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Computers That Just Work
Trying to Finally Automate Away Bureaucracy

Everybody thinks of bureau­crats as being kind of a neu­tral force. But I’m going to make the case that bureau­crats are in fact a very strong­ly neg­a­tive force, and that automat­ing the bureau­crat­ic func­tions inside of our soci­ety is nec­es­sary for fur­ther human progress.

AI Threats to Civil Liberties and Democracy

In a world of con­flict­ing val­ues, it’s going to be dif­fi­cult to devel­op val­ues for AI that are not the low­est com­mon denom­i­na­tor.

The Conversation #47 — Oliver Porter

To me…we all draw our sat­is­fac­tion from what we our­selves have been able to do with our lives. And if some­body, some gov­ern­ment or some­one else is just giv­ing to me, I’m not going to be a hap­py per­son.

Sean Wilentz on Donald Trump and the Crisis in American Democracy

I don’t think we’ve had any­body quite like Donald Trump before, in terms of the pol­i­tics of celebri­ty, which is what I think he’s real­ly about. It’s not sim­ply that he’s rich. We’ve had rich peo­ple in pol­i­tics before. He’s not sim­ply a busi­ness­man. We’ve had busi­ness­men in pol­i­tics before.

Roger Berkowitz on Refiguring American Government

The great dan­ger and fear that I have is that in the last fifty to sev­en­ty years, pow­er has increas­ing­ly con­cen­trat­ed not only in the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment but in the pres­i­den­cy.

President Trump: The End of American Democracy?

One thing I can say is that I don’t think we know very much about Donald Trump, which is one of the things that’s scary about him but also one of the things that’s excit­ing about him.

Roger Berkowitz on Hannah Arendt

Hannah Arendt loved it when unex­pect­ed things hap­pened in pol­i­tics. She thinks and thought that spon­tane­ity, new­ness… She used the word natal­i­ty,” which is often mis­used and abused in her work by oth­ers, but it means birth, birth­li­ness. And she thought that what made human beings dif­fer­ent from oth­er ani­mals is not that we were ratio­nal, but that we could start things new.

Mindful Cyborgs #51 — Nordic Larp, Social Change, and Free-will Agency with Eleanor Saitta

Change is going to hap­pen. I guess in a lot of cas­es I see my role in the world as try­ing des­per­ate­ly to build enough tools, and enough under­stand­ing of how they work and how they can be used, and to get that stuff out into the world enough so that when stuff inevitably breaks and falls apart and explodes in our faces, we’ve got kind of a first aid kit that we can reach for.

Social Disruption and the Sharing Economy

I think there’s an unprece­dent­ed oppor­tu­ni­ty to change our rela­tion­ship with polit­i­cal pow­er. And I don’t think we need to be afraid of it. I don’t think we have to com­pro­mise our core prin­ci­ples in order to do it.

The Conversation #37 — David Keith

There are biol­o­gists who’ve spent their careers work­ing on some species of bee­tle in the trop­i­cal rain­for­est, and they just love the rain­for­est in their bones And they feel that when they go tes­ti­fy in Congress to some com­mit­tee, that they can’t just say, I love it in my bones and you guys will love it too, if you share it with me.” They have to say, Oh, we’ve done all this math and com­put­ed that there’s an ecosys­tem ser­vice here.” And I think that that has real­ly impov­er­ished our debate about envi­ron­men­tal issues.

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