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Google Glass in 10 years: the view from dystopia (pandodaily.com)
66 points by ms-rm on May 25, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 74 comments

I assume he wanted the readers to now think negatively about this future. I kind of like it. Plus, that's not just the "Google world". It's the Internet. Do you think you can just unplug from the Internet 10 years from now? Can you do it now? It's only going to get harder, especially for new generations that are born with it.

What does worry me about the future, is governments having total knowledge about every single person, no matter what they are doing, who they are, and what service they are using. Do you really think they will need Google for this? Sure, in a way companies like Facebook and Google are making their jobs a lot easier. But do you think this will matter when they will have quantum computers? They will be able to get signals from a billion actions you've done on the Internet, regardless of what service you used. Gmail and Facebook usage will just be some of the signals.

And what happens when governments have total knowledge about everyone, whether it's legal or not? What happens when the governments can predict with quantum computers the potential of committing every type of crime for every single person? Maybe you have a 0.0000001% to be a terrorist. Maybe a 1% chance to beat someone, and maybe a 5% chance to smoke pot. Do they arrest you now, or do they wait until the quantum computers predict it's 10%?

These discussions about privacy breaches from companies seem like mainly a distraction from the real issues to me. It reminds me of the outrage of gun owners who "want to defend against an oppressive government" and "protect the 2nd amendment", but don't make a sound when the government cancels the 4th, 5th or even the 1st amendment. Or the 6 months outrage of the media over Benghazi, while covering the AP spying story for like 3 days.

Google can't physically harm you or destroy your life. Governments can. I would worry more about that. A lot more.

> Do they arrest you now, or do they wait until the quantum computers predict it's 10%?

The movie Minority Report revolves around that idea (in case you haven't already seen it).

Not exactly. In the book and the movie, it is 100% likely.

Original short story by Dick: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Minority_Report

The original novel by Phillip K. Dick is a very worthwhile read as well.

It's no novel, it's a short story.

Google absolutely can physically harm you or destroy your life. It might ( might, depending on how they do it) be illegal for them to do so (thanks government!) but it's not like a massively wealthy multinational corporation lacks the resources to have you or your loved ones shot, sued into bankruptcy, labeled a kid fucker.

I think the "hive mind" can destroy your life.

A few weeks back I think, there was a story on HN about a mobile App that would help you in boycotting companies and products by scanning the product's bar code while you are in a grocery store. I immediately thought, "Wow... this would be much better as a Glass app that just puts a big X over every product you reach for whose purchase would support a company which acts in a fashion contrary to some user defined view! Or even if the product has ingredients that are incompatible with your child's allergies!"

And the app WOULD be better if it operated like that. The issue is that you can take that a step further right? You, as a manager in a corporation, could look at resumes and have a big X come up whenever you look at one from some guy with bad credit. Going even further you could have a big X come up whenever you look at one from a guy with questionable comments in the online forums he participates in. You see, he tried to hide behind pseudonyms, but it was all noodled out by a new service running ultra powerful analytics software on ultra powerful computing grids. Or the analytics service may go quantum, who knows? (And all that wouldn't even be necessary if your ISP is the same as the analytics service provider. Like if you use ... say ... Google Fiber.)

Material point is this...

now your job prospects have been impacted.

That's not all though...

You see, our hypothetical guys are, understandably, bummed about not getting that big job. So they go to the local bar to listen to a local band and relax for a while. Only the people in the bar see a huge "KKK" or "New Black Panther" label over the guy who made all the questionable comments on the internet. (Via a new dating service that most young women have decided they need because, let's face it, it's dangerous out there.) Don't misunderstand me, the service also operates in a good way. For instance, an ex-convict with the rape conviction would have VERY bad luck because the Glass would put an "EX CONVICT: SEXUAL ASSAULT" label over him.

The interesting thing, however, is this... wherever you are, these labels can potentially be displayed via facial recognition software combined with you telling your name to the guy looking at you through the Glass. The grocery store, the health club, your kid's school play, etc. All because of some comments you may have made on CNN forums a decade ago about say ... Hurricane Katrina victims. Or immigrants. Or white people. Or asians. Or men. You get the picture.

