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KathyReid Locked account

Joined 1 year, 2 months ago

technology. cybernetics. systems. science fiction. languages. machine learning. speech recognition.

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Ant encounters (2010, Princeton University Press) 4 stars

Review of 'Ant encounters' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Gordon's work on ant colonies provides a tractable and easily understandable way in to both systems thinking and understanding complexity. By using ants and ant colonies as the object of analysis, Gordon asks questions that all systems analysts would. From exploring how actors sense and respond to their environment, to inquiring as to how the system self-regulates behaviour such as foraging for food, this work is grounded firmly in science, while being clear about what answers we still have not discovered.

My key critique of this work is that the last chapter on modelling feels undone; I would really have liked to see systems diagrams of the phenomena visualised.

Eat the elephant (Thomas Noble Books) 3 stars

Light, easyweight introduction to the topic of overwhelm and procrastination

3 stars

A light, easy introduction to the psychological concepts underpinning overwhelm, including alignment with personal values, boundary-setting, procrastination and perfection. There's nothing particularly new or revelatory here; but this is a great starting point for those wanting to dip their toe into the topic.

The Reflective Practice Guide (Paperback, 2015, Routledge) 4 stars

Review of 'The Reflective Practice Guide' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This is an accessible, well-structured guide both for those new to reflective practice, and those guiding or instructing others in the discipline of reflective practice.

It provides solid, but not overwhelming, theoretical foundations for different approaches to reflective practice, and pragmatic, easily-implementable strategies for structuring reflecting writing, responding to emotions in reflective ways, and understanding the role reflecting practice plays in life-long learning and professional development.

I only wish this book had been recommended to much earlier.

Review of 'AARNet' on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

Korporaal's well-researched booked chronicles an incredibly important time in Australia's technical genealogy, exploring the relationships, political influences, strokes of luck and ill fortune - that have all shaped AARNet today.

More than a decade after the period covered in the book, her weaving of multiple threads of people, personalities and partnerships resonates.

Review of 'Made by Humans: The AI Condition' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Ellen Broad’s multi-faceted exploration of the many inter-twined aspects of artificial intelligence embarks and concludes at the same salient juncture; emerging technologies are conceived, shaped, used, governed and iterated by humans. Just as humans are inherently neither good nor bad, the systems we construct echo our moral plurality, our unconscious bias, and, frequently, our unwillingness to be critically interrogated.

That this is Broad’s first book – given its well-researched examples, coherent structure and intellectual incisiveness – is surprising. Its clarion call – for greater care, more rigourous thinking and a more holistic approach to the almost-infantile adoption of artificial intelligence, machine learning and autonomous decision-making – is not.

Structured in three distinct parts – Humans as Data, Humans as Designers and Making Humans Accountable, the book covers much territory. From systemic and cultural biases in how data used by machine learning is selected and captured, to the errors that are …

R.U.R. (Rossum's universal robots) (2004, Penguin Books) 4 stars

Written in 1920, premiered in Prague in 1921, and first performed in New York in …

Review of "R.U.R. (Rossum's universal robots)" on 'Goodreads'

4 stars

This dystopian landmark challenges our notions of what it means to be human, the value of labour and the creation of meaning through struggle and suffering.

While not explicitly Marxist in outlook, it echoes principles put forward by Paulo Freire around the education of oppressed populations. Čapek resolves this tension not with a new relationship between student and teacher, but by eradicating the human race, encouraging us to go back to the beginning of the lesson.

Gender roles are challenged directly, which was prescient given the year in which the book was written - 1920 Czechoslovakia, bordering newly-Bolshevik Russia - which the only female lead of the play at first being portrayed as beautiful, as engaging, but devoid of intellectual power. Čapek challenges us to consider these as uniquely human traits, contrasting with the efficiency and strength and stamina of Rossum's Universal Robots. Ultimately it is the female protagonist - …

Review of 'Technically Wrong' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

A must read for anyone who designs digital experiences, and doesn't want to be an inadvertent dude-bro.

Against a backdrop of increasingly ubiquitous technology, with every online interaction forcing us to expose parts of ourselves, Sara Wachter-Boettcher weaves a challenging narrative with ease. With ease, but not easily. Many of the topics covered are confronting, holding a lens to our internalised "blind spots, biases and outright ethical blunders".

As Wachter-Boettcher is at pains to highlight, all of this is not intentional - but the result of a lack of critical evaluation, thought and reflection on the consequences of seemingly minor technical design and development decisions. Over time, these compound to create systemic barriers to technology use and employment - feelings of dissonance for ethnic and gender minorities, increased frustration for those whose characteristics don't fit the personas the product was designed for, the invisibility of role models of diverse races …