A World Without Work

The U.S. labor force has been shaped by millennia of technological progress. Agricultural technology birthed the farming industry, the industrial revolution moved people into factories, and then globalization and automation moved them back out, giving rise to a nation of services. But throughout these reshufflings, the total number of jobs has always increased. What may be looming is something different: an era of technological unemployment, in which computer scientists and software engineers essentially invent us out of work, and the total number of jobs declines steadily and permanently.

Derek Thompson — A World Without Work

Malcolm events

Management is the care and feeding of the invisible. You’re doing your best when it appears the least is happening. I love the thrill of the last month of a release as much of the next guy, but I suspect the reason we’re yelling at each other, working weekends, and feeling the depressing weight of compromise is because we’re surrounded by Malcolm events [, seemingly insignificant events that are intent on screwing you in an unlikely way.]

Michael Lopp — Managing Humans

I always love a good curse word

The simple fact is that well-defined roles in software development are fading. User-interface guys are doing what can only be called development in JavaScript and CSS. Developers are learning more about interaction design. Everybody is talking to everybody else and they’re learning from each other’s mistakes, stealing each other’s code, and there is no reason that a manager shouldn’t be participating in this massive global cross-pollination information cluster-fuck.

Michael Lopp — Managing Humans

You Are Not Late

Looking back now it seems as if waves of settlers have since bulldozed and developed every possible venue, leaving only the most difficult and gnarly specks for today’s newcomers. Thirty years later the internet feels saturated, bloated, overstuffed with apps, platforms, devices, and more than enough content to demand our attention for the next million years. Even if you could manage to squeeze in another tiny innovation, who would notice it?

[…]

But, but…here is the thing. In terms of the internet, nothing has happened yet. The internet is still at the beginning of its beginning. If we could climb into a time machine and journey 30 years into the future, and from that vantage look back to today, we’d realize that most of the greatest products running the lives of citizens in 2044 were not invented until after 2014. People in the future will look at their holodecks, and wearable virtual reality contact lenses, and downloadable avatars, and AI interfaces, and say, oh, you didn’t really have the internet (or whatever they’ll call it) back then.

Kevin Kelly — You Are Not Late

The Internet’s Telltale Heartbleed

Unlike a rusting highway bridge, digital infrastructure does not betray the effects of age. And, unlike roads and bridges, large portions of the software infrastructure of the Internet are built and maintained by volunteers, who get little reward when their code works well but are blamed, and sometimes savagely derided, when it fails.

[…]

It’s easy to take open-source software for granted, and to forget that the Internet we use every day depends in part on the freely donated work of thousands of programmers.

The Internet’s Telltale HeartbleedThe New Yorker

Heart of most conflicts

In 1972, sociologists Richard Nisbett and Edward Jones hypothesized that perceptual asymmetry lay at the heart of most conflicts. They further suggested that bridging this asymmetry would assist in most conflict resolutions. They were right. Their key observation was this: People view their own behaviors as originating from amendable, situational constraints, but they view other people’s behaviors as originating from inherent, immutable personality traits. The classic example is the job candidate who arrives late for an interview. The candidate ascribes his tardiness to situations beyond his control (being caught in traffic). The interviewer ascribes his tardiness to personal responsibility (not taking traffic into account). One invokes a situational constraint to explain being late. The other invokes an insult.

John Medina – Brain Rules for Baby

Do universities hear the critics of journalism education?

New techniques and technologies are born monthly and it takes two years to get a new class through. Major new forms of media arise in less time than it takes to get a PhD.

I doubt academia will handle the digital age well. It still hasn’t accepted that this is the biggest leap since Gutenberg conjured the age of mass media with movable metal type.

Eric Newton, Knight Foundation — Do universities hear the critics of journalism education?

Turing’s Cathedral

In Turing’s 1950 paper, "Computing Machinery and Intelligence," he argued that when we build intelligent machines, we will not be creating souls but building the mansions for the souls that God creates. When I first visited Google, right about the time it went public, I walked around and saw what they were doing and realized they were building a very large distributed AI, much as Turing had predicted. And I thought, my God, this is not Turing’s mansion—this is Turing’s cathedral. Cathedrals were built over hundreds of years by thousands of nameless people, each one carving a little corner somewhere or adding one little stone. That’s how I feel about the whole computational universe. Everybody is putting these small stones in place, incrementally creating this cathedral that no one could even imagine doing on their own.

George Dyson — Q&A: Hacker Historian George Dyson Sits Down With Wired’s Kevin Kelly

All Dashboards Should be Feeds

And you know what? I have no idea whether my numbers on those services are good or not. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about them. In fact, though I love Chartbeat, the information that I get from them that means the most is their push notifications on my phone which tell me when my site is over its maximum monthly number of visitors. That is meaningful.

Insights like exceeding my usual level of visitors, or achieving some threshold I’d never crossed before, or doing some task particularly efficiently would be meaningful markers that I could respond to intelligently.

Anil Dash — All Dashboards Should be Feeds

A Capitalist’s Dilemma

In the last three recoveries, however, America’s economic engine has emitted sounds we’d never heard before. The 1990 recovery took 15 months, not the typical six, to reach the prerecession peaks of economic performance. After the 2001 recession, it took 39 months to get out of the valley. And now our machine has been grinding for 60 months, trying to hit its prerecession levels – and it’s not clear whether, when or how we’re going to get there. The economic machine is out of balance and losing its horsepower. But why?

The answer is that efficiency innovations are liberating capital, and in the United States this capital is being reinvested into still more efficiency innovations. In contrast, America is generating many fewer empowering innovations than in the past. We need to reset the balance between empowering and efficiency innovations.

Clayton Christensen — A Capitalist’s Dilemma