, , , , ,

I was trawling the collapsed and locked answers on Quora. Again. I followed a trail of breadcrumbs that led me to Birth of the Global Mind, a Tim O’Reilly presentation for Clock of the Long Now.

News of the Long Now

Jeff Bezos has many to fish to fry; a hand in many kettles. One of the more abstract is his Clock of the Long Now project. The Long Now has a speaker series, for members only, of course. Publishing magnate Tim O’Reilly was on the agenda. The following excerpts are drawn from his lectures, interleaved in responsive-reading style, with thoughts of my own.

Deconstructing Tim O’Reilly

The Web has become the leading platform for harnessing collective intelligence. Wikipedia is a virtual city.

No, not really. It doesn’t make Wikipedia bad, nor a failure, but Wikipedia does not resemble a virtual city, even for those with a vivid imagination. I don’t think active Wikipedia editors would describe it as anything more than a fractious, yet somewhat functional online community.

Through device automation, Apple has imbued retail clerks with superpowers in its stores.

Apple Geniuses are NOT imbued with superpowers! They aren’t treated as poorly as Amazon.com warehouse workers, but conditions aren’t so good for Apple retail employees. I have read many complaints about low wages and long hours. Most Apple retail clerks are temporary workers, i.e. no benefits nor job security. Nice word choice, "clerk". It is distinctively redolent of a not-so-great, not-so-new world. Clerks weren’t a fixture of the recent past, but rather, Victorian England and the 19th, or even 18th centuries.

Medicine for the masses

Watson, the AI that beat human champions at “Jeopardy,” is now being deployed to advise doctors in real-time, having read ALL the scientific papers.

I hope not! Artificial intelligence and machine learning are increasingly used to reduce head count, at all levels. In a clinical health setting, that means automating the functions of everyone from the CEO to managers to physicians, pharmacists and registered nurses. The Carl Icahn School of Big Data Medicine can explain it better than me. Peruse the meeting notes from their October 2013 convocation with The Atlantic. The Icahn Medical School was formerly known as Mount Sinai, in case you’re unfamiliar with the new name, as I was.

This is not a scenario to celebrate. Rather, it is part of a radical cost cutting strategy that is being deployed, now. It won’t affect the plutocracy though. I’m certain that Tim O’Reilly and the dues paying members of the Clock of the Long Now have not signed on with Obamacare! They might be architects, but they are not users.

Part of my heart that will be forever IBM

Note too, how International Business Machines isn’t mentioned explicitly. Watson is IBM’s intellectual property. I will always love IBM. My first job, as a hardware engineer, was with IBM. IBM actually pays employees for their work, doesn’t promote the “Sharing Economy”. I wasn’t hired as a contractor, don’t know anyone who was. I was a full employee. IBM built products that were well designed and reliable. IBM was and will always be Big Blue. I trust IBM. IBM doesn’t go fast, disrupt and break important things, things that worked.

The technocrat collective sneers at companies like IBM for being dinosaurs e.g. they are “hierarchical instead of distributed”.  Tim O’Reilly praises IBM intellectual property but doesn’t praise IBM. Tim O’Reilly was a philosophy major. What does he know? He probably gets along well with Bill Ayers. IBM is not trying to replace physicians, dentists and registered nurses with Watson artificial intelligence.


YouTube has mastered the attention economy. Data scientists rule.

YouTube has not mastered ANYTHING! YouTube comments are extremely amusing, but known worldwide as a cesspool. Granted, they excel at capturing viewer attention, for hours of sarcastic enjoyment. I don’t know a single Data Scientist who would claim that he or she RULES.

What keeps driving it [the global mind] is the generosity and joy we take in creating and sharing.

I thought the global mind was driven by Davos, the Bilderberg Group and SALT, definitely not the joy of generosity and sharing. I don’t see much of that. Do you?

The global mind is built on the gift culture of every medium of connectedness since the invention of language. You gain status by what you give away

Tell that to Silicon Valley venture capitalists, venal data-miners and start-up employees jockeying for restricted stock. Ask Amazon.com’s soul-crushing Mechanical Turk.

Instantaneous meme contagion

Twentieth century mass communications allowed shared information and culture to blanket the world. In the 21st century, memes spread mind to mind in nearly real-time.

Oh joy! Just what we don’t need, moar memes. No longer air-gapped for safety, they’ve been unleashed to travel great distances and sully diverse cultures. Meme proliferation is not generally considered a higher order, executive thinking capability. Memes revolve around cats, unicorns, MemeGenerator.com and Fail Blog.

To whom does the future belong?

The global mind is not an artificial intelligence. It’s us, connected and augmented. The future belongs to collective intelligence.

No, not even close. Collective intelligence is for Google Glass and the Borg.