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Pluralistic: Three AI insights for hard-charging, future-oriented smartypantses (31 Jan 2024)

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A science-fiction pulp illustration of a man with a swollen, bald head that has been cut away to reveal its contents. The man's face has been cropped at the bridge of his nose, leaving just the swollen, hollow head, cheekbones, and staring eyes, the last of which have been covered with blue ovals. The hollow head has been filled with the trudging figures from Van Gogh's 'The Prisoners,' marching over a grid of vacuum tubes from an early computer. The background of the image is the wiring from an early mainframe, snarled and dense.

Three AI insights for hard-charging, future-oriented smartypantses (permalink)

Living in the age of AI hype makes demands on all of us to come up with smartypants prognostications about how AI is about to change everything forever, and wow, it's pretty amazing, huh?

AI pitchmen don't make it easy. They like to pile on the cognitive dissonance and demand that we all somehow resolve it. This is a thing cult leaders do, too – tell blatant and obvious lies to their followers. When a cult follower repeats the lie to others, they are demonstrating their loyalty, both to the leader and to themselves.

Over and over, the claims of AI pitchmen turn out to be blatant lies. This has been the case since at least the age of the Mechanical Turk, the 18th chess-playing automaton that was actually just a chess player crammed into the base of an elaborate puppet that was exhibited as an autonomous, intelligent robot.

The most prominent Mechanical Turk huckster is Elon Musk, who habitually, blatantly and repeatedly lies about AI. He's been promising "full self driving" Telsas in "one to two years" for more than a decade. Periodically, he'll "demonstrate" a car that's in full-self driving mode – which then turns out to be canned, recorded demo:

https://www.reuters.com/technology/tesla-video-promoting-self-driving-was-staged-engineer-testifies-2023-01-17/

Musk even trotted an autonomous, humanoid robot on-stage at an investor presentation, failing to mention that this mechanical marvel was just a person in a robot suit:

https://www.siliconrepublic.com/machines/elon-musk-tesla-robot-optimus-ai

Now, Musk has announced that his junk-science neural interface company, Neuralink, has made the leap to implanting neural interface chips in a human brain. As Joan Westenberg writes, the press have repeated this claim as presumptively true, despite its wild implausibility:

https://joanwestenberg.com/blog/elon-musk-lies

Neuralink, after all, is a company notorious for mutilating primates in pursuit of showy, meaningless demos:

https://www.wired.com/story/elon-musk-pcrm-neuralink-monkey-deaths/

I'm perfectly willing to believe that Musk would risk someone else's life to help him with this nonsense, because he doesn't see other people as real and deserving of compassion or empathy. But he's also profoundly lazy and is accustomed to a world that unquestioningly swallows his most outlandish pronouncements, so Occam's Razor dictates that the most likely explanation here is that he just made it up.

The odds that there's a human being beta-testing Musk's neural interface with the only brain they will ever have aren't zero. But I give it the same odds as the Raelians' claim to have cloned a human being:

https://edition.cnn.com/2003/ALLPOLITICS/01/03/cf.opinion.rael/

The human-in-a-robot-suit gambit is everywhere in AI hype. Cruise, GM's disgraced "robot taxi" company, had 1.5 remote operators for every one of the cars on the road. They used AI to replace a single, low-waged driver with 1.5 high-waged, specialized technicians. Truly, it was a marvel.

Globalization is key to maintaining the guy-in-a-robot-suit phenomenon. Globalization gives AI pitchmen access to millions of low-waged workers who can pretend to be software programs, allowing us to pretend to have transcended the capitalism's exploitation trap. This is also a very old pattern – just a couple decades after the Mechanical Turk toured Europe, Thomas Jefferson returned from the continent with the dumbwaiter. Jefferson refined and installed these marvels, announcing to his dinner guests that they allowed him to replace his "servants" (that is, his slaves). Dumbwaiters don't replace slaves, of course – they just keep them out of sight:

https://www.stuartmcmillen.com/blog/behind-the-dumbwaiter/

So much AI turns out to be low-waged people in a call center in the Global South pretending to be robots that Indian techies have a joke about it: "AI stands for 'absent Indian'":

https://pluralistic.net/2024/01/29/pay-no-attention/#to-the-little-man-behind-the-curtain

A reader wrote to me this week. They're a multi-decade veteran of Amazon who had a fascinating tale about the launch of Amazon Go, the "fully automated" Amazon retail outlets that let you wander around, pick up goods and walk out again, while AI-enabled cameras totted up the goods in your basket and charged your card for them.

According to this reader, the AI cameras didn't work any better than Tesla's full-self driving mode, and had to be backstopped by a minimum of three camera operators in an Indian call center, "so that there could be a quorum system for deciding on a customer's activity – three autopilots good, two autopilots bad."

Amazon got a ton of press from the launch of the Amazon Go stores. A lot of it was very favorable, of course: Mister Market is insatiably horny for firing human beings and replacing them with robots, so any announcement that you've got a human-replacing robot is a surefire way to make Line Go Up. But there was also plenty of critical press about this – pieces that took Amazon to task for replacing human beings with robots.

What was missing from the criticism? Articles that said that Amazon was probably lying about its robots, that it had replaced low-waged clerks in the USA with even-lower-waged camera-jockeys in India.

Which is a shame, because that criticism would have hit Amazon where it hurts, right there in the ole Line Go Up. Amazon's stock price boost off the back of the Amazon Go announcements represented the market's bet that Amazon would evert out of cyberspace and fill all of our physical retail corridors with monopolistic robot stores, moated with IP that prevented other retailers from similarly slashing their wage bills. That unbridgeable moat would guarantee Amazon generations of monopoly rents, which it would share with any shareholders who piled into the stock at that moment.

See the difference? Criticize Amazon for its devastatingly effective automation and you help Amazon sell stock to suckers, which makes Amazon executives richer. Criticize Amazon for lying about its automation, and you clobber the personal net worth of the executives who spun up this lie, because their portfolios are full of Amazon stock:

https://sts-news.medium.com/youre-doing-it-wrong-notes-on-criticism-and-technology-hype-18b08b4307e5

Amazon Go didn't go. The hundreds of Amazon Go stores we were promised never materialized. There's an embarrassing rump of 25 of these things still around, which will doubtless be quietly shuttered in the years to come. But Amazon Go wasn't a failure. It allowed its architects to pocket massive capital gains on the way to building generational wealth and establishing a new permanent aristocracy of habitual bullshitters dressed up as high-tech wizards.

