illustration of a bunch of old mens heads on one body
12 November 2023

New technology same old people

Humane, an AI hardware start-up whose name choice is as transparent as glass, has a "trust" section front-and-center on its website. It reads:

At Humane, we believe you deserve the ability to own your data from the outset. That personal information should be protected. And, that having transparency as a value isn’t radical. As a privacy-first company, we build knowing privacy should be a core value and honestly—a given. Our commitment is to you and that which you value most.


Humane's new "ai pin," is not off to a good start with public opinion. I called bullshit back in September based on little more than my ability to live, breathe, and remember the past.

You hate/love to see it— a bright-eyed start-up announces a new piece of hardware, and the internet roasts it into obscurity. It's been that way since Google Glass. But, maybe our contempt for novel technology goes beyond the fear of looking like a glass-hole. Perhaps we're just sick of the corporate fuckery.

katienotopoulos on threads

Over the past twenty years, they've used technology not to improve our lives, but to conquer— markets, people, minds, and sometimes the economic system it depends on, or so it seems. Silicon Valley, for all its lead-with-empathy, people-first bullshit, has been some real coldhearted motherfuckers. Some have destroyed markets by burning through billions of VC funding. Others have cultivated civil wars. They all rely on the type of slave labor that would make Willy Wonka blush.

We don't need a new Google or Apple. We never need another Uber-for start-up. Not after we've learned that the business model only works if labor is cheap and people need a side hustle just to survive.

So, we revolt against new technologies. Not just because a lot of them are dumb (they are). But because we know how companies act when they get a little money. We've seen the morals of founders pivot after a round of funding leaves escrow. We know that whatever bylaws they write on the wall, they will amend in the dark in pursuit of brute-force market share.

We don't want to live in the metaverse. And we'll skip the surveillance camera lapel, thank you very much. Most of us just want a society that won't toss us in the landfill next to our smartphones the moment we can no longer sell our labor. We want living wages and universal healthcare. 

And hey, start-up founders, here's a billion-dollar idea: you want AI to replace a job? Start with venture capitalists.

brave new world


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