Book Look: Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World

Book title: Solitude

Solitude: In Pursuit of a Singular Life in a Crowded World
Written by Michael Harris

Connectivity to our devices is put under the microscope in this disturbing yet interesting examination. Technically, we are all addicted. No use in trying to fool yourself otherwise. At least you'll learn the history of how it came to be.

Some random quotes and passages:


"The connectivity arms race had it's tipping point in 1998, when a smallish company in Waterloo, Canada, called Research In Motion introduced the first device capable of mobile access to email: the BlackBerry. The days of clumsy pagers came to a swift end. From then on conversations would be wireless, mobile, and a constant -- from the singular BlackBerry came a movable feast. BlackBerrys were originally geared toward a class of bullish American executives -- people who not only prided themselves on being indispensable, but had a latent addition to connection that no technology had yet tapped. "

"Meanwhile, researchers at Google have created DeepDream, which makes (pricey) art by toying with Google's image recognition software: DeepDream looks for familiar patterns in any image it's fed and then amps up those patterns, producing what some have called "artificial intelligence on LSD". If you show DeepDream a beach, it may find a pattern like a dinosaur in the sand's whorls and spin that dinosaur up so it becomes more obvious.  But all it's "original" artwork is ultimately a bit of algorithmic playfulness, a processing of enormous reams of crowd-sourced data."

"John McCarthy, the American computer scientist, who coined the term artificial intelligence, had the gall to insist that pieces of technology could hold opinions and beliefs. This was 1979, and he was one of the middle-aged wizards of the computer boom; at the time many exaggerated claims where bouncing down the halls of MIT and Stanford (McCarthy taught at both)."



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Hey, I like the new Book Look format.  

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