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Sunday, February 9, 2014

The sofalarity is near

An interesting piece in The New Yorker: "As Technology Gets Better, Will Society Get Worse?" by Tim Wu. Particularly memorable line: "If we’re not careful, our technological evolution will take us toward not a singularity but a sofalarity." Defined: "That’s a future defined not by an evolution toward superintelligence but by the absence of discomforts." A WALL-E reference follows.

Also: "The technology industry, which does so much to define us, has a duty to cater to our more complete selves rather than just our narrow interests." That strikes an unduly passive note; the consumer "defined" by the tech industry, which should "cater" to our better selves. Still, I agree with the basic sentiment. Too much time staring into electronic screens, not enough time amid society or nature--can be a very bad thing even if the robots don't decide to exterminate humanity in the next few decades.

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