Last week, Apple CEO Tim Cook defied a federal court order to implement a backdoor into the company’s software, which would allow government investigators to secretly listen in on encrypted data from users’ various communications platforms on the phone. This was in the name of national security, of course, in order to crack the iPhone of the San Bernardino shoooter Syed Farook for the purposes of information-gathering. Never mind that the government doesn’t do its job – defend the borders – so that suspected terrorists don’t enter this country in the first place – which in this case, at least one did. Did they look at the Facebook page of his wife/accomplice Tashfeen Malik – the red flags were there, and while we don’t sanction racial or religious profiling, we’re talking about vetting people who want to enter this country permanently, which has, historically, always been policy.By the way, Farook’s phone was government-issued and the password was reset by the agency that employed him after it was in FBI custody. In fact, according to the AP, “The county government that owned the iPhone…paid for but never installed a feature that would have allowed the FBI to easily and immediately unlock the phone… The service costs $4 per month per phone." Your – and California’s – tax dollars at work.
The line comes from the poem, “Ozymandias,” fyi, and for some reason, we could bot get it out of our head.
Last week, Marc Andreessen tweeted, “Anti-colonialism has been economically catastrophic for the Indian people for decades. Why stop now?”
In one tweet, Andreessen revealed the perhaps hitherto unspoken agenda of the Silicon Valley oligarchs, which The Atlantic summed up most eloquently: Facebook and the New Colonialism Today’s empires are born on the web, and exert tremendous power in the material world.
Ever notice that Facebook doesn’t have a ‘dislike’ button? You can ‘unlike’ something, once you’ve liked it, but you’re not allowed to ‘dislike’ a post. Dissing is evidently verboten. Bret Easton Ellis recently posted a piece on Living in the Cult of Likability and, let’s face it, your posts are defining your ‘brand,’ lest we forget that you are the product, after all. “Instead of embracing the true contradictory nature of human beings, with all of their biases and imperfections, we continue to transform ourselves into virtuous robots. This in turn has led to the awful idea — and booming business — of reputation management, where a firm is hired to help shape a more likable, relatable You. Reputation management is about gaming the system. It’s a form of deception, an attempt to erase subjectivity and evaluation through intuition, for a price,” says Ellis.
We know what’s in the water in Flint, MI, but not always so sure about Silicon Valley. It also may well be something that they’re smoking.
This isn’t about valuations or the expanding graveyard of unicorpses. It’s about the possible end of this iteration of technology, and it’s not necessarily due to collapsing world economies ( The Shipping News Says the World Economy Is Toast - Bloomberg). FastCompany published a piece this week about Silicon Valley's Problem-Solving Bubble: The insanity of gas-delivery startups and what they say about inconvenience inflation. They were referencing WeFuel, a California-based startup that eliminates the need to stop for gas, which is somehow ‘a major impediment to life. "We all lead busy lives, running to and from appointments and trying to balance time with work and family," explains a video from WeFuel competitor Filld. "Something always gets in the way: the gas station."’