👍 Robots, unite
Amazon are running out of workers | Microsoft to profit from auto-fill code | Tether is coming for the British Pound
Hello sentient meme generators, and welcome to the best thing you’ve read all week.
This week was good! FUCKING, FINALLY 👍. God, it’s been a while since I used that thumbs up emoji. Here’s why:
🛩️ ‘My copilot is stealing all my best ideas!’
This week, the open source community are getting their PRs in a twist over the news that GitHub Copilot is now going to be a paid feature. Here’s a tweet to demonstrate what I mean:
ICYMI: Copilot is a kind of ‘autofill’ feature for software engineers. Basically, it uses AI to predict what you want to write next, or even to transform pseudocode into actual code. From the conversations I’ve had, it sounds like a useful tool that saves a lot of time/tedious work.
Now, the perceived problem here is that Microsoft (who own Github) will profit from copying bits of open source code and giving it to other people via their rudimentary AI, without compensating maintainers or attributing it to the source.
Software engineers don’t want their ingenious, unique code to train a machine learning model for FREE. This is the absolute rock-bottom lowest you can go in terms of ethical conduct, apparently. There is definitely nothing worse happening in the world right now than THIS.
Let me just point out that I love open source and I think it’s great having an ecosystem where people can share projects, work on them together, or riff on them to make something even better or suited to particular needs.
However, there are two key problems with the space in general, which this situation highlights perfectly:
There are people out there who have been thanklessly maintaining open source projects for years. They had an idea, built it, realised it was useful, and so shared it for everyone to use — instead of keeping it closed to make profit from it. These are tools and services that many use, including Big Tech companies. So essentially what you have here is maintainers doing free work for large companies, who then profit from their very useful bits of infrastructure (WhatsApp can only boast that it’s end-to-end encrypted because it uses Signal’s open source encryption mechanism!). When something breaks, there is often a domino effect, because many online services are exposed to the same backend services/dependencies.
While yes, they are consistently shat on, the open source community is packed full of righteous virtue-signalling privileged people who can afford to work for free. So what you get is a few loud voices complaining about something like this Copilot thing, and starting a conversation that we do not need to have. They view Copilot as some kind of violation; that their code is so precious and cool that it should not be replicated by AI, or used for training the model. Literally… get the fuck over it. Having your code used to train Copilot is OPT-IN. Just leave the fucking box unchecked and GET A GIRLFRIEND.
🏭 Amazon have just realised they have a staffing problem
Of course, it was never a problem before because it wasn’t having a detrimental effect on their business. But now they’ve realised that they may run out of warehouse staff by 2024. How?
Their staff turnover is at like 150% a year — I’m sure you can all figure out why
In a few locales, they’ve literally exhausted the population of potential warehouse workers. E.g. in Phoenix, anyone who would get a job at the Amazon warehouse probably already has, and has since quit.
What a surprise that people aren’t lining up to do back-breaking shift work with no time for toilet breaks.
Amazon has two fresh ideas to solve this problem: the first is to actually pay workers more, so they don’t quit after a week (wow, so original!). The second is robots. Now, you’d think that a logistics giant like Amazon, who favours speed and efficiency over everything, would just opt for the robot route. Surprisingly, even though robots do not complain, get sick, require pay, or try to unionise, humans still make better warehouse workers.
Coincidentally, Amazon just announced their new warehouse robot which is fully autonomous, and can work alongside humans. So, with this in mind, I see all this as the beginning of the end — but what does ‘the end’ look like? Here are two possible ends:
👷 END ONE: they start paying workers fairly, and set an industry standard for the kinds of wages that are appropriate for warehouse workers. Amazon remain resilient for DECADES to come and achieve Bezos’s currently misguided dream of becoming ‘the best employer on Earth’.
🦾 END TWO: they gradually phase out human workers, replacing them with autonomous robots. Soon, production is able to continue with hardly any human intervention. The world becomes a live, never-ending game of Factorio. As a society, we finally realise we can produce things so cheaply, that they are basically free. We can have whatever we want, and none of us have jobs. Without even realising, we slowly slip into fully automated luxury communism and never look back.
Just FYI 👉 I don’t actually think either of these ends are very likely…
💸 Let’s check in on crypto
I mean, if you even CAN check in on what is essentially a dumpster fire. Checks yep, still on fire.
Some utter degenerates have made a mobile game that pays you to exercise. That’s right, because anything that used to be fun, a lifestyle choice, or just something you did to comfort yourself, is now A JOB. Soon, everything will be a transaction on a blockchain; you will have to prove you have enough Solana in your wallet just to leave the country; you will have to be a member of BAYC just open your damn laptop — it’s the FUTURE.
Tether is going to launch a stablecoin pegged to the British pound. Why? I don’t know! How else do you keep a dumpster fire burning??
That’s all this week. Please set your wearables to self-destruct, you deserve to be free from technology this weekend.