44 Matching Annotations
  1. Jul 2022
    1. Techno-optimism is the belief that technology will produce more good than bad. To defend techno-optimism, we must first establish what our values are, and then discover the facts that preserve those values. Modest techno-optimism acknowledges the problems in technology, but couples that to an optimism in human institutions and virtues.
    1. In The Beginning of Infinity, physicist David Deutsch defines The Principle of Optimism: “All evils are caused by insufficient knowledge.” From that principle, Deutsch writes, flow a few implications that help understand optimism:Optimism is “a way of explaining failure, not prophesying success”: If we’ve failed at something, it’s because we didn’t have the right knowledge in time. Optimism is a stance towards the future: Nearly all failures, and nearly all successes, are yet to come. Optimism follows from the explicability of the physical world: If something is permitted by the laws of physics, then the only thing that can prevent it from being possible is not knowing how.In the long run, there are no insuperable evils: There can be no such thing as a disease for which there can’t be a cure, because bodies are physical things that follow the laws of physics. If you want, you can call it “realistic optimism” or “pragmatic optimism” or “realistic skeptical optimism” or whatever you want to call it in your head to make it feel less doe-eyed, but the actual definition of optimism captures those, so I’ll just call it optimism.

      This is the kind if definition of optimism I have in mind when thinking about how I try to approach the world. Combined with a (hopefully!) well balanced sense of Humour, a bit of stubbornness and the kind of “naivetë” [[Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi]] described in his opus magnum “Flow” I am convinced it’s, in the long run, a quite unstoppable combination and quality that can, in fact, be trained and developed.

    1. Harold Jarche looked at his most visited blog postings over the years, and concludes his blog conforms to Sturgeon’s Revelation that 90% of everything is crap. I recognise much of what Harold writes. I suspect this is also what feeds impostor syndrome. You see the very mixed bag of results from your own efforts, and how most of it is ‘crap’. The few ‘hits’ for which you get positive feedback are then either ‘luck’ or should be normal, not sparse. Others of course forget most if not all of your less stellar products and remember mostly the ones that stood out. Only you are in a position to compare what others respond to with your internal perspective.

      The cumulative effect of one's perception of Sturgeon's law may be a driving force underlying imposter syndrome.

      While one see's the entirety of their own creation process and realizes that only a small fraction of it is truly useful, it's much harder seeing only the finished product of others. The impression one is left with by availability heuristic is that there are thousands of geniuses in the world with excellent, refined products or ideas while one's own contribution is miniscule in comparison.


      Contrast this with Matt Ridley's broad perspective in The Rational Optimist which shows the power of cumulative breeding and evolution of ideas. One person can make their own stone hand axe, but no one person can make their own toaster oven or computer mouse alone.

      Link to: - lone genius myth (eg. Einstein's special relativity did not spring fully formed from the head of Zeus, there was a long train of work and thought which we don't see the context of)

  2. Mar 2022
  3. Feb 2022
    1. But, Gates adds, the future might turn out okay. He has an idea.

      What's the alternative? Telling people that the future is not ok? Would people listen to talks like this?

    1. If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s to be wary of optimism.

      This goes quadruple for tech optimism over the past 15+ years.

  4. Dec 2021
  5. Oct 2021
    1. There’s a telling episode about a quarter of the way into Now You See It, Cathy N. Davidson’s impassioned manifesto on the way digital tools should transform how we learn and work.

      These were written at a time when the tech industry generally had a rose colored view of their effects on the world. By 2021, we've now got a much more sober and nuanced view. Even Cathy Davidson says as much in her recent book The New Education.

      For more on this topic with respect to education, see specifically Audrey Watters.

  6. Sep 2021
    1. No one is going to be able to imagine a text online without annotations anymore.” They also foresaw a day when the site’s algorithmic evaluation of your Genius annotations — their “Genius IQ” — would be so widely accepted that it “could impact your grades in primary school and your ability to get a job in a certain field.” (“We’re going to have annotations on other sites, so every other site in the world like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times are going be Genius-powered and they’re going to have our annotations on them. And then the Genius platform will take over the internet; everyone’s most important statistic that they have in life is their Genius IQ.”)

      Great example of the overly optimistic rose colored glasses of the venture fund backed tech elite. How do they still get away with such blatant failures? Who hold them socially and financially accountable?

  7. Aug 2021
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  11. Feb 2021
    1. An early optimism that the system might evade many of the unwanted constraints of society has been replaced today with a realization that the internet is all too susceptible to societal and human frailties, with limited avenues for accountability or redress.

      "early optimism" is a nicer spin on what is often described as naivete, technological solutionism or privileged myopia. But this is also a clear and honest statement.

  12. Dec 2020
  13. Nov 2020
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  19. Apr 2020
    1. Johnson’s book (lively and well sourced –  highly recommended) transcends the cliche of the individual innovator  and shows the ways in which innovation depends on a form of social  capital — the networks of people and ideas that innovators learn from  and build upon.

      It's rarely ever about the "lone genius".

  20. Oct 2019
    1. black Americans have been making rapid progress along most important dimensions of well-being since the turn of the millennium.

      testing annotatioins

  21. Sep 2019
  22. Nov 2018
    1. Immediately many people will object that this is too hard, too implausible, contradictory to human nature, politically impossible, uneconomical, and so on. Yeah yeah. Here we see the shift from cruel optimism to stupid pessimism, or call it fashionable pessimism, or simply cynicism. It’s very easy to object to the utopian turn by invoking some poorly-defined but seemingly omnipresent reality principle. Well-off people do this all the time.
    2. One way of being anti-anti-utopian is to be utopian. It’s crucial to keep imagining that things could get better, and furthermore to imagine how they might get better. Here no doubt one has to avoid Berlant’s “cruel optimism,” which is perhaps thinking and saying that things will get better without doing the work of imagining how. In avoiding that, it may be best to recall the Romain Rolland quote so often attributed to Gramsci, “pessimism of the intellect, optimism of the will.” Or maybe we should just give up entirely on optimism or pessimism—we have to do this work no matter how we feel about it. So by force of will or the sheer default of emergency we make ourselves have utopian thoughts and ideas.
  23. Jun 2017
  24. Jul 2016
    1. I’ve heard it suggested often that the World Wide Web is an example of what Ivan Illich called “convivial tools” — although his book predates the Web by 15+ years, Illich speaks of “learning webs” in Deschooling Society. I grow less and less certain that the Web is quite “it."

      Yours in struggle.

    1. cautiously optimistic

      One of the many reasons we need Maha in our world. Honestly, there’s a lot out there to bring us down. The problem with that, in part, is that it may discourage the most courageous among us. Not Maha, though. Proving once again how courageous she is (despite her claim to the contrary), she brings us forward on our quest for empowered learning despite technology.

  25. Nov 2015
    1. Isn’t the point of life to change and improve, rather than just accept things the way they are and naively believe the future will be better? In fact, mindfulness and the other techniques discussed help put us in better touch with reality so we can see things clearly and act from there. And thanks to neuroplasticity, science has shown that we are able to change.
  26. Nov 2013