Mea Culpa in Miami

Sorry, have not been blogging responsibly.

I was in Miami for a few days for a conference. Some interesting topics, some terrific speakers. Some real duds, as all conferences have, of course. Maybe the thing that stood out most to me was how much we have known for years but we willfully ignore because it seems that there MUST be something new out there. The truth seems to be – there just isn’t.

The thing that stood out a little bit, too, was how much people want to talk about ‘the business.’ Some may take the point of view of insiders and pros, others the perspective of rebels and outsiders. But we all want to talk about our jobs, our companies, our skills, our clients, our experiences. The after-parties were people talking about the job, bitching about the job, looking for a new job, proclaiming what they know about the job that others do not. How I longed for a conversation about robots.

In fairness, I did have a very interesting conversation with a friend in which we – slightly buzzed, in party attire, and under the stars – took each other through a laddering exercise that takes you to your personal, persistent ‘theme’ – usually a falsehood – that gets in the way of being a whole person. It turns out I think I’m a fraud and this is the source of my writer’s block, dissatisfaction, fear, and anger. We then practiced saying our little themes in funny voices until you got a good belly laugh going. Hearing how ridiculous the notion that I’m a fraud, say, or you’re unloveable, or he’s too much, is incredibly useful in parking it and moving on. I suspect that this is a ‘lather, rinse, repeat’ exercise – one time is not enough, because the lies we’ve been telling ourselves the longest, the ones we really believe, are hard to untell ourselves, to take back, to erase.

Levity was in order. I could tell you about the Furries conversation – but that’s not really my story to tell. Instead, I’ll tell you what happened when I told my dinner companions that I blog about robots. It seemed like a safe space for such things, as half the table were obsessively fondling their iPhones and Blackjacks. I’m not exempt – my iPhone is my personal assistant, my font of knowledge, my sherpa. Oh, iPhone… (soaring romantic music as we pan away)

My friend John suggested that his partner, Rault, would perhaps know a thing or two about robots. Rault demurred. He wasn’t in to robots, but had I seen the video of the robotic jellyfish, or the robot baby white tiger? I hadn’t. They’re fascinating. And here they are:

Jellyfish, via New Scientist These apparently have no use at the moment – they’re just cool and stuff.

White Tiger Cub, courtesy of Gizmodo

I think the White Tiger Cub begins to tip into the Uncanny Valley. Maybe if after years of docile obedience the White Tiger Cub eventually mauls you, ending your Vegas career, then it will hit the proper level of realism. Let’s wait and see, shall we?

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