Nov 15

When First

When I first started helping people with computer problems, when I was six or seven years old, I thought that in the future — maybe by the year 2000 — everyone would know enough about computers that I wouldn’t have to help anyone anymore.

Obviously, I was very wrong about that. I think what I missed is that even though most computer interactions are very simple, they are more complex than about 60% of the population can really handle. Thus, as long as there are computers there will be ridiculous tech support requests and such (“I can’t find my Start menu.” Well, it’s in the same place it was for the last 10,000 days you’ve been using Windows….)

In other words, tech support is never going away, unless we raise the IQ of a lot of people all at once. Damn.

Nov 15

Human Morality

“A further logical flaw arises in connection with the widely held conviction that humans are morally superior beings because they possess, while others lack, the capacities of a moral agent (free will, accountability, deliberation, judgment, practical reason). This view rests on a conceptual confusion. As far as moral standards are concerned, only beings that have the capacities of a moral agent can properly be judged to be either moral (morally good) or immoral (morally deficient). Moral standards are simply not applicable to beings that lack such capacities. Animals and plants cannot therefore be said to be morally inferior in merit to humans. Since the only beings that can have moral merits or be deficient in such merits are moral agents, it is conceptually incoherent to judge humans as superior to nonhumans on the ground that humans have moral capacities while nonhumans don’t.”

– Paul Taylor, Respect for Nature: A Theory of Environmental Ethics

Nov 14

Econovolve

I am not anti-economics. There could be a valid field of economics just as there could be a valid, productive field of evolutionary psychology. Both of these are things that could exist. That they do not now says nothing about their potential or validity.

Now, though, both fields would have to be burnt to the ground and rebuilt nearly from scratch. Is that likely? No. But it’s still worth fighting for and thinking about alternatives.

Nov 14

Clust

Relatedly, wonder when corporate America will realize containers and Kubernetes are just very slow fucking clusters?

Here’s something I absolutely guarantee: I can create a cluster that’s 10x as reliable and a thousand times faster than anything you can build with containers and Kubernetes. Want to bet me? I’ll put $100,000 on it. I am completely serious because it’s an easy $100,000. (Skin in the game and all that.)

Nov 14

Labels

My guess is that a society can’t survive as a cohesive polity when everyone demands their own individuated identity with its own label. That seems to lead only to fracture and dissolution. Is there a path that doesn’t lead this way with everyone having their own private and fiercely-guarded identity and pronouns? Perhaps, but it’s a narrow and perilous one.

Sure is easy to sell things to people, though, if they all believe they are the specialest thing to ever exist, isn’t it?

Capitalists don’t care if the planet burns and a quarter of the population dies as long as profits are made and product moves. And completely individuated pseudo-identities are firmly a capitalist idea just as much as shareholder meetings or IPOs.

Nov 14

Pushback Wrong

I receive and have received some pushback when I said that in general society was getting more prudish and that even so-called liberals are trending this way as well. Nevertheless, that is what’s occurring.

Jonah Disend, founder of innovation firm Redscout, explains further: “The concept of a master bedroom is becoming obsolete because we have a different relationship with sleep now—we don’t hang out in the bedroom the way we used to.” Disend notes that millennials are driving this shift. Their relationship with privacy is radically different from those of the generations preceding them—though digitally nonchalant, they’re prudish in person.

I don’t know what explains the extreme prudishness, exactly, but it’s definitely increasing.

Nov 14

Tri Again

I want to write a three-volume series of philosophical history.

The first volume will be Full Throttle Aristotle.

The second will be Descartes Before the Horse.

The third will be Kant Stop Now.

Who will fund me? Come on, let’s do this.