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    I cannot help but suppress my grin whilst reading this, because it recounts a cringe-inducing time of JS history in which every Thought Leader proudly proclaimed that the “Cambrian explosion” of JS frameworks justified the mountains of tech debt generated.

    The biggest danger in technology is our own capacity to believe our own bullshit.

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      The ahistorical just-so stories we tell ourselves are symptomatic of a certain type of Whiggish scienceology. It’s a natural enough sort of philosophy, but I strongly believe it to be completely misguided. And the abuse of the metaphor of evolution is a poisonous category mistake, ruining everything it touches.

      Repeat after me: there is no telos.

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        I strongly agree. Only, it’s not ‘scienceology’, it’s scientism. It’s entirely political.

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          I think it doesn’t even rise to the level of scientism. It’s scientism as practiced by people unwilling to actually grapple with the science itself.

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            That’s a fair distinction to make; there’s a lot more to technology than just science, and vice versa. In my personal demonology, “technologism” (the popular manifestation of supply-side technological determinism) is just the lowest and most common form of scientism. But maybe that cedes too much ground to those who don’t recognize even that difference.

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              We are splitting hairs here, methinks.

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      If anyone wants to dig further, Neil Postman wrote and spoke on this topic as well. This talk is a good starting point.

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        I don’t like this essay. It asks a question, but it doesn’t go nearly as deep into the topic as the topic deserves. I don’t even want to discuss the essay itself.

        I’m working through The Society of the Spectacle by Debord (1967). The term Spectacle in this work is abstracted heavily; it involves both the notion of ads, fashion, etc, but the whole concept of watching/being watched and as mediated by consumerism. I take substantial issue with Debord’s later arguments around human-political organization, but the critique and observation is interesting, as applied to, e.g., Twitter (something I enjoy participating in). What mediates, and who & what builds that mediation system…

        What is progress? What is technology? are actually very interesting questions that the boundaries of the answer suggest that there’s no easy answer. Then the notions might be brought up: progress for who? and, is progress a good? (and, good for who?). Etc.

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          Is this really a good fit for a technology-focused link aggregator? It’s barely technological. There’s no code or hardware. There’s no history of computing, or a picture of Bob Widlar flipping off the viewer. It’s an opinion piece about the intersection of smart devices and culture (tagging this as philosophy is a stretch). Will this prompt on-topic, productive discussion, or teach the reader?

          Don’t think I’m posting this in bad faith, it’s a genuine question as part of the wider meta of lobste.rs as of late.

          (And it seems to blame everything wrong with these technologies on Americans, which seems unnecessary and kinda xenophobic.)

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            As a reflection on technology, I feel it’s on-topic, which is also why I tagged it as philosophy. Just tech without reflection strikes me as … not a good idea.

            IMHO it’s just as on-topic (or off-topic, if you will) as the umpteenth “DRM bad” rant that was posted earlier today.

            it seems to blame everything wrong with these technologies on Americans, which seems unnecessary and kinda xenophobic

            It’s a very US-centred publication, which probably explains why it centres mainly on the states.

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              As a piece on how software interacts with society (and this ultimately is about software, not technology in general) I think it fits fine. It’s useful to introspect on how we think about software, what software we use, what software we create and impose onto the public, how we regulate software (or fail to regulate it.)

              I don’t think this is blaming everything on Americans, but pointing how how a mindset and national self-story that is somewhat peculiar to America influences public discussions on tech progress in America.

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                I’m OK with it, but wouldn’t be offended were it to be aggressively flagged as “off-topic”.

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                  The biggest lie actual tech people tell themselves is probably something about estimates and scheduling. Or about how using a concurrent solution right here can’t possibly be that hard.

                  Or if it must be about AI, it could be, “We’re saving all this data and we’re going to AI it somehow as soon as we have time, so you can’t say this is just another CRUD app.”

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                  Evolution is driven by random mutation — mistakes, not plans.

                  Sounds like the corporate history of Twitter. But seriously folks, how many of the bad things “tech people” (nice ad hominem there, thanks for that) do are predictable? Facebook is supposed to be a way to get dates and impress your friends, not a way to induce mass depression and cripple the democratic process. Oops.

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                    Talking about democratic process - in my country Facebook actually helped democratic process by incorporating youth into political processes. More people are conscious about who are they electing, and what do people in the government do. So no, Facebook doesn’t cripple the democratic process

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                      I’m happy for you (seriously). In my country it seems to be a great way to turn people into polarized parrots who fervently propagate nonsense. AND, don’t get me wrong, to help people organize to defuse the nonsense. But the bad part of that seems to be more effective.

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                        But the bad part of that seems to be more effective.

                        It’s the easiest, low-effort path that gets them a mental high. Most of the reward systems reinforce that behavior, too. The bad part being more effective was inevitable in the design.

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                      Why do you think it’s true that Facebook has crippled the Democratic process? For that matter why do you think it’s true that Facebook has induced mass depression?

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                        That was a little hyperbolic, but the normalization of broadcasting of curated, even staged “life highlights” is pretty well known to make people feel bad about themselves, and the normalization of rapidly spreading fake news (not “fake news” which is itself a fake meme, but the original kind without the scare quotes) and superficial meme-based hysteria is pretty well known to distort genuine public discourse and debate, which is absolutely essential to the democratic process. Neither of those things are new, but Facebook allowed them to become epidemic and/or weaponized beyond any previous experience of society — which obviously was not the original intent of Facebook.

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                      It’s interesting how this article is essentially a regurgitation of the unibomber’s manifesto:


                      I’m told that there is a progression of technology, a movement that is bigger than any individual inventor or CEO. They say they are simply caught in a tide, swept along in a current they cannot fight


                      Technicians tend to be so involved in their work that when a conflict arises between their technical work and freedom, they almost always decide in favor of their technical work


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                        “Reguritation”? Really? You didn’t even spell that right. Did it occur to you that different people can observe the same phenomena and independently reach similar conclusions? That kind of thing happens quite often.

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                        Motivated reasoning is a powerful drug and nobody is completely free from it. The author here is pretending that the economics of the situation have no bearing on what gets produced. So long as it is profitable, people will keep doing it. If you want people to stop you must find a way to make it less profitable. Any other strategy is like trying to bail out a boat by filling buckets on one side and pouring them in the other. It can make the situation more balanced but the ship still keeps sinking nonetheless.

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                          Yellow title. Water in article.

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                            What does this mean?

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                                Ah, thanks! Not a term I’d heard before.