Pragma Synesi – interesting bits

Compendium of interesting bits I come across, with an occasional IMHO

Pedestrian attacks self-driving car

In a world of self-driving cars that are practically perfect at avoiding harm to pedestrians, I can see people walking all over the road without looking, slowing traffic and causing damage to cars without a care.  Swerve into a wall in order to avoid hitting a pedestrian stepping off the sidewalk without looking? Can they identify the pedestrian to make him pay for the damage before he disappears?  Will we be compelled to buy pedestrian insurance in order to walk on the streets?  We’re not quite there yet, but this incident is a start.  Something to think about.

Pedestrian attacks self-driving car in the Mission

Nobody was hurt, except our civic dignity
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January 19, 2018 Posted by | behaviour | , , , | Leave a comment

Your Smartphone Controls Your Mind

Apps are designed to maximize the amount of time you spend on them — even if that is wasting your precious time.  Tristan Harris explains in his TED talk:

How a handful of tech companies control billions of minds every day

And check out this article to see what he is planning to do about it:

Smartphones Are Weapons of Mass Manipulation, and This Guy Is Declaring War on Them

October 19, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, decision making, psychology | , , , , | Leave a comment

You’re probably addicted to tech

You’re probably addicted to tech.  You may not realize it, or think you’ve got it under control, or know the problem but hide it.  Addiction does not have to be chemical, it could be behavioural — and it’s the latter that tech hooks you with.  Apps, websites, social media are engineered to be irresistible.

“There are a thousand people on the other side of the screen whose job it is to break down the self-regulation you have.” — Tristan Harris, “design ethicist”

Adam Alter’s book, Irresistible, looks at addictive behaviours and what we can do about it.  A fascinating excerpt from his book is published in Wired:

Tech Bigwigs Know How Addictive Their Products Are. Why Don’t the Rest of Us?

Check it out.

March 25, 2017 Posted by | behaviour, psychology | , | Leave a comment

Technology and Inequality

Eye-opening article from MIT — read it in the original to see the graph.

Technology and Inequality

David Rotman | October 21, 2014 | MIT Technology Review

The disparity between the rich and everyone else is larger than ever in the United States and increasing in much of Europe. Why?

Continue reading

January 16, 2016 Posted by | AI, economics | , , , , , , | Leave a comment