"Wizard" is the right word for it. The high-tech sector pretends to be science fiction, but it's usually fantasy. For a generation, America's largest tech firms peddled the dream of imminently establishing colonies on distant worlds or even traveling to other solar systems, something that is still so far in our future that it might well never come to pass:

https://pluralistic.net/2024/01/09/astrobezzle/#send-robots-instead

During the Space Age, we got the same kind of performative bullshit. On The Well David Gans mentioned hearing a promo on SiriusXM for a radio show with "the first AI co-host." To this, Craig L Maudlin replied, "Reminds me of fins on automobiles."

Yup, that's exactly it. An AI radio co-host is to artificial intelligence as a Cadillac Eldorado Biaritz tail-fin is to interstellar rocketry.


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#20yrsago Understanding slush, a primer on rejection http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/004641.html#004641

#15yrsago Dumpster diving: the world’s most recession-proof job https://www.forbes.com/2008/12/06/computers-recycling-trash-lead-corprespons08-cx_cd_1208doctorow.html?sh=10b944034453

#15yrsago US Airways bumps Flight 1549 survivors up to super-elite status for a year https://nypost.com/2009/01/30/survivors-gilt/

#15yrsago France to give free newspaper subs to 18 year olds https://archive.nytimes.com/economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/23/le-newspaper-bailout/

#15yrsago Principles of the American Cargo Cult — the beliefs that make bad argument https://web.archive.org/web/20090211214344/http://klausler.com/cargo.html

#15yrsago Mummified Soviet-era East German flat unearthed http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7857256.stm

#15yrsago Judges jailed for taking bribes from private juvie prisons to send kids to jail https://www.inquirer.com/philly/opinion/inquirer/20090128_Editorial__Judges_Sentenced.html

#10yrsago Army won’t answer Freedom of Information Request on its SGT STAR AI chatbot https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2014/01/free-sgt-star-army-ignores-foia-request-artificial-intelligence-records

#10yrsago Rob Ford Valentines https://web.archive.org/web/20140203045203/http://www.scotty2naughty.com/new-products/toronto-valentines-mayor-ford

#5yrsago More FBI follies: civil rights groups are “terrorists” and their victims are the KKK https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/01/sacramento-rally-fbi-kkk-domestic-terrorism-california

#5yrsago RIP, Jeremy Hardy, one of the UK’s funniest lefty comedians https://memex.craphound.com/2019/02/01/rip-jeremy-hardy-one-of-the-uks-funniest-lefty-comedians/

#5yrsago Blackwater founder to site mercenary training camps conveniently close to China’s Uighur concentration camps https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-xinjiang/erik-prince-company-to-build-training-center-in-chinas-xinjiang-idUSKCN1PP169/

#5yrsago Millionaire dilettantes’ “education reform” have failed, but teacher-driven, evidence-supported education works miracles https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/millionaire-driven-education-reform-has-failed-heres-what-works

#5yrsago Local council seeks additional funds for Thatcher statue to pay for a tall anti-vandal plinth https://www.itv.com/news/2019-01-31/iron-lady-needs-10ft-plinth-to-keep-out-of-vandals-reach-police-say

#5yrsago Stock art for a new Gilded Age https://spitalfieldslife.com/2019/02/01/fat-cats-in-the-city-1824/

#1yrago Johnson and Johnson's bankruptcy gambit fails https://pluralistic.net/2023/02/01/j-and-j-jk/#risible-gambit



Colophon (permalink)

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  • Picks and Shovels, a Martin Hench noir thriller about the heroic era of the PC. FORTHCOMING TOR BOOKS JAN 2025

  • The Bezzle, a Martin Hench noir thriller novel about the prison-tech industry. FORTHCOMING TOR BOOKS FEB 2024

  • Vigilant, Little Brother short story about remote invigilation. FORTHCOMING ON TOR.COM

  • Spill, a Little Brother short story about pipeline protests. FORTHCOMING ON TOR.COM

Latest podcast: What kind of bubble is AI? https://craphound.com/news/2024/01/21/what-kind-of-bubble-is-ai/
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Upcoming books:

  • The Bezzle: a sequel to "Red Team Blues," about prison-tech and other grifts, Tor Books, February 2024

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  • Unauthorized Bread: a graphic novel adapted from my novella about refugees, toasters and DRM, FirstSecond, 2025


This work – excluding any serialized fiction – is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially, provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link to pluralistic.net.

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Pluralistic: Podcasting "Gig Work Is the Opposite of Steampunk" (20 Mar 2023)

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A woodcut of a weaver's loft, where a woman works at a hand-loom. Out of the window opposite her looms the glowing, menacing red eye of HAL 9000 from Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey.' On the wall behind her is the poster from Magpie Killjoy's 'Steampunk Magazine' that reads, 'Love the machine, hate the factory.'

Podcasting "Gig Work Is the Opposite of Steampunk" (permalink)

This week on my podcast, I read my recent Medium column, "Gig Work Is the Opposite of Steampunk," about the worst-of-all-worlds created by bossware, where an app is your boss, and you live at work because your home and/or car is a branch office of the factory:

https://doctorow.medium.com/gig-work-is-the-opposite-of-steampunk-463e2730ef0d

As with so much of my work these days, the column opens with a reference to the Luddites, and to Brian Merchant's superb, forthcoming history of the Luddite uprisings, "Blood in the Machine":

https://www.littlebrown.com/titles/brian-merchant/blood-in-the-machine/9780316487740/

As Merchant explains, the Luddites were anything but technophobes: they were skilled high-tech workers whose seven-year apprenticeships were the equivalent to getting a Master's in Engineering from MIT. Their objection to powered textile machines had nothing to do with fear of the machines: rather, it was motivated by a clear-eyed understanding of how factory owners wanted to use the machines.

The point of powered textile machines wasn't to increase the productivity of skilled textile workers – rather, it was to smash the guilds that represented these skilled workers and ensured that they shared in the profits from their labor. The factory owners wanted machines so simple a child could use them – because they were picking over England's orphanages and recruiting small children through trickery to a ten-year indenture in the factories.

