“The term metaverse was coined in a 1992 science-fiction novel titled Snow Crash. (The book also helped popularize the term avatar, to refer to digital selves.)”
The book, not Neal Stephenson, the person who happened to author the book, but the book. If we want to talk about the future and technology and don’t address the erasure of the humans behind the technology (and the Book inspirations of its ideas) then you’re part of the problem.
Ridley Scott Regrets Not Directing Blade Runner Sequel I love the Blade Runner 2049 we have and realize I’ve not watched Alien: Covenant yet. Also, AV Club saying 2049 is better than the original is just plain stupid. Different eras, subgenres, everything. Comparing apples and batteries.
The Prosecraft Controversy Dunno, fren. If you want to know how many words are in a memoir, then look at memoirs, not 25,000 different books. I happened to be on “Twitter the X” when this started and it’s down to directly benefiting (lo its tilt or not) off of someone else’s work without their consent and compensation. Also, I don’t know why you would want to sound like another author outside of marketing purposes, I guess.
America Already Has An AI Underclass “In the coming era of AI, can the people doing the tech industry’s grunt work ever be seen and treated not as tireless machines but simply as what they are—human?” “The program might write multiple recipes for chocolate cake, which a rater ranks and edits.” Does anyone make the cake? “the machine-learning company Hugging Face” the fuck? “there’s nothing flexible about precarity” There’s nothing more I can say that these quotes don’t already convey.
I did not know they made a film based on this chapter from Dracula, but I’m going to try to get to see The Last Voyage of the Demeter before my exams start.
Zoom Returns to the Office I think there’s a way to make an adjustment without requiring people to be in the office and that’s Zoom Communal spaces- like Zoom sessions with four to five people online working together occasionally chatting and helping each other stay on task. I don’t know why employees don’t do this or maybe they do co-working all the time and companies just need to justify the high rental rates they’re paying for office space.
I’ve stepped back from consuming social media lately and am starting to feel the effects. My attention is slightly better and I find I have more time during the day to do other things. Important things. I’ve always been a fan of social media, but I think if your main use of platforms is consumption and not creation, it alters the way you think. Not in what you think, but how you think.
So I’ve been trying an experiment. I removed all social media platforms from my phone and kept only my RSS feeds from a few sources and blogs and that’s it. While I can check Facebook or Instagram on my laptop, I make sure to keep it short: a quick drive-by for Happy Birthdays and “care” emojis, and then I’m out. Twitter had been my go-to app and now it’s gone, figuratively and literally.
Now every time I read an article or have an idea I want to share, I put it into my Obsidian daily note. Not only does this give me an archive of the media I’m consuming (and that’s good for when I suddenly find myself saying “I read something just recently…”) it makes me think a little bit more about what I’m reading. No more saving articles to read later, I take the time and if it inspires or enrages me, I write it down in a separate note and log it in my daily media_log.
It’s still new and fresh, so I’m in the ADHD honeymoon phase, but I also wanted to start sharing this on my site, because, I’m not doing anything else with it right now. Let me know if this is helpful.
It makes me happy to think of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, sitting at a desk and chuckling to himself about that video of the squirrel creating its own crime scene with a broom.
Listening to NPR’s Up First today and in the case of Trump speaking after his arrest and Alexei Navalny speaking from a Russian jail, both men said that “this isn’t happening to me, this is happening to you” in their public statements.
I’m certainly not comparing the two men, but I just found the timing of the similar statements interesting.
Thanks to the If Books Could Kill podcast and its co-host, Peter Shamshiri, I started listening to 5-4— “a podcast about how much the Supreme Court sucks” which Peter also co-hosts. It’s good, infuriating, and informative. But handing you a new podcast to listen to is not why I’ve asked you here.
There is a promotion at the half-way point for a newsletter — Balls and Strikes — that another co-host, Michael Morbius, narrates. They seem to run it each episode and I’ve started noticing something. Actually, I’ve noticed that I’ve noticed something. It’s a bit meta.
I’m getting there.
At one point as he speaks I could tell that he starts smiling. The change is clear but undescribable. I don’t know why my brain has picked up on this. Less so, do I know why he’s smiling. So I went to the Internet, as I do, to find out why my brain does what it does.
“Smiling voices maintain [increased trust] even in the face of behavioral evidence of untrustworthiness.” (1)
“We present an experiment in which participants played a trust game with a virtual agent that expressed emotion through its voice, in a manner congruent or incongruent with its behavior.” (1)
“Using an investment game paradigm, we found that positive vocal emotional expression – smiling voice – increases participants’ implicit trust attributions to virtual agents, compared with when agents speak with an emotionally neutral voice. As previously observed, the monetary returns of the agent also affected implicit trust, so that participants invested more money in the agent that was behaving generously.”(1)
And this is the point where I’ve saved the citation in Paperpile, sat back with my arms folded and leaned over to look down into the murky depths of this rabbit hole. I still don’t know what stimuli my brain is picking up that translates into “smile” after Michael says “Supreme Court sucks”, but I can pick up the danger of being able to simulate this in such a way that creates trust between yourself and stranger on the phone.
This is more than just Cash Green’s white voice in Sorry to Bother You, this is the “right voice,” the one that flicks an unknown switch in your head and you picture a reassuring smile. The “right voice” is built upon the research that pull the secrets out of our brains and tools them for algorithmic benefit. The “right voice” won’t just relieve people of their hard-earned money, it will lead them astray, down paths not yet cut.
What do I do? This digression has made me thoughtful. Sigh.
(1) Torre, Ilaria, et al. “If Your Device Could Smile: People Trust Happy-Sounding Artificial Agents More.” Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 105, Apr. 2020, p. 106215. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2019.106215
I watch cryptocurrency drama from the nosebleed seats. I have some shallow understanding of the system and, I’m not ashamed to say, I rely on my students to fill in some details for me if I’m curious and they’re willing. If you keep hearing about FTX and wondering what’s going on, this piece in The Atlantic by Annie Lowrey will give you an idea of the most recent meltdown.
Content moderation is what Twitter makes — it is the thing that defines the user experience. It’s what YouTube makes, it’s what Instagram makes, it’s what TikTok makes. They all try to incentivize good stuff, disincentivize bad stuff, and delete the really bad stuff.
I don’t think social media is really all that healthy.
I’ve been positive in dealing my own rhetoric, especially in class. I’ve tried to discuss its functions conceptually, that there are benefits if you curate well and hypervigilant, but the labor costs outweigh the benefit.
I have been mindful of how I feel when I’m on a platform. Twitter is now where I feel the worst; Facebook is pretty neutral as I’ve culled my friends list down considerably. Instagram and TikTok are still relatively positive, if not actively negative. But I want to re-evaluate how *I* want to use platforms, what *I* want to say.
Right now, dunno, ya know?
This is going to be tricky as I read in Digital Composition and Rhetoric. There are more media out there than just social media channels, but like the sewage systems of most metropolitan areas, everything runs into them. Those channels are drivers of discourse now. We build cites based on how fast our shit flows underneath.
(Perhaps that’s not the best metaphor – but you see what I mean.)
I will be thinking a lot about how we pull back, as a society. How we maintain important connections, but not add to or get inundated by the garbage. Maybe it’s time to just go full in on a personal web-site. Keep all of my postings there and worry less about enGagEmeNT and more about cultivating a space for me.