Cyber criminals, opera, and the future of work

Welcome to another installment of Bennett’s Bulletin!  My favorite part of writing this newsletter, so far, is reading your reactions.  This is fun, and I’m learning.

Here’s your weekly dose of stuff I like:

Story for your ears:

Listen to this week’s Radiolab on cyber criminals. Meet a lady who had all of her files encrypted and held ransom by hackers.  Also, an interview with one of the founders of Darkode, the place where hackers go to buy and sell scripts, programs, and backdoor access to normal computers (not to fearmonger, but maybe even yours?).

I also have to share one of the mindblowingest things I’ve read.  A few months ago, I read a series of in-depth posts on artificial intelligence.  Most scientists agree artificial intelligence will radically change the world, probably in ways you’re not expecting, and it’ll happen sooner rather than later.  If you don’t know about the singularity and what might happen when computers become smarter than us, check out the post above for a great primer.

Quote for your mind:

“No good opera plot can be sensible, for people do not sing when they are feeling sensible” – WH Auden

Which leads me to…

Music for your ears:

2 recommendations, very different –

“Nessun Dorma” performed by Pavarotti from Puccini’s opera Turandot.  Not all opera is for everybody, but this song is for everybody.  If you don’t know how great Pavarotti was, you need to see the ease with which he sings this soaring aria.  I get choked up every time.

“How Deep Is Your Love” by the Bee Gees.  Okay, listen to it once just to love how awesome and groovy and sexy it is.  Then go back and listen to the bass line – totally counterintuitive.

Amazing human doing amazing things:

Ido Portal. ‘Nuff said.

Thing I’m thinking about:

The eight hour work day is arbitrary and not sensible.  I like my job, but eight hours straight and forty hours a week is too much.  Most days, I do my work in 4-6 hours, and the rest of the time is spent on breaks or clicking around the internet.  It’s frustrating, because I’m obligated to be in the office even when my work is done.

I’m not the only one who feels this way.  This week I’ve read a lot of articles about Sweden making the move to 6-hours.  Of course, some people rightly point out that Sweden’s success with 6-hours could be from workers focusing on being productive under a new schedule.  In a few years, Sweden’s workers could end up reverting to earlier productivity levels, but only 30 hours a week.

To all this I say, maybe less human productivity isn’t a bad thing.  I mean I just posted an article above on artificial intelligence.  It’s very likely humans will have less stuff to do in the future as computers take stuff over.  Although some argue technology creates more jobs than it destroys.

These are just nebulous ideas bouncing around my brain.  Please let me know what you think.  Is the 6-hour day (or the 0-hour day) wishful thinking or a definite eventuality?

If something in here made you think of something cool (link, photo, idea, memory) or if you have questions send them to me!

Also, let me know your suggestions!  Do you want more or less of something?  You can just reply directly to this email.

Have a great week!

-Bennett