Wednesday, 6 September 2017
Tuesday, 1 August 2017
It means nothing to me
This means nothing to me
- Wittgenstein, ‘Philosophical Investigations’ §412 (1963)
|Bad luck, Donaghy, machines are coming for your job|
2. Getting the Categories Right - Singular or Plural?
3. The Private Language Argument and the Uncanny
|Of course, I'm as freaked out as anyone by all this.|
4. Desire and Motive
‘“I’d like an apple” does not mean: I believe an apple will quell my feeling of non-satisfaction. This [the latter] utterance is an expression not of a wish but of non-satisfaction.’ - (PI § 441)
This child does not believe the ‘apple’ is linked to his happiness - her real wish is to continue the game, perhaps.
The machines can be given the language of normal human life, including normal human wishing, in order to attempt to solve a type of equation, whereby objects need to be divided according to rules. That is surely not very frightening. It does not mean they will then begin to wish at all, let alone with the complexity of which a three year old is capable. After all, other types of machines may be given names; boats are. Only magical thinking leads us to think that the name gives it a matching personality, matching desires. The real question is: what do the machines ‘want’? Nothing. They are slaves to their programming. Therefore they can have no dominant feeling of non-satisfaction such as we think we perceive in the script above.
Thursday, 20 April 2017
Saturday, 5 September 2015
Welcome to the Institute of the Crushingly Blatant Truism -
"We help the kids know more stuff."
"We teach them the things."
"In my class they learn difficult things which I help them understand".
Oh good, oh wow, oh you mean absolutely obviously everything one would expect? What a relief. What a blessing. What a bleeding touch. With that sort of clarity your thoughts obviously flow like a crystal river. Verily.
Friendly phrases designed to stupefy and baffle: "you don't object to clever stuff do you?" Oh you mean stuff? Of course not, why didn't you say so? One wouldn't possibly want to disagree with that.
Hovering just in the wings of all discussions lurks the second man of the intellect, the understudy of wisdom, the friendly phrase, the homily, the truism. Well ram 'im. Just because solid, square shouldered statements like "100%, no excuses" look great on a massive banner hung in reception doesn't mean they mean a chocolate drop on a hot pavement.
I ask them to put a little meat on the carcass they waltz around with and they blink.
"We are giving them knowledge for life," they say, and they blink.
Oh you hollow men, oh you less than nothings, prance off a cliff with your corpse bride of ossified horse sense. Asinine, obvious dispensers of comfort to the already crushed: notice is served.
Wednesday, 22 July 2015
We are witnessing a political class in the process of meltdown and it is a sign and a wonder.
Literally all Burnham had to do was break the rules. The public demanded opposition to the welfare bill. The government did not care if it was opposed or not. In fact, they probably quite enjoy the punch up. So the grass roots of socialism in this country were not silenced by a thought police but - mirabile dictu - their own party. And Burnham would not refuse the orders of his high commander.
It was this, open rebellion, that he could not do - and it was this that Corbyn could. Indeed, the new heir apparent has done little else these last three decades. Rousseau wrote that the first rule is always to know when the rules do not apply. The meaning of leadership, in certain circumstances, is to do what nobody else will. Here, however, Burnham's allegiance to his party's systems may have cost him and his (well-funded) campaign final victory.
In this Burnham is very much in a tradition. He is that twenty first century phenomenon, the "Systems Guy". Systems Guy does what he should, not what he wants. Systems Guy knows that if he follows the rules the system will protect him. Systems Guy says procedure. Systems Guy says " there is a time and a place".
The problem is that the public are not buying it. Try telling a generation of young people who were promised that being polite leads to working hard leads to university degree leads to good job leads to home ownership about the System.
"Student Loans" they reply. "House Prices" they reply. "Underemployment" they say.
When you have spent four years doing contract work six months of the year and then other six months chasing those contracts with no rest until you are broken and exhausted and do not know how you are going to eat, all because you believed Systems Guys, watch how your tolerance for his errant nonsense plummets.
The public has learned the hard way to distrust Burnham's narrative, the narrative that says "patience, once you have the job/house/degree we can start to change things". We know what we want and we want it now. Hence we vote for people who speak to us where we stand, not good boys and girls queuing up for their go at the big job.
The truth is that the Labour Party created this situation. They created it mainly with years of disdain for the public. They called the public racist, ignorant plebs who did not know their own interests and as the pendulum swings they still claim we are on the other side of the parabola. Like some cracked Jay Gatsby, Blair shows up in his beautiful shirts trying to turn back the clock but the clock shows midnight. The hell with their poxy machine, I am not greasing it.
All you had to do, Burnham, was show us which side you were on.
Sunday, 24 May 2015
|The Inattentive Reader - Henri Matisse|
|Sorry what was that about attention spans? I wasn't listening.|
Yet if students are interested in anything it is a kind of digital cataclysm, the onrushing clash of colour and sound provided by an IMAX, and XBOX and many other things with an "X" in them. It is this which has perfected "engrossment" and "depth involvement". It is hard work to play these games, and it requires concentration. These provide the impression, according to McLuhan, of emergence from the gaping maw of "superficiality" and "consumerism" in search for authenticity; this occurs even as we plunge deeper into the belly of the whale itself. Simply put, the students feel as if reading is not hard enough to be important, because that is what we have taught them.