Friday, August 30, 2013

Orwell on 15th September 1942

I was browsing an archive by UCL of George Orwell's work today, and came across this:

Ghastly feeling of impotence over the India business, Churchill’s speeches, the evident intention of the blimps to have one more try at being what they consider tough, and the impudent way in which the newspapers can misrepresent the whole issue, well knowing that the public will never know enough or take enough interest to verify the facts. This last is the worst symptom of all – though actually our own apathy about India is not worse than the non-interest of Indian intellectuals in the struggle against Fascism in Europe.

The exact writing can be found on Folio 85 in this political diary.

Another archive is Orwell Diaries 1938 - 1942.

The mentions of airpower and propaganda is particularly intriguing, considering the current state of affairs in the world today.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Questions on social media (2)

A couple of posts ago, I asked: How will we assess information in the future?

Today I am thinking of another question: What kind of content will people pick up 10 generations later?

The question assumes that we will not be able to archive every post, every status, every piece of content that is put on the Internet in a clear manner. It would be very interesting to discuss our options should we find that this is in fact possible (step back: how would different companies harmonize their privacy policies?).

And the question also has at least 2 implications: What will be important to people in 10 generations' time? And what systems will be used to govern what content is relevant?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Forms of work today

I was intrigued by this blog post at the Economist titled On "bullshit jobs". It explores how administrative work today compares to assembly line jobs in the past.

One part of this blog post reads: "The issue is that too little of the recent gains from technological advance and economic growth have gone toward giving people the time and resources to enjoy their lives outside work. Early in the industrial era real wages soared and hours worked declined. In the past generation, by contrast, real wages have grown slowly and workweeks haven't grown shorter."

It is easy to see that time and resources are both in shortage across anyone you meet, anywhere in the world. So as this author frames the argument, I think jobs or any kind of work is always about using one's time and resources in the most efficient possible way.

The problem for me is in definitions. How do each of us define "efficient"? It is likely to be very diverse: For one person, efficiency might be the best possible situation for themselves. For another, it might be the best possible situation for a group of people. For yet another, it might not be about situations at all but about saving.

The possibilities are many. Without a firm, universal definition of what "efficient work" or "efficient outcomes" means, then it becomes difficult to decide how we should all use our time and resources.

Other thoughts: