Tag Archives: Digital

How digital technology is destroying our freedom

“We’re being steamrolled by our devices” —Douglas Rushkoff
By Sean Illing – There’s a whole genre of literature called “technological utopianism.” It’s an old idea, but it reemerged in the early days of the internet. The core belief is that the world will become happier and freer as science and technology develops.

The role of the internet and social media in everything from the spread of terrorist propaganda to the rise of authoritarianism has dampened much of the enthusiasm about technology, but the spirit of techno-utopianism lives on, especially in places like Silicon Valley.

Douglas Rushkoff, a media theorist at Queens College in New York, is the latest to push back against the notion that technology is driving social progress. His new book, Team Human, argues that digital technology in particular is eroding human freedom and destroying communities.

We’re social creatures, Rushkoff writes in his book, yet we live in a consumer democracy that restricts human connection and stokes “whatever appetites guarantee the greatest profit.” If we want to reestablish a sense of community in this digital world, he argues, we’ll have to become conscious users of our technology — not “passive objects” as we are now.

But what does that mean in practical terms? Technology is everywhere, and we’re all more or less dependent upon it — so how do we escape the pitfalls? more>

Updates from GE

Japan;s First Digital Power Plant Goes Live
By Kristin Kloberdanz – The massive gas-fired Futtsu Power Station, which forms a small peninsula in Tokyo Bay, is capable of generating 5,040 megawatts of electricity for millions of Japanese homes and businesses.

Made up of four combined cycle blocks, the plant is already the most efficient of the 15 power stations operated by TEPCO Fuel & Power, the utility servicing the area around Japanese capital. But in the interest of “kaizen”—the Japanese philosophy of continuous improvement—TEPCO believes it can perform even better.

As a result, Futtsu is about to become the first power plant in Japan to go digital, specifically in its No. 4 block. TEPCO will soon start using Predix, GE’s cloud-based platform for the Industrial Internet, to see if it can squeeze even more efficiency out of the plant.

GE’s Asset Performance Management (APM) software analyzes real-time data—such as temperature, pressure and changes in the levels of liquids and gasses—coming from sensors embedded in machines around the plant to make it run more efficiently and predict when things need to be fixed.

Normally, maintenance happens on a specific schedule whether or not the parts actually need to be repaired or replaced, a practice called time-based maintenance. With APM, TEPCO is aiming to better understand when parts really do need to be changed. This condition-and-analytics-based maintenance limits costly downtime and minimizes upkeep during periods of high electricity demand. more> https://goo.gl/WsG2gX