The Age of AI

Artificial intelligence will be considered a new epoch in human history. The Enlightenment was defined by the age of reason, in which a process could ensure humans develop new and tested knowledge. Increasingly though, algorithmic learning is developing so rapidly that no human entirely understands the recommendations that AI makes. This will be seen as entirely new age.

So argues the Age of AI: And Our Human Future, a 2021 book written by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt and AI researcher Daniel Huttenlocher. That big idea was argued in an article Kissinger wrote for The Atlantic in 2018 entitled: How the Enlightenment Ends.

The book is neither dystopian nor breathlessly optimistic. It is not full of rich stories nor colorful visions. It is a clear-eyed book directed toward policymakers and business leaders. It outlines its authors view of current research and understanding about where AI research is heading.

I collected notes from the book below. I recommend reading it.

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Prediction: my children will care less about technology than I do

These are not my kids. I don't even have kids. This is a photo I found online of a bunch of kids using laptops. It's meant to be mildly representative of where we are today, in shoving digital technology in everyone's hands.

Two premises:

(a) Generations are cyclical.

(b) Technology is everything we were alive to see invented.

If my peers today are a part of an incredible age of change and innovation, when what is new is what matters most, I believe that my children’s generation in 20 years or so, will be characterized by rebelling against what is new — if that doesn’t happen sooner. (I don’t have kids yet, but I might have ’em someday and so I’m talking broadly)

What is considered technology today — things like web-based communication, geo location-centric discovery and adaptable information gathering — will not be abandoned necessarily (because those will be everyday tools 20 years from now) but I do believe consumer interest will go elsewhere from the newest and latest around technology in as obsessive a fashion. New ideas fuel consumer interest, but I suspect my kids won’t care about technology in the same way we do today.

What will replace technology, well, I’m not quite sure yet.

iPhone: my first personal smartphone and the first 15 predictable free apps I downloaded

My first smartphone arrived at my door yesterday.

Considering it’s late 2011 and I report for a technology news site, you can be sure that I got a lot of crap for it being only my first. Of course, as I explained, in 2009 I was a struggling freelance writer so I had trouble enough affording my prepaid burner phone. Late that year, I joined a family plan with my sister to cut costs even more and took the basic level phone: a sturdy Samsung texting phone.

Only now, two years later, was my contract ready for an update. Considering I had already made my jump into the Apple world, I bought into the hype, and spent more than $300 on the iPhone 4s. Of course, because I cover technology, I already had a clear idea of what I would be doing with the device and had played with them for years — though that made my awe no less substantial as I played with mine.

Still, I quickly added a slew of free apps that seem to me to be the staples. Below, a list of the free apps I first added to my phone, and expectations for getting more crap:

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Philacon Valley: The surging technology communities of Philadelphia, the Delaware Valley

The older streets of Philadelphia with the Center City-skyscraping Liberty Towers peering over.

Wipe clean the rust.

Philadelphia, Pa., the first great and longest-lasting great American city, which fell on long-hard, embarrassing times for much of the second-half of the 20th century, has every reason to take on the future of urban existence — innovation.

I’m using the opportunity to also introduce a new venture, Technically Philly, a blog covering the community of people using technology in Philadelphia.

And that community is growing. If it’s green development or technology, Philadelphia has a thriving underground version of it. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to Philacon Valley.

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Why all journalists should use syndicated feeds

What do you use for syndicated RSS or atom feeds?

If you are a journalist, blogger or news gatherer of any kind, you ought to have an answer.

Abandoning your browser and instead using a Web-based news aggregator can help you more efficiently consume the Internet. So, instead of chasing down top news, have the latest headlines immediately update in one place, right to you.

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Six month old trend, then I'm ready to join: is your newspaper like that too?

I am now the proud owner of an mp3 player – my first.

It’s a trend of my coming to any popular phase months too late. Sometimes by choice, sometimes not.

In anything, from electronics to music to business innovation in media, there are trend-setters, followers and late-comers. Which are you, and which is your organization?

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My apologies to Philly.com: how the Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com are related

The Philly.com icon that welcomes you to their headquarters on the 35th floor of 1601 Market Street in Center City Philadelphia.
The Philly.com icon that welcomes you to their headquarters on the 35th floor of 1601 Market Street in Center City Philadelphia, as seen on Jan. 8, 2009.

I owe Philly.com an apology.

I got heavy traffic on a recent post of mine in which I complimented the video product  (particularly Philadelphia Business Today) but regarded it as incomplete in many ways. I haven’t shifted much on my analysis, but I have learned I put the wrong address on the post. Find out where it should have gone below, and what every newspaper – or company, or organization, or individual – can learn from it about branding.

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SHRM: Smart Wireless Connectivity Key to Data Protection

My first story for the Society of Human Resource Management magazine appeared online yesterday. It focuses on the dangers that face mobile employees who use unsecured wireless networks and what human resource professionals need to know about the trends.

You can’t read it because it’s by subscription. Instead, I’ll give you my lede and what I cut from my first clip in a trade publication.

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The equipment of this freelance multimedia journalist: How I became a better reporter this Christmas

It may seem like another cost, another obstacle to your dream. That’s because it is. Journalism students face the challenge of getting professional experience from newspapers and magazines that often don’t pay. Buying the multimedia equipment that would have to be part of anyone’s journalism tool box does cost money that many young journalists, fresh freelancers or recently-unemployed reporters don’t have.

So, I took three years, much of my own money and at least two gifts to accumulate what equipment I think to be important for a developed, independent multimedia journalist. Yesterday, I was thrilled to be given the last of the below items as my family Christmas gift.

All that said, these are tools, not rules. While I am by no means independently wealthy, much of the world doesn’t have the financial resources with which I am blessed.

So, here’s my triage of multimedia equipment, what you need most.

If even time doesn’t offer an opportunity for you to build on this tool box. Take heart. Nothing on the below list could replace hard work, smarts and persistence…. lots and lots of persistence.

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