It's critical to realize one very important thing... and that is that there is no technology, in my limited recollection, that's ever failed to be developed on ethical grounds. This is why I tell young people whenever I get the chance, take great care in what you post on the internet. The content... even the TONE of the post could contribute to your "profile summary" in a detrimental fashion. This stuff really will affect your future a lot more than many people realize. And in a great many more WAYS than many people realize.

And that leads them to make questionable assumptions...

like assuming Google, or the information on the internet in general, can do them no harm.

You are basically making the case that more information is bad. You also assume that humans will not augment themselves to become more rational with this data - which may or may not be true.

My take is that the more that is laid bare, the easier it will be for all of us to finally become completely truthful and finally eliminate once and for all the different masks we wear allowing us to all be where we are most comfortable.

So right now there is some person who is secretly leading a double life with a separate family and is also secretly into Pokemon and loves listening to Justin Beiber. No one knows about this because they hide their music in a hidden folder, go to sporting events and take a visit to Argentina once a month to visit the second family while ostensibly on "business."

This person would be mocked, disgraced and the like for their thoughts and behaviors by different disparate groups.

If instead this was all made open to everyone there would be a social demand that would likely end up synching that persons interests and desires with their actions.

I am ok with ending social mores and hangups.

"...You are basically making the case that more information is bad..."

No not at all.

In fact, I specifically mention that having more information readily available works out to one's BENEFIT in many cases. Like the girl who might otherwise be taking a risk on a dangerous guy. Or the grocery shopper who gets immediate feedback that a certain cereal will aggravate her child's allergies.

My only point is that this information cuts both ways, and we should be teaching young people how to operate successfully in this new information context.

The fact is, if you, me or anyone else sees a black guy with a "New Black Panther" label over him... we will deal with him in a different fashion than we would deal with a black guy without that label. And for our own safety... we should. Similarly for "KKK". This is the reality of the information context. It will not change humans at the core... it will only change the amount of information available to... and analyzable by... the human.

In other words... I doubt mores and hangups will go away. Mores, hangups, fantasy and wonder are what make up the Human. And it is important for people to be mindful of all of the potential issues they may run into when dealing with the Human in an age of ubiquitous information.

>Mores, hangups, fantasy and wonder are what make up the Human

True statement. Hence why a group of us are trying to transcend that humanity.

Or this complete lack of privacy erases what we today call politically correct. Perhaps these labels will have less weight or significance because everyone will be labeled in some seemingly negative way.

People can harm your life. Abuse runs wild off-grid, and wherever technology walls and kills us evilly, equally human beings do something suffering by having no tools to fight back.

Tech is anti-harm and or technodeadly gun. Lack / control in context means fighting to give programming our lives more than a technical meaning.

If we want psychotechnological tools bridging heart and online, we need to find time to talk more than power and paranoia, and add more mentally healthy methods to our programming commits.

Commitments to giving technology a meaning as a lifeline, begins with supporting deeper programming, deprogramming technicality and nuance left out by profit.

Deprogramming psychotechnological tools sciencing ideas of power for people who hurt, is real.

A major technical problem, life's reality problem..

Tooling real life guns v. life aware tools, together, finds us interconnecting unit-tests with reality-tests with reality-cared..

Psychotechnological tools can care to remember and understand, as well as dominate and aggress, so is it maybe about balancing complex emotions - with complex problems - with complex technical gears?

Wearing Glass can be caring as well as wearing Glass can be baring.

So real as I fear technology, I fear people without technical senses, so I feel we need equally care.

Maybe technology can be more sensitive .. so maybe people can be more sensitive?

Wow! I've always had a thing for dystopian literature, and the world this article presents actually seems plausible. Two ideas I particularly found intriguing:

-The idea of using an avatar to mask your true physical appearance. This seems like an appealing idea since changing your avatar on a settings panel is easier than keeping well-groomed and presentable. Perhaps citizens of the Google Glass world no longer feel the need to stay healthy and attractive? Could this level the playing field and take sexual attractiveness out of the picture altogether? Never again would someone be "out of your league." Will all our loving relationships be calculated and planned based on some OkCupid-esque compatibility algorithm? Perhaps a side-effect of this is a higher rate of sustainable marriages and a decreased divorce rate. So not completely bad and creepy.

