Notes from an Emergency
May 17, 2017 1:57 PM   Subscribe

The lack of accountability isn’t just troubling from a philosophical perspective. It’s dangerous in a political climate where people are pushing back at the very idea of globalization. There's no industry more globalized than tech, and no industry more vulnerable to a potential backlash. From a recent talk by Pinboard/Maciej Ceglowski
posted by roolya_boolya (17 comments total) 55 users marked this as a favorite
MeFi's own!
posted by limeonaire at 2:02 PM on May 17, 2017

maciej is the best
posted by entropicamericana at 2:33 PM on May 17, 2017 [13 favorites]

I chuckled aloud at this.
Now, I’m no fan of death. I don't like the time commitment, or the permanence. A number of people I love are dead and it has strained our relationship.
And at this.
But real problems are messy. Tech culture prefers to solve harder, more abstract problems that haven't been sullied by contact with reality. So they worry about how to give Mars an earth-like climate, rather than how to give Earth an earth-like climate.
This is good.
posted by limeonaire at 2:39 PM on May 17, 2017 [27 favorites]

I like his proposals. I could even see them coming to fruition.

I don't like his analysis that the only nongovernmental mechanism for change is a latter day revolt of the barons, especially because I can't really argue against it.
posted by PMdixon at 2:45 PM on May 17, 2017 [4 favorites]

As happy as I am to see Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos fired into space, this does not seem to be worth the collapse of representative government.
posted by little onion at 2:51 PM on May 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

This reminds me of Veblen's The Engineers and the Price System, though Veblen seemed to have more optimism that technical workers might "realize that they constitute a guild, and that the material fortunes of the civilized peoples already lie loose in their hands," and act together to make things better instead of simply going "back to work".
posted by clawsoon at 2:52 PM on May 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I don’t mean that I want Mark Zuckerberg’s head on a pike, though I certainly wouldn't throw it out of my hotel room if I found it there. I mean some mechanism for people whose lives are being brought online to have a say in that process, and an honest debate about its tradeoffs.

go go maciej
posted by nixon's meatloaf at 3:41 PM on May 17, 2017 [5 favorites]

It might be great if tech workers organized--even for tech companies because then the unions could handle qualifying expertise and promulgating best practices motivated by sound engineering principles rather than for marketing and other commercial priorities like promoting adoption of technologies for profit motives.

But if there's any organized push to organize tech, I'm not aware of it. I really wish I'd had union protections at a lot of points during my time in the industry, but nobody was offering any, that I'm aware of, and now because I dipped my toe in labor issues by making a public fuss at one time over my noncompete, it's hard to find actual employment in my market.

Right now I'm only self-employed as a contractor, and that's even worse in terms of vulnerability and exposure to risk than being employed without representation in some ways.

Luckily it's a fairly easy going and good group I'm working with right now (three of the senior developers vouched for me after workng with me on previous projects), but legally, I'm just naked, not sure I can prove income status to qualify for the free indigent medical care I need, likely not able to qualify for Medicaid because my gross income on paper would be too high since the formulas don't take debt load into account and our state rejected the federal expansion.
posted by saulgoodman at 3:47 PM on May 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

There's a video of the talk, though it's abridged because he ran out of time: re:publica 2017 - Maciej Ceglowski: Notes from an Emergency (YouTube)
posted by yaymukund at 4:14 PM on May 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Veblen's essay was published in 1921; Layton's The revolt of the engineers : social responsibility and the American engineering profession was first published in 1971; Ceglowski has three years to publish a book and be right on depressing schedule.

(Depressing because, e.g., Layton's book is mostly about engineers looking at systematic lethal bad engineering practice and being seduced away from revolting against it by a career path that could lead into upper middle management.)
posted by clew at 5:54 PM on May 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

Now, I’m no fan of death. I don't like the time commitment, or the permanence. A number of people I love are dead and it has strained our relationship.

I can only hear this in the voice of Brother Theodore.
posted by MrBadExample at 6:27 PM on May 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

I am enjoying reading his other talks too.
posted by Rainbo Vagrant at 7:26 PM on May 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

But at the same time, I’m not convinced that a civilization that is struggling to cure male-pattern baldness is ready to take on the Grim Reaper.

Paging Elon... Paging Elon to the Severe Burn Ward...
posted by jonp72 at 7:39 PM on May 17, 2017 [6 favorites]

Sometimes I just want to troll these AI Singularity tech lords by making a plushie of Roku's Basilisk and selling it on Etsy.
posted by jonp72 at 7:57 PM on May 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Aren't you worried that the future Basilisk will always have been selling a trillion steampunk versions of you in simulated EtsySpace forever, in preemptive post hoc retribution?
posted by No-sword at 2:11 AM on May 18, 2017 [3 favorites]

Yeah, the days of right wingers not understanding how to use the Internet are over. It was really only a matter of time.
posted by Chuffy at 9:57 AM on May 18, 2017 [1 favorite]

The good part about naming a talk in 2017 ‘Notes from an Emergency’ is that there are so many directions to take it.

posted by epersonae at 3:24 PM on May 18, 2017 [2 favorites]

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