hi all. heres my annual collection of coding/ cs-related links for 2017, tracking some trends. my leading item is the Damore controversy at google as capturing a lot of the zeitgeist.[a] it was just announced that hes suing.[a27]
godwins law is that most onlinne discussions eventually deteriorate/ degrade into an argument about Nazis. a similar observation may be made that a lot of controversies tend to end in lawsuits. ahmed the infamous clockbuilder comes to mind also.[k3]
the google Damore story captures the confluence of the diversity[e] vs “identity politics” being tracked here over the last few years. for me this story also captures how little freedom of speech or real intellectual freedom so-called “knowledge workers” have at corporations, no matter how supposedly openminded or “non evil” the corporations portray themselves to be.
yet do think Damore is on a quixotic quest. a smart guy but maybe not so emotionally intelligent. going off on a tangent. he seemed to get a bit distracted/ fixated on meta issues around his job. noticing that Google was not the corporate paradise that the propaganda pictured. so James, do you think you can have it better anywhere else? maybe you should ask (cohorts somewhat similar in ways) Snowden or Assange about that kind of idealism and where you will end up with it….
some libertarians espouse/ elevate/ glorify the decentralizing, individual-empowering aspects of technology, but as we look around the world, its hard to miss the opposite signs in widespread action around us. whitfield diffie inventor of asymmetric cryptography once excoriated “corporate imperalism” at a CFP (conference for freedom and privacy) around the turn of the century. it may have sounded radical at the time, but a decade and ½ later, it doesnt sound so extreme or unlikely any more. we live in an age that lacks simplistic compartmentalization.
so some years after andreeson announced “software is eating the world”, some of the breathless sheen/ hype/ buzz has now worn off the coding industry last year and some of its “dark side” became more apparent.[d] a few yrs after the facebook IPO, people are asking very tough questions about journalistic responsibility and integrity, and Zuckerberg announced a new years resolution to deal with fake news on his site. good luck with that! its something that the media has been attempting to solve for centuries, arguably since the invention of the printing press.
a new well written/ researched book on Shannon came out and its great to see some more appreciation/ awareness for his work for this sometimes hidden/ unheralded figure who ushered in the Information Age.[b2]
this new administration is a near 180 difference in geek mentality compared to the last one but [c7] was one highlight, where ivanka made some gesture toward coding for girls/ her own 6yr old daughter Arabella. there is very widespread resources now for youngsters to figure out coding such as inexpensive yet sophisticated toys, kits, and classes.[c] saw nearly a whole wall at toys-r-us with the latest.