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Archive for the 'politics' Category

Algorithms are not Evil Incarnate

Wednesday, August 19th, 2020

One of my favourite units in the Bachelor of Computing was a core second year unit called KXA201 Algorithms; I got a 76 (Distinction). One thing that really stoked me about it was the hardcore geeky Maths/Physics computer guys struggled. Someone like me, a strength in good writing, found it a breeze. Anyway, listening to this weeks chaotic journalism hype about algorithms being some sort of evil incarnate, it’s no wonder I’m compelled to explain why they are certainly not evil, of themselves.

To be clear, I’ve studied undergraduate Computing with an average score of 80 (High Distinction) and a Master of Business Administration with a Specialisation in Journalism and Media Studies with an average score of 80 (High Distinction). You can doubt me, I don’t care. But here’s my feedback to journalists… because journalists don’t study anything like algorithms, or even statistics, economics, or fucking anything really. Except journalism. Most journalists, in a pinch, are talking/writing through their naive arses.

So here goes. An algorithm is a recipe. Nothing more, nothing less. Your cookbook is full of algorithms to make food. It’s a simple enough idea that I won’t belabour the point. Thus, algorithms are not evil incarnate. We use algorithms in our everyday lives to solve these types of problems – how to make a beef casserole; how to build an IKEA cupboard from flatpack. When you enter an elevator there’s a detailed algorithm prescribing the order of operations – the floor the elevator stops at next and when to open and close those doors; what happens when buttons are pressed. Algorithms are part of our lives.

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The Secret to Human Success is Multiculturalism

Thursday, May 21st, 2020

Back in the day, when I was an under-educated dipshit with right wing leanings, I would repeat a popular right wing mantra that multiculturalism has never worked. And I never questioned the logic, regardless that it came to me third hand in the way a cult tells itself a story of identity. I was a proud white man. The story fit my conclusions. White men were special. I hate to inform anybody of this one… but we’re not special at all. We’ve just had 200 years of might is right especially if it’s white.

So I thought writing an article about this mantra might be interesting… at least for those under-educated non-thinking right wing bigots who repeat that ignorant statement. Because it turns out that multiculturalism is what brought us out of the caves and into this crazy era of the Space Age homo sapien. Not DNA diversity, not bigger brains… the sharing of culture.

DNA Diversity is not the Secret of our Success

One group of people would have you believe that our genetic diversity is the reason for the homo sapien success story. Bollocks. Although we have this diversity of appearance that we as homo sapiens recognise in the finer details of faces … there is vastly more genetic difference between chimpanzees living on one side of a river to the other than there is between human beings around the planet.

In simple English, homo sapiens are more alike around the World than chimpanzees that live locally. So, no, genetic diversity didn’t make us this successful. In fact, there was a point in our early history where one father can be linked to all males. All males on this planet are related. At a point where human beings on the planet were reduced to approximately one thousand survivors of a cataclysmic event.

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2020 Won’t be the Year we Fix Everything

Wednesday, January 1st, 2020

I know people seem to think the catastrophic fires in Australa, the depleting habitat, weather changes and all that shit are going to make a huge difference this decade. I’m sorry, but I don’t have that faith in human beings. We’re going to ride this pony to the end and then some. Most people just want to buy stuff. It’s as simple as that.

How’s that for a negative New Year’s post? And I mean it. Nobody wants to stop having all their stuff. And for as little as possible. Meanwhile, governments fed by lobby groups and companies are getting away with murder and will continue to do so while they all guffaw about the infinite riches of a never-ending consumption driven global economy.

Probably the biggest thing we could do to stop things at this point would be to shut down the Internet. And ban shipping containers. Those two things (computing & standardised form-factor distribution) have been the drivers behind the post-1970s phase of globalisation that sees more business done in a day than was achieved in a single year of the 1960s.

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About the Author

Steven Clark Steven Clark - the stand up guy on this site

My name is Steven Clark and I live in the Derwent Valley in Southern Tasmania. I have an MBA (Specialisation) and a Bachelor of Computing from the University of Tasmania. I'm a mazer & a yeast farmer (making beer, fruit wine and mead as by-products of continuous improvement in my farming practices). I'm a photographer, although my film cameras are currently silent. I do not tolerate idiots. I do not tolerate bigotry. I do not tolerate excuses. Let's be clear, if you sit with my enemies you my are my enemy for life.

Blogger. Thinker. Brewer. Drinker. Life partner to the amazing and incredible Megan.

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