Gods have a habit of dying: they usually do once a civilization ends. Case in point: does anyone still worship Poseidon or Zeus? But humans need something to worship, and as human revolution has given away to technological evolution, it is obvious that the machines are taking over.
Yuval Noah Harrari talks of the gods of the technological era. These are (or yet to be) our new masters. We know about how the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution is leading to the loss of jobs, but maybe some cannot be replaced at all.
But why is AI becoming a big deal today? For one reason, we have a huge level of computational power today. We also have oceans full of data and that’s not going to stop. Another reason is the level of complex algorithms that we have. Plus the accuracy and benefits offered by AI means that businesses and governments are investing in AI, and it is becoming an economy in itself.
John McCarthy first coined this term in 1956. He defined AI as the science and engineering of making intelligent machines. Artificial Narrow Intelligence, which is known as Weak AI, like Siri is what we have today. Then there is Artificial General Intelligence, which is known as Strong AI, can be a reference to something like AlphaGo. Lastly, Artificial Super Intelligence, which is a hypothetical situation, is where computers will surpass humans when it comes to capability.
The writing of this particular blog post is heavily influenced by Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harrari. We hear of how we humans are living longer now, and how violence and famines are on the decline. It’s clear that the future of humans is one where we elevate ourselves to becoming gods. This is clearly happening with the marrying of tech and biometrics. The desire to live forever is fast becoming a serious expectation, and the evolution of technology could probably lead to its reality.
But can humans survive an AI apocalypse? Nick Bostrom argues that a computer with near human-level general intellectual ability could initiate an intelligence explosion on a digital time scale with the resultant rapid creation of something so powerful that it might deliberately or accidentally destroy human kind. We are someways away with such morbid and despondent predictions. Present-day AI fatalities are more to do with faulty car sensors.
Or, alternatively humans in the near future might become a class known as the ‘useless class’ since tech is evolving at such a fast rate and we are being made redundant. We see this happening in the job market already. Even in the armed forces, drones and cyber worms have taken over the jobs of soldiers.
Despite the ideas being portrayed that the future looks bleak, I suppose, one could trust human nature and its ability to feel a sense of connection. This excellent interview with Yuval Noah Harrari shows how technology can be an issue and lead to a dictatorship, but that can also be a blessing in disguise. Technology in one form or the other is a blessing. It is true to state that the machines are taking over, but the question remains as to what checks and balances should be put in place to ensure that humanity isn’t at the wrong end of this transition.
As per biologist E. O. Wilson: In ancient history and prehistory, tribes gained visceral comfort and pride from familiar fellowship, and a way to defend the group enthusiastically against rival groups. It gave people a name in addition to their own and social meaning in a chaotic world. It made the environment less disorienting and dangerous.
These prehistoric proclivities have migrated onto modern life, and now, it does more harm than good. Let’s discuss lies, and how they are related to the forever argument of whether Android or iOS is better.
Your purchase depends on the narrative that you choose to believe, you see. Sadly, in society you need to subscribe to one or the other. Like most things that make up society whether it be religion, food or a university/school, you are compelled to choose. Or, your circle of influence (think parents, friends, religious leaders et al.) will embrace you into their fold and hammer their beliefs into you.
But, it is all a lie. Anyone who has read Sapiens will know that we choose the narrative we want to believe based on the stories around it. That sense of community created by brands (because, they all are brands, aren’t they?) is the glue that builds camaraderie.
Android and iOS both fulfill a function, but most audiences prefer to snuggle in a rabbit hole of arguments and dysfunction. Rather see a product for what it is, which is to cater to a requirement, and make whatever inconveniences redundant. The problem with any circle of influence is the set of beliefs they instill in you.
Thus begins my justification of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite — (sometimes) referred to as Lite hereonafter. Whatever you assimilate today make sure you ponder the contents of this article before you make a purchase decision. Full disclaimer: I’m comparing the Lite to an iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus running on iOS 14.
Productivity and Word Consumption is Better on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite
The stylus on this Lite for some strange reason helps the sinuosity of my sentences. Maybe because it is a novel experience or maybe because the user experience is conducive to creativity. Either way this is a great addition and it makes the Lite a fantastic smartphone.
Since I’m a writer by profession, the varying keyboards that you can draw up are helpful. I usually shift between the Samsung Keyboard, Gboard and the Microsoft SwiftKey Keyboard. The whole experience of collating, curating and fleshing out data is a joy on this device.
Although I want to try Stencil as a design tool, I have decided to stick with Canva since I have a Pro Version of it, and working on it via the Lite is an absolute breeze. Collaborating via the Google Workspace and using apps like Ahrefs is convenient.
The Kindle app works great on the Lite, and reading is a rewarding journey on this device. Of course, there’s nothing like a book as far as the writer in me is concerned. But this works well and the reading experience is fantastic.
Samsung Health is Better than Apple Health
My weight loss journey is documented on this blog, and I used Apple Health to document the distance of my daily walks. I knew that there is assured to be some disparity with regard to the accuracy of the distance covered. But what I realized is that some measure was better than nothing.
