“Look at people on their phones. The machines have already won.”

CAMERON: Technology has always scared me, and it’s always seduced me. People ask me: “Will the machines ever win against humanity?” I say: “Look around in any airport or restaurant and see how many people are on their phones. The machines have already won.” It’s just [that] they’ve won in a different way. We are co-evolving with our technology. We’re merging. The technology is becoming a mirror to us as we start to build humanoid robots and as we start to seriously build AGI — general intelligence — that’s our equal. Some of the top scientists in artificial intelligence say that’s 10 to 30 years from now. We need to get the damn movies done before that actually happens! And when you talk to these guys, they remind me a lot of that excited optimism that nuclear scientists had in the ’30s and ’40s when they were thinking about how they could power the world. And taking zero responsibility for the idea that it would instantly be weaponized. The first manifestation of nuclear power on our planet was the destruction of two cities and hundreds of thousands of people. So the idea that it can’t happen now is not the case. It can happen, and it may even happen.

MILLER: Jim is a more positive guy [than I am] in the present and more cynical about the future. I know Hawking and Musk think we can put some roadblocks in there. I’m not so sure we can. I can’t imagine what a truly artificial intelligence will make of us. Jim’s brought some experts in to talk to us, and it’s really interesting to hear their perspective. Generally, they’re scared as shit, which makes me scared.

CAMERON: One of the scientists we just met with recently, she said: “I used to be really, really optimistic, but now I’m just scared.” Her position on it is probably that we can’t control this. It has more to do with human nature. Putin recently said that the nation that perfects AI will dominate or conquer the world. So that pretty much sets the stage for “We wouldn’t have done it, but now those guys are doing it, so now we have to do it and beat them to the punch.” So now everybody’s got the justification to essentially weaponize AI. I think you can draw your own conclusions from that.

– from a discussion between James Cameron and Deadpool director Tim Miller, by Matthew Belloni & Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter, 27 Sep 2017

“In The Privacy Of My Heart And Mind” – Zadie Smith says using social media would threaten her writing


Zadie Smith has spoken of how staying away from social media gives her “the right to be wrong” without fearing other people’s reactions, saying that if she knew readers’ reactions to her work, she wouldn’t be able to write.

At a live event with the New Yorker writer Jia Tolentino in New York, the British novelist said: “Because I’m not on Twitter, I’m not on Instagram, I’m not on the internet, I never hear people shouting at me.”

Giving her analysis of how discussions play out on social media, Smith said: “I have seen on Twitter, I’ve seen it at a distance, people have a feeling at 9am quite strongly, and then by 11 have been shouted out of it and can have a completely opposite feeling four hours later. That part, I find really unfortunate.

“I want to have my feeling, even if it’s wrong, even if it’s inappropriate, express it to myself in the privacy of my heart and my mind. I don’t want to be bullied out of it,” she said, according to a report of the event by the Huffington Post.

The award-winning author of novels including White Teeth and Swing Time is not the only writer to stay away from social media. Jonathan Franzen has made clear in the past his feelings on the issue, while Salman Rushdie recently quit Twitter, telling the Guardian: “I began to really dislike the tone of voice of Twitter. This kind of snarky, discourteous, increasingly aggressive tone of voice. I just thought, ‘I don’t like this.’ These people would not speak like this if they were sitting in a room with you. I had planned to stop earlier and then it was the election campaign and I got into it, and the last thing I tweeted was this pathetic tweet, having just voted: “Looking forward to President Hillary” … after which total silence. And I thought, just stop, and I did and I haven’t missed it for one second.”

– image and excerpt from ‘Zadie Smith says using social media would threaten her writing’, Alison Flood, The Guardian, 21 Sep 2017

“I fear your next iPhone will make things worse”

“…I have been wondering whether all those little black rectangles – with their alerts, updates, atrocious battery life and absurd centrality to everyday life – might be more trouble than they’re worth. Given that the fundamental challenges of mobile telephony, email, good-quality photographs and GPS navigation have been solved, are the developers and engineers now in the realm of innovation for innovation’s sake, even as they claim that their latest leaps might take us all to new heights of enlightenment and “functionality”? We know what it’s all about, surely: the eternal tendency of a certain kind of clever person to sell the rest of us things we don’t really need, and the way today’s great leap forward can easily become tomorrow’s yawn.

In that sense, the hype of Tuesday’s iPhone X launch put me in mind not of the hippy dreams conjured by the Beatles, but the Smiths, and a line from their anti-consumerist anthem Shoplifters of the World Unite, which might resonate with an increasingly large army of Apple users: “I was bored before I even began.”

– from ‘Life’s complex enough. I fear your next iPhone will make things worse’, John Harris, The Guardian, 14 Sep 2017