I endorse this statement.
Emily M. Bender:
I dislike the term because “artificial intelligence” suggests that there’s more going on than there is, that these things are autonomous thinking entities rather than tools and simply kinds of automation. If we focus on them as autonomous thinking entities or we spin out that fantasy, it is easier to lose track of the people in the picture, both the people who should be accountable for what the systems are doing and the people whose labor and data are being exploited to create them in the first place.
- Stochastic parrots
- Spicy autocomplete
- Mad Libs
- Magic Eight Ball
And this is worth shouting from the rooftops:
The threat is not the generative “AI” itself. It’s the way that management might choose to use it.
Jeepers Frigging Cripes Crypto and NFTs are so stupid and dumb and bad and I can’t even. I’m out. Goodbye. Burn it down please. - Chris Coyier
Literally every experience I have in this world is gross at best and criminally evil at worst. Who it benefits that actually needs the benfefit is vanishingly few.
Here are some rhetorical questions from Chris:
How many years into this are we with no practical use cases for the world? How many resources have to be burned before this is seen?
The lesson of the current wave of “artificial” “intelligence”, I feel, is that intelligence is a poor thing when it is imagined by corporations. If your view of the world is one in which profit maximisation is the king of virtues, and all things shall be held to the standard of shareholder value, then of course your artistic, imaginative, aesthetic and emotional expressions will be woefully impoverished. We deserve better from the tools we use, the media we consume and the communities we live within, and we will only get what we deserve when we are capable of participating in them fully. And don’t be intimidated by them either – they’re really not that complicated. As the science-fiction legend Ursula K Le Guin wrote: “Technology is what we can learn to do.”
Any application that could be done on a blockchain could be better done on a centralized database. Except crime.
I’m not alone in believing in the fundamental technical uselessness of blockchains. There are tens of thousands of other people in the largest tech companies in the world that thanklessly push their organizations away from crypto adoption every day. The crypto asset bubble is perhaps the most divisive topic in tech of our era and possibly ever to exist in our field. It’s a scary but essential truth to realise that normal software engineers like us are an integral part of society’s immune system against the enormous moral hazard of technology-hyped asset bubbles metastasizing into systemic risk.
There is zero evidence that crypto is creating any technical innovation connected to the larger economy, and a strong preponderance of evidence it is a net drain on society by circumventing the rule of law, facilitating tax evasion, environmental devastation, enabling widespread extortion through ransomware and incentivizing an increasingly frothy ecosystem of scams to defraud the public. Nothing of value would be lost by a blanket cryptocurrency ban.
The idea that your job should be the primary source of meaning in your life is an elaborately made trap, propped up across industries, designed to make you a loyal worker who uses the bulk of their intellectual and creative capacity to further their own career.
Increasingly, I think UX doesn’t live up to its original meaning of “user experience.” Instead, much of the discpline today, as it’s practiced in Big Tech firms, is better described by a new name.
UX is now “user exploitation.”
May 1st was my last day as a VP and Distinguished Engineer at Amazon Web Services, after five years and five months of rewarding fun. I quit in dismay at Amazon firing whistleblowers who were making noise about warehouse employees frightened of Covid-19.
Fair play, Tim Bray!
The victims weren’t abstract entities but real people; here are some of their names: Courtney Bowden, Gerald Bryson, Maren Costa, Emily Cunningham, Bashir Mohammed, and Chris Smalls.
I’m sure it’s a coincidence that every one of them is a person of color, a woman, or both. Right?
James talks about automation and understanding.
Just because a technology – whether it’s autonomous vehicles, satellite communications, or the internet – has been captured by capital and turned against the populace, doesn’t mean it does not retain a seed of utopian possibility.
But under the guise of innovation and progress, companies are stripping away worker protections, pushing down wages, and flouting government regulations. At its core, the sharing economy is a scheme to shift risk from companies to workers, discourage labor organizing, and ensure that capitalists can reap huge profits with low fixed costs.
There’s nothing innovative or new about this business model. Uber is just capitalism, in its most naked form.
This is not as linkbaity as the title might suggest.
I’ve suggested the term “exploitationware” as a more accurate name for gamification’s true purpose…