Tuesday, July 20, 2010


This makes me uncomfortable. Shall we discuss?


Lungclops said...

The entire Appleverse's HAL-like eagerness to help, paired with its OCD design sensibility, is discomfiting.

Litcube said...

This guy is on much Valium.

As far as the subject matter goes, that being, whether or not we should be pants shitting over Orwellian social networks, I don't have a problem with this. Perhaps I'm short sighted, but I can't see how this is damaging. Worst case scenario: target marketing. But if I had a choice between 10 flyers selling tampons and barbies, and 10 flyers selling video cards and guitars, I would prefer etc.

kamapuaa said...

This also assumes that your pool of friends has homogeneous interests.

Also, re: Orwell

@Lit: Glad to see there's another guitar player on here.

Galspanic said...

I worry about the tyranny of suggestions. I am bothered by systems that offer you choices based on what the interwebs tell the system your preferences are. It's like having distant relatives buy you presents based on what postcards your mom sent them said about you. (Actually that can be kind of fun when it works. I think I prefer that system.) If anything, browser programs should ask you if you are having a good or bad day for about a month consecutively, then give you suggestions or friend picks based on what the program thinks your mood is, depending on how hard you hit your keys or something. GUH. Do I want my computer and its friends to know me like that? Or do I want the computer to be my discreet and willing slave tool?
I was listening to the radio and someone said Personal Assistant devices were replacing our pets as companions. I don't want that kind of familiarity with my computer. Right now, I don't feel my computer judges me. Do I want it to? Based on what it is told by my searches and my peers? WTF?!?

There's that uncomfortable moment in this commercial where the guy's "friend" looks over her shoulder towards him nervously to see if he "likes" something she sent him. WTF!?!11?

Ruby Tenneco said...

This video made me feel sad. Where is he? In a hotel lobby between creative facilitation lectures? But there's a bike there. Is that his apartment? I think he lives next door to that advertising guy.

I like the subtext of his constant attempt to cheer himself up by browsing various sort-of-specified types of content. "I can always find something good in Fliptech, for instance. Sigh."

Mr. Pony said...

I think there's a misconception about how this works.

I just downloaded it now to make sure, and according to the video, Flipboard pulls its content from stuff your Facebook friends and people in your Twitter stream post in their own feeds. That is, it's showing you links that your friends are linking you to. So if you look at your Facebook feed, this is all the links posted there, in one place. You follow people on Twitter because you want to hear what they have to say—and this is just another interface to see what they are saying. Guys, I think this is just showing you stuff that you've chosen to look at anyway, in a more browsable format.

Mr. Pony said...

That said, I really don't have a problem with the hypothetical app (Let's call it "Suggest-o-Bot") that makes GalsPanic uncomfortable, either. Suggestions are, by definition, not tyrannical, and given the amount of data social network software has to work with (especially all the likes, retweets, follows, etc.) suggestions are probably worth taking a look at, now more than ever.

If I'm researching, say, hard drives, and I get an ad for a blog that reviews hard drives, that's helpful. I don't have to click the ad; it's just a suggestion. A service that turns ads from annoying and dismissible to helpful and noteworthy, though, is kind of cool. Thanks, Suggest-o-Bot!

Of course, I'm not always researching hard drives, and privacy does come into play here, but if Suggest-o-Bot uses some discretion while directing me to that special something something, then I'm okay with it, for the most part. That might be a different discussion, though.

Litcube said...

I lol'd at Panic's last graph.

Mr. Pony explains what this app does. As with most things we fear in society, once it's explained and we understand it, we sigh and relax.

The next thing that comes along that we don't fully understand, we'll probably shit brix until we understand it again.

Maybe I don't fear technology because I've been coding since I was 13. Maybe I fear the Japanese because I don't understand them, yet secretly yearn to be born Japanese so that one day I may finally be able to.

Mr. Pony said...

Yeah, that moment (both in the video and in GalsPanic's comment) was awesome. That poor, poor woman... That's just how I feel whenever I post something on Pieces of Things.

Galspanic said...

The oxymoronic quality of the term "tyranny of suggestions" was intentional. I thought it sounded stupidly clever.

I fear the Koreans and their 200+ APMs.

There's part of me that likes the concept of suggest-o-bot, and there's the part of me that likes the DIY-ness of browso-ma-trons now. I am far from a hacker/coder. It's not that aspect of the suggest-o-noid that I dislike. I think it is more the customer service aspect of it. I don't like when people talk to me in stores. I like the friendly nod, and then to be left to my own devices. I like asking someone for help, as opposed to being forced to tell someone what I'm looking for every five minutes (Yes I'm looking in your direction, Lego store!)

If I want to know what my friends think about something, I'll fucking ask them. Or they will tell me, because they know me. Not my likes and dislikes, or preferences, but know me. Biblically, even.

It's one of the things I truly dislike about Facebook/Twitter. The minutae. I hate knowing what people are doing every fifteen seconds. My favorite posters are the ones that do sudden bursts of posts all close together, and then don't say anything for weeks. I think that appeals to me for the obsolete reason that it is an analogue to receiving a letter in the mail.

I love my cousins in California. I love reading about their exploits in Facebook. It's super neat to be connected to them in that fashion. I do not love knowing what my cousin thinks about what her friend posted regarding that dude she liked at the mall. or that the coffee my other cousin had at this specific coffee place where I will probably never be is better than average. To sum up, I love my cousins. I don't love being bored by my cousins. That's part of the wonderfulosity/terribleness of family reunions, is that you have to catch up a few years in like, two days.

Maybe I just have to fucking bite the bullet and get used to it, as it is so god damned convenient.

Mr. Pony said...

Wow, this just in: 'Panic's Paranoid Prescience Predicts Program's Properties

odori said...

I love Kamupuaa's Orwell vs. Huxley link. Very nice!

I understand Panic's concerns and sympathize a little. But I also think the Flipboard concept is not too far off what we already have in the analog world. Every time you pick up a magazine or newspaper, you're also scanning information that a group of people has selected for you to scan, browse and maybe read.

Flipboard seems is similar to this concept - only it's your friends are helping do the selecting, not some editors you've never met.

I wouldn't want to solely rely on what my Facebook and Twitter connections post for my information about the world. But I think it would be a nice addition to my media diet.

My media diet would also include the websites and/or Twitter feeds of newspapers, magazines and blogs.

(Btw, my media diet also includes physical, dead tree newspapers and magazines. I value these as I often stumble upon stories in them I wouldn't find online.)

To be honest, I think the Flipboard thing is pretty exciting. I won't know for sure until I test it out in person, but I think it's offered me the most compelling reason why I should buy an iPad.