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Thick Description (1973) [pdf] (philpapers.org)
27 points by hownottowrite 15 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 2 comments



Maybe just my interpretation, but I find these lessons to apply very closely to technology in popular culture.

The idea that there is no objective way to observe culture, that complexity obscures analysis , and that individuals will analyze based on their personal perspective all apply.

Take Artificial Intelligence for example.

When I talk to a computer scientist, they laugh at the idea of AI taking control of the world in the next decade.

When I talk to a statistician, they scoff at the idea of something that you cannot evaluate individual variability.

When I talk to a less-educated rural dweller, they seriously fear that AI is going to replace them.

And towards the very beginning of the excerpt, the discussion of ideas as panacea certainly applies here as well.

I can’t count how many people I talk to who make broad generalizations like “AI is going to cure all diseases.”

It’s very much a technology that has gained this panacea-like celebrity status, and by the view of this author, it’s destined for a cultural reckoning.

Maybe a decade from now, when self-driving cars still aren’t ubiquitous, or we still haven’t cured cancer, people won’t blindly accept AI as the cure-all. But hey, maybe I’m the one wrong here.


I just read this and liked it enough that I will probably re-read it in the coming week (it's only 14 pages long). There's a lot to contemplate. For me the article was worth reading even if only for the journal excerpt the author gives on pages 313-314 and surrounding discussion (note that the linked pdf is a chapter out of a book, so spans pages 310-323).




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