Book Review: Automation & tech ethics, book review

These two books go well together because the first describes how automation is lowering the need for labor, leading, likely, to less jobs, while the second provides a compendium of examples of such software-driven labor change.
Vinnie’s book has the optimism of a technologist, while Avent’s is much more fraught. Both accurately describe how IT is optimizing and replacing “analog” labor and businesses, leaving the core problem of devaluing human labor, perhaps to the point of eliminating millions of jobs, permanently. Vinnie’s optimism is the usual believe that we can figure it out, mostly by being more humane in our politics and safety nets, but also in the belief that new problems and jobs will come about. Avent, on the other hand, offers little in the way of solace.
As the review in his magazine, The Economist, put it: “I found the virtuosity with which Mr Avent knocked down possible solutions disquieting.” Aside from actually reading the book, the lecture Avent gave at LSE is good stuff too.
Check out the full review.

An OK TV show, but a zombie let-down – The Walking Dead, Season 1

We finished watching AMC’s The Walking Dead tonight (through Amazon Video OnDemand in beard stubble HD clarity) – I wouldn’t recommend it as a super zombie show. There are a few good scenes, maybe a whole episode (the second?), but overall or suffers from being a drama instead of a zombie show.

A second season, with more than 6 episodes is scheduled. As I recall, there’s new writers and some staff. Perhaps it’ll improve. And the show does make me interested in the original comic series.

Back to season one: the whole affair is fine as a regular show, and the level of gore – win it happens – is shockingly up to par coming for TV. So much of the show is filled with non-zombie action, though, and you keep waiting for The Walking Dead to enter the plot.

D K Sushi and Seoul Asian Food Market – A Brief Review

Naked Tiger Roll

DK’s is a neighborhood sushi bar – a few blocks from my house – if that concept even makes sense. There’s tables inside a small Asian market, and you walk up to the beer fridge to select your beer and sake. The sushi is delicious and affordable, and it’s a casual place. The same sushi chef is there all the time, and he does magic stuff with different degrees of warmth for the sushi. The fish has been fresh tasting the two times I’ve been there, and the staff (one or two waiters in addition to the sushi chef) are friendly.

It’s not fancy decor or anything, just good eating. DK’s is a good place to go to hang out with friends and eat well, not impress people or yourself.

(Cross posted from Yelp.)

Frank – A Hot Dog Review

Frank

At Frank, it’s hot-dog gimmicks and bacon galore, but they’re good eating at not too high of a cost. We have a weird mixture of “hand crafted”/local food and a love of fast-food here in Austin resulting in gourmet food from trailers, burger battles, and now hot-dogs. The “Artisan” hot-dogs are fun and tasty – I like the antelope and rabbit one, the Jackalope. Also, the regular hot-dogs, optionally wrapped in a flapjack (a corn pancake), are delicious as well.

The prices are reasonable, but add up fast, esp. for the sides – $4 for the healthy side option, a broccoli salad is silly. The hot-dogs are appropriatly priced at around $4 depending on the extras you get.

In addition to the usual, short menu, they have a massive list of “daily specials,” so keep your eyes out for that.

Last time I went, I had the bacon infused bourbon and the poutine waffle fries. I’d gone on opening week and they were out of the bacon bourbon, so the bar-tender whipped some up on the spot. This last time, there was no A-Teaming at the bar, and I ordered it neat to try it out. There’s certainly a bacon taste in there, and, sure, it’s worth trying once in your like for $7.50. But, after a few sips your mouth is coated with bacon fat and you’re trying to guzzle down the rest. I wouldn’t say bacon makes the Maker’s better.

Waffle Fry Poutine

The poutine was delicious. I’ve never had proper poutine, so maybe it was a pale imitation, but it hit the spot for me. Poutine is a Canadian drunk-food that’s fries covered in brown gravy with cheese curds on-top. It’s exactly what it sounds like, so if you like that kind of stuff, get on down to Frank, order a Maker’s sans-bacon (or a Modelo) along with poutine and hot dog, and you’ll be riding high on the hog.