Category: Blog

Games are now way more than Games

While this link talks about Fortnite, it really speaks to a trend. Even if the fad of Fortnite passes, and another brand replaces it, the underlying trend will probably continue.
The sophistication of games, their free-form narrative structures, and the cost and ubiquity of devices are trends converging on a new reality — that games are becoming the new Social Networks. When you can chat with other players, share thrilling experiences, and integrate the game into your day wherever you are, it becomes clearer this is going to become a new language for players to connect through – the way  conversations about TV shows were for a previous generation.

A new technology is integrating itself into the culture, and everything from society to the economy is going to be affected.

The game is an excuse to stay connected

Source: Fortnite was 2018’s most important social network

What we get wrong about technology

Source: What we get wrong about technology — ft.com

The point of this article will be clear to anyone struggling to use new technology in current processes.

The article stops short of future predictions but the insights from the past are illuminating.

To become really transformative, Electricity required the reinvention of the the manufacturing process, worker skills, factory architecture and more. Just sticking an electric motor where a steam engine originally was, did very little.

The same way that replacing a typewriter with Email and Microsoft Word actually does very little in real terms.

Arriving with Cows

A small bit of dialogue from the wonderfully satisfying movie ‘Arrival’ that i didn’t quite catch while watching, was about the Sanskrit word for “war” and its etymology.

One linguist thinks the word, gavisti, comes from “argument,” when the right answer is “a desire for more cows.”

Now as an Indian, this was a bit of an eye-rolling moment. I mean yes we revere the cow, traditionally to the point of the proverbial holy cow.

But would the culture that produced a war epic like the ‘Mahabharat’ really call it an argument for cows? The war was over land and kingship, rule of law and righteousness. It makes the whole thing sound a bit silly when described as ‘a desire for more cows’.

Then this LA Review of Books article mentions the little detail in passing, that “war” has a fundamentally pecuniary meaning.

And pecuniary meaning ‘relating to or concerning money’ comes from the Latin pecu, meaning — wait for it — cattle.

So yeah. Thats a little bit of anthropological history embedded in language like layers of sediment, or the rings of a tree.

Source: What We’ve Got Here: “Arrival” – Los Angeles Review of Books

Google, democracy and the truth about internet search

With the rise of bigoted right-wing mobs everywhere in the world, coinciding with 15 years of Online search engines, it’s worth asking these questions — how impartial should Google be to information?

For Google’s mechanical search algorithms, the answers to auto-suggested searches like ‘Are women evil’, ‘Are jews bad/are Muslims bad’ are all: *yes, and here are thousands of pages and videos that say so, some with ‘proof’ in the title*
If you ask ‘Was Hitler bad?’ you get on the top of the page, ’10 reasons why Hitler was one of the good guys’.
 
Digital tech massively empowers the ignorant as much as it spreads knowledge. Yet we know from TV and print about human nature, that sensationalized bad news attracts people more than informed good news.

Link: Google, democracy and the truth about internet search | Technology | The Guardian

Old Books

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Old Books. Books you’ve had for years. Open them and they take you back; back to when they and you were new.

Weathered, yellowed, textured. Spines split, and that old book smell – part dust and part memory. An old book is itself a bookmark in time.

And now a monument. 20 years from now when I open an old e-book, will it sing to me when I ‘touch to scroll’? When the file is lost or deleted, will I still feel it, like the gentle itch of a lent book, never returned ? I wonder.

As much is lost as gained. It’s nice to turn back the page sometimes. Im writing this on a phone.

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