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Democracy in Danger

Artificial intelligence puts our democracy at risk. This is easy to say in times when, unlike in the 1920s, there is no relevant opposition either in parliament or outside it that is openly opposed to democracy. It sounds wonderfully dramatic, but the argument behind it is quite strange: artificial intelligence would generate masses of untruthful texts, images and videos that would make it impossible to distinguish between man-made and machine-made, between true and fake. As a result, information could no longer be trusted in the future. Information from the internet.

Really? You don't know whether to envy the naivety of those who argue in this way or whether to cry in despair. Everyone knows that information from the Internet cannot be trusted, even today and since the beginning of time. Anyone who doubts this is advised to use Twitter or Facebook. Artificial intelligence simply doesn't change this at all. You still can't trust information from the internet.

Written in November 2023 | Category: Technology

Disruptive times, truly?

I don't know how many times I've heard this: We live in disruptive times. More disruptive than ever before. Typical evidence: the user growth at Facebook & TikTok. The disruptive superlative is nonsense, of course. Heuristic: Imagine presenting this thought to a person born in 1880 in Königsberg. Or to a person born in Frankfurt in 1820. Or one born in Paris in 1760. It won’t be convincing - Facebook(!) TikTok(!) user growth(!) are simply not a measure of weight in terms of disrupting ways of lives. Greetings from the literature of Klaus Kordon.

Until now, I thought the superlative was a sign of naivety, but all in all unproblematic. However, I am no longer sure about that: Because the thinking of living in special times has one disadvantage: It blocks the possibility of learning from the past and thus cuts oneself off from one of the most important sources of knowledge and innovation. With good reason, one of the most successful and innovative managers in truly disruptive times, Field Marshal Moltke (youth: Dane, cavalry charges with saber – older: Prussian, artillery engagements) in one of his greatest innovations, the Great General Staff, established as one of four departments one for war history. His later success proved him right: history is an important source for innovations.

Written in December 2020 | Category: Technology

Two observations

(i) Since we’re forced to work from home and I am therefore permanently sitting in front of a monitor, a mouse, and a keyboard, I have created many more PowerPoint slides myself. In recent years I have only rarely done this. Most of the time I only made handwritten sketches, shared them, and then commented on the finished slides in short meetings. Typical manager.

(ii) My private standard device used to be a common laptop, of course with a physical keyboard. Most of the idle time I spent typing something into this keyboard. Either a text or I did some programming or just played around with the console of one of my servers. Today my standard device is a tablet - without a physical keyboard. Most of my time now I spend reading texts. I reach most websites by using favorites or auto-complete after entering the first two or three characters.

Maybe the tool determines the craft more than one could wish for.

Written in May 2020 | Category: Technology