The "dark, Satanic mills" of the industrial revolution were awash in the blood and tears of children. These child-slaves were beaten and starved, working long hours on little sleep for endless years, moving among machines that could snatch off a limb, a scalp, even your head, after a moment's lapse in attention.

(Fun fact: in 1832, Robert Blincoe, one of children who survived the factories, published "A Memoir of Robert Blincoe, an Orphan Boy" a bestseller recounting the horrors he endured; that book inspired Charles Dickens to write Oliver Twist):

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/59127/59127-h/59127-h.htm

It wasn't just that weavers who belonged to guilds made more money – they also enjoyed more dignity in their workplaces, because those workplaces were their homes. Textiles were the original "cottage industries," in that it was done in cottages, by families who set their own pace, enjoying amiable conversation or companionable silence.

These weavers could go to the bathroom when they wanted, eat when they wanted, take a break and walk around outside when the weather was fine.

This is in stark contrast to life in the dark, Satanic mills, where foremen watched over every movement, engaging in a kind of meanspirited choreography that treated the worker as an inferior adjunct to the machine, to be fit to its workings and worked to its tireless schedule.

The Luddites had some technical critiques of the machines – they argued, correctly, that those early machines turned out inferior products that fit poorly and degraded quickly. But even if the machines had produced textiles to match the hand-looms, the Luddites' real anger wasn't over what the machines did – it was over who the machines did it to and who they did it for.

I've written that "Science Fiction is a Luddite literature" – it's a narrative form that can go beyond describing what a machine does, to demanding that we rethink who it does it for and who it does it to. Not all sf does this, but at its best, this is secret sauce that makes sf such a radical form, one that insists that while the machines' functioning may be deterministic, their social arrangements are up to us:

https://locusmag.com/2022/01/cory-doctorow-science-fiction-is-a-luddite-literature/

That's what happens when you mix Luddism with SF – but what happens when you mix it with fantasy? I think you get steampunk.

Steampunk has many different valences, but central to the project is an imaginary world where people engaged in craft labor (lone mad scientists, say) are able to produce high-tech goods that are more associated with factories. I think it's no coincidence that steampunk took root during the first surge of "peer-based commons production" – when craft workers were producing whole operating systems and encyclopedias from their "cottages":

https://makezine.com/article/maker-news/make-free-love-the-machine-hate-the-factory/

These modern craft workers were living the steampunk fantasy, so beautifully summed up in the motto for Magpie Killjoy's Steampunk Magazine: "Love the Machine, Hate the Factory."

https://firestorm.coop/products/2624-steampunk-magazine.html

But then came the second decade of the 21st century, and now the third, and with it, the rise of something very much like the opposite of that steampunk fantasy: a new form of craft labor where the factory is inside the cottage – where an app is your boss, and "work from home" becomes "live at work."

As with all forms of technological oppression, this movement followed the "Shitty Technology Adoption Curve," starting with people with little social clout and working its way up the privilege gradient to entangle a widening proportion of workers.

Among the first people to experience this was the predominantly Black, predominantly female employees of Arise, a work-from-home call center business that pretends that its employees are small businesses themselves, and so charges them to get trained for each new client, then fines them if they want to quit:

https://pluralistic.net/2020/10/02/chickenized-by-arise/#arise

In Amazon warehouses and delivery vans, we saw the rise of "chickenized reverse-centaurs" – these are workers who must pay for their own work equipment (as with poultry farmers captured by processing monopolists, hence "chickenized"). They are also paired with digital technology (something automation theorists call a "centaur") but the technology bosses them around, rather than supporting them. The machine is the centaur's head and the worker is its body (thus, "reverse-centaur"):

https://pluralistic.net/2021/03/19/the-shakedown/#weird-flex

The pandemic lockdowns saw an explosion in the use of bossware, technology that monitors your every keystroke, every click, every URL, every file, even the video and audio from the cameras and mics on your devices, whether or not you pay for those devices.

This is the second coming of Taylorism, the fine-grained, high-handed "scientific" micromanagement of factory workers, transposed to the home, and integrated with sensors that track you down to your eyeballs:

https://pluralistic.net/2022/08/21/great-taylors-ghost/#solidarity-or-bust

Truly, this is the worst of all worlds. We increasingly work for large, distributed factories, and unlike the big companies of the post-New Deal era, we don't have unions and progressive regulators who can force these big businesses to share the wealth in the form of the "large firm wage premium."

Instead, we have craft labor at sweatshop wages, under factory conditions, in our own homes and cars. This needn't be: digital technologies are powerful labor-organizing tools (potentially), but that's not how we've decided to use them:

https://pluralistic.net/2022/12/02/not-what-it-does/#who-it-does-it-to

As the radical message of sf tells us, that's a choice, not an inevitability. We aren't prisoners of technology. We can seize the means of computation. It starts by being less concerned with what the machine does, and homing in on who it does it for and who it does it to.

Here's this week's podcast episode:

https://craphound.com/news/2023/03/19/gig-work-is-the-opposite-of-steampunk/

And here's a direct link to download the MP3 (hosting courtesy of the Internet Archive; they'll host your media for free, forever):

https://archive.org/download/Cory_Doctorow_Podcast_440/Cory_Doctorow_Podcast_440_-_Gig_Work_Is_the_Opposite_of_Steampunk.mp3

Here's the direct feed to subscribe to my podcast:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/doctorow_podcast

And here's the original "Gig Work Is the Opposite of Steampunk" article on Medium:

https://doctorow.medium.com/gig-work-is-the-opposite-of-steampunk-463e2730ef0d

(Image: Cryteria, CC BY 3.0, modified)


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#20yrsago Revolution is Not an AOL Keyword https://web.archive.org/web/20030322155720/http://journalism.berkeley.edu/projects/biplog/archive/000748.html

#20yrsago United Way will provide cheap WiFi and PCs to poor people in Philly https://web.archive.org/web/20050316131603/www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=7404562

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#5yrsago Chinese surveillance/tech giant Alibaba joins ALEC, will start co-authoring US legislation https://theintercept.com/2018/03/20/alibaba-chinese-corporation-alibaba-joins-group-ghostwriting-american-laws/

