News: People Are A Challenge

Just read a story at Slate by Daniel Wilson with the creepy heading of “Robot sex and marriage: Will society accept it?” The discussion of robot prostitution was interesting, but not too thought provoking. We’ve pretty much removed the human-ness of the other activities that we do relating to the physical passions.  Here in America, you can eat and drink yourself to a stupor for very little money, and do it in complete social isolation if you prefer.  Why not sex?  Temperance is not an American strong suit.

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Creative Industries?

Well, there you go. According to the New York Post, it looks like Hulu is going to be switching over to a new revenue system. The site, owned by News Corp., Disney, Comcast and Providence, has used an ad and subscription supported model that enabled people to watch cable and network shows without subscribing to cable. The problem is, people are leaving cable. So, Hulu is going change to an “authentication model” that will require you to enter your cable subscriber number before you watch. No cable, no Hulu.

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It’s Always More Complicated Than We Think

These days, there’s a cottage industry around heralding the decline of Western culture and the end of civilization as we know it.  We regularly see news stories about stupid people doing stupid things, and each election season brings books about how this political party or that is causing the end of America.

The other popular version of this motif is the “technology is the end of the world” perspective, as seen in books like The Shallows and The Dumbest Generation. Often, these sorts of books bring in in “objective scientific data” about brain function, but rarely discuss it in its full complexity.  As a result, they end up only telling part of the story—the bad part.

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Privacy Is About More Than Just Fear

Last week, Josh Constine over at Tech Crunch wrote an interesting piece on online data security. It is a worthwhile read (even if a bit flawed).  His thesis was that innovation is being hampered by public over-reaction to potential problems with the security of private data at social networking sites and in apps. Constine seems frustrated that Despite their own research that showed little danger of data compromise on Facebook apps, The Wall Street Journal still wrote “a hit piece” that warned people about privacy dangers at the site. Privacy concerns are, it seems, a fiction foisted upon an ignorant public by an corrupt media.

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