Bookmarked Dust Rising: Machine learning and the ontology of the real (by David Weinberger)

I am looking forward to reading this. Will need to put aside some time to be able to really focus, given the author, and the amount of time taken to write it.

…an article I worked on for a couple of years. It’s only 2,200 words, but they were hard words to find because the ideas were, and are, hard for me. … The article argues, roughly, that the sorts of generalizations that machine learning models embody are very different from the sort of generalizations the West has taken as the truths that matter.

David Weinberger

Bookmarked Permacomputing and Permacomputing Update 2021 (by Ville-Matias Heikkilä)

This seems worth a read, applying permaculture ideas to our use of the web and computing in general. At first glance I associate it with Heinz Wittenbrink‘s blogging about what the climate emergency must mean for his professional field of content strategy, and it reminds me of the ecological farmer at Reboot7 in 2005 who talked to us about applying his lessons learned to web and application development.

What makes permacultural philosophy particularly appealing (to me) is that it does not advocate “going back in time” despite advocating a dramatic decrease in use of artificial energy. Instead, it trusts in human ingenunity in finding clever hacks for turning problems into solutions, competition into co-operation, waste into resources. Very much the same kind of creative thinking I appreciate in computer hacking.

Ville-Matias Heikkilä in Permacomputing

Bookmarked A simple plan for repairing our society: we need new human rights, and this is how we get them. by Vinay GuptaVinay Gupta (medium.com)
It’s very hard to get adults to reason properly about the human rights of other adults, because we always tend to say “well, their conditions are their fault.” Lot of black people wind up in jail? “That’s either bad policing, or bad behavior, or both” says the adult analysis. “Lot of black children are getting substandard educations” well, this is clearly not their fault. You can say their parents are responsible, and basically abandon these kids to the mercy of their environment, whatever random spot they were born in, or you can say “the children have fundamental rights as children and these rights require us to act on their behalf as a society” and, for example, really seriously invest in and fix education. You see what I’m saying? We can get leverage on issues like race in America by using the human rights of children, free from moral responsibility for their fates, as a universal standard by which to measure our obligations. The same kind of logic applies to the environment: “is this commons being handed over to the children, its future owners, intact, or is it being degraded in a manner that violates their rights.” That gets you concepts like natural parks protection from fracking etc. very nicely. In short, making the rights of children fully explicit, and enshrining them in our legal systems may be the shortest path forwards to creating a world in which we, as adults, are also protected. But the children first: none of this is their fault, and they should be protected as best we can. And a rights framework for children, something simple, reasonably universal, clear and easy to work with is certainly possible. We can do this.

Long winded, but the point is in order to stop us externalising the destructive costs of our societies towards the future, to make that future the litmus test of everything. In the form of benchmarking everything on how it impedes or improves the rights and lives of children, putting their human rights as the key stone of every decision.

Liked Wissenschaftliche Distanz und Aktivismus—Notizen zu Will Steffen und Hans Blumenberg by Heinz Wittenbrink Web teacher and blogger, living in Graz and sometimes in Dubrovnik.Heinz Wittenbrink Web teacher and blogger, living in Graz and sometimes in Dubrovnik. (wittenbrink.net)
Zur wissenschaftlichen Haltung gehört eine distanzierte Perspektive auf die Zeit—sowohl auf die erdgeschichtliche Zeit, mit der es die Erdsystemforschung zu tun hat, wie auf den zukünftigen Fortschritt der Forschung selbst, in der Erkenntnisse immer wieder revidiert und weiterentwickelt werden. Diese Perspektive unterscheidet sich von der lebensweltlichen Perspektive auf die Zeit und auf historische Ereignisse, die praktisch beeinflusst werden können. Wenn die Wissenschaft aber durch ihre eigene Entwicklung mit diesen lebensweltlichen Ereignissen, und zwar mit extrem bedrohlichen Entwicklungen konfrontiert ist, dann lässt sich die wissenschaftliche Distanz nur noch zynisch aufrechterhalten. Die homogene, neutralisierte und unendliche Zeit der von der Wissenschaft untersuchten Ereignisse und des wissenschaftlichen Fortschritts lässt sich nicht mehr von der endlichen Zeit der historischen Erfahrung und der politischen Praxis trennen. Angesichts apokalyptischer Ereignisse, deren hohe Wahrscheinlichkeit sich mit der überhaupt möglichen wissenschaftlichen Sicherheit voraussagen lässt, werden die Möglichkeiten, diese Ereignisse zu verhindern, zur wissenschaftlichen Priorität.

Herzlichen Dank, Heinz, das du uns im Blog mitnimmst in deiner Suche, und Gedanken über den eigenen und praktischen Umgang mit dem Thema Klimanotstand.

Read Escaping Skinner's Box: AI and the New Era of Techno-Superstition
One of the things AI will do is re-enchant the world and kickstart a new era of techno-superstition. If not for everyone, then at least for most people who have to work with AI on a daily basis. The catch, however, is that this is not necessarily a good thing. In fact, it is something we should worry about.

A good presentation I attended this afternoon at World Summit AI 2019. Will blog about it, but bookmarking it here for now.

Fifteen years ago today Elmine Wijnia published a paper “Understanding Weblogs: a Communicative Perspective” (PDF) for the BlogTalk conference based on her master thesis. In it she discusses weblogs as a communications medium and compares their role and potential a.o. with Habermas’ philosophical work on communications (Habermas’ work on this predates the web). I have a ‘on this day in….’ widget in my sidebar, and it showed me I had blogged about it back then.

From my posting then, I feel much is still the same, and much is still as key as then in bringing online expression and interaction forward.

In my view Elmine’s work does something very important, which is to firmly place weblogs in communications, and not put the fact that it’s technology-based first.

Having just organised an IndieWebCamp where technology is very much front and center, while I find we struggle to get broader involvement, this is a very pertinent reminder.

It describes what we actually do, in stead of which tools we use to do it.

This is a core element in my thinking about technology in general, unchanged in all these years. It is about what people do and can do. The agency that technology provides.

She positioned weblogs as a new medium because it combines three information patterns in itself, that previously stood on their own (e.g. in separate digital tools): consultation, registration, and conversation.

In part it feels like silo’s such as FB and Twitter break that combination of multiple patterns again, after weblogs joined them, and from which these silos themselves in turn emerged. The ‘back to the blog‘ urge I’ve felt and lived here in the past two years, is an expression of seeking the richness that the combination provides. My involvement in IndieWeb which tries to strengthen the ties between those patterns by adding new functionality to our blogging tools is also explained by it.

Because it allows better communication. Which is what matters. As Kicks Condor phrased it when he reflected on my information strategies

It is very focused on just being a human who is attempting to communicate with other humans—that’s it really.

Elmine and Habermas still point us in that direction. We can do better in this, and we should do better in this.