Other Al Gore Rhythms!


My concurrent reads are N.E.A.: Trojan Horse in American Education by Samuel L. Blumenfeld and Automate This: How Algorithms Came to Rule Our World by Christopher Steiner. As interesting as N.E.A. is, I'm currently paying more attention to Automate This, where the author talks about the increasing technological creep into various industries from music to medicine.

I feel like Automate This has sparked my imagination when it comes to what I want to do with my life and what people have already done. We see a lot of news articles which describe places where algorithms disrupt. I even talked about it at one point, where I think I was against automation displacing various workers and laborers. From what I've read so far, I've learned that people fear what they don't understand. With Automate This, I understand the tech creep even more and I can make a nuanced decision about how I feel about people possibly losing their jobs. It's certainly happened before, yet it comes to mind that I didn't even research what happened to those who lost their jobs during the Industrial Revolution, but I bet, thanks to the Revolution, they got new, safer jobs.

Enough about my positions, what about the book. If you get this book, I suggest reading the introduction as it will hook you hard. As far as I am, I wondered how I got so far along, and realized how powerful the first paragraph alone is, since it sets up a mystery about severely increasing prices that were the results of competing algorithms. From there, you get to learn about how stars are born, how money is made in Wall Street and how fast, whether political dissent is going to happen and where, and medicine you ought to be prescribed.

This book is genuinely inspiring to me. I get to learn about myself and the world and what I want to do. In fact, the other book I mentioned helps me put my past into perspective, as did another book I recently read about mindset.

If you happen to come across it, even if you're not interested in computer science or programming, I suggest you pick it up and have cozy reads on the bus.
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Social Distancing Warrior
1. What does any of this have to do with Al Gore? I think your title is just clickbait. (It worked, though.)

2. How are you reading two books at once? I mean, I did this all through out school, but if I have a choice, I will finish reading one before starting the next.

3. Many of these algorithms are based on statistics and probability. They, therefore, are not entirely accurate. I remember some hedge fund company once invented an algorithm for investing that they thought was fool proof. They lost their butt. Betting on algorithms is probably not the smartest thing to do. You are, at best, betting on the expertise of the human who designed the algorithm. Computers are only trying to simulate the human decision making.

4. Yes, I believe automation is coming and going to stay for a long, long time. One of my favorite parts about computer programming is that I can automate some of my own work, the repetitive tasks that come with programming. I am essentially creating my own tools, like a wood worker creates jigs. I am not sure where this will all lead. There will be thousands of semi-successful people automating processes over and over, essentially duplicating one another's work. A few people will become very successful and wealthy though automation, but the masses will probably be left behind. Robots will replace manual labor. Communication and computational software will replace pencil pushes. Automation combined with Capitalism will probably lead to a dystopian society where a small group of elites have all the money and power. If you think about the old sci-fi movies where everyone lives in a utopian society, where everyone has food and shelter given to them and no one has to work, that society is Socialistic. Either that, or the people are unwittingly being raised as cattle like in H. G. Well's "Time Machine".