Topic 5 Posts

Technology

Personal projects of mine or thoughts on technology more generally.
It’s hard for me to believe that the IEEE’s membership isn’t going off a demographic cliff these days as their membership ages, and it must be awful knowing they’ve got decades of delicious, piping-hot research cooked up that nobody is ordering while the world’s coders are lining up to slurp watery gruel out of a Stack-Overflow-shaped trough and pretend they’re well-fed.

Mike Hoye, "Citation Needed"

Whatever programmers think about themselves and these towering logic-engines we’ve erected, we’re a lot more superstitious than we realize. We tell and retell this collection of unsourced, inaccurate stories about the nature of the world without ever doing the research ourselves, and there’s no other word for that but "mythology". Worse, by obscuring the technical and social conditions that led humans to make these technical and social decisions, by talking about the nature of computing as we find it today as though it’s an inevitable consequence of an immutable set of physical laws, we’re effectively denying any responsibility for how we got here. And worse than that, by refusing to dig into our history and understand the social and technical motivations for those choices, by steadfastly refusing to investigate the difference between a motive and a justification, we’re disavowing any agency we might have over the shape of the future. We just keep mouthing platitudes and pretending the way things are is nobody’s fault, and the more history you learn and the more you look at the sad state of modern computing the the more pathetic and irresponsible that sounds.

Mike Hoye, "Citation Needed"

One must qualify that much of what is today called "artificial intelligence" is little more than traditional regression analysis, the basic technique taught in introductory statistics courses, but on an unprecedented scale and presence in daily life. None of this technology approaches the conscious, adaptive, reflective capacities often associated with the term, the kind we would find in 2001: A Space Odyssey's HAL 9000 or Star Trek's Mr. Data. The labeling of these techniques as "artificial intelligence" arises in part from the ideological aspirations of Silicon Valley and in part from its overhyped marketing, and so ought to be resisted. But for the sake of critique we will adopt it here.

Jon Askonas, "How Tech Utopia Fostered Tyranny"

Structuring Redux Reducers by Action Type

I recently refactored a personal project of mine written using React & Redux. I've been thinking a lot recently about how to organize reducers. Previously I utilized the reduce-reducers library, and organized my reducers both temporally and structurally. That proved untenable in the long run.…