I’m not quite sure what to call this thread, but… a place for discussion and links related to what seems to be a rather rapidly rising neo-Luddite movement - including among tech workers. I’m not even quite sure that’s the right term, but it’s close enough to use for discussion purposes.
I’ve been seeing lately a rather rapid rise in the “… yeah, this whole tech thing isn’t what we hoped for, it’s no longer useful to humans, and we should consider doing something about that” sorts of sentiments in places I don’t normally expect them - Hacker News is one place that’s gone, in the past 6 months, to rather rapidly upvoting things that are quite hostile about tech. Some of this is certainly the “Wait, this latest Large Language Model actually looks like it could be coming for my income…” problem, but it’s more than just that - that’s been prompting some of the discussion, but the recognition that consumer tech is just human-hostile data grabbing surveillance technology is bubbling up a lot more lately. It’s not helped by things like “Oh, yeah, turn off wifi calling and VoLTE if you don’t want to get remote-0click-pwned… your carrier only supports VoLTE? Sucks for you!” issues coming out.
An interesting substack popped up a few weeks ago - Dark Futura. There are only a few articles in it so far, but they’re well worth a read and ponder.
Dead Internet looks at the fact that the internet seems to have less and less of value - I’ve heard of the concept floating around for a while, and it seemed like a “haha, OK, that’s fun to think about for a bit…” idea, but… eh. More and more, as we’re seeing what the LLM can output, how do you really know if something you’re interacting with is human or not? Even without that, the “Hi, I’m Syonyk, make sure you Mash That Like Button and Subscribe to my Substack and Patron and Follow me on Twinstapp and…” greetings on videos are past the point of a joke, etc.
Age Of Regression Upon Us looks at the increasingly likely future of “Tech stagnates, and things get weird” - based around an initial observation that now even Walmart is showcasing vinyl (which, last year, outsold CDs 41M to 33M, and don’t even mention the revenue difference). The engine of technological progress seems to be sputtering, at least in terms of actual benefits to most humans.
And this is where I see the key point - do we develop technology in support of humans, or do we develop technologies to enslave humans? The past decade has clearly been heading in the direction of the second - you’re just a set of eyeballs to serve ads to (based on data collected about whatever’s rattling around behind them), for profit.
Markets for Lemons, and the Great Logging Off is another article looking at the problem from a signal to noise ratio - what happens when most of the interactions on the internet are AI to AI (for some suitable value of AI), when the scammers and spammers aren’t limited by needing humans to run the other end, etc.
Anyway, the sentiment is rising. Yes, I’m aware of the absurdity of discussing this online, but I also intend to discuss this in local groups and see what I can put together. Ideas and brainstorming of what that looks like are quite welcome too!