#5yrsago The future legal shenanigans that will shift liability for pedestrian fatalities involving self-driving Ubers https://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2018/03/test-case.html

#5yrsago Alabama Sheriff legally appropriated $750K from prison meal budgets to build himself a beach house, locked up his whistleblowing gardener https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2018/03/14/593204274/alabama-sheriff-legally-took-750-000-meant-to-feed-inmates-bought-beach-house

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#5yrsago Billionaire Cartier boss returns from fishing holiday gripped with terror that the poors are going to start building guillotines https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-06-08/billionaire-cartier-owner-sees-wealth-gap-fueling-social-unrest

#5yrsago Why no one has made a tool to turn off Facebook oversharing https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/03/why-we-didnt-make-fix-my-facebook-privacy-settings-tool

#5yrsago Just because Cambridge Analytica tells its customers it can sway elections, it doesn’t follow that they’re any good at it https://www.wired.com/story/the-noisy-fallacies-of-psychographic-targeting/

#5yrsago RIP Anna Campbell, a British woman who joined an all-woman Kurdish Protection Unit in Syria https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/03/19/briton-anna-campbell-killed-fighting-kurdisharmed-unit-syria/

#5yrsago A recipe for the deliberately obscured task of changing your Facebook settings to opt out of “platform” sharing https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/03/how-change-your-facebook-settings-opt-out-platform-api-sharing

#5yrsago Sara Varon’s New Shoes: a kids’ buddy story about the jungles of Guyana and redemption https://memex.craphound.com/2018/03/20/sara-varons-new-shoes-a-kids-buddy-story-about-the-jungles-of-guyana-and-redemption/

#1yrago Kathe Koja's Dark Factory: Taking Bohemia seriously https://pluralistic.net/2022/03/20/a-walk-in-the-park/#all-night-party-people



Colophon (permalink)

Currently writing:

  • Picks and Shovels, a Martin Hench noir thriller about the heroic era of the PC. Yesterday's progress: 528 words (114876 words total)

  • The Bezzle, a Martin Hench noir thriller novel about the prison-tech industry. FIRST DRAFT COMPLETE, WAITING FOR EDITORIAL REVIEW

  • A Little Brother short story about DIY insulin PLANNING

  • Vigilant, Little Brother short story about remote invigilation. ON SUBMISSION

  • Moral Hazard, a short story for MIT Tech Review's 12 Tomorrows. FIRST DRAFT COMPLETE, ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION

  • Spill, a Little Brother short story about pipeline protests. ON SUBMISSION

Latest podcast: Gig Work is the Opposite of Steampunk https://craphound.com/news/2023/03/19/gig-work-is-the-opposite-of-steampunk/

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  • The Internet Con: A nonfiction book about interoperability and Big Tech, Verso, September 2023

  • The Lost Cause: a post-Green New Deal eco-topian novel about truth and reconciliation with white nationalist militias, Tor Books, November 2023


This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially, provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link to pluralistic.net.

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"When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla" -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla

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For most of last year, I worked on and promoted my New York Times bestselling (I’m gonna keep leaning into that until it gets super obnoxious, and then keep going to a little bit) memoir, Still Just A Geek. A huge part of my story is my survival of child abuse and exploitation, living with CPTSD and the depression and anxiety that accompany it.

So it follows that for most of last year, I was picking at a barely-healed wound. When the promotion cycle wrapped up, I gave myself permission to just withdraw from public life as much as I wanted and needed to, so I could rest and regain my hit points. While I was resting, that wound I’d been picking at got infected and made me … not extremely sick, but sicker than I’ve felt in a long long time. So I did what you do when you’re sick: I went to the doctor, and I’ve been doing the work every day to get better.

We got the infection cleaned up, but the wound is still there. It’ll probably be there for the rest of my life, so I’m doing the work to heal it, let the scab do its thing, and eventually become a scar that I can’t feel. I can look at it and know that it represents all the work I’ve done to heal myself.

I haven’t wanted to talk about this at all because all those months of being vulnerable in public, revisiting the most painful and traumatic moments of my life, was a lot. I needed and deserve quiet, private time for myself to recover.

All of that is to give some context to what I’m about to share with you.

Last night, Anne and I went to the fancy premiere of Star Trek Picard’s final season at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Before the screening began, after we were all settled into our seats, Terry Matalas and Alex Kurtzman introduced the show, thanked the cast and crew, and turned the spotlight over to Patrick. He spoke lovingly and beautifully about the entire experience, in that Patrick Stewart way we all love.

As he was wrapping up his remarks, he said, “I would like to ask the cast who are here to please stand up,” so they could also be celebrated.

I remembered how humiliating it was, how much it hurt, those times Rick Berman deliberately left me seated while everyone else was standing up, those times Rick Berman made me feel exactly the way my father made me feel: unwelcome, unworthy, invisible. Not a great feeling.

But last night wasn’t about me. Yes, I have a wonderful cameo in season two, but I’m not in season three. And last night was about season three. It was about celebrating my family, who all came together for what is likely their final mission together. So I was happy to stay in my seat while they started to stand up. I clapped so hard my hands are still vibrating this morning. I applauded not just their work on this season, but everything they’ve given to Star Trek for over thirty years. I celebrated the absolute hell out of my family. And while I was doing this, I looked across the aisle at Frakes and clapped at/for him.

We made eye contact, and he gave me this incredulous look. “Why are you sitting down? Stand up, W!” He said.

So I did, and he applauded me, and I may have wept just a little bit. Or maybe a lot. I can’t remember. I was so grateful to be included in the moment by the man who I wish was my father, who loves me and sees me like my own parents never did.

My dad never made an effort to get to know me. It’s a choice he made, not some personality quirk, because he put a lot of effort into knowing and loving my brother and sister. My mom has gaslighted me about his abuse and bullying my whole life, forcing me to apologize to him when he hurt me. For a long time, I believed her lies and even tried hating myself as much as he hates me, hoping maybe then he would see and love and care about me. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t.)

A significant part of the pain I feel and the healing I continue to work on, is that awful black hole in my life where my father’s love should be. I’ve spent so much time there, I know more about it than anyone, certainly more than my manipulative, selfish, drunk of a mother who insists it doesn’t exist. I absolutely know my memories and my feelings and everything my dad chose to withhold from me are real, because I never once in my 50 years on this planet felt loved and accepted by my dad the way I felt and feel loved and accepted by Frakes. He’s always been there for me. He’s always made sure that I know I am part of a family, something my birth parents never bothered to do.

