This yr in tech felt like a simulation


This yr in tech, an excessive amount of occurred and little or no of it made sense. It was like we have been being managed by a random quantity generator that might dictate the whims of the tech business, resulting in a number of “biggest news stories of the year” taking place over the course of a month, all fully disconnected from each other.

I can’t cease eager about an excellent tweet I noticed final month, which encapsulated the absurdity of the yr — it was one thing alongside the strains of, “Meta laid off 11,000 people and it’s only the third biggest tech story of the week.” Normally, a social media large shedding 13% of its workforce would simply be the week’s prime story, however this was the second when FTX went bankrupt and everybody was impersonating firms on Twitter as a result of one way or the other Elon Musk didn’t suppose by how issues would go horribly mistaken if anybody may purchase a blue verify. Oh, good occasions.

When I say it looks like we’re dwelling in a simulation, what I imply is that typically, I hear in regards to the newest tech news and really feel like somebody threw some phrases in a hat, picked just a few, and tried to attach the dots. Of course, that’s not what’s actually taking place. But in January, would you will have believed me if I informed you that Twitter proprietor Elon Musk polled customers to determine that he would unban Donald Trump?

These absurd occasions in tech have penalties. Crypto collapses like FTX’s chapter and the UST scandal have harmed precise individuals who invested important sums of cash into one thing that they believed to be a great funding. It’s humorous to consider the way you’d react ten years in the past if somebody informed you that Meta (oh yeah, that’s what Facebook is named now) is shedding billions of {dollars} each quarter to construct digital actuality know-how that nobody appears to need. But these administration selections usually are not a joke for the workers who misplaced their jobs due to these selections.

Where does this go away us? We’re in a second in tech historical past the place nothing is just too absurd to be attainable. That’s each inspiring and horrifying. It’s attainable for a group of Amazon achievement middle staff in Staten Island to win a union election, efficiently advocating for themselves within the face of great adversity. It’s additionally attainable for Elon Musk to purchase Twitter for $44 billion.

AI know-how like Stable Diffusion and ChatGPT encapsulate this fragile stability between innovation and horror. You could make lovely artworks in seconds, and you too can endanger the livelihoods of working artists. You can ask an AI chatbot to show you about historical past, however there’s no technique to know if its response is factually correct (until you do additional analysis, through which case, you would’ve simply carried out your personal analysis to start with).

But maybe a part of the rationale why AI mills have garnered such mainstream enchantment is that they nearly really feel pure to us. This yr’s tech news feels so weird that they may as effectively have been generated by ChatGPT.

Or possibly actuality is definitely stranger than something an AI may provide you with. I requested ChatGPT to jot down some headlines about tech news for me, and it got here up with these snoozers (along with some factually inaccurate headlines, which I omitted for the sake of journalism):

  • “Apple’s iOS 15 update brings major improvements to iPhones and iPads”
  • “Amazon’s new line of autonomous delivery robots causes controversy”
  • “Intel announces new line of processors with advanced security features”

Pretty boring! Here are some precise actual issues that occurred in tech this yr:

  • Tony the Tiger made his debut as a VTuber.
  • Someone claimed to be a laid off Twitter worker named Rahul Ligma, and a herd of reporters didn’t get the joke, inadvertently that means that I needed to clarify the “ligma” joke on like 4 totally different tech podcasts.
  • Three folks acquired arrested for working a Club Penguin clone.
  • One of the Department of Justice’s foremost suspects in a $3.6 billion crypto cash laundering scheme is an entrepreneur-slash-rapper named Razzlekhan.
  • The new Pokémon recreation has a line of dialogue with the phrase “cheugy.”
  • Donald Trump dropped an NFT collection.
  • A nasty Twitter function replace impacted the stock of a pharmaceutical firm.
  • Elon Musk’s best rival is a University of Central Florida sophomore.
  • FTC chair Lina Khan mentioned that Taylor Swift did extra to teach Gen Z about antitrust legislation than she ever may.
  • Meta is promoting a $1,499 VR headset for use for distant work.
  • The UK Treasury made a Discord account to share public bulletins however was instantly spammed with folks utilizing emoji reactions to make soiled jokes (and talking of the UK, there have been three totally different Prime Ministers since September.)

These are unusual occasions. If the foundations are made up and the factors don’t matter, let’s a minimum of hope that if the absurdity continues into 2023, the tech news is extra amusing than dangerous. I would like extra Chris Pratt voicing stay motion Mario, and fewer tech CEOs being sentenced for fraud. Is that an excessive amount of to ask?


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