Aren’t we lovely when we’re delusional? Er, I mean all high on hope.
When you think of software eating the world you imagine:
- an automated heaven, filled with people being paid for leisure time
- a symphony of orchestrated machinery, working for some hard coded greater good
- hidden, but constantly communicating, systems that combine streams of data into rivers of knowledge
- pervasive, omnipresent and omniscient artificial intelligence agents
- a deeply networked, non causal, understanding of human nature, driving an ultra customisation of the entire living experience
- rational and merit driven architectural decisions
- shared infrastructures on which all platforms choose to rely
- platform capitalism shielded from instinctive greed and pride by mathematical corrections
- out of the box solutions, to age old problems, appearing at an exponential rate
- the prevalence of shared effort building open software
This would be software eating the world.
But when you look at reality, behold:
- an automated hell, filled with people squashed below the poverty line
- a cacophony of gadgets, fighting for everyone’s procrastination time
- hidden, and constantly communicating, systems that combine streams of data into the most amazing form of mass control ever conceived
- spotty, self entitled, A.I., which are in fact over tweaked expert systems
- a deeply manipulative market education, using every single primitive layer in the human brain to create need and demand as a replacement for human existence
- benevolent dictators for life, shielded by xenophobic homogenous groups of like minded people, creating a chain of self referencing decisions
- capital spent on private infrastructure as a launchpad for monopolies in emerging or dying markets, by every single major platform
- the same old, baseline driven, zero sum economics, but with a tech twist
- regulations fighting against technology from luddites sunk in their fear of the future, all of them inflating the huge hype of repetitive approaches to the same old marketable problems: sex, self image, social status
- an apparent prevalence of shared effort building open software …
This is the world eating software.
Because you don’t just show up, all young and fresh, and expect to have the stomach to digest the entire world. Or do you?
The world ate just about all major technical, engineering, philosophical, scientific and economic breakthroughs. Every time. We all looked starry eyed at the future, and expected a world transformed by the new shiny trinket we happened to idolize. Every time, the world takes the trinket, subdues it and makes it work, just like everything else before it, for the world. The result is that everything becomes better at being at what it always was.
Nerds have the purest hopes ever hoped. Software eating the world is a new peak in expectation and, unless we really, really, outdo ourselves, it will also be a peak of disillusionment.
Here’s looking at you Elon, Satya, Mark, Larry, Sundar, Jeff and all you others that faded out of my pop business culture, all you who find yourself at the top of some pyramid made from software. It is all of you who will eventually be the makers or the breakers of this promise of software eating the world, because when you want to eat the world you need a top down approach.
If software was eating the world what came on the other end would smell like roses. Unfortunately it’s still looks, smells and feels like bullshit, and that is a definite sign that the world is eating software. Sorry Marc.