Category Archives: Information technology

Smart and ‘easy’ tech vs. ‘the pleasure of finding things out’

Today’s information technology companies tout the coming era of intelligent digital assistants as a boon for the lives of everyone from overscheduled small-business entrepreneurs to parents of curious small children. Have a question? Just speak up and get the answer instantly. Need a task completed? Ask the AI and it shall be done. Now, there …

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AI wins

Will AI take over human society? It’s too late to ask that question. Because, based on a number of recent developments, it appears that artificial intelligence has already hijacked the world. By this, I don’t mean that computers have attained sentience and conspired to conquer the planet. Rather, I’ve come to believe that algorithms and …

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The temptation of easy vs. dangerous complexity

To anyone (like me) who remembers what daily life was like in pre-Internet/pre-mobile phone days, the technological innovations of the past 20 years or so appear — no, are — mind-blowingly wonderful. And new developments just on the horizon — artificial intelligence in particular — sound almost magical in their potential capabilities. Indeed, to the …

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Imagining a better internet

“O what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” I was a voracious reader and super-curious kid all through school: I would have been over the moon if I had woken up one morning as a 12-year-old to discover a magic typewriter on my desk that could help me find the …

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Big-data hubris makes us lose sight of real people

It was bad enough when workers were first labeled “human resources.” It became even more disturbing with the more recent term, “human capital” … as if the many individuals who work for any one company amount to little more than numerical entries in a vast, digital ledger somewhere. Now, the dizzying advances in big data …

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Mindless surfing and critical thinking don’t go together

There’s no doubt the internet is an invaluable research tool. But it can also be a source of pernicious misinformation, astroturfed spin and virulent, hateful, troll-fueled content. As with every technology, it’s how we use the web — for good or for ill — that makes a difference. New research now shows that going online …

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