The End of Programming

Matt Welsh in CACM

The engineers of the future will, in a few keystrokes, fire up an instance of a four-quintillion-parameter model that already encodes the full extent of human knowledge (and then some), ready to be given any task required of the machine

I can’t get over this bit: The full extent of human knowledge (and then some)”

January 9, 2023 WhatIsWorkAnyway

Star Trek is just staff meetings in space, right?

Via JWZ, via a tumblr thread:

Klingons: Okay we don’t get it

Vulcan Science Academy: Get what

Klingons: You Vulcans are a bunch of stuffy prisses but you’re also tougher, stronger, and smarter than Humans in every single way

Klingons: Why do you let them run your Federation

Vulcan Science Academy: Look

Vulcan Science Academy: This is a species where if you give them two warp cores they don’t do experiments on one and save the other for if the first one blows up

Vulcan Science Academy: This is a species where if you give them two warp cores, they will ask for a third one, immediately plug all three into each other, punch a hole into an alternate universe where humans subscribe to an even more destructive ideological system, fight everyone in it because they’re offended by that, steal their warp cores, plug those together, punch their way back here, then try to turn a nearby sun into a torus because that was what their initial scientific experiment was for and they didn’t want to waste a trip.

Vulcan Science Academy: They did that last week. We have the write-up right here. it’s getting published in about six hundred scientific journals across two hundred different disciplines because of how many established theories their ridiculous little expedition has just called into question. Also, they did turn that sun into a torus, and no one actually knows how.

Vulcan Science Academy: This is why we let them do whatever the hell they want.

Klingons: …. Can we be a part of your Federation

January 9, 2023

our desire to post and create content is way higher than it is to seek out additional context or admit we just don’t and won’t ever have it”

— Ryan Broderick in Garbage day

I think this also applies more generally: our desire to have an opinion is higher than it is to seek out additional context, or simply admit we don’t know enough to have an opinion.

January 1, 2023

The Application of Materials

Every designer should know the application of materials 1.

As a UX designer, this is tricky. What is the material of UX? Or rather, what is UX manipulating?

People will say that the material of UX is behaviour, but I find that reductive. And inaccurate as changing thoughts and actions is the point of all design.

I don’t have a good answer.

  1. I’m following Danah Abdulla’s Designerly Ways of Knowing↩︎

January 1, 2023 designerlywaysofknowing

No one knows how work works

Attributed to Patrick S Tomlinson:

1960’s Futurists: Automation will free mankind from meaningless tedium to focus on creative pursuits only human beings can master.

2020’s Techbros: We’re building AI to write all your books, music, and TV so you can focus on the meaningless tedium of your cubicle job.

December 27, 2022 WhatIsWorkAnyway

A computer can never be accountable

An old IBM slide:

A computer shouldn’t make a management decision

December 18, 2022

Cost of development

On the excellent Oddly Influenced podcast, Brian Marick was talking to Glenn Vanderburg about engineering.

My big take-away was engineers build models to simulate real materials or situations because it’s cheaper and less risky than building the real thing at 1:1 scale and getting it wrong.

In software (UX) we create and test prototypes because it’s cheaper than getting real people to use the real thing and finding out it’s wrong.

December 18, 2022

Audi played with an AI to make new wheel designs. Steve DaSilva at Jalopnik is not impressed.

it seems Audi has developed a high-tech system that takes existing wheels and fucks em up a little, then sends them off to actual car designers to fix.

December 17, 2022

Michael Hobbes, on the bird site:

I think we’ll look back on the last decade as a time when social media gave previously marginalized groups the ability to speak directly to elites and, as a result, elites lost their minds.

December 17, 2022

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