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

HyperNormalisation 2016

Political technology, Russian Theatre, shapeshifting narratives, politics as drama, and the social media echo chamber — this 15 minute excerpt from a Oct 2016 documentary is stunning.

Full film:

Six Crypto-Currencies Approved for the AppStore

I have only a laypersons understanding of Bitcoin etc, but it seems Apple has a list of 6 ‘approved’ Crypto Currencies that ios apps can connect to. Really mind-boggling how far we’ve come so fast. Wasnt Bitcoin invented a few years ago?

p.s. The cryptocurrency guys are complaining “only 6?”. I’m like: There are more? Theres like ‘Dogecoin’ in that list, and it started as a joke!

Bitcoin, Dogecoin, Litecoin, Ethereum,
the DAO and Ripple

Source: These Are the Six Crypto-Currencies Approved by Apple – Rumor

Bricks from bacteria, not coal fire

How amazing is that – a brick hardened by Coral-like growth, not by fire in an oven for three days.
Imagine no more brick klins belching heat, smoke and co2, consuming coal. This is going to market in 2017!

 “I really wanted to pursue a different approach to how materials were made,” she says. “It just didn’t seem right for us to essentially extract material from the ground and then fire it with quite a large amount of fossil fuel just to make a hard product.”
“Our goal is to impact. It’s a global goal,” says Dosier. “We wanted to do what had never been done before, to push the boundaries. And instead of being ‘less bad,’ we wanted to completely redo it–the hard way.”

BioMason is a North Carolina startup company that manufactures bricks without heat or clay. About 8% of global carbon emissions come from making bricks, accor…

Source: Huge Cuts In Brick CO2 Emissions Coming From Startup BioMason

Cognitive Capitalism is nothing like your grand-dads Capitalism

Source: The end of capitalism has begun | Books | The Guardian

A spectacular read – bristling with commentary over the last 600 years, connecting the dots to the next civilisational shift that will occur in our lifetimes.

Austerity is not eight years of spending cuts, as in the UK, or even the social catastrophe inflicted on Greece. It means driving the wages, social wages and living standards in the west down for decades until they meet those of the middle class in China and India on the way up. Meanwhile, flushed with free money, the 1% has got richer.

In the absence of any alternative model, the conditions for another crisis are being assembled.

Neoliberalism has presided over the demise of capitalism, even as Capitalism is backed into a corner by Information technology, and automation.

Neoliberalism, then, has morphed into a system programmed to inflict recurrent catastrophic failures. Worse than that, it has broken the 200-year pattern of industrial capitalism wherein an economic crisis spurs new forms of technological innovation that benefit everybody.

That is because neoliberalism was the first economic model in 200 years the upswing of which was premised on the suppression of wages and smashing the social power and resilience of the working class. If we review the take-off periods studied by long-cycle theorists – the 1850s in Europe, the 1900s and 1950s across the globe – it was the strength of organised labour that forced entrepreneurs and corporations to stop trying to revive outdated business models through wage cuts, and to innovate their way to a new form of capitalism.

The result is that, in each upswing, we find a synthesis of automation, higher wages and higher-value consumption. Today there is no pressure from the workforce, and the technology at the centre of this innovation wave does not demand the creation of higher-consumer spending, or the re‑employment of the old workforce in new jobs. Information is a machine for grinding the price of things lower and slashing the work time needed to support life on the planet.

A takeaway full of hidden implications, that stayed with me: That in the current age, ‘Information is physical, and software is a machine’

Change money, to change the future

The standard money story inevitably goes something like this:

“In the beginning there was barter, with people trading chickens for corn. Then people invented money in order to deal with the inefficiency of this. They nominated a particular commodity to be a universal ‘store of value’ and means of exchange for transactions between all the other commodities. Precious metal coins satisfied the characteristics necessary for this, but at some point we started using paper money, which isn’t really a commodity but is still a store of value. And now we are moving to digital money, a world where money is ‘dematerialized,’ becoming mere bytes of information … ”

You should be intensely skeptical about all of this.

Source: The Future of Money Depends on Busting Fairy Tales About Its Past — How We Get To Next

Friction/Less Friendships

When keeping in touch is frictionless,
and you are never really out of touch,
and the frictionless, easy, contact becomes a habit preferred over the real worlds’ awkwardness, snail-pace and effort, then…

…are you really friends anymore with people around you, or just ‘in touch’?