Archive for November, 2011

Random Thoughts of The Day

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Extensive global unemployment is here to stay. The jobs that have been lost to manufacturing can never be entirely made up in the service industry.

Job growth in certain industries does not ramp along with population growth. Too many people to fit in not enough roles. Take social media — you need only one Facebook, and a relatively constant and insignificant amount of employees can accommodate a growing population.

Industries and jobs in those industries are inherently ephemeral and fleeting — with the exception of maybe the food and restaurant sectors. Can’t torrent food yet.

Ultimately, we need to plan for a future where an employed elite that presides over the automation can care for an underclass that cannot be accommodated in terms of employment.

But how would we manage this society? A welfare society leaves a vast chunk of a population with nothing to do. And foreseeably, the upper class can’t afford to pay that much out to the unemployed. A massive, bottom-heavy underclass that is poor, bored, and resentful is a powder keg of social unrest and malaise.

Yeah, yeah, near future we can push/retrain people into green technologies. In the short term, we can invest in change. Push people into into fields in need of innovation. But this innovation will invariably also drive the workers’ own obsolescence.

In the far future, it seems likely that a limit to man-driven technological innovation will be reached — when man has created a mirror, constant version of itself — an artificially intelligent robot. How can job redeployment still be better when humans are not ahead of the curve competitively against AI in anyway? When artificial intelligence is preferred to a human in employment in every aspect? What then? What happens to a man rendered moot?

In a way, I guess man himself is just another machine. No hard feelings when robot overlords take over — it’s just the coming of a new model. I find that to be a slightly less depressing way of thinking of things.

******

Anti-automation legislation in the United States would totally not work. Not even a short term solution. Maybe a short short term solution. On the miracle that lobbyists permit the corporate usage of robots on American soil, these companies will, just like they have before, flock for something that they were not able to get in America. Cheap, South and Eastern Asian labor in era. Foreign robots in another.

Art for the Sake of Image

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Read this piece today in Pitchfork. The article doesn’t quite touch on any new ideas, or spin any old themes in a different angle. Nonetheless, it was well-written, and I appreciated it.

And it got me thinking. How much art and culture do we consume out of genuine personal enjoyment? And not for the sake of social-media-what-if-somebody-stalks-me image branding?

I’m no innocent. I plead guilty for consumption of the sake of cool. Indeed, I find myself not listening to songs sometimes because I don’t want them to show up on my Last.fm profile. Even if I know that no one visits my Last.fm profile, I have this base urge to maintain this carefully crafted palette of Taste that I present to others. I go through far more trouble than I should to get tracks scrobbled on my software, get slightly irked when the tracks I want to show on my feed don’t scrobble, and have cumulatively wasted much time listening to things I don’t quite want to listen to to get certain artist scrobbles up and cover others. (Though I swear swear swear that my love for Bjork, Titus Andronicus, and Neutral Milk Hotel is genuine — not a ploy.) I go through all of this because people judge by taste. And I begrudgingly admit that people’s judgments do matter to me. Not everybody, but people who I want to impress/people who I respect and want to be respected by. Oh yeah, ha. Who doesn’t like to push that “Fuck All Y’all I Do What I Want All Day” streak as part of their image — along with their Cool Taste? That is one of a few precious things besides weed that unites slinging gangbangers with preppy college students. You really don’t give a fuck? Come talk to me. I’ll look you in the eye and call bullshit. Perhaps it’s actually biologically possible to not give a fuck, but I think statistics and probability would be on my side.

******

People say what they’re not.

******

The more I learn about people, the more I chuckle. We should be homo hypocriticus and not homo sapiens. Yeah — I guess this sounds negative and cynical. But you know what? This is who we are. I make this declaration in my admitted youth and inexperience. But prove me wrong, elders. Our hypocrisy is truth, and in my opinion, the sooner society at large can embrace that fact and not just grumble about it, the better.

Applied Science

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Found this quote in a paper from Nature today about quantum computing: “…barriers can be transformed into opportunities for innovation.” Sometimes one can find statements, quotes, concepts in scientific papers that are strikingly far-reaching and easy to understand amidst the sea of jargon and data that one comes to expect.

******

People who think science is esoteric, pedantic, any number of SAT words — people who think those specific elements of science have little bearings on how the real world works. Well, I’d have to say they’re wrong. I’m taking a biochem class this quarter, and I’d have to say, the way the cell, the tissue, the human body — these complex biological blueprints are not only already representations of how human societal systems work, there’s plenty to be learned and modeled from the efficiency of biology. Not going to go into too much detail since that would take too much time — but while studying the process of glycolysis, I saw all sorts of parallels to economics, government, policy, any number of fields that are assumed to be more relevant to the real world. And seeing how elegant glycolysis/gluconeogenesis/energy regulation works in cells, I couldn’t help but think that they offered inspiration on how to solve these “real world problems.”

Documentaries Have Killed Explosions in the Sky For Me

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Overplayed, overplayed. There’s plenty of other inoffensive post-rock out there.

This Actor Reel Must Be Seen to Be Believed

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

The stone-faced expression. The Papyrus font. This guy is something special. Part of me thinks this is a Exit-Through-The-Gift-Shop-esque prank. Then I have to remind myself that you just can’t fake this.

Takes a lot of cajones to put this out there. Either a lack of shame, or a lack of fear.