-The way the author claims "You know you have free will, but don’t feel like you need it." I've felt for a while that the more realistic dystopian future is closer to Brave New World than to 1984, in which people willingly give up their freedom rather than have it snatched away from them. Instead of saying "You know you have free will, but it doesn't really feel like it," Pananberg opts for the phrasing "don't feel like you need it." It seems to suggest that free will in a Google Glass world is a burden, and that giving up that freedom to a benevolent intelligence just feels easier.

Either way, when I finished the article I pressed the "like" button, sending the event to my Facebook Timeline so that all my friends can stay connected with the things I find interesting and so that Facebook's Hadoop clusters can factor it into their advertising algorithms, allowing the company to more intelligently display products I would be interested in buying. I'll tell you one thing, that no longer includes Google Glass.

The avatar idea has been a staple of sci-fi for a long time, at least since Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash (1992). Personally I don't find it creepy at all. Ever used SecondLife?

Nothing about the scenario in the article actually suggests a loss of free will - if anything it suggests a gain of super-free will in which people are more able to have their desires fulfilled by accentuating and enhancing what the real world can offer.

>Nothing about the scenario in the article actually suggests a loss of free will - if anything it suggests a gain of super-free will in which people are more able to have their desires fulfilled by accentuating and enhancing what the real world can offer.

At the end of the article, it depicts the people taking off their Glass only to find the real world bland and uncomfortable, quickly returning to the relative comfort of the virtual reality they've grown dependent on. These people can no longer cope with life on life's terms. If that's not a loss of free will then I don't know what is.

Yeah, and many people from modern society would struggle if plonked into the middle of the African savannah. People come to depend physically and mentally on the support structures of modern society, and that's OK. Life's terms change constantly, and are only meaningful in the contemporary context. In the story, augmented reality is life on life's terms.

You evolved from species that lived well for millions of years without the use of sight. Shall we remove your eyes, so that you may experience freedom?

"Life on life's terms" is not some divinely ordered happy state; it's just the way things happened to work out through chance and evolution. Why shouldn't we seek to improve the way we interact with each other and the world around us in any way we can? I do have misgivings about augmented reality powered by proprietary software and opaque services running somewhere far away, but I quite like the idea of augmented reality in general.

> These people can no longer cope with life on life's terms. If that's not a loss of free will then I don't know what is.

That's probably what creeped me out about Wall-e's distopian future more than anything else. It's the embodiment of what was described in this article, without the happy ending...

How is the end of the article different from wearing makeup and nice clothes and trying to live in nice neighborhoods?

A Brave New World does seem more modern than 1984 even though it was written nearly 20 years earlier. I suppose it's because international politics right now resemble the early 1932 mood more closely than the mood in 1949.

The audience A Brave New World was written for probably didn't think that their countries faced existential threats or that much could happen that would radically change the world order. Reading texts around the early responses to the Great Depression you get a sense of a great dissatisfaction with the status quo, and that advocates of both fascist and of communist policies thought their biggest threat was the obstinance of the status quo rather than revolutionary change in the "wrong" direction. The dystopia of A Brave New World seems to have come about by a gradual but unstoppable transformation.

The 1984 audience on the other hand would accept a larger domain of world-changing possibilities, but perhaps have been conditioned to war, and have acknowledged that habituation toward a perpetual state of war was a tool for autocratic government, just as much as a government unchallenged by external threats had freedom to become autocratic. Though the 1984 world has war depicted as distant and a routine part of life, it was a key part of the story, and difference between the two stories might be summed up as the difference between a peacetime dystopia and a wartime dystopia.

You can probably find both trends in our own time. The people who dream of "9/12" as a better world, see the spirit surrounding national trauma as amenable to getting their way. Then on the other end, when you hear congressmen discussing regulations on the internet, they get hysterical about the lack of deference people creating new stuff have. I suppose the congressional smugness around how everything would be okay if we didn't have disobedient progress is more an example of what radicals in the 1930s feared, but it does typify the challenges that peacetime societies face.

