Rants // Stuck Between the Unhelpful Algorithms and Sociopathic Billionaires
Rants // Stuck Between the Unhelpful Algorithms and Sociopathic Billionaires

Rants // Stuck Between the Unhelpful Algorithms and Sociopathic Billionaires

It’s alright ’cause the historical pattern has shown
How the economical cycle tends to revolve
In a round of decades three stages stand out in a loop
A slump and war then peel back to square one and back for more
Bigger slump and bigger wars and a smaller recovery
Huger slump and greater wars and a shallower recovery
You see the recovery always comes ’round again
There’s nothing to worry for things will look after themselves
It’s alright recovery always comes ’round again
There’s nothing to worry if things can only get better

When the news of Pitchfork being acquired by Conde Nast arrived back in mid 2010s, my intuition told me there’s something slightly off about the whole arrangement. What could a corporate giant like CN possibly want from one of world’s most notorious publications? More importantly, how long can such a union last?

The answer is – quite long. But then the same old problems plaguing all the traditional marriages started popping up. CN started asking “who are you” of Pitchfork and poptimism was the answer for awhile. Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to save the marriage and now we’re at the messy divorce stage of the whole affair.

Yes, the inability to have a normal/non-aggressive conversation with each other. That’s our current plague and malaise – and it’s not just Pitchfork/Conde Nast situation either. Look at divisive politics or corporate affairs with the endless wave of layoffs and it seems like we’re increasing at odds with each other. And why? Well…I think the factors  are many, but chief among them are

Overreliance on algorithms

Tech/corporate chase for endless profits and growth

Having a meaningful in-person conversation almost starts to feel like a luxury by now. And why would you anyway if people are deeply flawed and algorithms could do nearly everything for you – tell you who to date, what kind of music to listen to and so on and so forth. Silicon Valley made a fortune off of a simple prediction – people don’t like each other all that much and they will be willing to pay extra to isolate themselves from excessive interaction.

So why is it that there are reports now that TikTok users are deleting dating apps like Raya and Hinge? Could it be that people are suddenly craving the meaning in their lives and algorithms simply cannot provide that due to oversaturation? Yes, I think that’s part of it – you can through your life doing nothing but hookups, but in the end it gets boring.

The other part is that companies slowly got into a habit of doing harm to end users. Look at something like Google Search for a proof – its next to impossible to find anything of value in the sea of advertisers and bullshit (pardon my French) cluttering everything. And guess what? Google CEO promised even more layoffs this year. So more layoffs, less human – that’s the general direction every notable company is moving in this year. 2023 led to enshittification becoming word of the year and 2024 promises to make that word even more popular (kudos to Cory Doctorow for coming up with that one).

All of this is why I’m, once again, imploring everyone to put human above algorithm – it may well be tilting at windmills, given that most people have nothing but 9 to 5 jobs in their lives. But I’m also convinced that any effort to organize and reclaim meaning in our lives is better than no effort at all. Pitchfork may be gone, but our desire to discuss records and new music won’t die – short of Silicon Valley replacing each one of us with artificial intelligence and Elon Musk forcing everyone to use Neuralink. Lets try to avoid that kind of future, as it nothing I would want to live in myself. Some of the Silicon Valley dreams are best left unexplored.

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