What is the opposite of fake news? Is it real news? What, then, would that mean? It seems important to ask that question, since our fight against fake news also needs to be a fight _for_ something. But this quickly becomes an uncomfortable discussion, as evidenced by how people attack the question. When we discuss… Continue reading Real and unreal news (Notes on attention, fake news and noise #7)
Herman Hesse’s glass bead game is an intriguing intellectual thought experiment. He describes it in detail in his eponymous last novel: "Under the shifting hegemony of now this, now that science or art, the Game of games had developed into a kind of universal language through which the players could express values and set these… Continue reading Towards a glass bead game (The Structure of Human Knowledge as Game I)
Philosopher and writer Simone Weil laid out a few principles on automation in her fascinating and often difficult book Need for Roots. Her view as positive, and she noted that among workers in factories the happiest ones seemed to be the ones that worked with machines. She had strict views on the design of these… Continue reading Simone Weil’s principles for automation (Man / Machine VI)
Are there social institutions that work better if they are biologically bounded? What would this even mean? Here is what I am thinking about: what if, say, a market is a great way of discovering knowledge, coordinating prices and solving complex problems - but only if it consists solely of human beings and is conducted… Continue reading Justice, markets, dance – on computational and biological time (Man / Machine V)
In a comment on Luciano Floridi’s The Ethics of Information Martin Falment Fultot writes (Philosophy and Computers Spring 2016 Vol 15 no 2): “Another difficulty for Floridi’s theory of information as constituting the fundamental value comes from the sheer existence of the unilateral arrow of thermodynamic processes. The second law of thermodynamics implies that when… Continue reading A note on the ethics of entropy (Man / Machine IV)
Humans are not great at answering questions with “I don’t know”. They often seek to provide answers even where they know that they do not know. Yet still, one of the hallmarks of careful thinking is to acknowledge when we do not know something - and when we cannot say anything meaningful about an issue.… Continue reading On not knowing (Man / Machine III)
Any analysis of fake news would be incomplete without a reading of Hannah Arendts magnificent essay Truth and Politics from 1967. Arendt, in this essay, examines carefully the relationship between truth and politics, and makes a few observations that remind us of why the issue of “fake news” is neither new nor uniquely digital. It… Continue reading Hannah Arendt on politics and truth – and fake news? (Notes on attention, fake news and noise #6)
There is another perspective here that we may want to discuss, and that is if the dichotomy we are examining is maybe a false, or at least, less interesting one. What if we find that both man and machine can belong to a broader class of things that we may want to call “alive”? Rather… Continue reading Intelligence, life, consciousness, soul (Man / Machine II)
Are we victims of algorithms? When we click on click bait and content that is low quality - how much of the responsibility of that click is on us and how much on the provider of the content? The way we answer that question maybe connected to an ancient debate in philosophy about Akrasia or… Continue reading Notes on attention, fake news and noise #5: Are We Victims of Algorithms? On Akrasia and Technology.
How does man relate to machine? There is a series of questions here that I find fascinating and not a little difficult. I think the relationship between these two concepts also are determinative for a large set of issues that we are debating today, and so we would do well to examine this language game… Continue reading Man / Machine I: conceptual remarks.