not just “oh I wanna get likes to, like, seem cool” it’s like “Oh, this is my social life in many ways, and it has been for a very long time.” And that’s kinda how I view applause at basecamp in many ways, too; It’s like my social life at work.

~ Tara Mann

Exactly!

It is really easy to dismiss social media, because it is vapid and shallow.

The insight here is that eventually you too will stop acting like a 14-year-old, become an adult, realize social media is vapid and shallow, and then dismiss it easily.

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How you’re being manipulated

https://m.signalvnoise.com/how-youre-being-manipulated-by-software-7ad939e46852

Because endless growth and data collection is the foundation of their business, and that necessitates doing gross invasive things to their users. They need you to feed the beast, and they certainly don’t want you to think about it. So they use cartoon animals and sneaky happy paths to make sure you stay blissfully ignorant.

~ Jonas Downey

What’s the solution? I vote with my feet, attention, and dollars. I think about where does that food come from? What are the principles of the people who run that company? Do I need this thing I’m considering buying? What signals am I sending into the marketplace (economic and ideologic) with my choices?

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Relationships that DON’T scale

https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/how-to-build-unscaleable-relationships/

These people are, effectively, hiding behind a wall. They are passing up more difficult work for the easy work — sharing or “liking” photos, retweeting, commenting on someone’s wall. These are activities which can serve a purpose, but they are poor substitutes for the real thing. It’s like saying Splenda is the same thing as sugar, tofu is the same thing as real meat, or Red Lobster is a good place for…a red lobster. It’s not the same thing. Not even close.

~ Brett McKay

There is a fine line between using social media (and other technology conveniences) to increase the number of people I can keep up with. Dunbar’s Number is often pegged at about 100 or a bit more. I definitely agree that there’s a trade off between how many people I can maintain relationships with and the quality of each relationship. I find the hardest part is when a relationship gets asymetric — when the other person isn’t able to commit as much time — eventually it’s time for me to stop putting in the effort; Eventually it’s time for me to stop trying, and instead to let another person settle into the social space in my universe.

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We need to remake the Internet

https://www.ted.com/talks/jaron_lanier_how_we_need_to_remake_the_internet/up-next

I don’t believe our species can survive unless we fix this. We cannot have a society, in which, if two people wish to communicate, the only way that can happen is if it’s financed by a third person who wishes to manipulate them.

~ Jaron Lanier

Hear! Hear!

Take control of your use of the Internet — that is to say: Do not let it control you. Choose what apps, sites, etc you use. WHENEVER YOU CAN, PAY FOR SERVICES AND APPS. If something is free, then realize that YOU are product being sold to whomever is paying for the service.

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Social media and a true village

http://randsinrepose.com/archives/welcome-back-to-the-village/

The Internet made it easy to gather together vast swaths of humanity and allowed them to communicate with each other at scale. These mostly anonymous ginormous nations of humans have no shared purpose and no shared values. With no common understanding of how to treat each other and no incentives to do so, communication in these “communities” rapidly degrades to the lowest common denominator where uninformed hate is a typical knee-jerk reaction to differences.

~ Rands / Michael Lopp

There’s a bunch of insight about social networks (digital and in real life.) Also worth reading if you are interested in leadership and haven’t yet found the Rands Leadership Slack team.

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My high horse

The point of this preparation is not to write off everyone in advance. It’s that, maybe, because you’ve prepared for it, you’ll be able to act with patience, forgiveness, and understanding.

~ Ryan Holiday

Recently, someone told me — literally wrote the words, “Why don’t you get down off your high horse and get a sense of humor?”

A bit of context: They had posted a large comment, and an image which I judged to be inappropriate and which I judged added nothing to the conversation at hand. I deleted the image. Below their comment, I added, “Commentary such as this are most welcome; inappropriate, rape-y GIFs are not.” They followed with the high-horse snark, and then a longish stream of discussion by them and others broke out wherein I added nothing further to the episode. Let’s set aside the question of wether my decision to delete the image was warranted or approved by the community after-the-fact.

I found myself thinking about the difference in our behavior…

…and the next morning, I read this quote. (Wow! What an instance of confirmation bias!)

…and that led me to this conclusion:

I have intentionally climbed up onto this high horse. I am intentionally doing my best to demonstrate through my behavior that I hold myself to a high standard.

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A fight for survival! An RSS revival!

https://www.macstories.net/linked/the-rss-revival/

While millions of people may be happy getting their news from Facebook or an aggregator like Apple News (which I also use, occasionally, for more mainstream headlines), the resiliency of RSS makes me happy. There was a time when I thought all my news could come from social feeds and timelines; today, I’m more comfortable knowing that I – not a questionable and morally corrupt algorithm – fully control hundreds of sources I read each day.

~ Federico Viticci

Hear! Hear!

Ok, but how do you use this?

The SUPER easy way is to go to http://feedbin.com/. There you can tell it what sites you want to follow, and FeedBin will “consume” the RSS feeds. It dove-tails them together into a linear stream of short snippettes and excerpts. You skim along only seeing things from sites you wanted to follow.

Some site annoys you repeatedly?
…just remove that feed.

See something you like?
…click through and you’re taking to the original item on the actual site. THIS is why all sites provide RSS feeds. Huge sites, (like the BBC’s,) provide various feeds you can choose from; just international news for example.

Take five minutes to figure this out — you can thank me later.

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