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Has Tech Destroyed Society

Has Tech Destroyed Society? Here is a very interesting story about a bet made 25 years ago covered by Steven Levy. The antagonist - techno-optimist Kevin Kelly and “anarchocommunalist” Kirkpatrick Sale. The prediction – the society would collapse. The date – 2020. The judge – William Patrick, a book publisher whom both have worked with. He is to decide based on the three agreed upon criteria - an economic disaster that would render the dollar worthless; a rebellion of the poor against the monied; and a significant number of environmental catastrophes.

25 years have passed and 2020 has arrived. Who won? The verdict turned out to be much less clear cut than expected. The wild ride of 2020 especially forced us to reexamine many of our viewpoints. Patrick declared Kelly the winner. But this is not really a vindication of the optimists. Of the three predictions, Patrick gave each side one and half points. The economy did not collapse; the environment was disastrous; the war between the poor and rich, a toss up. Kelly won because the rule needs all three to happen.

Let me inject my views. The society has not collapsed. Having lived through 2020 with wildfire raging around me and woke up to the apocalyptic orange sky day, it is justified to say it was catastrophic. But to qualify as civilization destroying climate change, there should be a significant pattern depart from the regular great flood or great earthquake that people have endured historically. The jury is still out for the long term environmental impact. Moreover, people have overlooked nature's resilience. There are many success stories of pollution getting cleaned up. Disturbed forests and wildlife, if left alone, are found to roar back in just decades. On the one side there are doom and gloom stories, and on the other side, hope and restoration. I am not convinced that the environment was irrecoverably ruined.

Is a class warfare being waged? Donald Trump’s far right movement has advanced much further than anyone would have imagined. What if he successfully overturned American’s election and declared himself president for life? This would be a nightmarish collapse of the democratic institution. However, is this a collapse of civilization as envisioned by Sale? Or is this just a different form of civilization, a fascist dictatorship? This is, for the adherents of the ideology, a preferred form of civilization.

A real collapse will be that people are afraid to get out of the house because bullets are flying. Food is hard to get, roads are blockaded, the power grid has fallen apart, the sick are left to die. As bad as things stand today, our civilization hasn’t decayed to this point. Praise the almighty god.

This is my big picture view. My faith in humanity has greatly shaken since the last few years. Yet I am not moving to the pessimist’s side still.

2021.01.31 comments

 

My 15 Minutes Of Fame

Today, January 14th 2021, I have received an email notifying me that a limit order I placed some weeks ago has partially filled. I have sold some employee Uber stock options at $60.03. I have made some money! Hurray!

Only 70% of the order was filled. The price has since slipped and did not recover by the time the market is closed. I have never had a limit order partially filled before, given my trade is a small fry in the big market. $60.03 was the day's high. Actually, it was the 52 week high. In fact, it was the historical high since the IPO nearly two years ago.

Yes, I have entered the sale price myself, sixty dollars, AND three cents. If market orders are arranged in a queue, my order would be the last in the queue. This seems unusual since Uber is a major company that trades in high volume. Is it possible that my order is the only order at $60.03? I don't know enough to say if this thinking is correct or not. But if it is true, then I hold the record of the highest sales price out of the entire world!

This is clearly just a random move. It does not mean I have any brilliance in stock trading. I have sold far more shares at bargain basement prices when Uber was deep in the COVID-19 slump that I did today. Or perhaps the stock will double again in a year, then I will punch myself for dumping them for only $60.

But for now, I held the record of trading Uber stock at the highest price of all time!

2021.01.14 comments

 

past articles »

 

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SF Gate

 

'This will be somewhat painful': Elon Musk talks Twitter takeover in extended interview at TED2022 Vancouver (14 Apr 2022)

 

Best Background Check Services in 2022, Top 13 People Finder Sites Reviewed (5 Apr 2022)

 

Better.com employees got severance checks before they were laid off (9 Mar 2022)

 

Apple joins other Bay Area tech giants in responding to Russian invasion of Ukraine (1 Mar 2022)

 

Uber will now show you how you’re rated by drivers (18 Feb 2022)

 

The man behind Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters says fancy tech offices are ‘dangerous’ (24 Jan 2022)

more »


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