The Future of Work

From the Atlantic:

This moment we’re in right now—where humans and bots find themselves in an unprecedented admixture—is one more step in the automation of different kinds of human labor. In the quiet, white-collar automation that swept the world in the last quarter of the 20th century, the messiness of human processes required many intermediate steps in the transition from paper and human to computer and computer. Much of what service work used to be was automated over the last few decades. Now, computers make the decisions, and the main role of the human is to deliver this information after pressing some keys on a computer.

Governments are looking into universal basic income programs because they can see where the technology advances are leading: to a society where most will not have work of value.

50 Years Later

From a recent Washington Post about “2001: A Space Odyssey”:

“2001’s” official premiere was at the Uptown theater in Washington’s Cleveland Park neighborhood, with stars and MGM brass in attendance.

By intermission, attendees were “streaming out. It was a disaster. No one liked it,” Benson recounts in his book.

Wrote one British journalist: “There was not a single handclap. … The audience just rose, stunned and thoughtful, and shuffled out to the pavement.”

The next night, after the New York premiere, Clarke reportedly heard MGM suits saying: “Well, that’s the end of Stanley Kubrick.”

50 years later? One of the most influential of all science fiction films.

This film tops my list of the best science fiction movies. Others include Alien, Blade Runner, Inception, Metropolis, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, The Matrix, Interstellar, Mad Max:Fury Road, Gravity amongst others.

But 2001: A Space Odyssey remains at the top for me.

April 2nd, 1968. I cannot believe it has been 50 years since it was first released.

On Its Way

I had posted about a recent experience at Jump Plus here which pushed me to use an online retailer to replace my aging iMac.

I watched the order as it went through these various stages:

  • Order Placed:Your order has been placed.
    We’ve received your order and payment information. Though you can’t make changes to your order right now, you’ll be able to when we start preparing your order.
  • Order In Progress:Your order will be available soon.
    We have all the information needed to complete your order. As soon as the item is ready, we’ll send you an update and prepare the shipment. You can still make changes to the order at this point.
  • Preparing to Ship:Your order is being prepared for shipment.
    We’re completing some final details before we ship your order. As soon as it ships, we’ll email you the delivery information. At this point, you can no longer make changes to the order.
  • Shipped:Your order has shipped.
    You can use the “Track Shipment” button to follow your package online. This information will be available within the first 24 hours of shipment.
  • Delivered:Your order was delivered.
    The package has been dropped off at the shipping address specified in your order. If you need to return any part of your order, you can initiate the process online.

This particular iMac was a custom order and Apple had it ready to go in just a few days.

It was shipped yesterday from Fremont, California and it will arrive at my home in Kingston tomorrow.

Pretty impressive. I remember when it used to take weeks, even months, for an order from the U.S. to make its way into Canada.

His Last Post

If you are reading this, it means I am no longer here.

I was shocked to learn of Jordon Cooper’s death. It just didn’t seem, well, right. He was one of the early Canadian bloggers and I followed him for many years. We traded emails from time to time and we linked to each other’s posts. He started his blog in 2001. I started mine in 2004.

I learned of his battle with cancer through his post “The Beginning of the End.”

I was heartbroken.

Less than a year later, he was gone.

Only 44.

This was his last post delivered after his death.

The Beginning of Gmail

Gmail was announced on April 1st, 2004. I was fortunate to receive an invitation to be part of the initial beta phase and I officially started my Gmail account on June 22, 2004.

I was able to set up accounts for my family at the time except for my youngest son. He was so young that he was not yet on a computer and it did not seem relevant. Years later he had to create his Gmail account by substituting a letter with a number. Someone with his name had already taken a Gmail account.

Over the years, several Richard Cleavers have tried to get a Gmail account. For whatever reason, some Richard Cleavers use my email address to register for services and I receive emails from Mercedes-Benz dealers in Utah, bills from Atlantic Broadband somewhere in the United States and travel agencies in Europe as well as from many other companies I do not know. I even had a lengthy argument with one person who kept sending me all sorts of personal updates about their family. It took several tries to convince them that I was not the Richard Cleaver they thought I was. They still send me emails.

It is almost impossible to get companies to change incorrect email addresses.

14 years later, and Gmail is my primary email address. We have changed physical addresses three times since 2004. I would hate to try and change my email address. Not impossible to do I suppose. Just unimaginable. My email address is literally everywhere in my online world.

Gmail for life.

Resolve 1 Security Issue

Google tells me that I have a security issue (left side). When I pushed the “TAKE ACTION” button, Google tells me I have no security issues.

So confused.

Laptop Mixer

When I retire in July and I start traveling more extensively, I won’t be leaving my mixing work behind. Here is as quick walkthrough of my new portable mixing rig. I am pleasantly surprised with how well this rig performs. Amazing technology.

Watching. Always Watching.

I received the following email this morning:

On Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 3:16 AM, The Team at Zwift wrote:

Hey Richard,

You made it out of the jungle. Nice work!

Did you enjoy the ancient ruins? Did you see the sloth? You’re among the first 12k Zwifters to explore the Jungle Expansion. We’re happy you had a chance to try it.

Cool. The team at Zwift reached out to me. At first glance, it all seemed so human. Personalized. With some context and a few questions thrown in for good measure.

And then it dawned on me. This was machine generated.

I know. So what? What difference does it make that a machine sent this out?

In the digital domain, it is becoming more difficult to determine what is, or is not, human. And, for that matter, whether the source is genuine or not genuine.

Technically, the email should have been worded this way:

On Wed, Nov 1, 2017 at 3:16 AM, Zwift Artificial Intelligence Self-Learning Algorithm Machine 24.45.67.88 generated:

Notice to Zwift Rider Richard Cleaver:

Zwift Mayan Jungle Ride completed at 6:01am, Saturday, October 28th, 2017.

Please complete an online survey of your ride experience. There are 12,000 Zwifters receiving this invitation to participate.

And remember, the Zwift AI Self-Learning Algorithm Machine records everything you are doing. It is watching you. It is always watching you.

Okay. A bit dark perhaps.

I’m still happy that the team at Zwift reached out to me. I love their service. Even if the email was automatically generated by a machine!

It’s the thought that counts right?