Technology is not inherently good

Technology won't solve the world's food problems; without better institutions, it will simply amplify inequality and inequity. -- umair haque (@umairh) [August 5, 2013](https://twitter.com/umairh/statuses/364464699481812993) I’ve never meet a self-proclaimed geek who understands this. Technology is not something that’s inherently good, where more of it solves more problems and improving it improves our lot. If we implement servile AIs and pervasive automation, that won’t be used to create a society of abundance and leisure but to make the rich richer while the unemployed starve.

Followup to 'this ebook is a lemon'

There have been a few responses to my ‘This ebook is a lemon’ post earlier. Most of them either omit or misunderstand details from the post, which means that I probably wasn’t clear enough in the original. So here is a followup with a few clarifications based on issues raised. It’s not an analogy I was not comparing ebooks to cars. I was, like Akerlof in his paper, using cars to explain the ‘market of lemons’ dynamic.

This ebook is a lemon

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of both Akerlof and Romer, not just the paper they co-wrote on looting in the financial system but also their work individually. Turns out one of Akerlof’s most famous papers is directly relevant to the ebook market. For starters, a few basic premises. If you disagree with any one of these you can feel free to ignore the entire argument. I can easily pick apart any one of these statements myself, so I’d understand it very well if you disagreed with them.

Perceptions of society

Descriptions of a society is like the proverbial blind men describing an elephant; a partial insight is indistinguishable from a lie. Iceland just had a referendum on its constitution. Over two-thirds approved and, moreover, over two-thirds voted in favour of specific reforms that they felt the new constitution had to have. The story told about post-crash Iceland is almost like a fairy tale. A nation that threw out the banksters and cleaned up after being betrayed by its financial class.

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