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Jim Stogdill
Irrepressible over sharer. Policurious. Looking back while leaning forward but trying to be present now. Free time usually involves silver halides.
Irrepressible over sharer. Policurious. Looking back while leaning forward but trying to be present now. Free time usually involves silver halides.

Jim's posts

"there are two Americas: those that have an intimate knowledge of and experience with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and those who have no relationship to them."

Watching all the Uber / taxi stuff has me thinking (again) about how silicon valley insists on elevating disruption to a religion. Shumpeterian economics make sense (to a point) but would it kill us to remember to have some empathy?

I wrote this a few weeks ago:

Disruption is our state religion here in Weblandia. In our cathedral that we pretend is a bazaar, we worship the Shiva-like god of disruption — a two-faced god occupying the duality of creation and destruction, demanding only that we sacrifice the dirt-dwelling Flyovers without hesitation. Our priests teach us that compassion is a liability. To reach our potential we must shade the windows of our busses in an empathy-blocking stream of bits and keep our heads down in our screens.

It’s not our fault. The world needs destruction to cleanse itself. Old trees burn to clear the land for new growth. The earth opens up so new diamonds can jet to the surface — life from death, all that stuff. We publicly praise our deity for its creation face, but in our darker impulses we love him for the destruction. Blowing shit up is fun. Even better if you feel righteous doing it.

We technologists are such utopians. Disruptive utopians? Those words are weird together. Sometimes our utopianism is overt and sometimes it’s quiet and presumptive. Either way, we are certain that the technique we’re discovering or developing will change the world for the better when it’s put to it’s intended use, and there are no unintended consequences. There are never unintended consequences.

Of course, in the real world, unintention often dwarfs intention. Shiva the Destroyer is unpredictable, and we would do well to fear his power a little bit, to be humble in our disruptive rapture.

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I really felt like I was taking a risk when I gave this talk at Solid two weeks ago. Like standing in church and declaring "God is dead."

The talk works back and forth between two themes. One, a simple one just describing what I had in mind when I pushed to create the event. The story of why we did it.

The other is more complicated. It raises the question (without even attempting an answer) of how we approach our responsibilities, and what responsibilities do we technologists have as the things we build enter (and change) the world around us? 

I think we engineers have always thought, probably too blithely, that as long as our intention and the near-term value of our work is good, that that is enough.

Given what we are building now as the Internet escapes the web into the fabric of our environment, I wonder.

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I just wrote an absurdly long +*****  post asking the question "What happens when mining subsidies on bitcoin end and the miners pack up their gear?"
Be warned, I speculate a lot.

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I wrote a new piece on Radar. The invisibility of ubiquity. Will we still call it the Internet when it's everywhere?

"In disputes upon moral or scientific points," Arthur Martine counseled in his magnificent 1866 guide to the art of conversation, "let your aim be to come at truth, not to conquer your opponent. So you never shall be at a loss in losing the argument, and gaining a new discovery." 

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I'm struck by how much of a typical things is about the bits and not the atoms. Things still look like things, but the ghost in the machine is code, and it's hard to write.

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Last week +Tim O'Reilly and I had a conversation about how Hardware / Software / Everywhere changes everything. 

Today I tried to answer some of the Q+A we didn't get to by the end of our hour.

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The technology and jobs debate raises complex questions
Doug Hill, James Bessen and Jim Stogdill continue discussing the impact of automation.
By +Jim Stogdill 

"But there’s another more fundamental problem, and this is where we start talking past each other. The question as posed is based on an assumption of scarcity. But if you think in terms of growing and/or future abundance, the question becomes either less important or moot. This is how the nano-techy singularists see it. 'Lack of jobs aren’t the problem — figuring out what to do with your free time when everything is provided by your fabber is.'"
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