Anyway, that was a long way to get at the point that I agree with you that A Brave New World is a more plausible scenario than 1984 right now at least. However, what you described as appealing struck me as pretty specifically what made A Brave New World a dystopia.

Sexual attractiveness is a part of sexual attraction. Furthermore it is a source of pleasure and enjoyment for people, not just a way that they are excluded. In A Brave New World sexual relationships were very low effort—and I think that was the problem. Even if the algorithm were good enough not to just link you up with someone who is similar, but also found traits that are good complements, the unpredictable process of meeting someone who may not be perfect for you and the struggle and effort involved is pretty important.

Thank you for taking the time to read my comment and construct a well-thought-out reply.

>Sexual attractiveness is a part of sexual attraction. Furthermore it is a source of pleasure and enjoyment for people, not just a way that they are excluded. In A Brave New World sexual relationships were very low effort—and I think that was the problem. Even if the algorithm were good enough not to just link you up with someone who is similar, but also found traits that are good complements, the unpredictable process of meeting someone who may not be perfect for you and the struggle and effort involved is pretty important.

I completely agree and would prefer it to stay this way (although my dating skills could probably use some improvement). While writing my comment I was trying to avoid too many kneejerk value judgements and instead explore the possible outcomes of the described scenario. But yeah, like you said, all that uncomfortable stuff is really important, and sexual attractiveness is generally an indicator of good health and reproductive viability, so disregarding it would seem unwise.

The avatar idea seems like the least likely thing in the article to me. Why would I opt in to allowing people to alter their appearance to me?

>The biophysio meter has been gauging the mood in the room, color coding them for convenience. Personally, you’ve always found that red hot conversations give you a headache while ice blue ones bore you to tears. The computer is able to pick up all the sounds in the room and sift through the conversations. You seek a color combination somewhat in the middle, a group of people not talking about sports or fashion.

Actually, I want this.


I always hate it when I enter a party and the violent cacophony of five or even ten simultaneous conversations hits me at once. And even when I find a group of people I can stand, there's this awful noise all around. It would be pretty awesome if glass could not only find the people for me, but also actively filter everybody else, so I can talk in relative quiet.

Why not simply stay home, eat Doritos, drink Mountain Dew, and surf IRC?

Sounds like you want all of the social without the part where you interact with society.

I think what you just described actually sounds appealing to the HN crowd.

Or maybe there are different kinds of social interactions and some people prefer the "six friends sharing a meal" type to "a hundred people at a party".

Just a thought.

Because, insane as it sounds, I'm better at talking face to face, than typing over IRC. I just want it not so loud and obnoxious. Also, Doritos and Mountain Dew taste awful and are bad for you. I'd rather have a salad.

What if it was a salad...made out of Doritos! :D

I like the way you think. We should meet in a quiet place where no-one can hear you scream. I mean, where we can't hear no-one screaming all the time.

How awful.

What exactly is the purpose of being here if all you are doing is somewhat stochastically deciding between a few sterile choices presented to you by a computer? Why bother interacting with people who's life experience is basically just ads and the most agreeable-seeming things they elected to participate in from their preferred social network?

How utterly fucking boring.

It's enough to make me want to live in a cabin in the woods with nothing but a 28.8 and some old Irix box to keep me and my dogs company. >:(

What? That's the opposite of what I take from the story (although the author was clearly intending it as dystopian). The Glass in the story is not removing options, it's adding them. It's just layering information over the real world to provide a deeper, not shallower, experience. Why do people feel that the boundaries of their limited un-enhanced experience are somehow desirable?

It's layering information which may or may not be correct, and given people's natural laziness of decision it only increases the odds of filter bubbling--that is not a deeper experience.

All you are doing is being empowered to ignore things which don't match your advertising profile most closely, being empowered to ignore things outside your comfort zone (in 10 years, I'm sure this will be popular with the yuppies in SF who would like to even more easily ignore the homeless refugees of gentrification).

