The Matrix

I guess the name speaks for its self.

The Matrix

Postby Andrea on Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:15 pm

jim_lewis1 wrote: if the algorithms filter what we experience, (literally in the case of Hollywodd filming decisions), have we already lost control?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14306146


The article Jim links to made the hairs on the back of my neck go all funny. It's happening....... The Matrix is emerging. This is my living nightmare -- a techno-economic system which devours living systems. The following video explains more:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 2205075768
esse sequitur operari
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Re: The Matrix

Postby Teiana on Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:57 pm

<shudders> what i don't like is the way they pretend it's for our benefit. Take bill paying. I like to get an actual bill, and write an actual cheque. It gives me a sense that i know what is going on and forces me to look at the numbers involved. But so many companies now are trying to make us do everything by direct debit and get all the bills online where you have to deliberately go and look, because they know most people won't after the first one, and then they have total control while we just sit around like some kind of brainless droids while everything is decided for us behind our backs.
I know some of it is unavoidable, i mean supermarkets can't stock every kind of everything, so if i go in, i have to take whatever they've decided to sell ( if i want it then and there). But there are disturbing parts to the whole thing...i think the issue lies with just who has control, it's not so much that people mind having things simplified for them, but that the control can end up not in the hands of an elected representative who is accountable, but in the hands of just about anyone who can access the system. and who isn't accountable or even known.
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: The Matrix

Postby Neill on Sat Aug 27, 2011 12:55 pm

In the article it says
Increasingly, she argues, we are knowing where information can be found rather than retaining knowledge itself.

which pretty much describes the way I work.
If I know that the "information" is saved some where then I just remember the "summary" and maybe where to find it.
This is much more efficient that trying t remember everything.
I do not however see this as a step backwards.

Teiana wrote
I like to get an actual bill, and write an actual cheque.

What is a cheque? I remember I used them in the last century.
Nowadays I get a bill per email and the money is taken straight from my account.
Less time, less effort and much more efficient.
I also see this as a step forwards.

Maybe I am missing something here.
Or maybe I am just an optimist.

Neill
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Re: The Matrix

Postby Teiana on Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:42 pm

Less time, less effort and much more efficient.
I also see this as a step forwards.


not an erosion of the elegance of handwriting and the power of a person's signature, not some mechanised way of taking control from you and putting it in the hands of software writers? what about the joy of the sense of community the postal system brings? The exercise from that sunny stroll to the postbox?

you have a funny way of thinking about 'efficient'. My system provides exercise for me, control over when i send the payment, employment for the postperson, which itself has benefits for the community ( for some people the only people they see in their day are people who call at the house delivering things, postpeople can be a good early warning system to protect the elderly as they may notice when something is wrong). Plus i suppose i'm providing work for the people who make things like pens and envelopes..

how is a system where you are creating unemployed fat people more efficient?
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: The Matrix

Postby Dave H on Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:27 pm

The systems to create work are important but I consider that there is something more important involved. However and as is normal I struggle to explain the idea and find the right words.

The algorithms are attempt to give the IT systems some intelligence and make them a bit more like us. Currently this intelligence is not very advanced and the algorithms tend to be biased in favour of those who created them rather than us the users. This gives us concerns and also there is very little transparency so it is difficult to understand what is happening. However when these algorithms become advanced and equal to our intelligence then some real questions will need to asked on the relationship between us and the algorithms. How will we react to a system that could possibly be as intelligent as us. Maybe then is too late and we should be thinking about the questions now. This could also be linked to other threads about brain development and capacity, and also different means of communicationg.
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Re: The Matrix

Postby Teiana on Sat Aug 27, 2011 8:13 pm

oh god, i just had this vision of myself arguing with my shoes. or, ohblimey, look they could put stuff in food so it argued with you. douglas adams was right about the cow. eat me! don't eat me!
imagine you get home, and you've forgotten your key, the front door is not just smart enough to let you in, but smart enough to laugh about it!
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: The Matrix

Postby jim_lewis1 on Sun Aug 28, 2011 9:15 am

and a toaster that urges everyone to 'share and enjoy!' We already have hi-fis that say hello and goodbye fer chrissakes!
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Re: The Matrix

Postby Neill on Sun Aug 28, 2011 7:03 pm

Teiana wrote:
not an erosion of the elegance of handwriting and the power of a person's signature

Not really.
I would put both of these in the same category as the blacksmith.
Used to be very important but got "replaced".
Many now do artwork which is fine but I am very glad I no longer need the blacksmith or the horse.

I think the problem is that I am not very good at feeling sad about the "good old days".
If some thing works better for me then I go with that.
For example, on line banking.
I can do my banking from any where in the world any time. I think that is very useful and don't worry about the good old days where I had to get to the bank when it was open and wait in a queue. I use that time to work so I can go home earlier and bike with my friends.

:-)
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Re: The Matrix

Postby Teiana on Sun Aug 28, 2011 8:21 pm

i don't feel sad about 'the good old days', not at all. But i do feel, when i put my signature to a cheque, connected. I feel connected to a world where an englishmans word was his bond and sure, maybe it's a myth and was never real, but it is to me - i feel connected to my own ancestors, in a good way. part of something. Which is a feeling i don't get from 'online banking'. I still like to be able to use the internet, i like being able to check up on things in the middle of the night if i want to, but, we can and should have the best of both worlds.

i don't know why when i read what neill puts about such matters, that i feel as if he is truly scared, scared of nostalgia, scared of anything at all that isn't new and shiny and automatic, scared of history. Scared of 'luddites' perhaps, somehow worried that he'll be held back from his shiny new world by people stomping 'we've always done it this way'.

i don't know what could make a person be scared like that.

It's possible he isn't at all, and i'm just imagining it. I'm not scared of new stuff or of old stuff, but i do think it's possible to appreciate and celebrate the old without belonging to some 'harping back to the good old days' club. I just had a walk along the canal just this evening, and when you see people who live along the canal, well, there's a lot of make-do-and-mend goes on, lots of people improvising what they need, simply. I'd hate a world where everyone was forced to live in hermetically sealed thermostatically controlled urban glass boxes, with everything provided by some software company...
but if people LIke to live that way, well that's up to them..
H.R.H. 8-)
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Re: The Matrix

Postby Andrea on Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:27 pm

You see, what I find intriguing about information and communication technologies (and the ultimate Matrix technology: the algorithm) is that they're simultaneously empowering and disempowering. A problem like computer-induced repetitive strain injury can automatically exclude you from a lot of work nowadays, and yet, developments like voice recognition software can allow these people to get back into work. If you have the financial resources and capacity to engage with these developments, then you'll be fine (with some adjustments). But not everybody does.

My major concern about algorithms is that they take control away from human decision-making. Yes, they make life easier and automatically simplify complexity (in an information universe which is becoming more complex day by day). We will always be given the apparent "choice", but it's a bit like going to the supermarket and being given the "choice" to buy seven different brands of baked beans (most of which are owned by Monsanto). I grow 12 rare varieties of beans in my allotment, and my family has a real choice in what type and how they eat beans ;) But, as Neill suggests through other examples, it's more "efficient" to buy a tin of beans from Monsanto then grow and cook them yourself. Then you can have plenty of time to "have fun" (if you have the means to get away). Technology can save you time, but it can also limit your choice, eventually turning you into an object that feeds the Matrix.

One could argue that it was the invention of the washing machine that created the feminist movement. Technologies can be liberating. But for some, having to work day and night to pay off debt on the technologies that society impose on us (the flatscreen TV, computers and broadband, etc) can be enslaving.
esse sequitur operari
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