It started before the pandemic, but the pandemic let it take root and become the norm. We don’t often have funerals any more, at least not religious services in which we mourn the departed and beg God to welcome our dead friend or relative into the splendor of eternal Heavenly life. Instead, the obituary now frequently ends with “A celebration of life will take place at a later date.”
Science fiction literature is full of situations where electronic devices become self aware and begin making their own decisions. Some of us, I suppose, have come to think that it’s ultimately inevitable.
Just now, as is the case each morning, I opened a terminal window on my computer’s desktop and typed a command: “apt update”. The window filled with characters as each of several online “repositories” was checked. Soon I was given a list of the software packages, including the operating system itself, that had security updates and bug fixes available. There being some, I then typed “apt upgrade” and a minute or two later those fixes had been downloaded and installed.
New OFB contributor D. Griffin Jones peers into 2022 and offers a roundup of everything Apple is expected to release in the upcoming year.
I’m a bit of a contrarian on a lot of things, but usually I understand the opposing majority. With the critics of the Apple Touch Bar, though, I am stumped. While the new 14” and 16” MacBook Pros portend an exciting new era for Apple users, I mourn the little keyboard touch screen it comes at the cost of. It didn’t need to die.
Since its introduction, no one has ever mistaken the Macintosh as the cheap option for computers. Nor would anyone who watched Apple’s launch of its insanely fast M1 Pro and Max chips on Monday argue that the new MacBook Pros are cheap. However, when the dust settles, the previous reigning top Apple Chip — the M1 — will still be the one that created a year when the cheapest Mac was the best Mac and one of the best computers, period.
Facebook was down for several hours last week. Wise people considered the incident “a good start.” This came after testimony before a Congressional committee in which Facebook was shown to be engaged in the promotion of things harmful to children in order to make a buck.
I told my friend Dennis E. Powell that I’m starting to believe in Skynet. Over the last week, virtually everything that could go wrong with the technology I depend on for work has gone wrong, as if it has actively turned against me. Having spent a fair number of years wrangling information technology, one thing has always provided a path to survival in those times: redundancy. Redundancy masks problems in the best of ways, much like the physical masks that are such a lightning rod in our culture today.
Here’s something that I bet you know, but that it seems our government and news media — in large measure that’s redundant — don’t know: A lot of people are afraid of shots. They head the other way when the needle comes out. You know such people. Maybe you are such a person.
Probably all of us have some frustration with one or more of the Tech Giants who are being targeted by Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s “Ending Platform Monopolies Act.” It is tempting to cheer on efforts to offer a cure to common Big Tech disease, checking their power over us. But, like a layperson coming up with the wrong treatment for a serious illness, this and other similar proposals, dangerously operate on oversimplification that threatens to make our technology much worse while ignoring the genuine Big Tech problems staring us down.