To say the trigger wants to be pulled is not to say only that the trigger “was made for” pulling. It is not even to say that the trigger “affords” pulling. It is to say that the trigger may be so culturally meaningful as to act upon us in powerful ways (as indeed we see with guns habitually).
What is attention? We can think of attention as a dance whereby we both lead and are led. This image suggests that receptivity and directedness do indeed work together. The proficient dancer knows when to lead and when to be led, and she also knows that such knowledge emerges out of the dance itself. This analogy reminds us, as well, that attention is the unity of body and mind making its way in a world that can be solicitous of its attention.
Many of the creators of these technologies want the user to attribute a certain power to these algorithms and have shielded them from the details. Ultimately, I think the most appropriate response is some sort of intellectual humility in the face of technology that we are detached from, without it veering into fear or veneration, or mockery. Only then can we engage with algorithms in the absence of undue emotion and try to see, even if only a bit, what they are actually doing.
Is plain packaging for cigarettes a barrier to trade?
Noteworthy reads from the last week.
The first thing Putin did when he took control, when he became president, was to seize control of TV—even before he took control of oil, energy, or anything else. So this is very much a system of political authoritarian control that is exercised through TV.