Who Will Command the Robot Armies?
November 19, 2016 3:40 PM   Subscribe

The Vessyl is a revolutionary smart cup that tells you what you're drinking.

Here, for example, the Vessyl has sensed that you are drinking a beer.

(This feature can probably be hard-coded in Australia.)
posted by indubitable at 3:58 PM on November 19, 2016 [6 favorites]

TLDR: if the drones or your lightbulb won't get you killed, your cat surely will. Now fetch.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:13 PM on November 19, 2016

I love Maciej. He's one of the smartest and funniest tech critics we have.
posted by SansPoint at 4:56 PM on November 19, 2016 [22 favorites]

Who terminates the terminators?
posted by ckape at 5:31 PM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

He's also organizing a meetup in SF that includes techies, Muslims, PoC, and LGBTQ folk who would like to talk about things like customer data and what not to retain during the coming xenophobic, racist, anti-muslim administration.
posted by zippy at 5:33 PM on November 19, 2016 [25 favorites]

That was...bracing.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:50 PM on November 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

This, right here:
Do we want to be safe? Do we want to be free? Do we want to hear valuable news and offers?
posted by RedOrGreen at 6:10 PM on November 19, 2016 [7 favorites]

Chad and Brad

My enemy finally has a name.
posted by fatbird at 6:18 PM on November 19, 2016 [6 favorites]

In July the Village Voice published a takedown of LinkNYC, Google's inaugural effort to "solve" cities (read: further breed dependency and take its ad network to the streets). Meanwhile, the Voice demands that you enable Facebook tracking to read or write comments on its articles.

I tweeted to point out the hypocrisy and, within minutes, my message was liked by a comms director and a comms manager for LinkNYC, as well as the Editor in Chief of the Village Voice.

They spend huge amounts to tease out revealed preferences through massively invasive engineering projects. And yet, when we tell them directly what we think they go "you know what, my idiot auto-like-on-mention simulacrum can take this one."
posted by waninggibbon at 7:44 PM on November 19, 2016 [7 favorites]

Prey for Our Troops
--graffiti of permanent highway bulletin, southeast Tennessee, 1983

O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded, writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless with little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit, worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it -- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet! We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts. Amen.
-- The War Prayer, Mark Twain

So, problem solved with robots.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 8:22 PM on November 19, 2016 [15 favorites]

We the
led by the
to kill the
die the for the
--Viet Nam Zippo engraving

So, problem solved with robots.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 8:38 PM on November 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

from /.
Wedge-tailed eagles do battle with mining giant's drones, knocking nine out of sky
Ten UAVs have been lost since South Africa's Gold Fields, the world's seventh-biggest gold producer, began operating the Trimble UX5 systems at its St Ives operations near Kambalda.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 8:57 PM on November 19, 2016 [3 favorites]

A link to the talk for those who'd rather kick back.
posted by Twang at 9:32 PM on November 19, 2016 [8 favorites]

And everyone agrees that the answer to these problems is not regulation, but new and better technologies, and more automation.

Ah, good. So we don't have to fear the singularity since the commonality will do us in first.

Well, we can always root for a giant solar flare instead I guess.
posted by gusottertrout at 10:08 PM on November 19, 2016

I once heard a talk by the president of a large Canadian bank where, tangentially, he talked about visiting the Facebook campus. Their process, he said, was for a team to conceive, implement and deploy a new feature in a single 36-hour period. (He got a laugh by wondering aloud whether that approach could work at the bank.)

So those Facebook lawyers in the talk? They never saw anything; Chad and Brad (and Trent, and Paul, and Brody, and Kyle) conceived of the whole thing on their own and then rushed to get it live before sleep deprivation claimed them. There was no clear thinking at all--just think it up and get it live.

Facebook, deep in its shriveled little heart, still believes it's just a website; a company that puts little notes in front of people--nothing serious--and so doesn't really need to look before it leaps. Zuckerberg's fake-news comments are probably genuine denial. He doesn't want to believe that he has control because that would make him responsible and so far, he's completely denied all responsibility.

So the answer to the question is nobody. No one will command the robot armies. They'll just be set into motion and go about doing their thing.
posted by suetanvil at 11:25 AM on November 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

The dystopian future we were always promised is finally nigh!

In a mode of less glib despair, I hope we can topple King Convenience and Queen Efficiency from their current reign over our societal imagination and their never-ending technological justifications for unethical or at best morally ambiguous choices.
posted by spamandkimchi at 12:37 PM on November 20, 2016

The man is a treasure. Nothing makes me prouder than my Pinboard account.
posted by hwestiii at 12:46 PM on November 20, 2016 [4 favorites]

Also I'm extra committed to not spending one dollar at Amazon.com
Amazon has been trying to achieve this perfect robotic workforce for years. Many of the people who work in its warehouses are seasonal hires, who don't get even the limited benefits and job security of the regular warehouse staff.
Amazon hires such workers through a subsidiary called Integrity. If you know anything about American business culture, you'll know that a company called "Integrity" can only be pure evil.
Working indirectly for Amazon like this is an exercise in precariousness. Integrity employees don't know from day to day whether they still have a job. Sometimes their key card is simply turned off.
posted by spamandkimchi at 12:54 PM on November 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

The other thing about Amazon's perfect robotic workhorse is that its in-house Kiva robots really should be in all kinds of other places making lives better, but they're simply not on the market. What happens when only one company has the technology and it's not selling?
posted by ambrosen at 4:02 PM on November 20, 2016 [2 favorites]

Hey zippy, got any more info on that meetup?
posted by Bella Donna at 5:57 PM on November 20, 2016

I'm going to that meetup. The participants list seems solid from the names I can recognize (I'll be chaff, most likely, but who knows).
posted by kenko at 7:40 PM on November 20, 2016

I for one look forward to our Totoro-shaped elder care robot overlords.
posted by um at 8:24 PM on November 20, 2016

The man is a treasure. Nothing makes me prouder than my Pinboard account.

Have you ever tried out MetaFilter?
posted by DigDoug at 5:26 AM on November 21, 2016

A quick note for folks who'd like to watch the presentation, we've just uploaded it, so please enjoy!
posted by JohnAllsopp at 1:29 PM on November 22, 2016 [3 favorites]

Wait, Maciej has a personal Twitter account as well as @Pinboard?
posted by nnethercote at 1:17 AM on November 23, 2016

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