Later, at the after party, as I was saying goodnight, he said, “What were you doing, sitting down?”

“This whole thing tonight isn’t about me. It’s about you guys,” I said.

“No,” he said, putting his hand on my shoulder, “this is about us.”

I felt so seen, so loved … and had to take a deep breath to force the tears back, and I said, “Thank you for including me, Johnny. You are the best dad I never got to have.”

And we hugged each other, and he told me that he loves me, and I told him that I love him back.

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cjhubbs
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So beautiful.
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leiter420
378 days ago
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This is beautiful

Pluralistic: Why the Fed wants to crush workers (19 Jan 2023)

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A vintage postcard illustration of the Federal Reserve building in Washington, DC. The building is spattered with blood. In the foreground is a medieval woodcut of a physician bleeding a woman into a bowl while another woman holds a bowl to catch the blood. The physician's head has been replaced with that of Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell.

Why the Fed wants to crush workers (permalink)

The US Federal Reserve has two imperatives: keeping employment high and inflation low. But when these come into conflict – when unemployment falls to near-zero – the Fed forgets all about full employment and cranks up interest rates to "cool the economy" (that is, "to destroy jobs and increase unemployment").

An economy "cools down" when workers have less money, which means that the prices offered for goods and services go down, as fewer workers have less money to spend. As with every macroeconomic policy, raising interest rates has "distributional effects," which is economist-speak for "winners and losers."

Predicting who wins and who loses when interest rates go up requires that we understand the economic relations between different kinds of rich people, as well as relations between rich people and working people. Writing today for The American Prospect's superb Great Inflation Myths series, Gerald Epstein and Aaron Medlin break it down:

https://prospect.org/economy/2023-01-19-inflation-federal-reserve-protects-one-percent/

Recall that the Fed has two priorities: full employment and low interest rates. But when it weighs these priorities, it does so through "finance colored" glasses: as an institution, the Fed requires help from banks to carry out its policies, while Fed employees rely on those banks for cushy, high-paid jobs when they rotate out of public service.

Inflation is bad for banks, whose fortunes rise and fall based on the value of the interest payments they collect from debtors. When the value of the dollar declines, lenders lose and borrowers win. Think of it this way: say you borrow $10,000 to buy a car, at a moment when $10k is two months' wages for the average US worker. Then inflation hits: prices go up, workers demand higher pay to keep pace, and a couple years later, $10k is one month's wages.

If your wages kept pace with inflation, you're now getting twice as many dollars as you were when you took out the loan. Don't get too excited: these dollars buy the same quantity of goods as your pre-inflation salary. However, the share of your income that's eaten by that monthly car-loan payment has been cut in half. You just got a real-terms 50% discount on your car loan!

Inflation is great news for borrowers, bad news for lenders, and any given financial institution is more likely to be a lender than a borrower. The finance sector is the creditor sector, and the Fed is institutionally and personally loyal to the finance sector. When creditors and debtors have opposing interests, the Fed helps creditors win.

The US is a debtor nation. Not the national debt – federal debt and deficits are just scorekeeping. The US government spends money into existence and taxes it out of existence, every single day. If the USG has a deficit, that means it spent more than than it taxed, which is another way of saying that it left more dollars in the economy this year than it took out of it. If the US runs a "balanced budget," then every dollar that was created this year was matched by another dollar that was annihilated. If the US runs a "surplus," then there are fewer dollars left for us to use than there were at the start of the year.

The US debt that matters isn't the federal debt, it's the private sector's debt. Your debt and mine. We are a debtor nation. Half of Americans have less than $400 in the bank.

https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/personal-finance/articles/49-of-americans-couldnt-cover-a-400-emergency-expense-today-up-from-32-in-november/

Most Americans have little to no retirement savings. Decades of wage stagnation has left Americans with less buying power, and the economy has been running on consumer debt for a generation. Meanwhile, working Americans have been burdened with forms of inflation the Fed doesn't give a shit about, like skyrocketing costs for housing and higher education.

When politicians jawbone about "inflation," they're talking about the inflation that matters to creditors. Debtors – the bottom 90% – have been burdened with three decades' worth of steadily mounting inflation that no one talks about. Yesterday, the Prospect ran Nancy Folbre's outstanding piece on "care inflation" – the skyrocketing costs of day-care, nursing homes, eldercare, etc:

https://prospect.org/economy/2023-01-18-inflation-unfair-costs-of-care/

As Folbre wrote, these costs are doubly burdensome, because they fall on family members (almost entirely women), who have to sacrifice their own earning potential to care for children, or aging people, or disabled family members. The cost of care has increased every year since 1997:

https://pluralistic.net/2023/01/18/wages-for-housework/#low-wage-workers-vs-poor-consumers

So while politicians and economists talk about rescuing "savers" from having their nest-eggs whittled away by inflation, these savers represent a minuscule and dwindling proportion of the public. The real beneficiaries of interest rate hikes isn't savers, it's lenders.

Full employment is bad for the wealthy. When everyone has a job, wages go up, because bosses can't threaten workers with "exile to the reserve army of the unemployed." If workers are afraid of ending up jobless and homeless, then executives seeking to increase their own firms' profits can shift money from workers to shareholders without their workers quitting (and if the workers do quit, there are plenty more desperate for their jobs).

What's more, those same executives own huge portfolios of "financialized" assets – that is, they own claims on the interest payments that borrowers in the economy pay to creditors.

The purpose of raising interest rates is to "cool the economy," a euphemism for increasing unemployment and reducing wages. Fighting inflation helps creditors and hurts debtors. The same people who benefit from increased unemployment also benefit from low inflation.

Thus: "the current Fed policy of rapidly raising interest rates to fight inflation by throwing people out of work serves as a wealth protection device for the top one percent."

Now, it's also true that high interest rates tend to tank the stock market, and rich people also own a lot of stock. This is where it's important to draw distinctions within the capital class: the merely rich do things for a living (and thus care about companies' productive capacity), while the super-rich own things for a living, and care about debt service.

