“Make time for civilisation, for civilisation won't make time” Liu Cixin

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Welcome to my carefully selected reading list on Actually Important Topics!

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30 March 2021

  • School almost 'eliminates bullying' with break-time ban on games [BBC]
    Last year I read Hao Jingfang’s “Vagabonds”. It made me realise one of the foundations of the utopian Martian Republic was lack of competitive attitude. By eliminating rivalry and introducing age- rather than experience-dependent universal income, people were encouraged to specialise in what they are best at and cooperate, first for their own survival, then to build Mars’ prosperity. Hackney New School students reportedly experience less bullying after the school tried similar approach and replaced “unstructured games” during breaks with different kind of activities.
  • Replacing Middle Management with APIs [Blog]
    Peter Reinhardt points out new sort of social division, determined whether one lives “above or below the API”. API stands for application programming interface and describes how software communicates with the outside world. The author points out many low level jobs, such as Uber drivers, are currently determined entirely by API and humans execute only the part which is not automated yet but is due to be. Mark Manson argues curiousity is they key trait in this century, as it allows individuals to stay “above the API”. Lack of curiousity leads to increased dependency on algorithms and effectively growing isolated in an information bubble.
  • 'I catch rats for a living and couldn’t be happier' [BBC]
    Doctor, lawyer or engineer are always considered respected professions everywhere in the world, mostly due to the determination it takes to earn them and their contribution to the overall welfare of the population. But what if you are not passionate about any of them? This story about James Molluso, the experienced pest controller, shows how many more different professions undoubtfully contribute to the society. They do not require a decade of intense studies, yet provide the same level of gratitude and respect from customers. Because are you going to call a lawyer when a rat runs around your house?