Netflix and the Future of Entertainment – case study

Feb 10

The latest case study for my marketing class was a review of Netflix. It discusses trends in delivery of entertainment content, starting with video cassette through to their streaming service. I highlight some of the strategic business choices that Netflix is making to remain relevant among competitors. Download Netflix Case...

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Why the Future Needs Us

Nov 25

Many science fiction writers have painted a picture of a future where humanity and technology merge and the lines between man and machine blur. Some scientists have gone so far as to argue that┬áthe future doesn’t need us, apparently lending credence to science fiction stories. While this is fertile ground for ethical analysis of choice, it depends on some false assumptions, which are discussed below. One characteristic human tendency is to defer blame or avoid direct responsibility. For example, the phrase “The devil made me do it”, which some say traces it’s origins back to the bible, suggests that we are not the masters of our own destiny. We mistakenly attribute to technology the responsibility for the bad things that happen in our day, while simultaneously celebrating it for the good it accomplishes. Such a bipolar perception of man vs. technology has the potential to confuse the ethical analysis of human choice whenever there is a technological component involved. At the root of the false assumptions mentioned above is the mistaken association between compute capacity and sentience. Compute capacity refers to the ability of a machine to mimic human thought, such as a processor in a modern computer. When a processor performs math or renders three dimensional pictures or simulates complex systems, it is doing what it has been taught to do by a human. As a result, some humans refer to the processor as the ‘brain’ of a computer and attribute human characteristics to it, such as labeling a computer as ‘smart’. Observation of nature is often the impetus that inspires technological invention, which may make this type of association feel natural. However, regardless of how much compute capacity grows with future technological advances, by it’s nature it lacks subjectivity. The human who writes the program remains the subjective party. Real risk is unbounded trust Trust is a result of repeated experiences where expectations agree with outcomes. In Bill Joy’s article, linked above, he did accurately identify that human trust in technology can lead to dependence. “…┬áthe human race might easily permit itself to drift into a position of such dependence on the machines that it would have no practical choice but to accept all of the machines’...

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