My Love Letter To Computer Science Is Very Short And I Also Forgot To Mail It ➶

Some highlights from James Mickens’ keynote speech at “O’Reilly Velocity Conference 2019” explaining signs that tech ideas like blockchain, cryptocurrencies and Twitter are bad:

Is there another thing that can be pegged to a fiat currency, and managed via monetary policy, and verified using aduits?

The answer is yes. It’s called money! Regular money! Newsflash: Money exists!

If you want to make money better why not try to just improve money instead of starting with a disaster and then trying to improve the disaster?

When people ask me why I don’t have a Twitter account, I say the following thing: Opening a new Twitter account today is like starting to smoke cigarettes when you’re 43 years old.

However, I guarantee you that if on Monday a new hate group called Death To Full-Stack Developers released a grainy video that depicted corporate shuttles being set on fire, and free food cafeterias being smashed to pieces, if all this happened on a Monday, then tech companies would embrace content moderation on a Tuesday, okay, not the following Tuesday, the very next day. That Tuesday, right, because then, the hatespeech would seem real — “These savage revolutionaries, they’re disparaging the avocado water. This hate speech must stop.”

Right, we know that’s what would happen. So this is why I find it so painful to watch these tech companies drag their feet on making obvious decisions about content moderation.

James is the kind of person who can explain things you don’t even know you would find interesting in amusing ways, so even if you don’t care or know anything about computer programming, you should go read his essay about Systems Programmers entitled The Night Watch, which beings thusly:

As a highly trained academic researcher, I spend a lot of time trying to advance the frontiers of human knowledge. However, as someone who was born in the South, I secretly believe that true progress is a fantasy, and that I need to prepare for the end times, and for the chickens coming home to roost, and fast zombies, and slow zombies, and the polite zombies who say “sir” and “ma’am” but then try to eat your brain to acquire your skills. When the revolution comes, I need to be prepared; thus, in the quiet moments, when I’m not producing incredible scientific breakthroughs, I think about what I’ll do when the weather forecast inevitably becomes RIVERS OF BLOOD ALL DAY EVERY DAY. The main thing that I ponder is who will be in my gang, because the likelihood of post-apocalyptic survival is directly related to the size and quality of your rag-tag group of associates.

✶ Tuesday, 28 April 2020

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