I’ve used an RSS reader near-daily for, erm… probably over a decade now? Probably actually closer to two (yikes). And, yeah. It’s still the best way to keep up with news and blogs.
We exist at a time when technology has made it easier than ever for us to talk to each other, and harder than ever for us to have conversations. We exist at a time when the internet has been colonized by capital, where every article plays a clickbaity game of “Let’s you and her fight.” We exist at a time when we’re encouraged to see conversations as slapfights, where titles read like mockeries of conversation: “No, So & So, You’re Completely Wrong About the X-Men” – “Yes, Such & Such, Wonder Woman is in Fact Feminist.” Why do we do this? Why is conversation forced into confrontation, into a battleground of winners and losers? Why do we talk about “losing” an argument instead of learning a truth?
Amal El-Mohtar on conversation.
This is from El-Mohtar’s GoH speech at WisCon 2017, and it’s absolutely worth reading in full.
There was a brief moment, in the early 1990s, when the digital future felt open-ended and up for our invention. Technology was becoming a playground for the counterculture, who saw in it the opportunity to create a more inclusive, distributed, and pro-human future. But established business interests only saw new potentials for the same old extraction, and too many technologists were seduced by unicorn IPOs. Digital futures became understood more like stock futures or cotton futures — something to predict and make bets on. So nearly every speech, article, study, documentary, or white paper was seen as relevant only insofar as it pointed to a ticker symbol. The future became less a thing we create through our present-day choices or hopes for humankind than a predestined scenario we bet on with our venture capital but arrive at passively.
This freed everyone from the moral implications of their activities. Technology development became less a story of collective flourishing than personal survival.
douglas rushkoff on the escapist nihilism of the 0.01%.
And by “escapist nihilism” I mean, “The super-wealthy believe the world is fucked and, rather than use their money to try and fix it, they’re plotting to escape… and leave the rest of us behind.”
eDEX-UI, the I-want-my-2010s-UI-to-look-like-a-1990s-version-of-a-2010s-UI UI replacer!
Part of making [Google Duplex] sound natural enough to not trigger an aural sense of the uncanny valley was adding those ums and ahs, which Huffman identified as “speech disfluencies.” He emphasized that they weren’t there to trick anybody, but because those vocal tics “play a key part in progressing a conversation between humans.” He says it came from a well-known branch of linguistics called “pragmatics,” which encompasses all the non-word communications that happen in human speech: the ums, the ahs, the hand gestures, etc.
On giving AIs a voice.
I want y’all to think about this next time you hear someone lecture (usually) women to stop “uming and ahing” so much when they speak…
Pillowfort… wut u doin’, man?
(With original credit here.)
Edited to add: From reports by other users, it seems Pillowfort isn’t doing any robust sanitization on usernames at all, allowing things like slashes and period and spaces that break their own UI. This is… not good. Weren’t they supposed to’ve done a “security audit” after their hack a few weeks back?