Wise Guys on WHO Radio - July 2, 2016

Brian Gongol

The WHO Radio Wise Guys airs on WHO Radio in Des Moines, Iowa on 1040 AM or streaming online at WHORadio.com. The show airs from 1 to 2 pm Central Time on Saturday afternoons. A podcast of show highlights is also available. Leave comments and questions on the Wise Guys Facebook page or e-mail them to wiseguys@whoradio.com.

Please note: These show notes may be in various stages of completion -- ranging from brainstormed notes through to well-polished monologues. Please excuse anything that may seem rough around the edges, as it may only be a first draft of a thought and not be fully representative of what was said on the air.

In the news this week

Street-smart social media

Computers and the Internet Facebook changes news feed to favor people

The site is going to do whatever it takes to make sure that users visit as often as possible, for as long as possible. And if that means scaling back the amount of "publisher" content in favor of what individuals like and share, then that's what they're going to do. Woe unto any publisher that has built a business model off of social sharing, though -- which, anymore, is most of them.

Gadget of the week

Computers and the Internet An app to help deter human trafficking (that is: sex slavery)

Taking photos of unoccupied hotel rooms can help with the prosecution of those who take advantage of their fellow human beings for exploitation

Technically funny

Humor and Good News Auctioneers with a beat

(Video) Close your eyes and try not to picture Busta Rhymes

Dispatches from the flying-car future

Science and Technology Americans are all over the place when it comes to self-driving cars

An overwhelming majority say in one survey that they're OK with autonomous cars -- yet there's all kinds of blowback to the news of a fatal crash involving an auto-piloted Tesla. Some crashes are inevitable, but if guardian-angel technology can keep us from getting into quite so many bad situations, then we'll all be much better off.

Computers and the Internet The robots are coming to take your jobs: The lawyerly edition

An "AI lawyer" is fighting tens of thousands of parking tickets and winning

Brian's Big Picture

Before we put a bow on this show for good, a few parting thoughts:

  1. We're moving into a service-based technology world. Beware. Never put all your trust in service companies.
  2. Your digital identity will never be less important than it is today. Its importance will inevitably grow. If you don't cultivate it, it will grow anyway -- like a weed. So cultivate it.
  3. Fads will come and go. Instant messaging faded, then came back as group texting. Now it's been revived as things like Snapchat.
  4. Backup, backup, backup. If it's really important, have a backup for your backup. Make sure your backups are not susceptible to the same failures that can take out whatever it is you're trying to backup.
  5. If you're using something for free, then you aren't the consumer. You're the product.
  6. Don't be afraid to tinker. Most things will only work right if you tinker with them a lot. If you have fear, take it as a signal that you need to learn something.
  7. Don't let technology become the end-all-be-all of your existence, but don't resist it when the benefits are clear and the evidence is overwhelming. In fact, don't even resist it when it only sounds interesting. There's always going to be something new, and you will be well-served by staying open to the new things. Don't ever say "I'm too old for that".
  8. Computers and artificial intelligence are already starting to drive our cars, review our X-rays, and even perform surgery. If you have zero tolerance for mechanical or technological failure, you will make the mistake of accepting a lot of human error well past the time when you should have stopped. There is nothing more honorable about dying in a car crash or from a misdiagnosis just because a human being made the error instead of a computer. Risk mitigation and harm reduction are the bywords.
  9. At the cutting edge, things will never work quite right. As the old saying goes, you can have things fast, cheap, or good -- pick two. Apple comes out with new products and promises that they'll work seamlessly -- but they're never cheap. Companies like Google and Samsung have come back with things that are also fast, but cheap -- but they never seem to work quite right. That's life on the leading edge.
  10. Technology is only good inasmuch as it is used to make people's lives better.

Politics of technology

News Rational government sounds much better than it would actually be in practice

Ironically, perhaps, the best evidence against a purely "evidence-based" government is the terrible misuse and abuse of "rational" arguments for terrible government behavior. Principles and ideas still matter.

The United States of America 30-year-olds in 1975 versus that same cohort today

Today's 30-year-olds are better-educated, much less likely to have been married, vastly less likely to be living with a child, substantially less likely to be homeowners, and somewhat less likely to have achieved a middle-class income. Very interesting stuff.

Aviation News The FAA's new commercial drone rules

Playing catch-up at this stage

Money and technology

Computers and the Internet "Progress" towards a sale of Yahoo's assets

This long, drawn-out process can't be doing anything to help morale

Science and Technology A remarkable look at the deflation in solar-power production costs

Costs have supposedly fallen by 80% since 2008

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