The Technium

Recent Readings, 4

Second thoughts on sunscreen toxicity. Link.

The verification paradox: the best perceiving machines (AI) may not be verifiable by humans; but the most “trustworthy” algos may not be the best. Good intro: Link.

This is very true: “Science Fiction Doesn’t Have to Be Dystopian.” Title of a long book review in the New Yorker by Joyce Carol Oates of new Ted Chiang short stories. Link.

I don’t worry about much, but I do worry about cyberwar because 1) we have no consensus on what is permitted, 2) it is hard to track, and 3) it can spill into the real world. Link.

Writers are more and more relying on paid newsletters for income. They find 1,000 true fans and get them to pay for their writing. Good intro to this emerging genre. Link.

Breaking up Facebook (into what?) will not remedy the issues of overuse, nor fake news, nor extremist views, nor privacy. Breakup is a romantic fantasy. Study the long history of anti-trust and AT&T, beginning in 1913. For that I am reading “The Fall of Telecom” by Thomas Lauria.

This account of a tech demo that failed is a pretty good update on the business aspect of the coming Mirrorworld. Link.

Big, long-term, many-decade projects are out of fashion now. One exception is China’s Belt and Road initiative. Here is a site that tracks it’s progress. Link.

With a contrary view, this article argues that China’s Belt and Road Initiative is One Big Mistake. It is merely atmospheric handwaving, a pretty name for regional states to keep the state-owned industries and construction complex going by building infrastructure further from home. Link.


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