Posts marcados com entrevistas

Ted Chiang: Medos da tecnologia são medos do capitalismo

Ted Chiang, autor de Exhalation, o livro de contos de ficção-científica que eu estou lendo nesse exato momento, e do conto que deu origem ao filme A Chegada, em uma entrevista para o podcast de Ezra Klein (ênfases minhas):

I tend to think that most fears about A.I. are best understood as fears about capitalism. And I think that this is actually true of most fears of technology, too. Most of our fears or anxieties about technology are best understood as fears or anxiety about how capitalism will use technology against us. And technology and capitalism have been so closely intertwined that it’s hard to distinguish the two.

Let’s think about it this way. How much would we fear any technology, whether A.I. or some other technology, how much would you fear it if we lived in a world that was a lot like Denmark or if the entire world was run sort of on the principles of one of the Scandinavian countries? There’s universal health care. Everyone has child care, free college maybe. And maybe there’s some version of universal basic income there.

Now if the entire world operates according to — is run on those principles, how much do you worry about a new technology then? I think much, much less than we do now. Most of the things that we worry about under the mode of capitalism that the U.S practices, that is going to put people out of work, that is going to make people’s lives harder, because corporations will see it as a way to increase their profits and reduce their costs. It’s not intrinsic to that technology. It’s not that technology fundamentally is about putting people out of work.

It’s capitalism that wants to reduce costs and reduce costs by laying people off. It’s not that like all technology suddenly becomes benign in this world. But it’s like, in a world where we have really strong social safety nets, then you could maybe actually evaluate sort of the pros and cons of technology as a technology, as opposed to seeing it through how capitalism is going to use it against us. How are giant corporations going to use this to increase their profits at our expense?

And so, I feel like that is kind of the unexamined assumption in a lot of discussions about the inevitability of technological change and technologically-induced unemployment. Those are fundamentally about capitalism and the fact that we are sort of unable to question capitalism. We take it as an assumption that it will always exist and that we will never escape it. And that’s sort of the background radiation that we are all having to live with. But yeah, I’d like us to be able to separate an evaluation of the merits and drawbacks of technology from the framework of capitalism.

Via Kottke. Esse é um assunto que me fascina desde que eu li The Soul of the New Machine, de Tracy Kidder.

A história da Wikipédia através dos relatos de seus fundadores

A Wikipédia fez vinte anos na última sexta-feira, dia 15. Eu considero ela o site mais importante da internet. É o site que melhor define a promessa do que a internet pode ser — um espaço de informação livre e colaborativa, onde pontos de vista se somam ao invés de se isolar. É gratuita, é distribuída, e se um dia sair do ar, o buraco que ele vai deixar na sociedade é gigante demais. A Wikipédia conseguiu ser inestimável para nós em tão pouco tempo que é difícil de pensar numa internet em que ela geralmente não é o segundo resultado em qualquer pesquisa no Google.

Para celebrar esse aniversário, o OneZero publicou uma história oral da Wikipédia com seus fundadores e contribuidores mais relevantes. É uma leitura fascinante:

Now 20 years later — Wikipedia’s birthday is this Friday — nearly 300,000 editors (or “Wikipedians”) now volunteer their time to write, edit, block, squabble over, and scrub every corner of the sprawling encyclopedia. They call it “the project,” and they are dedicated to what they call its five pillars: Wikipedia is an encyclopedia; Wikipedia is written from a neutral point of view; Wikipedia is free content that anyone can use, edit, and distribute; Wikipedia’s editors should treat each other with respect and civility; and Wikipedia has no firm rules.


It is not perfect. There is trolling. There are vandals. There is bullying of “newbies” by editors. And there are imposters who edit not for the greater good but to serve the greed, vanity, or ambition of self-interested (sometimes paying) parties. And, yes, there are many, many weak and thinly sourced articles (only about 40,000 out of the site’s 6 million entries meet the higher standard of being “good articles”). There is also a gender imbalance within the domain of Wikipedia — in English Wikipedia, more than 80% of editors are men and just 18% of biographies are about women.

Regardless, Wikipedia is now a cornerstone of life online. How many wives did King Henry VIII have? Where does the word “fuck” come from? Why did people wear bearskin shoes? Wikipedia has all the answers.