Enter the Lite. I was curious to see what was actually better when comparing Samsung Health vs. Apple Health, and so decided to do my morning walk with both devices.
The Lite said that I’ve done less when it came to the distance covered. And based on the app reviews present, I think I will believe the data generated by Samsung Health simply because there is proof.
Netflix and Apple Music is Better on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite
Who would have thought that Apple apps work better on an Android? Without diving into the whole mechanics of what is under the hood, it makes sense to remember that it is the experience that matters. The Note 2 that I had promised a lot in the way of specifications but ANY iPhone would have put it to shame.
And then there’s Netflix on Android, which offers a fantastic viewing experience, too. This is largely thanks to a 6.7 inch screen that is Super AMOLED. Running on Android 10 with One UI 2.5 the user experience on this Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite is far better that iOS 14 and that truly is just my opinion.
Let’s also consider sound when it comes to the listening experience. The Lite features a 3.5mm audio jack and Dolby Atmos surround sound technology. The sound experience on this device offers one eargasm after the next.
I use JBL earphones when walking and the Samsung earphones when listening to media. Both are great, but, as you would expect, the JBL noisemakers are better.
Battery Life is Seriously Good on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite
Everything works seamlessly in one cohesive team powered with a 4500 mAh battery pack. The Lite has lasted more than 1.5 days on a full charge.
This efficiency will reduce as time goes on. But with 4 months on the clock, there’s no visible sign of the battery losing its glimmer. The Lite has a Snapdragon 855 processor, which is a flagship phone processor, and that’s quite a good reason to go for it. The processor is one generation old compared to what is powering the Note 20, but the Lite is great as it is.
Additionally the whole concept of marketing is done in such a way that you would always opt for the flashiest and newest iteration of whatever product. And, this is a surefire way to ensure that you end up burning a hole in your pocket.
Rather choose a product based on your requirement; this video shows why a Samsung Note 10 Lite is enough compared to a Samsung Note 20.
Do you know why this post has a title that states — The Social Dilemma is Why I Left Social Media? Read on to understand why. Whether it’s eloquently stated by Tristan Harris, Yuval Noah Harari or Cal Newport, the evils of social media are well-documented. It’s true online toxicity is real, and so too is suicide. Ironic then how I went from being a Social Media Manager at a Digital Marketing Company in Sri Lanka to someone who left social media twice. That said I will state that social media has its place in any content strategy, but that is a different topic for a different day.
Have you noticed the lack of civil discourse, the misinformation present, fake news, and the division within relationships present on social media? The Social Dilemma attempts to raise awareness around important issues like design ethics and data privacy (like the Cambridge Analytica data breach), and succeeds.
Tristan Harris reminds us that — If the product is free, you’re the product. That realization never dawned on me until much later. The first time I left social media was in 2014 when the whole process of posting how fantastic life was just plain tiresome.
The second time was in 2020, and the social media landscape seemed more dysfunctional than the first time. Tristan Harris speaks of how Facebook is a social persuasion machine and is excellent at monetizing your attention. And with all the brands I handled working for the above-mentioned digital agency that was exactly what I was doing.
We hear of how social media companies use attention engineers to make these social media entities as addictive as possible. Profit can be maximised thanks to you giving attention and handing your data over. The University of Stanford talks of the Magic of Maybe, where we really do care about what others think of us — think Likes, Comments and Reactions. This is all a reference to the shot of dopamine you get. Some sources say that this shot of dopamine is equivalent to the levels experienced when consuming cocaine. Additionally there are ethical implications of data extraction even with the new products of Facebook.
Social Comparison Theory
Showiness is often mistaken for reality. What you can gather from this is that more often than not, social media perpetuates that endless cycle of being fake. And I’m not talking about political fake news. Social Comparison Theory is something that is pertinent at this juncture. We have a proclivity to compare ourselves to people who have similar characteristics to us. This can boost or destroy our confidence.
Leon Festinger has a theory, which suggests that there are two types of social comparison — Upwards and Downwards. Upwards is where we compare ourselves to someone who is less than or inferior to ourselves. Downwards is where we compare ourselves to someone who is superior or better than us.
The theory basically states that individuals determine their own social and personal worth based on how they stack up against others they perceive as somehow faring better or worse. No surprise then that so many suffer from what is known as Facebook Depression, which leads to less life satisfaction and more sadness.
The Antidote To Social Media Is Deep Work
Seth Godin makes a mention of how — one should not become a wandering generality, be a meaningful specific. That’s a pertinent thought for any individual or company. Social media is a waste of time, unless you’re a brand. It does have its place in crafting out a brand’s journey. And if you’re career-minded, it can assist unless you commit yourself to that heinous dopamine-driven feedback loop, which affects your cognitive function.
Cal Newport mentions how our attention is being fragmented to such an extent we cannot concentrate. The solution is deep work that’ll help you focus on rewarding work minus the distractions. We are all part of the attention economy, and social media companies are competing for your attention. But with social media morphing into more of a business than just a social interaction tool, it became an entity that could be best described as being nefarious.
