movements and rackets

Every fortnight I curate some of the observations and insights that were shared on social media. I call these Friday’s Finds.

“Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” ―Eric Hoffer, The Temper of Our Time

@EskoKilpi — “When managers think about diversity they typically look for diversity of gender and race but the real goal should be diversity of thinking, diversity of mind.”

How much can we afford to forget, if we teach machines to remember? via @ShaunCoffey

“Technology can potentially improve education, dramatically widen access, and promote greater human creativity and wellbeing. Many people rightly sense that they stand in some liminal cultural space, on the threshold of great change. Perhaps educators will eventually learn to become better teachers in alliance with AI partners. But in an educational setting, unlike collaborative chess or medical diagnostics, the student is not yet a content expert. The AI as know-it-all memory partner can easily become a crutch, while producing students who think they can walk on their own.

As the experience of my physicist friend suggests, memory can adapt and evolve. Some of that evolution invariably involves forgetting old ways, in order to free up time and space for new skills. Provided that older forms of knowledge are retained somewhere in our network, and can be found when we need them, perhaps they’re not really forgotten. Still, as time goes on, one generation gradually but unquestionably becomes a stranger to the next.”

Built to Shill — The fiction of convenience makes cities less livable

‘Hyperobjects [e.g. the real estate state] are so massive that they have a way of bending things to their will: they are a wedge issue in politics, a monopoly in the market, a gravity well in the solar system. We feel too small and weak to confront them. Instead, we carry out our lives in hypocritical doublespeak: acknowledging their destructive power but doing nothing to stop it. Where you keep your money (no matter how little) where you live (no matter how humble) always feeds the hyperobject. This enormous thing is also deeply sensual and personal: You may hate capitalism but love your childhood home and use the laws of land ownership to protect it and keep it as your own. You hate Uber, but your car is in the shop and it’s the only way to get to work on time. This is, in part, why Morton says that “the time of hyperobjects is a time of hypocrisy.”’

How robots became a scapegoat for the destruction of the working class

“If machines produce everything we need, the outcome will depend on how things are distributed. Everyone can enjoy a life of luxurious leisure if the machine-produced wealth is shared, or most people can end up miserably poor if the machine-owners successfully lobby against wealth redistribution.” —Stephen Hawking

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