Where Do We Go With Technology?

Since computers have been invented, a primary goal has been Artificial Intelligence – to design computers that “think” like people. A related utopian ( or dystopian? ) goal has been Singularity – where computers surpass humans’ abilities. In theory, computers would teach themselves to evolve much faster than humans to the point of becoming “super” beings with abilities we as humans can only dream of.
 Perhaps a more worthy goal for computers than making them think like people – or surpass people, would be to make computers that can help people be better people.

 By better – not necessarily smarter, bigger, stronger and more accomplished.

Actually happier, healthier, more fulfilled, more ethical and harmonious (with others and our surroundings).

 How can we do this?

 

Me and Colin Hanks and Tower Records

At a Q and A after Sacramento’s Tower Theater weekend premiere of Sacramento-based Tower Records documentary “All Things Must Pass” last week:

I asked director Colin Hanks, a native Sacramentan,  about his own Tower memories and experiences that stood out. So many of course. Deconstructing CD long boxes to put on his bedroom wall. Buying Tom Petty tickets at Tower Broadway in 1990.

I worked for Tower Records from 1992 – 1998. First for six months as a clerk at Tower Books Watt Ave during a down time in my life when I couldn’t do much else. Then back into IT, eventually designing and developing Tower’s supply chain management systems for the company’s new brand of superstores, which combined Records, Books and Video.

Best times of my career; I only left because Tower wouldn’t pay techies more than their lower-tier VP’s, which was around 50k a year back then. Except for Russ Solomon and Senior VP’s, no one was ever paid much working at Tower. It was a labor of love and loyalty, going both ways. In my case, those only went so far. I immediately made six figures elsewhere.

My favorite memories are of road trips opening new Tower stores. Corporate employees who were also specialists in their fields travelled as the “A Team” to set up new stores. Trips during my spell at Tower were to New York City, Nashville, Washington DC and Chicago, among others. One of the Tower mantras was work hard and play harder. Great times in great cities.

Like Colin, I also shopped at Tower from when I first had spending money (in my case the 70’s), until its closure in 2006.

Nothing has come close to replacing the communal shopping experience of buying music, books and video during the latter half of the 20th Century.

Azealia Banks is a star!

Girl has ar-rived.

LOUD and CLEAR

Child Abuse. Rape. Male domination and violence against women, children, the powerless. This shit has been going on for centuries.
Finally, finally it is surfacing like a breaching whale. On video.
Sick brutal behavior being called out.
LOUD and CLEAR

The Cost of Cosmopolitan Living

Mayor of London Boris Johnson is refusing to pay a U.S. tax bill. Turns out Johnson holds dual UK/US citizenship having been born in New York, and therefore is required to file U.S. tax returns. The IRS is demanding he pay capital gains tax on the sale of his primary residence in London, because the UK does not tax capital gains on the sale of first residences.

I’m no fan of Boris, yet another elite who is out of touch and/or uncaring about most people’s lives, but in this case he does have a point.

It iis< "very difficult" to give up U.S. citizenship, as he claims (multiple forms, fees and in-person pass/fail interviews with consular officials). And through no fault of his own he was born a U.S. citizen because his parents flitted between countries on socio-financial whims.

So he can blame Mummy and Daddy for his predicament. Or the over-encompassing new law (FATCA) intended to prevent American tax evaders from hiding money overseas, but which now affects every U.S. citizen living abroad.

Life is not always fair. Sometimes it takes considerable effort to deal with injustice while maintaining some measure of integrity. Rarely there are nightmare stories where lives are practically ruined by injustice, though one might think it is more common because the press gravitates towards these tragic stories – or questionably propagates them – as did the recent Guardian headline for an article about FATCA – "I was terrified we'd lose all our money."

Heaven forbid Bombastic Boris would ever come out and acknowledge his true place in all of this.

Hope is Dead. Long Live Hope.

I just drove past where my friend Hope died in 2002. We met in rehab in 1998 when I was 36 and she was 38. When she died she was 53. I never had the chance to ask her, but she probably chose that age so we would have one more thing to bond over in rehab.

Her car veered off the freeway into a tree. We didn’t know if it was suicide or accident. Nor if she was extra-opiated. Her conservative Catholic parents would not acknowledge the truth. We did know, as only fellow deep sufferers can, how sad and unhappy she was. Mercifully that ended. Hope Dominguez was a lovely, considerate and deeply thoughtful person. She lives on in those of us who knew and cared about her.

Knowledge is….

Power to the People!

Just made my donation to Wikimedia.