Uncanny Valley - Literature Notes



  • Good interface design is like ==magic/religion== when it cultivates the mass ==suspension of disbelief.==

    Good interface design was like magic, or religion: it cultivated the mass suspension of disbelief.

  • ==Soft skills were undervalued== despite evidence showing that ==emotional intelligence cannot be taught.==

    Despite evidence that emotional intelligence, unlike programming languages or agile development, could not be taught—there was a reason compassion was a tall hurdle for AI—soft skills were undervalued.

  • Phenomena like sick systems and trauma bonding show ==how people keep busy as a coping mechanism.==

    “Look up sick systems,” said Noah. “Look up trauma bonding. It’s the culty thing: keep people busy until they forget about the parts of their life they left behind.”

  • Frictionless life should not be fetishized.

    The fetishized life without friction: What was it like? An unending shuttle between meetings and bodily needs? A continuous, productive loop? Charts and data sets. It wasn’t, to me, an aspiration. It was not a prize.

  • Perceptions of work can be tainted by ==gender bias.==

    After all, his work was seen as strategy, while my work was interpreted as love.

  • Tech culture allows men to pursue ==female-coded activities.==

    Tech culture provided endless outlets for men to pursue activities coded as female—including, apparently, body manipulation.

  • Books make up the core of our ==operating system.==

    What books make up the core of your operating system?

  • Technology keeps us stuck in a feedback loop with ourselves.

    Everyone I knew was stuck in a feedback loop with themselves. Technology companies stood by, ready to become everyone’s library, memory, personality.

  • The tech industry creates ==consumers== of its leisure and work culture.

    The tech industry was making me a perfect consumer of the world it was creating. It wasn’t just about leisure, the easy access to nice food and private transportation and abundant personal entertainment. It was the work culture, too: what Silicon Valley got right, how it felt to be there. The energy of being surrounded by people who so easily articulated, and satisfied, their desires. The feeling that everything was just within reach.

  • ==Homogeneity== is the cost of erasing ==decision fatigue.==

    Homogeneity was a small price to pay for the erasure of decision fatigue. It liberated our minds to pursue other endeavors, like work.

  • The psychic burden all tech workers share: ==all software is vulnerable to erasure.==

    sometimes wondered whether there was a unique psychic burden shared by people who worked in technology, specifically those of us building and supporting software that existed only in the cloud. The abstractions of knowledge work were well documented, but this felt new. It was not just the cognitive dissonance of how lucrative and powerful tech companies had become, when their tools did not physically exist, but that all software was vulnerable, at any time, to erasure.

  • Technologists’ excitement about ==urbanism== reflects how they’re slowly settling into ==political power.==

    What I didn’t realize was that technologists’ excitement about urbanism wasn’t just an enthusiasm for cities, or for building large-scale systems, though these interests were sincere. It was an introductory exercise, a sandbox, a gateway: phase one of settling into newfound political power.

  • Feeling ==right== isn’t the same as feeling ==good.==

    I liked feeling right; I loved feeling right. Unfortunately, I also wanted to feel good. I wanted to find a way, while I could, to engage with my own life.

  • The attention economy makes us ==oblivious== to real life.

    Life in the attention economy had made me oblivious. My social media feeds overflowed with feminist slogans, iconography, and products: ceramic vases shaped like naked breasts, baby onesies that read THE FUTURE IS FEMALE. This had been my internet for months.

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