This modern life…

pumpkins in autumn light

The Meaning of Autumn

Stepped outside today and realized…it’s autumn. The summer drifted away with hardly a whisper.

Summer, when it’s here, seems almost stationary. For a moment around July 19 or so, time might stop altogether. September will arrive, we’re sure of it. But…later. The summer is now.

Autumn? It lasts about 37 minutes – Halloween, Thanksgiving, the holidays. The quickening pace is almost hypnotic. The cooling air suggests something is coming – autumn is about what’s up ahead, what’s on the way. Nobody stops to just “be” in the fall; the thing, the excitement, is always becoming. (But that thing is not the winter; we deny the winter.… Read the rest

The Red Tide in Florida: What Have We Done?

I felt the deepest dismay on my recent trip to Sanibel Island, in South Florida on the Gulf Coast. We stayed near the water and I was so looking forward to walking down to the beach. That first morning, it was great to see the water and hear the surf.

Yet the beaches were deserted. Odd, I thought. Is it because the beaches here are so stark? Not a leaf of shade, a flatness to the terrain. In late August the brick wall of humidity is fierce. I grew up in St. Louis so I know humidity, but the humidity in South Florida is…dystopian.… Read the rest

Screenshot from The Singularity is Near

Humblebrag: I won an award for my feature writing

I’m delighted to report that I won a 2018 Azbee Award of Excellence in the category of Web Feature Article. (Azbees are awarded by the American Society of Business Publication Editors). My winning article is titled Artificial Intelligence: When Will the Robots Rebel? It’s a deep dive into the evolving technology of AI, its relationship to human consciousness, and its likely future disruptive role in society.

Researching the article, I interviewed numerous experts, including Adam Coates, Director of the Silicon Valley AI Lab at Baidu, and Pieter Abbeel, director of UC-Berkeley’s Robot Learning Lab. Visiting the Robot Learning Lab was a blast – I got to see how BRETT, a robot, actually “learns” how to do things like fold towels and tie knots.… Read the rest
electric piano in a music store

My Tribe in the Music Store

I like stopping into the music store now and then. There’s a Yamaha electric piano I have a crush on, but for $800 my love is better off unrequited.

It’s always good to check in with the tribe in the music store. They’re my people, the people who really love music. They are – and I speak affectionately – a mangy bunch. Their hair tends to be bad, and their complexions are nothing to write home about either. They seem a little “apart,” as if they could converse with you if need be, but it’s not their first choice.

There are always a few standard humans in the music store. … Read the rest