WTF Weekly for Sept 3rd, 2020
I feel like we’re entering a Neo-Dark Ages. Brains are leaking out people’s ears, and they’re ecstatic about it.
I’ve despised the Q-Anon types from the beginning, but I never imagined so many people would associate with it, believe in it, radicalize around it. The fact that it seems to be mostly middle-aged Facebook types says a lot to me about both the mental capacity of many computer-illiterates of a certain generation to distinguish fact from fiction and about Facebook itself. Neither those people nor that service should have ever been given internet access, because clearly they can’t handle it.
In my darker hours, I almost wish for a purging of the earth, because I don’t know how we get back to reality from here.
If Bill Barr and the Trump administration aren’t working towards overthrowing an election, then I have no explanation for anything they’ve said and done in the past month. I’m really afraid America is just going to sit back and let this happen. We’ve done nothing but let ourselves get steamrolled for the past 4 years.
If you’re Black in America, at best you have to pretend the police don’t exist, because if you call them for help you’re going to wind up arrested, injured, or dead. At worst, you can’t pretend they don’t exist, because even if you don’t call them you’re going to wind up arrested, injured, or dead.
A co-worker of mine expressed to me the sentiment that yeah, racism is real and it’s a problem, but that the rich and powerful also want us divided and fighting amongst each other, so they’re pushing this narrative.
No. People who are tired of getting killed for not being white are the ones who are pushing it, and they’re right. It’s real, it’s a problem, and it’s not a political agenda. In point of fact, politicians on BOTH sides of the fence ignored this as long as they possibly could. It’s only become an issue when individuals gathered together and made their feelings known.
SpaceX is doing cool things, but I cannot look at this without thinking grain silo. Grain silos in space. Grain silos on Mars. Grain silos on the moon?
Here’s one the climate change deniers can’t argue humans aren’t responsible for: bits of jeans ruining the oceans. I mean I guess if people can believe the Q Anon stuff, people can also believe that Orcas and porpoises and seals are washing jeans and destroying the oceans themselves, but it seems unlikely. If reality is a thing. Which apparently it isn’t.
I saved the best for last, because it’s a long read. It’s worth it.
Cory Doctorow is a very perceptive observer of technology and society, and he’s got some concerns about the effects of surveillance and overreach.
What if the trauma of living through real conspiracies all around us — conspiracies among wealthy people, their lobbyists, and lawmakers to bury inconvenient facts and evidence of wrongdoing (these conspiracies are commonly known as “corruption”) — is making people vulnerable to conspiracy theories?
There’s definitely something to that. It does go back to the fact that dumb people can’t weed out the likely bad things from the very unlikely bad things, but still it’s true that for a lot of people, it’s hard to know when to stop when there are very clear real conspiracies to get the mind reeling. Critical thinking skills would help, but those aren’t in abundance anymore.
Figuring out what we want our tech to look like is crucial if we’re going to get out of this mess. Today, we’re at a crossroads where we’re trying to figure out if we want to fix the Big Tech companies that dominate our internet or if we want to fix the internet itself by unshackling it from Big Tech’s stranglehold. We can’t do both, so we have to choose. I want us to choose wisely. Taming Big Tech is integral to fixing the internet, and for that, we need digital rights activism.
Hit me up on Twitter to yell at me if you really think that will help.