tl;dr: The tech frame of “lean startup”, venture capital funding, “exit strategies”, and relentless “valuation” talk is fundamentally anti-human for nearly all of us.
[ETA (immediately after publication):]
Startup idea: They are treated like bees; they are robbed of the honey they make.
— Hottest Startups (@HottestStartups) May 16, 2016
The kneejerk libertarianism and Randian resistance to collective action among (white, male) tech workers has led to red-in-tooth-and-claw job insecurity and instability, the “[mono]culture fit”, fetishization of youth a la The Circle, and a Just World Fallacy (“meritocracy”) of increasingly dire proportions. In particular, rewards are wildly skewed away from effort or collective valuation, and seem to track with luck, or deep enough pockets to roll the dice often.
Big winners are the poker players lucky enough to be the first ones to loot (excuse me; I mean “disrupt”) a previously protected commons (excuse me; “fish”); some of the rest of us are settling for steady jobs as dealers, wait staff, or (for the truly ambitious) pit bosses. But the big game — besides being the house — is in bringing in the big fish unicorns.
"Unicorn" is just a codeword for "fledgling monopoly".
— Shanley (@shanley) May 15, 2016
Though unicorns make for flashy external advertisements (“Sue Anne won $10,000 at Lucky Strike yesterday! will you be next?”), the core casinos themselves are relentless in taking their cut on every big win and all the small losses. AI fantasists (whether paranoid like Bostrom or optimist like Kurzweil and Yudkowsky) would like to think that the real questions are how to deal with “superhuman” intelligence, but the real concern is how to deal with non-human intelligence; specifically, the survival of humanity in the face of increasingly-automated bureaucracy.
still find it mindblowing R.U Sirius wrote this 20 years ago on the internet, tech culture and power. it's accurate pic.twitter.com/aqu41ZNdar
— ███.██ (@immolations) May 13, 2016
Their “slow takeoff” has been burning since the East India Corporation, but has hit a recent elbow (a “fast takeoff”) with the “gig economy” (“sharing” is a bridge too far). Some of these insecurities are bleeding into the white-collar segments of the gig economies, as with the space-sharing institutions that are beginning to collect rent from players hoping to bag a unicorn:
Arbitration At Startups
“They give their young workers Ping-Pong tables and take away their constitutional rights”https://t.co/Q9Noaz5keR
— Cathy O'Neil (@mathbabedotorg) May 14, 2016
Oh, and this isn’t working out great, even for the casino’s winners (don’t worry, though: the house is still doing just fine).
Here, I made a bingo card for the next "Overhyped startup shockingly turns out to be flaming dumpster fire" story pic.twitter.com/Wk4bvZ6T6A
— Caroline McCarthy (@caro) May 9, 2016
If you like this sort of terrifying doom-saying, I recommend @PhilSandifer‘s Kickstarter:
— Jeremy Kahn (@trochee) May 15, 2016