A basic part of the human experience--of being a complete person--is learning how to interact with other people who may or may not be easy to get along with, and exploring new things and perspectives on life. Nowhere in this vignette is there a suggestion that the Glass will help you learn to interact with other people (because it is set to minimize the presentation of those you aren't predisposed to get along with) or encounter new things (that aren't carefully cultivated by the big data engines).

Let's not even go into the privacy concerns here (because clearly nobody gives a chrome-plated fuck about that anymore), or the unfortunate, darker sides to this.

Well, all the information we ever use may or not be correct. We use it nevertheless and accept a certain false positive rate. It probably does increase filter bubbling, but that is generally something people accept. One can expose oneself to different viewpoints quite readily, and that's a personal choice people can make.

I think that statement about getting along with difficult people being a basic part of the human experience doesn't have to be true. It just happens to be part of the human experience now. And in any case, while the story didn't offer any glimpse of Glass helping you to encounter new things or learn to interact with other people, there's no reason why it couldn't.

>What exactly is the purpose of being here if all you are doing is somewhat stochastically deciding between a few sterile choices presented to you by a computer?

As though you aren't stochastically deciding between a few sterile choices presented to you by your chain of previous deterministic actions

I think that's why the author calls it a dystopia.

Suddenly, there are strange things in the hotel bar with you. Cartoon animals, talking monsters. Is that a human-sized preying mantis cuddling with a buxom triceratops girl? And wow, check out that pack of wolf-things. They're flickering with colors and lights, all synchronized to the same beat. They're a walking rave. And none of these strange-looking people have public profiles.

Must be one of those freaky avatar conventions going on in the same hotel.

Sounds like something tokyo residents would like. I fear we're headed for this ("Future Travel" short animation), though http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SKrYHLE8mDc

Sounds like a normal day in Second Life to me. Just steer clear of the furries.

Too late. I've been one since somewhere in the early nineties.

And I gotta say, they throw the best damn parties.

This is true. I watched the Great Gatsby the other day and I thought "Baz Luhrman would have a field day if he ever went to a furry shindig".

I think that when it comes to "the Google contact lenses dystopia" there is no better comment than a short movie "Sight" http://vimeo.com/46304267. (It starts with gamification of cucumber cutting.)

Its funny that the game in the opening of "Sight", released 10 months ago, is similar to one they had at Google IO this year. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqOluB4e-q4

I'm particularly disturbed by the notion that I'll be a pariah if I don't have some form of profile for people to check.

That sounds very plausible to me, and we're already seeing it on a significantly smaller scale.

While it's likely I'd be the person not wearing Glass in 10 years, the scenario in the article shows a world in which people would likely not judge a person by their appearance, but rather what info comes up attached to their profile(s). Good for INTPs who don't care for chit-chat.

Are you sure that not having a profile won't make you an NPC?

I'm guessing you mean "non-player character" (just looked that up) but I'm not sure what you're asking here...

I assume that one could not wear Glass in the future yet still have online profiles (which others would perhaps still be able to see with facial rec. via their Glass).

Is that all for a dystopia? Technologies used to came with a risk incredibly higher. Nuclear warfare, etc. We are now talking about "cyber warfare". I've yet to see the first American killed by a Chinese or North-Korean hacker. And I think the term "cyber warfare" is entirely inappropriate, and does not do justice to the atrocities of a real war. If this is all what can be thought up about the negative impact of Google glasses, we have nothing to worry about.

In the film Surrogates, there's a device that, when discharged on 'avatars', kills the real person operating the avatar. I wonder if cyber warfare of the future entails this kind of thing. I would assume that being physically connected to a(n implanted) device would allow for this but, then again, non-implanted technology has been known to cause photosensitive epilepsy (like the Pokeman seizures).

Dystopia? This sounds amazing! I assume that AdBlock will still exist, which optionally removes the one thing I felt even slightly bad about in this scenario.

At first I made the same mistake, thinking the headline writer was referring to this future state as a dystopia.

Instead, it's a candid admission that Pandodaily is a timesuck of low value linkbait, and that from this dystopian vantage point the article views a more hopeful future.

