Autumn is here (gonna miss the sun for a while now…), but there is a lot of interesting stuff to read while indoors. Let’s start:
How did we get stuck?
Really nice review about an upcoming book written by David Graeber and David Wengrow, about how societies came to be the way they are now. My previous understanding was that, originally, we were hunter-gatherers, but at some point agriculture developed and we stopped moving around. Then came towns, cities, math… and we ended destroying the planet at an alarming rate.
However, it seems (or at least the authors make a point about it) that history did not develop like that. There are some insights showing that societies changed between agriculture at a fixed spot and freely roaming around hunting, and even huge cities that did not use agriculture at all. How people decided to form these societies, and how they ended being what we have today, looks like a read I will enjoy a lot. I can’t wait to pick the book and deep into the details.
Human History Gets a Rewrite, on the Atlantic
Capitalism was a mistake, exhibit #N
6.65 million € were spent on the largest triceratops bones ever found. They will be inside a rich person house, instead of a museum. Apparently, there is nothing wrong with that:
“It’s a record for Europe,” said auctioneer Alexandre Giquello, who described exponential growth in the relatively new market of dinosaur fossils. “We’re creating a market.”
Welcome to the metaverse. Population: ~7800 million
Lots of news these days related to tech giants. First I read this nice article on the Facebook papers, and how a lot of people think that the only way to solve the problem with the social network requires for Mark Zuckerberg to take a step to the side, create a new mother company that englobes all (Instagram, Whatsapp, Oculus, etc.), and let other people be the face of those while he oversees everything from the shadows (just as they did with Google and Alphabet, for example).
However, yesterday Facebook stopped being called Facebook. Now we are supposed to call them Meta (terrible name if you ask me, but whatever). Apparently, now they will be focusing on the new internet, which looks like a low poly version of Snow Crash, 30 years later (really, a Second Life reboot in 2021?). NFT’s? Sure, you will be able to buy them through us. Crypto? Of course. We will just take a cut and spy you in any imaginable way. It seems to me that Mark realised that he arrived too late to the phone era, and now wants to start a new one where Google and Apple will not get their tax fee on his business.
Anyway, all of these movements can be explained by the last article, which draws a really good picture of the future with regard to the behaviour of big tech corporations. Some of them will push to create a new world order where they operate all around the globe above countries and legislation (as Facebook wants to do). Others will try to comply with local governments and help them shape the future of tech (as Microsoft has been trying to do for a while on the US, or China companies are required to do by the state). Of course, there will be also billionaires that are above the planet, and just want to colonize space. What seems interesting to me is how, after winning enough money, people just think so highly of themselves that honestly consider to be able to decide what’s best for humanity, and just go for it even if they need to go through people, governments, or the environment.
Please folks, do not let a guy that got rich by creating a web to rate women (with stolen code, btw), and which is not able to speak for more than 10 minutes with other humans, to decide how human relations will be in the near future. It is clear that he read Snow Crash at some point, and for whatever reason he thought that a world were life is so shitty that people prefer to be online 24/7 is a thing humanity should go for.
‘The Problem Is Him’, on the New York magazine
Why Did Facebook Become Meta?, on the New York Times
The Technopolar Moment, on foreignaffairs
And that’s it for the week. Stay safe!
Featured image from 2021. REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier