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Why Tech People Make Me Howl and Scream and Laugh

It’s no secret that I’m very anti-techtopian people. Anyone talking about Google Glass and how it’ll “solve all publishing problems ever!” is someone I want to run away from. All the industry focus on new “apps” that will “revamp and disrupt the creation, distribution, and monetization of creative content” makes me want to stab my eyes out. Yes, recent technological advances are cool, but I’m with Morozov—a lot of the rhetoric surrounding these advances is just wacky and deluded.

Like this piece from Rob Salkowitz’s PW article The Future of Reading: 10 Trends for 2014 and Beyond:

Instant Translation

Machine translation these days is pretty good. It’s not quite good enough for literature, technical publications, or legal contracts, but it’s getting there. The combination of algorithms, data analytics, and crowdsourcing are teaching machines the subtleties of idiom and tone in a variety of languages. Very soon, instant text translation, combined with text recognition, will be available via augmented-reality applications for mobile devices, including smartphones, tablets, and wearables like Glass. No more waiting for translations of foreign editions to become available; no more foreign rights. Think that will disrupt the publishing and localization industries much?

Kaija’s comment on hearing me read this aloud: “Not quite good enough for literature, technical publications, or legal contracts—THAT’S EVERYTHING!”

Jan’s comment after finishing this: “That’s just fucking stupid.”

Seriously. The day we’re all reading instant translations of Mircea Cartarescu on our Google Glasses is the day I just simply quit.



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