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The Oppenheimer Moment

Where did this evil stuff come from? Are we evil? I’m per­fect­ly will­ing to stip­u­late you are not evil. Neither is your boss evil. Nor is Larry Page or Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates. And yet the results of our work, our best most altru­is­tic work, often turns evil when it’s deployed in the larg­er world. We go to work every day, gen­uine­ly expect­ing to make the world a bet­ter place with our pow­er­ful tech­nol­o­gy. But some­how, evil is sneak­ing in despite our good inten­tions.

The Conversation #59 – Charles Hugh Smith

We’re in an era of over­lap­ping crises, and I think that’s what makes it sort of unique. We’re aware of the finan­cial aspect, which is sort of expo­nen­tial increase in debt. We’re also aware that ener­gy, the cost is going up because we’re reach­ing to deep­er and more expen­sive reserves of ener­gy, at least fos­sil fuels. So that’s anoth­er if not cri­sis then um… Well, actu­al­ly it is a cri­sis, because the world we’ve con­struct­ed is based on cheap fos­sil fuels.

Living in Information

The fram­ing of what we design is very impor­tant to how we go about it. We have not been fram­ing these things as con­texts. We’ve been fram­ing them as prod­ucts, ser­vices, and a whole oth­er series of terms that are— Tools, for exam­ple. And these are things that are most­ly trans­ac­tion­al. They’re not things that are meant to be inhab­it­ed.

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.

The Conversation #41 — John Fullerton

I actu­al­ly think you can trace many many of these big sys­temic crises to being symp­toms of the flawed idea that eco­nom­ic growth can go on indef­i­nite­ly, expo­nen­tial­ly, on a finite plan­et. That’s sort of my North Star. And then as a finance per­son, why do we think we need eco­nom­ic growth? Well, because the way our cap­i­tal sys­tem works is that cap­i­tal demands that growth.

Larp and…

I’m going talk to you guys about larp and. Larp and a whole lot of oth­er things. Because I think the most inter­est­ing things about larp are maybe not actu­al­ly larp itself, but when larp meets a whole bunch of the rest of the world.

The Conversation #36 — Ethan Zuckerman

We are in the midst of a shift in how we encounter infor­ma­tion. And we’re wrestling with three par­a­digms at the same time. The old­est of these par­a­digms, for for most of us, is edit­ed media. … You have a pow­er­ful gate­keep­er, the news­pa­per edi­tor, who says, Here are things you need to pay atten­tion to today. Give this a small amount of your time, and you will be rough­ly up to date with what you need to know.”

The Conversation #32 — The Conversation and the Election

It’s like we’ve got all these proxy wars going, where peo­ple are fight­ing bit­ter­ly over these things. And if you could sort of go back to the orig­i­nal glob­al con­flict almost, of ideas, I think you’d get to some inter­est­ing ara­tional assump­tions. Some of which would be dif­fer­ent. Some of which might be very sim­i­lar. And then you’d won­der why the hell are these proxy wars going on?

The Conversation #26 — Jenny Lee

The worst‐case sce­nario for Detroit would be that the archi­tec­ture of the Internet as it is now con­tin­ues, and Detroiters’ sto­ries, voic­es, lives, are absent. And the New York Times sto­ry about the cre­ative class sav­ing Detroit, or the doc­u­men­tary about the aban­don­ment and whole­sale destruc­tion of Detroit that por­trays it as a waste­land and a blank can­vas ready for entre­pre­neur­ial exploita­tion, that those sto­ries are defin­ing the nation­al, the glob­al imag­i­na­tion of what Detroit is. And that those sto­ries, they don’t use influ­ence people’s desire to come here and do those things and live that life, though that’s part of it, but it also shapes the per­cep­tion of peo­ple inside the city.

The Conversation #25 — Frances Whitehead

Some of my artist friends think what I’m doing isn’t art, and I’ve giv­en up on art. It’ll take care of itself. You know. I mean it’s always been there, it will always be there, and we always know that new art nev­er looks like art at first, ever. So why should this be any dif­fer­ent? We just have to trust the process. And I would say that must be true for every oth­er dis­ci­pline.

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