Epstein and Medlin are economists at UMass Amherst, and they built a model that looks at the distributional outcomes (that is, the winners and losers) from interest rate hikes, using data from 40 years' worth of Fed rate hikes:

https://peri.umass.edu/images/Medlin_Epstein_PERI_inflation_conf_WP.pdf

They concluded that "The net impact of the Fed’s restrictive monetary policy on the wealth of the top one percent depends on the timing and balance of [lower inflation and higher interest]. It turns out that in recent decades the outcome has, on balance, worked out quite well for the wealthy."

How well? "Without intervention by the Fed, a 6 percent acceleration of inflation would erode their wealth by around 30 percent in real terms after three years…when the Fed intervenes with an aggressive tightening, the 1%'s wealth only declines about 16 percent after three years. That is a 14 percent net gain in real terms."

This is why you see a split between the one-percenters and the ten-percenters in whether the Fed should continue to jack interest rates up. For the 1%, inflation hikes produce massive, long term gains. For the 10%, those gains are smaller and take longer to materialize.

Meanwhile, when there is mass unemployment, both groups benefit from lower wages and are happy to keep interest rates at zero, a rate that (in the absence of a wealth tax) creates massive asset bubbles that drive up the value of houses, stocks and other things that rich people own lots more of than everyone else.

This explains a lot about the current enthusiasm for high interest rates, despite high interest rates' ability to cause inflation, as Joseph Stiglitz and Ira Regmi wrote in their recent Roosevelt Institute paper:

https://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/RI_CausesofandResponsestoTodaysInflation_Report_202212.pdf

The two esteemed economists compared interest rate hikes to medieval bloodletting, where "doctors" did "more of the same when their therapy failed until the patient either had a miraculous recovery (for which the bloodletters took credit) or died (which was more likely)."

As they document, workers today aren't recreating the dread "wage-price spiral" of the 1970s: despite low levels of unemployment, workers wages still aren't keeping up with inflation. Inflation itself is falling, for the fairly obvious reason that covid supply-chain shocks are dwindling and substitutes for Russian gas are coming online.

Economic activity is "largely below trend," and with healthy levels of sales in "non-traded goods" (imports), meaning that the stuff that American workers are consuming isn't coming out of America's pool of resources or manufactured goods, and that spending is leaving the US economy, rather than contributing to an American firm's buying power.

Despite this, the Fed has a substantial cheering section for continued interest rates, composed of the ultra-rich and their lickspittle Renfields. While the specifics are quite modern, the underlying dynamic is as old as civilization itself.

Historian Michael Hudson specializes in the role that debt and credit played in different societies. As he's written, ancient civilizations long ago discovered that without periodic debt cancellation, an ever larger share of a societies' productive capacity gets diverted to the whims of a small elite of lenders, until civilization itself collapses:

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2022/07/michael-hudson-from-junk-economics-to-a-false-view-of-history-where-western-civilization-took-a-wrong-turn.html

Here's how that dynamic goes: to produce things, you need inputs. Farmers need seed, fertilizer, and farm-hands to produce crops. Crucially, you need to acquire these inputs before the crops come in – which means you need to be able to buy inputs before you sell the crops. You have to borrow.

In good years, this works out fine. You borrow money, buy your inputs, produce and sell your goods, and repay the debt. But even the best-prepared producer can get a bad beat: floods, droughts, blights, pandemics…Play the game long enough and eventually you'll find yourself unable to repay the debt.

In the next round, you go into things owing more money than you can cover, even if you have a bumper crop. You sell your crop, pay as much of the debt as you can, and go into the next season having to borrow more on top of the overhang from the last crisis. This continues over time, until you get another crisis, which you have no reserves to cover because they've all been eaten up paying off the last crisis. You go further into debt.

Over the long run, this dynamic produces a society of creditors whose wealth increases every year, who can make coercive claims on the productive labor of everyone else, who not only owes them money, but will owe even more as a result of doing the work that is demanded of them.

Successful ancient civilizations fought this with Jubilee: periodic festivals of debt-forgiveness, which were announced when new monarchs assumed their thrones, or after successful wars, or just whenever the creditor class was getting too powerful and threatened the crown.

Of course, creditors hated this and fought it bitterly, just as our modern one-percenters do. When rulers managed to hold them at bay, their nations prospered. But when creditors captured the state and abolished Jubilee, as happened in ancient Rome, the state collapsed:

https://pluralistic.net/2022/07/08/jubilant/#construire-des-passerelles

Are we speedrunning the collapse of Rome? It's not for me to say, but I strongly recommend reading Margaret Coker's in-depth Propublica investigation on how title lenders (loansharks that hit desperate, low-income borrowers with triple-digit interest loans) fired any employee who explained to a borrower that they needed to make more than the minimum payment, or they'd never pay off their debts:

https://www.propublica.org/article/inside-sales-practices-of-biggest-title-lender-in-us


Hey look at this (permalink)



A Wayback Machine banner.

This day in history (permalink)

#20yrsago Robbie Williams: “‘Piracy’ is great” http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/2673983.stm

#15yrsago Florida school board approves McDonald’s report-cards and school-bus audio ads https://web.archive.org/web/20080121065543/https://consumerist.com/346745/bus-radio-advertises-to-school+bound-kids

#15yrsago World of Warcraft limits your wealth to 2^31 copper https://web.archive.org/web/20080117214357/http://www.wowinsider.com/2008/01/16/apparently-you-can-have-too-much-gold/

#10yrsago How the vile Daily Mail handles Creative Commons licenses https://memex.craphound.com/2013/01/19/how-the-vile-daily-mail-handles-creative-commons-licenses/

#5yrsago Trump’s “consumer protection bureau” will let the $50B payday lending industry gouge the poorest Americans with triple-digit interest rates https://www.latimes.com/business/lazarus/la-fi-lazarus-cfpb-payday-lenders-20180119-story.html

#5yrsago The Republican candidate for Pennsylvania’s 18th District is a torture advocate who worked at Abu Ghraib https://theintercept.com/2018/01/19/gop-candidate-for-pennsylvania-special-election-is-a-former-abu-ghraib-interrogation-consultant/

#5yrsago It’s Poe’s birthday, so here’s Neil Gaiman reading The Raven https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jSHKPp-66w