Positives sound great, but how about negatives?

Kind of like modern food is toxic and unhealthy, but hey it's cheap, there's lots of it and well... It doesn't taste that bad! Thanks but no thanks, I'll stick to lean meat, fish, seeds and berries even though it costs me twice/thrice the money let alone preparation. And it can't be preserved as well. But whatever, fuck the dystopian future. :)

I'm struck, though, that the title indicates the author thought he was presenting the negatives!

This is actually a fairly optimistic projection. Consider how difficult it would be for a secret policeman to infiltrate a dissident group in this kind of environment.

The real dystopia comes with privileged groups being able to block recognition.

I don't think so. All you need to do is be able to monitor everybody else. Secret policemen not required anymore.

I'm surprised to see the attitude of this thread as so optimistic about this potential future. Even ignoring the government / police state possibilities, I found this terribly dystopian, and I imagine many others outside of the most optimistic tech bubbles would agree.

While taken individually, many of the technologies presented in the story seem to be useful or even fun, the world they create is inescapably bland. And it's the inescapability of it that makes it so awful. While on the surface these theoretical advances provide value, they also potentially destroy the possibility of serendipitous interaction, of meeting someone incompatible, of having your perspective changed, of connecting with someone intimately.

For me, the "problems" being solved by the tech in this story are much of what makes life worth living. While building technology, I think it's important to consider the effects and side effects of these things, and to focus on technology that improves and enhances our lives, rather than takes them over.

This is a dream come true. Where do I sign up?

>On your left is a woman you don’t know, but she’s a friend of a friend of your cousin Irving’s roommate’s niece. Her name is Tina, a physics professor at the local university, and she likes extreme skiing, origami and baking. Tomorrow she’ll be giving a presentation. You can view her slides and video now, if you’d like, and scan her bio. You don’t. You think it’s interesting that her favorite author is Jane Austen and thirty-seven people “liked” a post she penned on the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. She’s sipping what the computer deduces to be a green apple martini and your Google-powered submicro-computer advertises a selection of snacks to go with it, as well as a choice of vodkas and mixers, which you can order at the blink of an eye. Maybe later.

That sounds amazing! I would probably filter it to give me specific results because I'm not as interested in some of those things than others.

This makes a number of assumptions that I think (based on historical trends) will end up proving false.

The first is that the services we use today (Yelp, Facebook, Google, etc.) will continue to be the dominate services of the future. Of course, the author probably just used these names for convenience instead of inventing new companies, but I have a feeling that the apps and services we'll be using 10 years from now don't exist today.

A more pressing false assumption is that all of these services (or whatever services are being used) will harmoniously work together. Though we have pretty strong inter-service collaboration currently (such Yelp telling us which restaurants our Facebook friends like), it is not that often that these platform relationships exist and even less common that everyone will be using the same interconnected services.

Finally, the assumption that is both the most necessary for this reality to be our future yet is also the most dubious is that with the dawn of quantum computing, algorithms will be able to properly interpret and predict human behavior. Thus far, algorithms fail pretty miserably at this (when was the last time you actually wanted to buy something suggested to you by Amazon?) and although the future resources available will have the capacity to interpret human behavior, it will be much farther in the future before we really will be able to utilize these available resources.

I still believe that always-on wearable computers with a constant information stream is where the consumer technology industry is heading (I've been saying this for years, and I don't necessarily think that Google will be the ones to perfect this formula). However, before we reach a society like the one predicted by this article, we (as computer scientists and mathematicians) need to become much better at interpreting and predicting human behavior. I think the first step in this is to understand how the brain works, which is probably going to be the most exciting facit of biomedical research in the coming decades.

The article picks a curious line to end on:

"You know you have free will, but don’t feel like you need it."

Which is odd, considering that the protagonist of the tale has done nothing but make choices throughout the whole story.

When someone controls (and/or biases) the information feed you base your decisions upon, your will is no longer completely free.

We used to call it news media ;-)

But it's the protagonist's own past choices that ultimately control what information he is fed. That, the environment, and some algorithms. Just like in the real world, but with a more egocentric concentration.

