Relating to the machines

Like many of my blogs this one is a coming together of a number of thoughts and events.

It starts with reading the Gollum Effect by Venkatesh Rao which links to a video of a hand model. The video is the creepiest thing I’ve seen in a long time:

The Hand Model

As Venkat puts it:

The concrete idea is something I call the Gollum effect.  It is a process by which regular humans are Gollumized: transformed into hollow shells of their former selves, defined almost entirely by their patterns of consumption.

Imagine that the woman in the video is holding an iPhone and tell me that you don’t know someone who treats it in a similar way? Now ask yourself who’s in charge, the iPhone or the person?

The other day I watched Andrew McAfee’s presentation at TED – Are droids taking our jobs? (covering some of the content from his book: Race Against the Machines):

Within [our lifetimes], we’re going to transition into an economy that … doesn’t need a lot of human workers. Managing that transition is going to be the greatest challenge that our society faces.

But McAfee is an optimist:

So, yeah, the droids are taking our jobs, but focusing on that fact misses the point entirely. The point is that then we are freed up to do other things, and what we are going to do, I am very confident, what we’re going to do is reduce poverty and drudgery and misery around the world. I’m very confident we’re going to learn to live more lightly on the planet, and I am extremely confident that what we’re going to do with our new digital tools is going to be so profound and so beneficial that it’s going to make a mockery out of everything that came before.

Andrew McAfee: Are droids taking our jobs?