#5yrsago America’s large hospital chains will start manufacturing generic drugs in order to beat shkrelic price-gouging https://arstechnica.com/science/2018/01/peeved-by-price-gouging-and-shortages-hospitals-will-now-make-their-own-drugs/



Colophon (permalink)

Currently writing:

  • Picks and Shovels, a Martin Hench noir thriller about the heroic era of the PC. Yesterday's progress: 523 words (96026 words total)

  • The Bezzle, a Martin Hench noir thriller novel about the prison-tech industry. FIRST DRAFT COMPLETE, WAITING FOR EDITORIAL REVIEW

  • A Little Brother short story about DIY insulin PLANNING

  • The Internet Con: How to Seize the Means of Computation, a nonfiction book about interoperability for Verso. REVISIONS COMPLETE – AWAITING COPYEDIT

  • Vigilant, Little Brother short story about remote invigilation. ON SUBMISSION

  • Moral Hazard, a short story for MIT Tech Review's 12 Tomorrows. FIRST DRAFT COMPLETE, ACCEPTED FOR PUBLICATION

  • Spill, a Little Brother short story about pipeline protests. ON SUBMISSION

  • A post-GND utopian novel, "The Lost Cause." FINISHED

  • A cyberpunk noir thriller novel, "Red Team Blues." FINISHED

Currently reading: Analogia by George Dyson.

Latest podcast: Daddy-Daughter Podcast, 2022 Edition https://craphound.com/podcast/2022/12/12/daddy-daughter-podcast-2022-edition/

Upcoming appearances:

Recent appearances:

Latest books:

Upcoming books:

  • Red Team Blues: "A grabby, compulsive thriller that will leave you knowing more about how the world works than you did before." Tor Books, April 2023

This work licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. That means you can use it any way you like, including commercially, provided that you attribute it to me, Cory Doctorow, and include a link to pluralistic.net.

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"When life gives you SARS, you make sarsaparilla" -Joey "Accordion Guy" DeVilla

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cjheinz
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Jubilee!

Pluralistic: Care Inflation (18 Jan 2023)

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The old woman in the shoe. She stands before her shoe, wearing a fierce expression and brandishing a switch, as a line of downtrodden children file into the shoe. Behind her is a three-dimensional 'line-goes-up' graphic with a dollar-sign at the tip of its surging, rightmost arrow.

Care Inflation (permalink)

You can be forgiven for thinking that the Great Inflation Story is how a recent once-in-a-century pandemic, combined with a senseless war, combined with monopolistic price-gouging, temporarily drove prices up by less than ten percent, prompting calls to crush worker power and suppress wages in order to "reduce demand" for scarce goods:

https://pluralistic.net/2022/12/14/medieval-bloodletters/#its-the-stupid-economy

But for all the attention we gave to this transient inflation, there has been precious little alarm over the soaring inflation in "Care Labor" – daycare, preschool, nursing homes and medical services – whose price growth has outpaced the Consumer Price Index (CPI) every year since 1997.

Care inflation has severe knock-on effects for the rest of the economy. When workers can't find someone to look after their kids, their elderly relatives, or a sick or disabled partner, they are often forced out of the workforce, or they give up good jobs and accept lower wages and worse working conditions so they can take the time to do care labor.

Writing for The American Prospect, Nancy Folbre unpacks the causes and effects of this massive, long-term inflation, and offers a compelling explanation for why it garners so little attention (spoiler: because it mostly harms women, especially low-waged women):

https://prospect.org/economy/2023-01-18-inflation-unfair-costs-of-care/

It's a subject Folbre is eminently qualified to write on. She is an emeritus professor of economics at UMass Amherst, where she directs the Program on Gender and Care Work. Her blog, Care Talk, is a must-read on this subject:

https://blogs.umass.edu/folbre/

Folbre notes that workforce participation by working-aged people has declined since 1999, as an ever-larger slice of our productive capacity has been sidelined by the need to stay home and do care work. This unwaged care work can't pay the bills, leaving workers to fill in the gaps with insecure, low-paid jobs. This, in turn, leaves workers dependent on community ties that make it impossible to relocate in search of better jobs.

Despite a quarter century of price increases, "child care workers and nursing home aides have been and remain among the most poorly paid workers in the US." In health care, workers other than MDs have seen only modest, subinflationary pay increases.

Unlike manufacturing and customer service, care work can't be offshored. You can't ship your toddlers, elderly parents, or disabled spouse to a poor country where low-waged workers will take care of them. The declining pool of low-waged immigrant labor only partially offsets this disparity between the price of care and other services.

Leaving care work to the market – rather than subsidizing care through public services – enriches a small pool of shareholders, especially backers of the private equity funds that have "rolled up" smaller care facilities and practices, slashing wages and jacking up prices:

https://pluralistic.net/2022/12/16/schumpeterian-terrorism/#deliberately-broken

For anyone who doesn't own a private equity fund, the rising price of care work exacts a terrible toll. Public investment in care work has a "high social payoff" – it is necessary to produce the next generation of productive workers and the goods and services they will provide to each other and everyone else:

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/pdfdirect/10.1002/hec.3995

The rising price of care is an example of what AFL-CIO Chief Economist William Spriggs calls "inequality inflation." When care is left up to the market, affluent families bid up the price of decent care. Poor families drop out of the market altogether, because it's cheaper for them to forego waged work than it is to outbid a professional family for care work.

This "pits low-wage workers providing care services against low-income consumers" – any time a care worker gets a raise, it gets harder for low-waged families to afford care work. The care work market gets hollowed out, with a high-end servicing the richest 10 percent of households, and Medicaid providing stopgap service for the very poorest, while everyone else is out in the cold.

(This has political consequences. As Folbre writes, "No wonder families with incomes just above the official thresholds for public assistance are politically disenchanted.")

The unwillingness to commit public funds to care work produces inexorable pressure to reduce the labor costs of care. For decades, care workers have seen their colleagues laid off and been told to work longer hours to pick up the slack, yielding a care sector filled with burned-out, demoralized workers.

And, as Folbre points out, care workers are disproportionately female – as are the workers who leave the waged workforce to work for free providing care to their family members. Unpaid "women's work" is badly accounted for in tradition economics, which gives politicians cover for inaction as women are forced out of the labor market by failures in the care economy.

