of 1984 — Books, Not Years — The way the evil totalitarian regime “Big Brother” maintains its power is through something called “doublethink.” To use the example from the book, it is the practice of holding parallel, contradictory beliefs that “war is peace”, “freedom is slavery”, “ignorance is strength”, and “2 + 2 = 5”. It worked because when our minds—our sense of logic and morality—were undermined, they became easier to control.
Given the events of the past few months, doublethink “the metaverse is the future”, “people will pay millions for shitty art”, “this crypto billionaire is definitely my It can also be interpreted to mean something like “best interests in mind.” This is a corny reference, but it’s the only one that makes sense. Somehow, somewhere along the way, the American public was duped into believing these things could be true.
On November 11th, Sam Bankman-Fried, the 30-year-old CEO of cryptocurrency exchange FTX, resigned after his company filed for bankruptcy. Before his bankruptcy, Bankman-Fried (in colloquial terms he was called SBF) was widely considered to be “one of the good guys”, not just because of his billionaire status, but because of his virtual He was considered a juvenile genius in the currency world. He advocated for greater government regulation of cryptography and was a leader in the field of effective altruism. Effective Altruism (EA) is part philosophical movement, part subculture, but generally creates evidence-backed means to do what is best for most people. It is intended to (Disclosure: This August, Bankman-Fried’s philanthropic family foundation, Building a Stronger Future, awarded Vox’s Future Perfect a grant for his 2023 reporting project. is being stopped.)
Instead, Bankman-Fried did the opposite. He may have used up his million-plus savings and committed fraud. In a conversation with Vox’s Kelsey Piper, he basically admitted that all good personas are deeds (“fucking regulators,” he wrote, “blame this stupid game at” he said that he “must be good” at talking about ethics). Everyone likes us because we made a play where westerners say all the right shibboleths.
In terms of corporate malfeasance, the SBF disaster is much like Enron or Bernie Madoff. This was the man who marketed himself as a benevolent billionaire and persuaded others to invest his money simply because it was worth $26 billion (at his peak). partnered with celebrities such as Tom Brady and Larry David to make it look like the only way to move forward with cryptocurrency – a highly risky investment that relies on volatile technology. Both Brady and David, among several other celebrities, are currently being accused of defrauding investors in a class action lawsuit amid the collapse of FTX.
But there have been other examples of technical doublethink in recent history. Over the past year, Mark Zuckerberg has campaigned so hard for the mainstreaming of the “Metaverse” that he changed the name of one of the world’s most powerful companies to reflect his ambitions. But his metaverse called Horizon looks like a less fun version of The Sims, a game that came out in 2000 (though The Sims also had legs). This strategy has been unsuccessful at the time of publication. The company lost $800 billion.
But the irony is that anyone with eyeballs and a brain could easily have told Zuckerberg that Horizon was terrible. , and expensive (VR headsets cost at least a few hundred bucks). Indeed, people told him so – the platform has been widely derided in the media since its rollout. online — it’s just that Zuckerberg isn’t listening.
There is a world of technology where entrepreneurs tell themselves their job is to innovate. They’re the builders, charting the path forward for the next generation of lubes that are years behind and into the future. They believe they can predict what will happen just because “there’s money”, and if the money isn’t there at all. You will be surprised when it becomes meaningless.
The most compelling argument I’ve heard about Web3 is “Well, that’s what all the smart people are working on.” Back in February, she attended a meetup for women interested in cryptocurrency held at an expensive and trendy hotel bar. The thing that struck me the most was when the host turned to the microphone and said, “Love it or hate it, it’s happening.” The pitch was that these financial bros are all getting rich with cryptocurrencies and her NFTs, so I might be able to catch up with them.
It wasn’t said, but what I heard, and always heard when someone explained Web3 to me, was something like this: We know most NFT art sucks and the idea that someone is paying hundreds of thousands of dollars doesn’t make the slightest bit of sense. I know it’s tactical, it’s bad for the environment, and no one has come up with a good use case for it. “
I don’t think people who invest in cryptocurrencies are stupid. In fact, I believed the opposite. After attending the meetup, I was convinced enough people would accept this kind of marketing out of fear and her FOMO.Admittedly, I didn’t quite understand what was so useful about crypto, DAO, etc., but these women were smart and normal and looked like people It was making a lot of money.
The problem is that engineering is pretty bad at teaching the fact that marketing means more than just TV commercials and pretty packaging. NFTs were never sold because they looked good (not at all). They were marketed by a rich man, or perhaps a rich man, who positioned himself as the only person smart enough to know where the world was going. “You However jpeg? ’ they seemed to ask. “Enjoy being poor.”
But any woman with a Facebook account could have let them know that this is exactly the tactic used by MLM companies selling protein shakes and leggings. Any plan to get rich quick is an exercise in doublethink. You can have it too!
Did anyone really think billionaires were full of good intentions? Did anyone think Horizon was the future? People thought Elon Musk’s Twitter takeover would proceed in a normal fashion Huh? Probably. We lie to ourselves all the time. In a world where liberal arts colleges and humanitarian studies are increasingly demonized as ‘awakening factories’, it is the engineers who are made to look like rational humans. Those who criticize them may seem naive, ignorant, or afraid of progress, so they often end up believing in themselves instead of believing their own eyes.
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