Charlie Rose – A conversation with author Joshua Cooper Ramo

I have the highest regard for Joshua Cooper Ramo’s book The Age of the Unthinkable, which Bob Franza introduced to me. For various reasons, I just reviewed the book, and come away from it even more impressed than I was a year ago. Searching for more about what the man is doing now, I came across this conversation that he had with Charlie Rose early last year.

Late, but better late than never.

Watch it, and tell me what you think. Read the book.

Charlie Rose – A conversation with author Joshua Cooper Ramo.

Truth 2.0

OK, I’m going to put my foot in it now.

Ariana’s “solution” of a fact-checking “tool” is wrong, I am sure, because the issue about the distinction between assessments and assertions, and tools will not do an adequate job of dealing with what AH points to here.

But that is an aside. What she does that I like a lot is to put her finger on, and provide a beautiful current example of, the way in which we moderns have come to a pathetic interpretation of language. With this way of being we are murdering our capacity to come together and work on things that matter to us .

Arianna Huffington: PolitiFact Embraces Equivocation, the Truth Gets Squeezed.

via Truth 2.0.

Obama’s iPad attack – How the World Works – Salon.com

At the end of this short piece, Andrew Leonard takes on the the difficulties of distinguishing among technology and the roles that it plays in education and the construction of life. Our modern technologies embody the capacity to couple fantastically well with our nervous systems, but are indifferent to the ethical and substantial concerns in which we employ them. Leonard both gores and praises the President, to good effect in both cases. Leonard’s conclusion:

There is a difference between getting an education and watching the latest viral YouTube clip on your iPad, between establishing a college for the education of freed slaves and rallying 10,000 fans to a Facebook page. And there’s no contradiction between employing any technological means necessary to organize a successful presidential campaign and recognizing that there may be aspects of that technology worth criticizing. To any readers of this post who might be consuming it via iPad, I invite you to push that contradiction to the limit: Watch, and learn: <video of the president follows in the linked article>

Obama’s self-hating iPad attack – How the World Works – Salon.com.

The disappearance of Flight 188. – By William Saletan – Slate Magazine

The pilots “forgot” that they were flying the airplane!

I saw that this had happened a short while ago. William Saletan has asked good questions about what happened here.

This inevitability was anticipated by an early joke of the computer era, about the world’s first fully automated flight, in which a the computer-generated recording announced, more or less, “Welcome to the world’s first computer-managed flight. You will enjoy a new world of comfort, conveniences, speed and safety on this flight. … Sit back and relax. Nothing can go wrong…can go wrong…can go wrong.”

The joke got the danger wrong. The problem is not malfunctioning computers. Nor is the problem malfunctioning people. People “malfunction” as an essential feature of our existential design, and our machines malfunction because we, imperfect and blind to our functioning, are their designers. On the other hand, our “malfunctioning” is the ground in which our freedoms are born, including what we call free will. Without malfunctioning, we have no invention, no new possibilities.

The danger is that the kind of beings we are is being redesigned by the tools and the world we have invented, and we are not observing what is happening.

This is an example of why I spoke so strongly against the metaphoric background that Jill Bolte Taylor spoke from in her poetic and inspiring TED Talk. When we are in the business of inventing what it is to be human and human futures, we should take care about what we are inventing.

Following the line of another joke, we should be careful that we do not end up where we are headed.

Tell me what you think.

Best,

Chauncey