node created 2019/09/29
Utilitarianism aspires to be a benign philosophy but its proponents tend to overestimate their capacity for foresight and moral reasoning and end up creating deeply inhumane systems which are arguably worse than the problems they set out to solve.
Not to speak is to speak.
Not to act is to act.
Do you use a search engine? Social media? Any modern online game? A connected smart home? A smart phone without its privacy settings altered? A modern flat screen tv? A modern car? All of them do behavioral extraction in one form of another. Often under the guise of entertainment.
The web is straight up wack today. It has gone from anti-authoritarian to authoritarian and a permanent record.
These huge TOS agreements are akin to governmental authoritarian control. Everyone has broken something in them, we are all a criminal. Knowing this, we all live in fear knowing that it's not a matter of 'if' but 'when' the government/corporate overlord can cancel everything we've been working on or living for because of an obscure clause that no one has ever read, which was created for this very purpose.
I think Tech took a weird turn somewhere around 2010. Things became more homogeneous, designes became bland without rough edges, literally with rounded corners. Options were removed, defaults became simpler and dumber. Dev tools are more about saving programmers from themselves rather than pushing things to the limit.
It is typical for the discouraging superficiality of contemporary thinking that the word "greatness", which describes a quantity and not a quality, is used as expression of recognition, like "beauty", "kindness", "wisdom" for example. What is great [or big] today, is nearly automatically seen as beautiful and good.
"Germany: Jekyll & Hyde (1939 - Deutschland von innen betrachtet)" (1940)
Today we have marketing departments that say things such as “we don't need computers, we need appliances. Make me a computer that doesn't run every program, just a program that does this specialized task, like streaming audio, or routing packets, or playing Xbox games, and make sure it doesn't run programs that I haven't authorized that might undermine our profits."

On the surface, this seems like a reasonable idea: a program that does one specialized task. After all, we can put an electric motor in a blender, and we can install a motor in a dishwasher, and we don't worry if it's still possible to run a dishwashing program in a blender. But that's not what we do when we turn a computer into an appliance. We're not making a computer that runs only the “appliance" app; we're taking a computer that can run every program, then using a combination of rootkits, spyware, and code-signing to prevent the user from knowing which processes are running, from installing her own software, and from terminating processes that she doesn't want. In other words, an appliance is not a stripped-down computer—it is a fully functional computer with spyware on it out of the box.
Freedom in the future will require us to have the capacity to monitor our devices and set meaningful policies for them; to examine and terminate the software processes that runs on them; and to maintain them as honest servants to our will, not as traitors and spies working for criminals, thugs, and control freaks.

The New Colossus

"The New Colossus" is a sonnet by American poet Emma Lazarus (1849–1887). She wrote the poem in 1883 to raise money for the construction of a pedestal for the Statue of Liberty (Liberty Enlightening the World). In 1903, the poem was cast onto a bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal's lower level.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
If I am not for myself, who will be for me? But if I am only for myself, who am I? If not now, when?
Few people talk about it but it’s actually extremely weird to have celebrities at all. It’s a cultural and economic phenomenon that works to hijack our tendency to form relationships and identify with people we find attractive. It takes a mechanism that’s supposed to help us bond with our family members and leverages it for profit. The fact that some people can’t handle this gets overlooked. All blame is placed on the individual, allowing the rest of us to absolve ourselves of guilt and responsibility.
"You can’t be neutral on a moving train," I would tell them. Some were baffled by the metaphor, especially if they took it literally and tried to dissect its meaning. Others immediately saw what I meant: that events are already moving in certain deadly directions, and to be neutral means to accept that.
"You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times"
To exchange one orthodoxy for another is not necessarily an advance. The enemy is the gramophone mind, whether or not one agrees with the record that is being played at the moment.
If liberty means anything at all it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear. The common people still vaguely subscribe to that doctrine and act on it. In our country — it is not the same in all countries: it was not so in republican France, and it is not so in the USA today — it is the liberals who fear liberty and the intellectuals who want to do dirt on the intellect: it is to draw attention to that fact that I have written this preface.
[..] intellectual freedom is a deep-rooted tradition without which our characteristic western culture could only doubtfully exist. From that tradition many of our intellectuals arc visibly turning away. They have accepted the principle that a book should be published or suppressed, praised or damned, not on its merits but according to political expediency. And others who do not actually hold this view assent to it from sheer cowardice.
I am well acquainted with all the arguments against freedom of thought and speech — the arguments which claim that it cannot exist, and the arguments which claim that it ought not to. I answer simply that they don’t convince me and that our civilisation over a period of four hundred years has been founded on the opposite notice.
All naming decisions have several constraints in common. You want names that are as short as possible, so they are easy to type, format, and say. At the same time, you want to convey as much information as possible in each name, so readers will not have to carry as much knowledge in their heads. You want names that are familiar, to take advantage of knowledge readers already have via metaphor or analogy. However, you want names that are unique, so that others who are also choosing names will not accidentally choose names that interfere with yours. The first rule I follow is no abbreviations. Abbreviations optimize typing (a 10–100 times in 20 years task) over reading (a 1000–10000 times in 20 years task). Abbreviations make the interpretation of a name a two step process—what do the letters stand for and then what do those words mean. The class and method naming patterns here will produce names that you should never have to abbreviate. Naming the root class of a large hierarchy is a momentous occasion. People will be using the words you choose in their conversation for the next 20 years. You want to be sure you do it right. Unfortunately, many people get all formal when they go to name a superclass. Just calling it what it is isn’t enough. They have to tack on a flowery, computer science-y, impressive sounding, but ultimately meaningless word, like Object, Thing, Component, Part, Manager, Entity, or Item. You’re creating a vocabulary, not writing a program. Be a poet for a moment. The simple, the punchy, the easily remembered will be far more effective in the long run than some long name that says it all, but in such a way that no one wants to say it at all.
"Smalltalk Best Practice Patterns"
When I started we had books, and the knowledge of people who had done it longer than we had. Most Youtube photographers have very little knowledge and have no real understanding of the science and possibly the art behind what they "teach".
We live in a bubble. A bubble out of which we force ourselves not to look out of. A bubble filled with screens and frequent dopamine hits. We smile, we snicker, we chuckle, and whenever something doesn't agree with us, we instantly reply with our disagreement.

We don't want to look up, outside the window, feel the breeze and see life as it is going on around us. People walking, talking, communicate using many things beside a keyboard and emojis. Mostly using tones of voice, facial expressions, body language. Even more so with things they can touch, feel, read on things which are tangible, not worrying about going out of charge, or talking about formats, or apps.

This is life. Not the bits and bytes. Not the communication protocols, not the APIs, coding methodologies, frameworks, editors, tabs, spaces. Those are for machines to talk to other machines, not to people.

[..]

Making machines of people should not be considered development. Making machines for people should be.