The (predominantly) women who do unpaid care work are heavily reliant on programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which is not indexed to inflation and has fallen in real terms every year since 1996 – a total drop of 40% in a generation.

Even if you don't care about gender equity, equity for disabled people, or a dignified old age for our elders, this should concern you: "Our economic system runs on human capabilities, and these are not a costless resource supplied by some self-sacrificing Mother Nature. Our own production, development, and maintenance requires both personal commitments and public support."

Public investment in care work would do more to curb this critical form of inflation than any interest rate hike. "[Care workers] will never be as cheap to produce as television sets, cars, or even robots. We will remain more valuable, even if we can’t be bought and sold."

Folbre's excellent piece is part of an equally excellent series at the Prospect: The Great Inflation Myths is a riveting, ongoing series of articles that demystify inflation through a political economy lens, probing the causes and effects of inflation on real human lives, beyond esoteric economic equations and jargon:

https://prospect.org/great-inflation-myths


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#20yrsago Eric Eldred Act: A bookkeeping change that would feed the public domain https://web.archive.org/web/20030201110456/https://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/lessig/blog/archives/2003_01.shtml

#20yrsago Bernstein’s patent-policy work-to-rule https://cr.yp.to/patents/tarzian.html

#20yrsago Civil liberties in gamespace https://web.archive.org/web/20030110002343/https://www.legendmud.org/raph/gaming/playerrights.html

#15yrsago Can the Smithsonian’s public domain images join the Library of Congress’s “Commons”? https://groups.google.com/g/open-government/c/VJ5UL8UdhIw?pli=1

#15yrsago Lawyer claims he owns “cyberlawyer” — actual cyberlawyers laugh and laugh https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2008/01/cyberlaw-and-cyberlawgs

#10yrsago TSA terminates its contract with Rapiscan, maker of pornoscanners https://www.latimes.com/business/la-xpm-2013-jan-17-la-fi-mo-fullbody-scanner-contract-20130117-story.html

#10yrsago Dan Bull song tribute to Aaron Swartz https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qb0tCgNzbjk

#10yrsago Debunking DoJ statement on Aaron Swartz’s prosecution https://www.techdirt.com/2013/01/17/carmen-ortiz-releases-totally-bogus-statement-concerning-aaron-swartz-prosecution/

#5yrsago EFF to NSA: you scammed your way to another six years of warrantless spying, and you’d better enjoy it while it lasts https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/01/open-letter-our-community-congresss-vote-extend-nsa-spying-eff-executive-director

#5yrsago Amazon’s useless “transparency reports” won’t disclose whether they’re handing data from always-on Alexa mics to governments https://www.zdnet.com/article/amazon-the-least-transparent-tech-company/

#5yrsago Hawai’i emergency notification system password revealed in photo about problems with Hawai’ian emergency notification system https://qz.com/1181763/hawaiis-emergency-management-agency-accidentally-revealed-an-internal-password

#5yrsago Trials confirm the use of psilocybin for depression without the “dulling” effects of traditional antidepressants https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320636

#5yrsago Leaseholders in building sheathed in flammable Grenfell cladding sent a £2m bill for repairs https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/jan/17/citiscape-croydon-2m-recladding-bill-prompted-grenfell-disaster



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A little perspective on twitter’s meltdown

1 Comment

The following is from Kara Swisher, tech expert journalist:

A few things: 1. Depending on how much critical staff has left & where — it’s possible tho not probable the service could shut down at any time & for a short or long time. Relax as it used to do this a lot with the dreaded fail whale logo (see old & new one). It usually restores.

2. That said, I downloaded my archive recently — and you should as it is a record of you. It is likely that there are big security issues & your info could get hacked. This is also not uncommon, but a pain. If you have a credit card loaded in, be on alert.

3. There are alternatives like Mastodon, http://Post.news, LinkedIn, Insta, TikTok, but they’re all different and is not easy to recreate your social network here elsewhere. In fact, you will not. Accept this. Btw Twitter is not going away either — it may just get suckier.

4. I’m giving feedback & advice to former Waze ceo @noam as he has $$$ from vcs, knows how to build a network, I like the concept & he’s not a horse’s ass (it’s a low bar these days). The service is built but in early beta, so it lacks the features it needs. This is also common.

5. With all these services, you can crosspost to Twitter, which I reiterate will not disappear. You can stay. But it may get worse & obvi Elon is acting badly. This might signal he’s way over his skis or he’s playing Spock chess none of us mere mortals can grok. Skis IMHO.

6. In stages of grief, this is anger part since why the fuck has a billionaire manchild done this to something you love & been such a menace to employees? Who knows? But it’s not your problem but his & his bankers. You have used lots of online services you don’t anymore. Whatev!

7. Will life go on? Why yes & so may Twitter if Elon gets his head out of his red-pilled ass, focuses and stops with a performative weak sauce Trump impersonation. Even Trump sucks at being Trump these days (see last speech). In any case, you can stay or go. It’s a free Internet.

Trump Speaking GIF

8. Where you go next is not like here. Suck it up, kids. We will meet again. Put down your phones and hug your kid. Read a news website directly. Learn to text. Or speak to people. But don’t panic. It’s a long life. We will find @DougJBalloon somewhere.

9. I met my wife @katzish for the first time on DMs after we got set up. We now have two more kids and so for this alone, Twitter has been worth it. Btw: Sol just turned 1, so wish him a happy bday!

10. Oh Elon, I say in the most mom voice ever: I expected better. Oh, and no matter what your flying monkeys say — remember they all get paid for by you in some way — I’m not the asshole. Happy to talk any time, tho I warn you, I am all out of fucks:

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/on-with-kara-swisher/id1643307527?i=1000586088919

Originally tweeted by Kara Swisher (@karaswisher) on November 18, 2022.

I am over at Mastodon under the handle @digby@mastodon.social

I am a little befuddled but I’ll figure it out eventually. I’m also on @digby@counter.social. And whatever else comes up I guess until we all figure out what’s happening.

For those of you not on twitter and you don’t give a damn about any of this — now back to our scheduled programming.

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Zaphod717
462 days ago
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"he’s playing Spock chess none of us mere mortals can grok" is the most 60s thing I have read in a minute.
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