This yr in tech felt like a simulation • TechCrunch


This yr in tech, an excessive amount of occurred and little or no of it made sense. It was like we had been being managed by a random quantity generator that will dictate the whims of the tech trade, resulting in a number of “largest information tales of the yr” taking place over the course of a month, all utterly disconnected from each other.

I can’t cease fascinated with an excellent tweet I noticed final month, which encapsulated the absurdity of the yr — it was one thing alongside the traces of, “Meta laid off 11,000 folks and it’s solely the third largest tech story of the week.” Usually, a social media large shedding 13% of its workforce would simply be the week’s high story, however this was the second when FTX went bankrupt and everybody was impersonating firms on Twitter as a result of someway Elon Musk didn’t assume via how issues would go horribly flawed if anybody may purchase a blue examine. Oh, good occasions.

After I say it seems like we’re dwelling in a simulation, what I imply is that generally, I hear concerning the newest tech information and really feel like somebody threw some phrases in a hat, picked a couple of, and tried to attach the dots. After all, that’s not what’s actually taking place. However in January, would you’ve got 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 vital sums of cash into one thing that they believed to be an excellent 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 Fb known as now) is dropping billions of {dollars} each quarter to construct digital actuality know-how that nobody appears to need. However these administration choices should not a joke for the workers who misplaced their jobs due to these decisions.

The place does this depart 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 super adversity. It’s additionally attainable for Elon Musk to purchase Twitter for $44 billion.

AI know-how like Steady Diffusion and ChatGPT encapsulate this fragile steadiness between innovation and horror. You may make lovely artworks in seconds, and you too can endanger the livelihoods of working artists. You may 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, wherein case, you may’ve simply accomplished your personal analysis to start with).

However maybe a part of the explanation why AI mills have garnered such mainstream enchantment is that they nearly really feel pure to us. This yr’s tech information 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 information 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 replace brings main enhancements to iPhones and iPads”
  • “Amazon’s new line of autonomous supply robots causes controversy”
  • “Intel broadcasts new line of processors with superior security measures”

Fairly boring! Listed below are some precise actual issues that occurred in tech this yr:

  • Tony the Tiger made his debut as a VTuber.
  • Somebody 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 obtained arrested for working a Membership Penguin clone.
  • One of many Division of Justice’s important suspects in a $3.6 billion crypto cash laundering scheme is an entrepreneur-slash-rapper named Razzlekhan.
  • The brand new Pokémon recreation has a line of dialogue with the phrase “cheugy.”
  • Donald Trump dropped an NFT assortment.
  • A nasty Twitter characteristic replace impacted the inventory of a pharmaceutical firm.
  • Elon Musk’s best rival is a College of Central Florida sophomore.
  • FTC chair Lina Khan stated that Taylor Swift did extra to educate 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 principles are made up and the factors don’t matter, let’s at the least hope that if the absurdity continues into 2023, the tech information 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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