“Prediction is an industry, and its product is a persuasive set of hopes and fears that we’re trained or convinced to agree upon. It’s a confidence trick. And its product comes so thick and fast that, like a plothole in an action movie, we’re carried on past the obvious failures and the things that didn’t even make sense if we had more than five seconds to think about them. Videophones. We were told again and again that videophones were not only imminent, but that they made so much sense that they might as well already be here, they fit so well into our lives. Only nobody wanted to have to get dressed to answer the house phone. Or put make-up on, or shave. Videophones hit the social fabric and bounced off, and when video calls finally arrived, they were mostly relegated to business usage and long-distance relationship maintenance by appointment. The basic unit of communication has become, not video calls or even voice calls, but text messages.
"Who saw that coming? The return of the telegram? Pretty much nobody. The industry of futurism is bad at the future.”
The Future Is A Confidence Trick | MORNING, COMPUTER
A lot of super-strange stuff has happened over the last few thousand years and if we do not approach it in a coherent manner we end up with some kind of ‘The Rothschilds are descendants of alien Annunaki who worship Saturn and they invented banking, control the world, something something Israel, something something Katy Perry.’
Gordon Back on THC [Audio]
A sprachbund (/ˈsprɑːkbʊnd/; German: [ˈʃpʁaːxbʊnt], “federation of languages”) – also known as a linguistic area, area of linguistic convergence, diffusion area or language crossroads – is a group of languages that have common features resulting from geographical proximity and language contact. They may be genetically unrelated, or only distantly related. Where genetic affiliations are unclear, the sprachbund characteristics might give a false appearance of relatedness. Areal features are common features of a group of languages in a sprachbund.
Keeps on giving – read the whole thing. Inhale the schadenfreude (taps benkraal).
Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit – The Baffler
A longish interview with the author of a new book on the drug war. It’s compelling, horrifying and educational.
‘One Thing You Can Say for the War on Drugs … Is We Gave It a Fair Shot’ — Medium
Capitalism – Gordon notes in this blog post, based on data – has produced the greatest rise in human well-being ever. Since the 80s, especially in the USA, based on the same data (the post abounds in fascinating graphs), things seem to have gone awry.
Gordon suggests that the benefits of a free market economy accrue most richly in conditions of decentralisation, since the 80s the conditions have favoured intense centralisation – of control, capital and money. The data shows spiralling wealth for those in the centre of the concentration, stagnating wealth for those on the periphery.
Lots to engage with – graphs, videos and links.
A Money Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum
Kevin Kelly doing some good hosing down on the AI panic.
The Technium: Why I Don’t Worry About a Super AI