Where it all went wrong — 20 Comments

  1. “I wonder what would happen if suddenly all computers and robots ceased to work for a year?”

    There was a tv series a couple of years back that,almost, pondered that…ie if suddenly there was no electrickery anymore:

    It was actually reasonably intelligent watching. Reminded me in ways of that Gibson/Sterling book with it’s steam powered Babbage Difference Engines.

  2. Actually, I am an epidemiologist, and this is a science that was first utilized and developed by Dr. John Snow during an Cholera outbreak in London England in 1854.  Long before computers.  Our work is one of trying to determine the source of illness in a cluster, population, or community.  It involves deducing the commonalities that exist between cases in place and time.

    While I agree that computers do help us calculate statistics and help us to hopefully rule out invalid hypotheses, they do not replace the boots on the ground epidemiologist who interviews the patients, visits the places in question to observe what is really happening, and gather the suspected materials to be tested by labs (i.e., contaminated foods, etc.), consult with physicians providing direct patient care, and providing valuable information to the public, patients, and medical community.

    I do get your point, and while I do not produce a consumer good, I do hope that I am more than a mindless bum sitting in a chair collecting a meager paycheck for what is often a time-consuming, challenging, and difficult job.

    Love you and your rambles.  Cheers!

    • Welcome Disease!  Indeed I know about the origins of epidemiology and I am not saying that it is a “made up” science born out of computers.  What concerns me far more is the meta study which combines and cross references to previous studies thereby removing them far from the source and leaving them far more prone to error.  Raw data is one thing but producing data from other data is a different kettle of onions.

      As an ex [?] computer programmer I know only too well how easy it is to tweak figures and data to produce the results that conform to my expectations.

      After I scribbled off today’s little brainfart I coincidentally came across a fun website.  Tell me which of those job titles doesn’t conceal a non-productive bum on a seat!!


      • Ah yes, I agree.

        “If you torture the data long enough it will confess to anything.” One of my favorite quotes by Ronald Coase.

        Thanks for sharing the website.  I wonder how many people have used that to pad their credentials!

    • I have Epididymitis too…oh sorry you said ‘epidemiologist’…same thing, right? Oh hold on, aren’t you the guys who are constantly telling us that tobacco is the most addictive and poisonous substance on the planet and it’s miasma  responsible for all diseases everywhere?

        • When you find Patient 0 for the disease “Galloping Nanningitus” please let us know! Just out of sheer interest, have you ever done any ‘historical’ work (ie who started The Plague or what was the “Angel Of Death” which killed all the First Born of Egypt-shit like that) and if so have you blogged on the subject?

    • Epidemiologist? You’re a brave man (woman?) admitting to that profession on a site like this! We usually equate epidemiology with junk science here, because that’s exactly what it is in the hands of Tobacco Control. And it’s used by them as a tool with which to persecute the people they don’t like, i.e. smokers.

      Still, if you’re involved in infectious disease, I guess we’ll forgive you. 🙂

  3. I liked the steampunk look to that series. But did it ever end? I can’t remember how. Weren’t the elites keeping the technology for themselves somehow?

      • Ah don’t be spoiling the ending, just in case the series somehow accidentally appears on my little network here.  After all, if mobile phone can do strange things here nothing is impossible?

  4. How many cows farts does it take to trigger a European Union Climate con fine?

    Something to ponder……or not as the case may be.

    Have you found the disappearing (shape shifting?) phone?

  5. Thanks! You have just managed to convey the message I have been trying to explain for a while now. I am one of those people in bullshit jobs. I’m a senior system administrator but all that means is I am one of about 60 people protecting, configuring and upgrading a system for a few thousand staff none of whom really care how fast it is or how nice it looks. It’s quite a meaningless existence. While in work I contribute absolutely nothing to society. Who gives a flying fuck if a few servers get updated to Windows 2016. In the grand scheme of things it makes absolutely no difference at all. What really pisses me off is this one change gets debated and discussed at length as if it is important. We discuss risk every day as if \what we do here is actually if any significance.
    I love technology. It has enabled a world for me that just 30 years ago would have been completely unattainable. I should completely worship technology because without it I’d probably be at the mercy of others completely dependent on society. But I have absolutely no elusion that what I do every day is nothing but move virtual bits around. It’s a very frustrating existence. I used to enjoy coming to work but as a creative person in a job that smothers creativity in red tape, I really see your point.

    • Welcome Roger!  I started off working on an assembly line making televisions.  It was noisy, dirty, crowded and it was great fun.  There must have been around a hundred people working there.  That factory is now replaced by a shopping centre, while televisions are presumably being churned off automated assembly lines somewhere.

      I ended up being a Network Administrator whit an almost identical situation as yourself – basically making sure the staff could download their porn without interruption.  And when I wasn’t running around replacing network cables that someone had nicked for their television aerial [no kidding – happened quite a few times] I was producing endless reports and statistics which were essentially meaningless.  Give me the assembly line anytime!

  6. Very interesting point of view, which I do agree with. If you haven’t read the Ragged Trousered Philanthopists by Robert Tressell then please do so; a very enlightening and informative book that gives an alternative view on life how it was – and still is!  If you have read it, then read it again, soon!

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