Wednesday, November 23, 2016

As if having a climate change denier in the White House weren't enough...

...We now more alarming evidence of profound change in Arctic ecology.

As the linked article below from the New York Times indicates researchers have gotten pretty convincing evidence that less ice is producing a great deal more algae there. A fact that, on the face of it might lead one to think that more food at the bottom of the food chain would be a good thing, at least for aquatic life, but, as is usually the case, things are a much more complex than that; especially when considers what may happen to, say the reproduction cycles of different species if a great deal more algae were competing for all of the light and nutrients that early stages of other species might need. And of course less ice in general every year is going to wreak havoc in a number of other ways in any case: higher sea levels, less reflection so more absorption of sunlight as heat into the oceans, etc.

If you have even a basic understanding of the interconnected nature of life and the physical aspects of our planet you have to see this as another canary in the mine getting ready to drop dead. And if it can't breath down there what do you suppose your chances are of continuing to do the same?

One would think that even the Trump Chump brigades would have to take notice of this. Unfortunately a good deal of that prospect depends on the chump commander and chief coming back to reality. And more's the pity.

Global Warming Alters Arctic Food Chain, Scientists Say, With Unforeseeable Results

by Carl Zimmer

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Think Long And Hard About Self Reinforcing Interlink Connections...

...Between all of your games and the behaviors of everyday life.

These kinds of interlink connections are exactly what Andrew Wilson is talking about in the linked interview you see below from The Verge.

Sure, in a best case scenario as Mr. Wilson describes:
"...From the minute I get up in the morning, everything I do has an impact on my gaming life, both discrete and indiscrete. The amount of eggs I have in my internet-enabled fridge might mean my Sims are better off in my game. That length of distance I drive in my Tesla on the way to work might mean that I get more juice in Need for Speed. If I go to soccer practice in the afternoon, by virtue of internet-enabled soccer boots, that might give me juice or new cards in my FIFA product. This world where games and life start to blend I think really comes into play in the not-too-distant future, and almost certainly by 2021..."
But what if the interconnects try to reinforce things that are not so benign or beneficial? What if comments made somewhere penalize you in gaming. What if purchases from only one vender of a thing, say the more expensive one, is the main way to get ahead in a game. And what if they start these interlinks very unobtrusively at first. Then slowly begin to increase them as your behavior changes. Would you necessarily notice? Maybe. Maybe not. Whatever the case you don't need to be an expert in B.F. Skinner's positive reinforcement to understand how this sort of thing might be fertile ground for abuse; especially as VR immersion becomes more pervasive.

Just imagine a scenario where, as internet bandwidth increases, people take to VR with a vengeance; using it to not only game, but slip back and forth from that to remote working, without ever exiting whatever the physical interface ends up becoming. Might you then have your employer also involved? Would performance, and/or hours worked, become an increasing game benefits provider? So much so that you begin to lose the connection between what you're actually paid for work done, and the amount of work you do?

This may seem extreme pessimism but it's already been suggested in the YouTube video "Uncanny Valley," a frightening depiction of how VR putting you into a game might actually have you operating actual killing robots in some foreign land without you're realizing it.

See Also:

We are Already Living in a Multi Faceted Fantasy. Isn't that Kinda Horrible?

Experience is Experience, but can one ever substitute for the other?

Experience the New Experience