Things I Read, 11: Sockpuppets, Space-sharing, Working "Below the API," Reality Realism on Climate and the New Greenpeace

Bruce Sterling on why you shouldn't care how SIRI feels

[Bruce rants a bit about AI]

Q: Do you believe we should feel empathy for Artificial Intelligence?
Bruce Sterling: Well, we can feel empathy for Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind, and she doesn't exist, either. "Artificial Intelligence" doesn't exist. ...But it's pretty easy to feel empathy. ... What if you lifted your iPhone and Siri suddenly said, "I hate you, and I wish you were dead, Rhett Jones." A truly terrifying prospect, am I right? And yet everybody knows Siri is just a speech interface for Apple Corporation.

Oakland’s 2015 Co-working Space Guide: Finding Your Groove

[The shared workspace concept continues to mutate and evolve. Even just here in the East Bay, there's some beautiful confusion happening, as this guide shows.]

"The Blueprint is a creative workspace for teams, social enterprises or small businesses to work side by side and support one-another. It’s like a coliving house, but for a workspace. We have flexible work hours, super affordable rates, and a warm welcome into our community of creative skill-sharers, makers, visiting artists, teachers, and life-long learners."

Google Cabs And Uber Bots Will Challenge Jobs 'Below The API'

[The gig economy and why workers stuck "below the API" find themselves in an economic dead end. We need terms like this to even understand what's already happening around us.] above-and-below-the-api-jobs.png

"Drivers are opting into a dichotomous workforce: the worker bees below the software layer have no opportunity for on-the-job training that advances their career, and compassionate social connections don’t pierce the software layer either. The skills they develop in driving are not an investment in their future. Once you introduce the software layer between ‘management’ (Uber’s full-time employees building the app and computer systems) and the human workers below the software layer (Uber’s drivers, Instacart’s delivery people), there’s no obvious path upwards. In fact, there’s a massive gap and no systems in place to bridge it."

Letter to the PM outlining how 2°C demands an 80% cut in EU emissions by 2030

[Kevin Anderson on the difference between political realism and reality realism on climate goals.]

"Put simply, the basic arithmetic of: (1) the IPCC’s 2°C carbon budgets; (2) highly optimistic assumptions on deforestation and cement; (3) stringent emissions pathways for industrialising and poorer nations; and (4) the EU’s oft-cited commitment on 2°C; requires the European Council to increase the 2030 target to, at least, an 80% reduction in emissions. ... Alternatively, if the Green Paper’s 40% target is adopted, the EU should be honest about why it has chosen to renege on it previous 2°C commitments."

This Man Is Greenpeace's Best Hope

[Greenpeace's Kumi Naidoo is an interesting guy, and makes the org worth paying attention to.]

Greenpeace would readily agree that its focus is increasingly multinational. The plan for the shift to developing countries—the “new operating model,” as it’s called internally—was first raised by Naidoo’s predecessor, a German scientist named Gerd Leipold. But Naidoo, who is at heart a community organizer, has made it a defining cause.

“We don't win if we don’t win in the countries with significant population sizes in the global south,” says Naidoo. “Even if everyone else says, ‘We’ll do the right thing,’ if China, Brazil, African countries, and India go for a carbon-intensive economy, we will lose.”

Under the system, scheduled to be finalized by the end of the year, all 40 of Greenpeace’s national chapters will pool their funds. Areas like Asia, Africa, Brazil, and the U.S. (important because of its energy consumption) will receive the lion’s share of the money, while big fundraising countries like Germany and the Netherlands will sacrifice. Nearly 70 of the 250 jobs in Amsterdam will move overseas, a process that’s already begun.