love, play & inquiry (trochee) wrote,
love, play & inquiry

Rolling the dice at the Just World Casino

tl;dr: The tech frame of “lean startup”, venture capital funding, “exit strategies”, and relentless “valuation” talk is fundamentally anti-human for nearly all of us.

[ETA (immediately after publication):]

The kneejerk libertarianism and Randian resistance to collective action among (white, male) tech workers has led to red-in-tooth-and-claw job insecurity and instability, the “[mono]culture fit”, fetishization of youth a la The Circle, and a Just World Fallacy (“meritocracy”) of increasingly dire proportions.  In particular, rewards are wildly skewed away from effort or collective valuation, and seem to track with luck, or deep enough pockets to roll the dice often.

Big winners are the poker players lucky enough to be the first ones to loot (excuse me; I mean “disrupt”) a previously protected commons (excuse me; “fish”); some of the rest of us are settling for steady jobs as dealers, wait staff, or (for the truly ambitious) pit bosses. But the big game — besides being the house — is in bringing in the big fish unicorns.

Though unicorns make for flashy external advertisements (“Sue Anne won $10,000 at Lucky Strike yesterday! will you be next?”), the core casinos themselves are relentless in taking their cut on every big win and all the small losses.  AI fantasists (whether paranoid like Bostrom or optimist like Kurzweil and Yudkowsky) would like to think that the real questions are how to deal with “superhuman” intelligence, but the real concern is how to deal with non-human intelligence; specifically, the survival of humanity in the face of increasingly-automated bureaucracy.

Their “slow takeoff” has been burning since the East India Corporation, but has hit a recent elbow (a “fast takeoff”) with the “gig economy” (“sharing” is a bridge too far).  Some of these insecurities are bleeding into the white-collar segments of the gig economies, as with the space-sharing institutions that are beginning to collect rent from players hoping to bag a unicorn:

Oh, and this isn’t working out great, even for the casino’s winners (don’t worry, though: the house is still doing just fine).

If you like this sort of terrifying doom-saying, I recommend @PhilSandifer‘s Kickstarter:

Mirrored from Trochaisms.

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