Posts Tagged: new technologies

May 19

CULTURE SLASH #1 – a new John Shirley Blog Feature

Culture SLASH #1

YouTube—where morons go to become stars. And where they are frequently made stars. Most of their millions of followers aren’t watching them ironically. They’re watching them because they’re at least as idiotic as the YouTube’s most idiotic “stars”. “Beauty Gurus” James Charles and Tati Westbrook, for example. Their inconsequential feud cost Charles 3 million of his zillion subscribers! Oh no! Endless commentary results! CNN reports on it as if it were a real news story!

The exaltation of the shallow has its petty little dramas. It’s like someone on bad drugs staring—drooling—at the tiny ripples in a wading pool.
Gizmodo reports that “A man says he paid about $150 for what was promised to be a clean home with a private bathroom in Amsterdam, only to find that his Airbnb was a shipping container illegally parked on the side of the road with a bed in it.”

The renter posted photos, and that’s exactly what it is—a shipping container with a chemical toilet and a bed shoved in it. In the ad it was described as a cottage!

It was illegally placed on the street and has been taken away by the authorities. Who can’t find the lister, or do I mean blister, who posted the ad for the thing. Some Airbnb listers have reportedly had hidden cameras in their temp housing offerings too. But it’s not just Airbnb listers who’re shady; some renters have left vile messes behind, partied with major drugs, and generally disgraced the place. It’s a risk you take both ways…And people have been robbed and raped on Uber and Lyft rides. Businesses that try—or attempt—to fly under regulatory radar will result in major suckage. It goes way back. Long ago I had a friend who subletted an apartment briefly in New York—where it is done crazily much– and it turned out to be infested with bedbugs. The persistent, nearly ineradicable pests hitchhiked in the subletter’s luggage and made life a nightmare once again in the next place they went. You pays your money and you takes your chances.

Badly flawed tech is only half invented…Years ago I suggested that there should be a powerful agency, with sister agencies worldwide, that would have to approve electronic tech of any kind before it’s released. Sort of like the FDA but for tech—and indeed, the FDA may have to deal with electronic tech as people are creating some to be taken in capsules. It travels into your body and…does things to you.

My proposition was that we often have new tech shoved on us—we suddenly became responsible for pumping our own gas in most places, interacting with new tech to do it; we became our own cashier product scanners in some stores—a neat and insidious trick allowing the business to pass along labor they used to pay for, to the consumer. We’re increasingly asked to check ourselves in at airports. Cell phones were inadequately tested—there is at least some risk from the microwaves they use, and the damn things, for many pathetic cell phone zombies, are addictive. . .Technologies we thought were to protect our families—like cameras and intercoms in children’s nurseries—were easily hacked and abused. Technologies that monitor our buying habits are intrusive…I could go on. . .We don’t have to give up cell phones–we could’ve taken the time to force the manufacturers to design them more safely, and to minimize, and warn about, addictive aspects.

Technology that pollutes, too, is only half invented.

But when I suggested the new agency–to make sure tech is fully invented before being foisted on us–most people sneered or spoke darkly of Evil Bureaucracies. Lately it’s been discussed at higher levels—other people, years later, have the same idea and it may indeed come about…

See? Listen to me. I’ll steer you right.

“Right into the ditch, Shirley.” Why, you!