benj edwards knocking it out of the park

April 9, 2018
Computer Historian Benj Edwards has started a podcast The Culture of Tech. He has some amazing people on it, starting with Steve Wozniak. Only 4 episodes in, but all have been great.

I think technology without ethics is pointless. It's like creating a self-driving chainsaw that just sort of cuts down whatever it wants.
Benj Edwards interview Richard "Lord British" Garriot.
They talk a lot about Ultima IV's Virtues system, a very thoughtful philosophical system of morality that I think stands up well to most other belief systems. (Also check out the Principles and Virtues of Mandrake the Bard parody of it.)
"I read an article recently about Joyce Weisbecker who was probably the first female video game developer, and her dad was a pioneering computer scientist at RCA, and he had this interesting way of thinking about software: he compared it to a magic trick. And I kept thinking: why is it a magic trick? Why that metaphor? And I finally realized that it's because everything a computer does is an illusion, it's all just a bunch of ones and zeroes and switches, and layers and layers and layers of illusion on top of illusion. "
They're talking about upcoming technology that will make it trivial to make convincing video footage of literally any person saying literally any thing. I think Weisbecker's father made a great point - it's so easy to think of objects on screen as real. (But of course, you could sort of say the same thing about mundane matter... This isn't a pencil on my desk, it's just a bunch of atoms!) Cue Plato's world of forms etc.
"I had a 'recruiter' email me the other day, saying they really liked what they saw in one of my public github repos -- that I made one half-ass commit to like two years ago"
"man, I bet that does work fairly well if they happen to hit an actual relevant thing"
"Maybe the company he's working with is looking for someone who can churn out one half-ass commit every two years"
I snickered out loud.