Found 2 comments on HN
rdiddly · 2018-04-15 · Original thread
The point being made is: Technology without vision is dehumanizing. This is widely known and is, for example, the reason good schools make undergrad engineering students take at least a few humanities classes before they leave.

Technology without vision is dehumanizing - it happened with Penn Station, where narrow quantitative and engineering goals displaced the broader human ones and led to the widely-hated station that's there now, which was excavated by people who were called hogs, and which makes passengers feel like rats. The loss is especially acute there, since everybody knows what the old station was like ( https://duckduckgo.com/?q=old+penn+station&kp=-2&iax=images&... ). It was an edifice comparable to the great gares and bahnhöfe of Europe (or to Grand Central which for some reason we decided to keep), a monument to national power, industrial wealth, and the technologies of the time, but also a space that evoked something a little more noble in the human spirit somehow.

The writer is also drawing a parallel with the dehumanizing effect of the particular startup he worked for. The analysts are the hogs, he's the rat, his own perceived loss of creativity (probably a bit exaggerated... aahhh youth) is the dehumanization part, and the absentee CEO is the lack of vision. (If a CEO has one function, it's to provide vision. And in second place, not far behind, is to establish company culture.)

Arguably, placing technical/quantitative goals above more humanistic ones is what an organization like Nazi Germany was all about. But obviously it's way more complicated than that, and I don't intend to address it further.

I would point you toward Dmitri Orlov's concept of a Technosphere. Analogous to the "biosphere" it models human technology as a quasi-intelligent entity that is global in scope.

Book: https://www.amazon.com/Shrinking-Technosphere-Technologies-A...

Excerpt (not much exposition but you'll get the point): https://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2016/02/the-technospheratu-hy...

Everybody here are the ones who most need to hear this message. Some will doubtless resist the criticism of ML/datasci with the fervor of someone whose long-held religious belief is challenged for the first time. But you needed that. Feel free to prove the critiques wrong, by the way... that's kind of the whole point. Prove them wrong with broad projects that actually benefit humanity instead of being a mess of unintended consequences and unimpressive bullshit.

rdiddly · 2017-05-27 · Original thread
Homo sapiens the toolmaker. Once you make a tool, you inevitably end up adapting your "process" (and admittedly that term is tool-oriented in the extreme, especially to an epicureanist) to fit the tool.

Dmitry Orlov talks about the idea of a "technosphere" (analogous to the "biosphere"), that is made by us but also seems to have its own will, and "it tries" to remake us in its own image. Interesting reading:

https://www.amazon.com/Shrinking-Technosphere-Technologies-A...

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