What a crazy week this past one has been. On Wednesday South Africans went to the polls to vote for the party of their choice in the local and national elections. Because of this almost everything that has been flooding my various timelines has a political bent to it.
I’m not a huge fan of politics and so glance over most of these posts. Occasionally there is something interesting, but most of the time it is just rhetoric.
In amongst all of this the odd interesting article/post popped up and I have tried to highlight these.
Found on Youtube:
This video is really cool! It shows four experiments where AI (artificial intelligence) researchers were “babbled by the creativity and unexpected actions of their own creations.”
AI is both exciting and scary at the same time. It is one of those technologies that will be able to make life so much better, but to get there means it will also have the power to destroy us.
Not new, but these videos from Boston Dynamics scare the living daylights out of me!!
Actual Interesting Election Articles
This first one argues against the usual trope of “A vote for a smaller party is a wasted vote.” Large political parties use these all the time to sway voters, especially those on the fence, away from smaller parties. As is often the case, especially in South Africa with the way our system works, this isn’t always the case:
On voting systems, I listened to a podcast a while ago about STV (Single transferable vote) systems. It seems that it is being used more and more around the world. I bring this up because Sir Richard Dawkins mentioned it this week on Twitter whilst complaining about the British method which is not too dissimilar to ours. Or should I say, ours isn’t too dissimilar to theirs:
No voting system is perfect & some (eg UK’s FPTP & EU’s D'Hondt) are downright appalling. These systems (unlike STV) inevitably split votes (eg between UKIP & Brexit Party or between LibDem and Change UK). Under such conditions tactical voting becomes a positive democratic duty
— Richard Dawkins (@RichardDawkins) May 9, 2019
If you would like to know a bit more about this voting method, also known as ranked choice or single runoff voting, then have a listen to the below podcast from Stuff You Should Know:
The Wikipedia page is also helpful:
This article I found via politician Gwen Ngwenya on Twitter. It is an interesting opinion piece about how it is time to breakup Facebook.
I’m including a link to Gwen’s Tweet as she raises an interesting point:
Are monopolies now considered bad per se, as opposed to bad if they engage in anticompetitive practices? To the extent that Facebook is responsible for the latter then it should take responsibility. But to be opposed to monopolies per se is to be opposed to successful business. https://t.co/2Kw354JIJx
— Gwen Ngwenya (@GwenNgwenya) May 10, 2019
Personally, I think it should be broken into smaller parts much like what happened to Standard Oil. I think we have arrived at a place where it is almost impossible for competition to take on such a behemoth. Some are rather calling for heavy regulation but I think breaking it up is the better option. More regulation often stifles competition further – there is a reason why large corporates are often so in favour of it.
But the point about monopolies always being bad is an interesting one. Perhaps they are, but as someone who isn’t an anarchist I think some monopolies are needed in the government sphere, and if you can believe this then the leap to feeling that some private monopolies are inherently good isn’t a big one to make.
It is another interesting read from the New York Times and you can find it at the link below:
That is it for this week – been slim pickings of late, but I would rather post fewer links and articles than try and pad it for the sake of it.
As always, if there is something you found interesting or if you have any comments regarding the above then please let me know in the comments below.