Making choices out of a selection determined by someone else is not freedom. They have this freedom even in places like North Korea...

Choices don't seem be to constrained. Rather, there is more information about the likely outcome of making many of the most likely choices. Seems like a huge win to me. I can still be ignored or turned off. It's still possible to just walk out and go elsewhere.

It's worth considering this dystopia in parallel with this the oft-quoted saying that "In the future, there will be two kinds of people: those who tell computers what to do, and those who are told what to do by computers".

Then throw in this: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21578360-brain-work-m...

Perhaps the first group will dwindle faster than we think.

We're all told what to do by computers anyway, it's just that they happen to be 3lbs of squishy biomatter inside our skulls.

> The music from the wall speakers sounds tinny.

Would there even be loudspeakers in such a world? If we all wore computers with earpieces, there would be no need for sound amplification as we know it now. I, for one, would welcome the end of music played over loudspeakers in public places, chosen according to someone else's idea of what music the masses would like.

I think he got the "You’re constantly logged into Facebook ..." wrong. It will be google plus or something completely different

A bit of an offshoot from the article, but is the quantum calculation speed true, or just flowery journalist language?

Simultaneously being 0 and 1 at the same time? Solving problems faster than imaginable?

Is it possible to understand the ideas behind quantum computing without having a physics degree? Is there a good layman introduction somewhere?

In laymans terms:

If you have 0 and 1 as inputs you have to try all possible combinations to get all possible results and choose an optimal one.

If you have all possible combinations of 0 and 1 at once you can just use the optimal solution in one step.

This will be the beginning of a world like in the Matrix. Gradually, it's Glass (or Lenses, or whatever) will control what we want to see, to hear and to choose. A world where everything is predictable to the computer and is comfortable to our liking. Well, I don't like that world.

    «For under the firm measure,
    The crude, too, is useful,
    That the pure may know itself.»
    -- Hoelderlin, The Titans
A la Heidegger. Given the sensationalism in tone of this writing, it seems only Heidegger is appropriate as a forthright response.

In a sense, we see two very crude tools: public surveillance via legislation or public surveillance via a device (which some "market") apparently demands. In all of the ways we have come to know and love, these are both problematical departures from a reality alluded to in the Internet Declaration of Independence.

The old ways of thinking are an impasse. You must understand that the old ways of thinking are an impasse. In Heidegger's terms, such an impasse can be described by the fact that [we are the sign that is not read]. Moreover, that we are still not thinking, yet we are underway to thinking.

    «And let not much-current habit force you into this way,
    to let roam sightless eyes and noise-cluttered ear
    and [tongue*], rather discriminate in reflection . . .»
I recently recall a short prose alluding to a fictional possible world, wherein the denizens of its society were allotted so many words per day.

Debord may service as a modulation of Hedeigger's foreboding:

«The self-emancipation of our time is an emancipation from the material bases of inverted truth. This “historic mission of establishing truth in the world” can be carried out neither by the isolated individual nor by atomized and manipulated masses, but only and always by the class that is able to dissolve all classes by reducing all power to the de-alienating form of realized democracy — to councils in which practical theory verifies itself and surveys its own actions. This is possible only when individuals are “directly linked to world history” and [dialogue*] arms itself to impose its own conditions.»

Heidegger is a bit more optimistic, as he essentially must be:

«"What is called thinking?" At the end we return to the question we asked at first when we found out what our word "thinking" originally means. _Thanc_ means memory, thinking that recalls, thanks [interjecting "Likes"!].

But in the meantime we have learned to see that the essential nature of thinking is determined by what there is to be thought about: the presence of what is present, the Being of beings. Thinking is thinking only when it _recalls_ in thought ἐόν, That which this word indicates properly and truly, that is, unspoken, tacitly. And that is the duality of beings and Being. This quality is what properly gives food for thought. And what is so given, is the gift of what is most worthy of question.

Can thinking take this gift into its hands, that is, take it to heart, in order to entrust it in λέγειν, in the telling statement, to the original speech of language?»

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