All the moral panics are real. The Trauma Floor showcases the issues faced by Facebook moderators, and it is harrowing. More so are the issues with your supply of attention, which focus on your short to midterm goals being decimated. Chamath Pahaliyapitiya said it best — If you feed the beast, it will destroy you. And so, this is my conclusion, especially if social media doesn’t benefit you in a way that’ll help you becoming a meaningful specific (like an author): Unsubscribe.
Here’s Why I Switched to Android isn’t a tale about how bad iOS is. Rather it is a tale of boredom. Tolstoy defined boredom best — a desire for desires. Boredom does lead to terrible things like: starting a relationship, whoring around, busting up the last few thousand rupees on your credit card, or drinking a bottle of arrack while gurgling a melody in some ditch.
Boredom: This is the Reason
Boredom can also lead to wonderful things like the start of something new like this blog. It’s fitting then that this is my first post. I would suppose it would be prudent to Thank God for modern capitalism, which has multiplied amusements and consumables. And, capitalism probably is the reasoning behind the statement — Here’s Why I Switched to Android.
I popped my smartphone cherry with a flagship phone (back when virginity was a thing). The first Android smartphone I had was a Galaxy Note 2 that ran on Kit Kat. One inebriated night, I slipped and the Amoled screen fell flat on its face and became a mosaic of shards. Despite a list of fancy vanity specs, there were hiccups like S Pen Notes crashing while typing important articles etc.
Then I bought an iPhone 5S. This led to a 6S Plus, and finally an iPhone 7. There’s a reason I stuck with Apple products including a Macbook Air, which I bought in 2017. Everything was just better. And predictable. Any writer worth his salt will fall in love with Apple’s catchy terminology. The Apple Watch Sport’s glass is actually Gorilla Glass that had been used by many electronics for so many years.
But trust Apple to serve up such plainess with a description promising goosebumps: “We used an alumina-silicate glass that’s especially resistant to scratches and impact. It’s fortified at the molecular level through ion exchange, with smaller ions being replaced by larger ones to create a surface layer far tougher than ordinary glass.”
So, what was the final deciding factor? It was cost. I trundled over to One Galle Face, checked out the iPhone 11, gave it a grunt and a look of derision (similar to one deployed by a Colombo 7 aunty from behind her Gucci spectacles), and went towards Samsung Lanka.
The iPhone 7 cost me north of LKR 130,000 three years ago. The Galaxy Note Lite was just over LKR 100,000 with a JBL speaker thrown in; this purchase was made in August of 2020. When you have passed the 40 year old mark, you tend to be more pragmatic and conservative. The zeal to be cool is something that you resist (this is mainly because you are guaranteed to fail). It is this desire for pragmatism that leads you to research any future purchase with manic fervor.
There are a few things that I miss about iOS like the buttery smoothness of the transition from app to app. I miss the privacy features and the industry-leading security that iOS offers. Apple Music is something that I use a lot, and this app crashed twice on the Note while playing Muse, which destroyed my sweaty rhythm on the treadmill.
2 Reasons Why
Forgiveness can be extended to all these gremlins since the Note 10 Lite is a completely different beast powered by Android 10. Two important factors are key for me:
The incredible battery life thanks to a 4500 mAh battery and a 25W fast charger, which lasts close to 1.5 days with heavy usage, and
The ginormous screen at a price that the iPhone cannot beat. I’ve actually moved onto using the Lite for all my article writing much to the chagrin (I suspect) of my MacBook Air.
I could go on about the camera, which is on par with the camera setup on the iPhone 11, but this is a redundant subtopic. Gone are the Instagram (ahem, foodstagram) days, and now functionality is what I’m after. I don’t hate iOS by any stretch, and I enjoyed how incredibly reliable it was/is. But, for now, the Lite as a midrange smartphone has got my vote. Speaking of midrange phones, the Lite behaves like a flagship, and I do think, at present, that midrange phones are the new flagships.
Things have changed drastically in the smartphone world, even more so with our individual desires and requirements being all over the place. The best takeaway I can offer you today is that there’s a phone for everyone whatever the budget, and that Android and iOS are on par when it comes to most things.
Stuck wondering what to choose? Maybe a quote in Paco Underhill’s book, Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping may offer an idea; an idea that you could unbox like your next smartphone — “How you present your ideas and information is just as – or more – important as the ideas themselves.”
I’ll Conclude by Saying…
It is after all the idea that you are subscribing to, which you buy. Both operating systems are great like the devices they support themselves. Android, for me, is all about flexibility, functionality, and freedom of choice — it’s the perfect mix of ingredients to keep the spectre of boredom at bay.
iOS, on the other hand, changes people into an audience that has good taste in digital products. If you do decide to transition, remember that there’s a great deal to love in both ecosystems. The level of difficulty adjusting is all based on how long you’ve spent in the comfort of one operating system.
And on a final note, remember that a smartphone (whether it runs on Android or iOS) is merely a tool to access your content that is happily residing on the cloud.