RANT | AutoDraw is AntiCreativity

Google AutoDraw

I understand the human dynamic in the difficulty of developing this, but this is just wrong. That might be a strong term to use, but hear me out: the current idea behind technological innovation has strayed from it’s original purpose. That purpose being to benefit and serve mankind.

In it’s current state, technology is now being treated as a means to think less and do less (read: lazy). The problem with this is that if you fast forward in time, eventually you have people who have no idea how to innovate further because they rely on technology too much. Hence, making the creator subservient to the creation. (This is why I am apprehensive about the development of artificial intelligence.)

Though there are people who are trying to achieve computed sentience, it will never be an adequate replacement for the human mind. With Google’s AutoDraw, there is absolutely zero skill involved. You draw a blob, click a button, you’ve got a flower. Part of the beauty of great art is that you know that it took a great deal of skill to execute. Not to mention the imagination needed to even conceive of the design.

I concede to the fact that AutoDraw in particular may have beneficial humanitarian applications. But you know that’s not what it’s being marketed for. They’re making this so Social Media Sally can scribble on the screen of her phone and pepper hearts and flowers on her selfie. She doesn’t have to even try! She could draw what looks like a butt and you would never know. If she put even five minutes into learning how to draw, she wouldn’t need this! But our society has become so lazy and aloof that an international company like Google sees a market for it. And that is what upsets me.

I would never let my son use this. Period. It would only stifle his imagination and sense of wonder. Not to mention, it’s things like this that rob us of the sense of achievement after working so hard! I will not have that for my son! I love him too much to do that to him.

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RANT | AutoDraw is AntiCreativity

RANT | The Evolution of Professionalism

[ Image retrieved from Business Insider ]
There was a time when professionalism was simply defined to mean “an expert in a given field or skill.” In our time, it has had numerous superfluous social amendments that have turned it into something that rubs me in such a way, I can hardly express how much I dislike the term. Please understand that I am probably going to be making some blanket statements, but I mean absolutely no offense to anyone. I know very well that not all people fall into all categories all of the time or even at all.

“You’re not wearing that,” is a term that I’ve heard many times from my wife. Given I tend to have a more juvenile approach to style than my age might permit (I’m 33). Whenever I’m getting ready to attend a wedding or some other “formal” event, I put on my outfit, and my wife tells me that it’s not appropriate. I’ve never understood this concept. How could my comfort be inappropriate? I’m not wearing a Rammstein band tee, frayed shorts, and flip-flops. I’m wearing nice, unscathed dark jeans, a button up flannel, and all-black chucks. I’m not naked. I’m clean, groomed, and happy. What’s wrong with that? All that being said, I also pride myself in being a gentleman, and the most basic definition of a gentleman or a lady is “making sure that the people around you are as comfortable as possible,” as heard from the Brenden Fraser movie Blast From The Past. This might be a reductionist version of the official definition, but I think it hits the nail right on the head.

If that definition of a gentleman is accurate, I naturally assume that everyone else has the same goal. And how am I most comfortable? By not wearing clothes that make me uncomfortable. And if you tell me that my attire is inappropriate, that’s not very gentlemanly or ladylike, is it? Because now you’ve just made it awkward and uncomfortable for you and me. I also don’t expect the people around me to wear such uncomfortable clothing, and it even makes me feel uncomfortable being around a herd of penguins.

So this brings me to my first obvious beef with modern day professionalism. Notably, certain professions require that a uniform be worn while on the clock. This requirement not only makes it easier for people to know who you work for, but it can also be a safety issue. This is not what I am going to be talking about. I am pointing out the suit and tie corporate cultures that put way to much value in appearance. This falls into the “spend money to make money” theory. Since when does the appearance of a suit and tie mean that the person draped in such a way is a professional? A professional is defined by his or her craftsmanship, experience, skill, and results, right? Right?!

Now I know people will argue that you need to put your best foot forward, and I get that. But since when does my shirt and pants contribute to that? The shirt I’m wearing doesn’t increase my typing skills. Nor do my pants make me a better communicator.

“But, Mike, it’s about showing respect!” Did my tie shake your hand and welcome you when you walked in the door? My shoes definitely didn’t offer you anything to drink.

 

Then there’s “corporate language.” For me personally, it means more for me to refer to you by your first name than to call you sir or ma’am. And then there’s the all time classic, “It’s not personal, it’s just business.” I don’t care how much you think you can argue this, but business is personal. The business we conduct on a daily basis — regardless of the industry — grants us the ability to provide for ourselves and our families. Last I checked, that’s about as personal as you can get. This statement has become the socially acceptable version of, “I don’t care about you or your family, I’m just here for the money.”

 

What I’m getting at here is that the “corporate mentality” turns people into two-faced anti-humans. The corruption levels in this country are enraging. People don’t realize that they’re being turned because it’s considered the status quo and just accepted. I’ve always been against saying what you don’t mean. How many of us have had to bite our tongues because a customer is being a dick (another rant incoming), but we had to be “professional”? Otherwise we risk getting a write-up or even losing our jobs? That isn’t right. Just because I’m a service employee, doesn’t mean that I’m a person without feelings! And it’s my right as a human being to defend myself against hostility.

But do you see what I’m saying? From my point of view, here in America, capitalism reduces people to mere dollars and cents. It’s not that I don’t think capitalism is a good system, I just think that because people are flawed by nature, we bastardize the system and end up treating other people like property. It’s not capitalism or empathy, it’s capitalism and empathy. Get it right, America. Geez!

RANT | The Evolution of Professionalism

The Man Edison Couldn’t Keep Up With

[ image courtesy of teslasociety.com ]

I am a Tesla fan, and have been ever since I saw the Prestige (2006). I’m not saying that I get my history lessons from movies, what I am saying is that it can take a movie to get me interested in history. Not long after seeing that movie did I peruse iBooks on my iPhone to find a short biography of Nikola Tesla. In it I discovered the atrocities that Thomas Edison and J.P. Morgan threw on this brilliant scientist. But I am not here to protest the treatment of Tesla, but to discuss the other stuff that I read about him. Namely, his inventions and concepts.

In that same biography I learned about the already well known Tesla Coil. But did you know that Tesla was the first person to produce a fully electric car? Or what about this: toward the end of his life, Tesla had made a working prototype of a FLYING CAR! Well, it was just a box the size of a dishwasher, but still. It used no wings, no propellers, and no jet engines, and caressed the air as it moved freely about, ever as agile as a butterfly. He did a live demonstration in front of several people (whose names escape me at the moment), who were all marveled at the dream, but were more baffled at the idea than impressed.

As an aside, did you know that, while Elmo Marconi is credited to having invented the radio, it was actually Tesla’s invention? You’d be surprised at how many things we now consider commonplace today, that were said to have been invented by Edison or other people when they were actually conceived of, and invented by Tesla. The only reason he lost any grip on his inventions is that when he was found dead in his home by the landlord, the landlord went to get call the doctor. Not long after the doctors reported Tesla deceased, a small army of men, whose affiliations are still a mystery today, entered his home and boxed up all of Tesla’s diagrams, notes, and lab equipment. Some say it was the government who wanted to get a hold on Tesla’s diagrams and specs for what was dubbed the Death Ray.

Tesla also had a working prototype of free home electricity, and it wasn’t solar panels. He built a tower that pulled electrical charge from the ionosphere, and shot it into the ground. All you needed to do was drive a copper rod into the ground and connect it to your home wiring. One tower could power a whole neighborhood. I am baffled at the lack of implementation on these concepts! Why are we not funding this?!

Just wanted to spit this out. Not very many people know about this. And they should!

The Man Edison Couldn’t Keep Up With