Hello you lot. It appears nothing is safe from NFTs, even Star Trek (quick — the minting window is only 24 hours long!)
This week was something I could have done with out 👎. Because:
- Elon Musk is doing a hostile takeover of Twitter and also there’s going to be an edit button
- Meta want to create ‘reputation tokens’ for their platforms. More on this, and the finacialisation of everything, below.
- Time to look into the future: how quantum computing can make car batteries better, and my headache worse
🤦♀️ Oh Twitter, you little scamp
Twitter has managed to spew a lot of concerning news over the last week. Namely:
- Elon Musk now owns 9.2% of it
- They’re apparently working on a edit button
- Elon Musk now also sits on the board???
All three things are unacceptable. Who the hell does Elon think he is? Oh yeah... a billionaire.
Anyway, about that edit button: be sure to screenshot every shitty take you see, because they’re all about to be cleansed. I don’t know about you, but part of the draw of Twitter for me has been the unbelievable potential for gut-wrenching failure in front of a world-wide audience (I mean other people’s failure. Not mine. I never fail). The crucial part of the public failure is that it cannot be undone.
Sure, you can delete a tweet if it makes you look like the bigoted degenerate that you are, but you do so out of shame, leaving a faint outline of the tweet behind; a void where a tweet once was. The delete button is like using too much Tipex and then finding that you don’t have any pens to go over it (I dunno why this example is from 2003 but there we are). It’s an inelegant solution, basically. Because if you fail online, you don’t deserve elegant solutions.
An edit button will ruin retweets and allow hateful people to rewrite their own histories. Being able to correct your spelling mistakes is not worth THIS. However, it will be interesting to see how people choose to edit their problematic tweets, and if Twitter will apply some kind of label making it clear that it’s been edited (and maybe how many revisions there are).
And now over to Musk: I don’t have much to say, except this is probably what Donald Trump should have done — then they NEVER would have banned him!
I imagine now, with his new found power and influence over the platform, Elon will recognise himself as untouchable, and thus be given licence to spread miles and miles of misinformation and pro-mars propaganda (with the word ‘doge’ sprinkled in every now and again). He will rise above us as the almighty god of the internet, and we will pray that he is merciful and manages to produce more than 200k Teslas in a year.
🪙 Web3: why can’t everything be an investment; a tokenised vote; an immutable transaction?
Here are two words that should never go together: social token. Or what about this: reputation token. Okay this is the absolute worst one: Zuck Bucks.
What the flying FART am I on about? Well, after their failed attempt at launching a cryptocurrency, Meta want to develop their own internal, centrally controlled currency. This might look like ‘Robux’ the internal currency that is used in Roblox: you cannot use it anywhere but on the Roblox platform, but you can exchange it for real money if you’re a creator/developer.
An important facet to this is the talk of ‘social tokens’ which, in my opinion, will be one of the worst internet diseases of all time, if they gain widespread popularity.
If you don’t know what a social token is, you can read this really good piece by Charley Johnson who explains it very well (I should know, I’m his editor). Or look at these bullet points that I curated just for you:
- A creator, influencer, or just any boring old fart can literally tokenise themselves by creating a fungible token, selling it to people, and making up rules about what powers token holders have.
- So for instance if I decided to become completely enmeshed in the wonders of web3, I would create $GEO (that’s me, as a token), and start selling it to my fans (that’s you).
- It’s up to me what the token grants you. Maybe token holders get more content (wow, what a highly complex way to do something that I basically already do now). Or maybe token holders get voting rights on what I write, what I don’t write, or if I even write at all?? Aaaaaah 😱.
- Boom, my life is now a pump and dump project. I am a commodity. Buy $GEO and take it to the moon! Or sell it if you’d rather ruin my life and stay poor.
Right so, hopefully you agree that the above sounds bad enough on its own. But we’re talking about social tokens that would be minted and controlled by Meta. That means they create the terms that govern what token holders can do. Tokens won’t necessarily measure someones financial success, but their general reputation. Tokens may be given as rewards for just generally ‘being good’ in a given community.
I don’t know what that might look like. Denying that the Earth is round may get you 100 tokens from one group but -100 from another. The point is, a token system would enter users into a weird social contract which says having more tokens makes you look like a better person, and tokens are rewarded to you for daft reasons.
I haven’t even touched on what kind of vulnerabilities an internal currency system would expose. Joseph Cox did some good work on this about Roblox, whose internal currency has allowed bad actors to get rich off of children.
🧪 The future is shaped like an electric car
...and electric cars need good batteries. Currently, batteries are still a little too big, heavy, and weak — and that pesky lithium shortage isn’t helping (but hey, what isn’t in short supply these days?).
Apparently, quantum computing can help. Of course, it’s hard to tell if that’s actually true, or if powerful people are just saying it is so they can secure more VC funding to continue to participate in the supercomputer arms race.
ANYWAY: I’ve written about quantum computing before, because it blows my mind. But I do find this a rather underwhelming application. Quantum computers will be able to look at batteries on a molecular level, therefore allowing us to understand more about the chemical reactions that occur within.
This sounds great, and I agree that if we expect to continue to live on this planet, we need better batteries. But ffs... not for cars. Maybe I’m reading the wrong tech trash, but nearly all battery related chat is nearly always about cars. Why aren’t we thinking about batteries that can store power for homes, hospitals, and other bits of key infrastructure? Why is the focus always on cars, the least efficient and most dangerous piece of transport we have??