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.

Peasants

I have moved from Iceland to the UK three times in my life. The third, which not so coincidentally took place in 2008, is likely to be the last.

(The two attributed quotes in this post are thanks to Íris Erlingsdóttir’s awesome blog post where she collected them all in Icelandic.)

The first time I moved back to Iceland was in 1984 when my parents returned after finishing their studies abroad. Of course, knowing our luck, we returned at the start of what ended up being one of Iceland’s longest general strikes, lasting from the 4th of October to the 30th.

Iceland was in an economic crisis, what we call ‘kreppa’. What most foreigners don’t realise is that Iceland has been in a bipolar boom-bust cycle ever since we declared independence from the Danish. And before that we were in a poverty spiral of misery, hunger, and sky-high childhood mortality rates.

Iceland’s ‘crowd-sourced’ constitution is dead

The true history of Iceland’s ‘innovative’ constitutional reform.

One of the recurring issues in news coverage on Iceland is how absolutely rubbish foreign news media is at reporting about Iceland.

We’ve seen how detached from reality economic news on Iceland is, ignoring our burgeoning mortgage crisis and the consequences of the government’s harsh austerity measures.

Their frothy and exuberant reports about Iceland’s proposed new constitution also tend to gloss over the details and ignore domestic discourse in favour of completely fabricated spin.

If you read what foreign language blogs and newspapers wrote about the constitution you’d believe that it was a daring experiment going from success to success and that we were now enjoying a completely new crowd-sourced constitution that had been passed into law with a referendum last autumn. Which is not true.

A complete and total clusterfuck is much closer to the truth.

Fantasy, Collapse, and a sense of history

A few incoherent random thoughts on fantasy and progress. One of the things that fascinated me as an adolescent reading Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings was its sense of history. The writing’s crap. It reads as if it were written by a pastoral poet who, on a particularly invigorating walk, decides that the rustic drizzle is gloomy enough to inspire him to write about war. The characters are simplistic and one-dimensional cyphers who serve mostly as structural building blocks and arbitrary plot engines.

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