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My family has relocated to our relatively remote cottage for the duration (my wife has an auto-immune disease and being away is a good thing).
So the daughter is doing her university courses, the wife is working online, I am reading CP and bang - the internet goes down. I get a text from a neighbour asking if mine is down too - so it appears to be the whole area. Much panic ensues as if life is ending...
It appears we really do need the machine that goes 'ping'...
If you can't laugh at yourself - ask me and I will do it for you.
GOTOs are a bit like wire coat hangers: they tend to breed in the darkness, such that where there once were few, eventually there are many, and the program's architecture collapses beneath them. (Fran Poretto)
E.M.Forster wrote this ‘Science Fiction story’ in 1909. Pre computer, pre- world wide web, pre-smart talking to itself technology.
Just over 100 years later this seems not like science fiction at all, more, something which might be a mere handful of years away, and in many ways, already here.
Set sometime in the future (at the time of writing) human beings have gratefully done away with all the challenging, messy stuff of having to communicate with each other, and skilfully negotiate co-operation with another face to face human being, in real time and place.
Instead, each lives softly cocooned like a babe inside a personal pod, where all wants are regulated by sentient technology. The technology ‘The Machine’ was once created and conceived of by humans, but now it does things so much more efficiently than any one human can do. All needs, be they of ambient temperature, health and well being, education, entertainment, furniture, are seamlessly provided by the machine, and the human being in its pod never has to rub up against the messy flesh of another. Communication happens by seeing (and hearing) each other on some kind of screen. You in your small pod, me in mine
Everything that can be controlled, is, and everything that can’t, in the material world, is regarded as unpleasant and dangerous.
Living happens in the personal pod, deep below the earth, where the air supply is regulated, and purified. The surface of the earth is deemed dangerous, the air not fit to breathe. The Machine has told us so, so it must be true.
Vashti, the central character is happy in her pod. Her son is a difficult and challenging embarrassment to her and their ‘meetings’ on screen do not go well. He also has disturbing things to say about The Machine, and appears to harbour dangerously subversive ideas about a better, earlier time, when people communicated directly with each other. And then………well, the title of the story shows where this will lead.
Current events in the world, and specifically the USA, remind me of this quote from Charles Dickens' "A Tale Of Two Cities".
These are the darkest times for the many thousands who suffer the effects of the virus, and the millions who suffer financially after they lost their income. Yet these events also brought out the best in so many individuals and companies who are racing to produce much needed medical equipment, and it also brought out the innovative spirit in many who are working on new and better tests, treatments and equipment. Sadly it also brought out the worst in some who exploit the misery and fear of others, for selfish personal gain:
“It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair………”
The question asks itself: WHY were you kicked out?
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, navigate a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects! - Lazarus Long
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Did you ever see history portrayed as an old man with a wise brow and pulseless heart, weighing all things in the balance of reason?
Is not rather the genius of history like an eternal, imploring maiden, full of fire, with a burning heart and flaming soul, humanly warm and humanly beautiful?
Training a telescope on one’s own belly button will only reveal lint. You like that? You go right on staring at it. I prefer looking at galaxies.
-- Sarah Hoyt
...people are constantly and simultaneously asking for help over Team chat.
In the office, most of the people are in the same space with me, so they can see if I'm talking with somebody, and they patiently wait their turn.
An interesting artifact -- queuing when people can see other people are busy, vs. constant interruption as a result of not seeing each other. And nobody pays attention to the "do not disturb", "away", or "in a meeting" icons. What's the use?
I think I see an idea for all these chat apps - they should have a queuing feature so that chats occur with just one person at a time until the conversation is done, and you don't even get to see the other people in the queue until the current conversation is done.
I look at the current environment as a big beta test for a world where this is much more the norm than the exception. This is a very common scenario in science fiction books and it has now become our reality. Large scale use of these chap apps is in its infancy and I am sure many of these problems have never been encountered or imagined before. I think the chat apps need to work more like a phone with call-waiting type of functionality and a hold option and so on. We now get to watch and experience their evolution first-hand.
"They have a consciousness, they have a life, they have a soul! Damn you! Let the rabbits wear glasses! Save our brothers! Can I get an amen?"
I don't think that "you don't even get to see the other people in the queue until the current conversation is done" is a good option.
Consider if you're trying to mentor a learning-resistant junior about something while someone with a production outage is in the queue.
Last Visit: 28-Sep-20 16:26 Last Update: 28-Sep-20 16:26