i waste so much time convincing professional technologists that computers are actually cool and not evil
tempted to say i'll curtail these conversations in future. "oh, sounds like you don't enjoy computation. that's okay, maybe it isn't for you."
but i think this urge to interpret new software first in terms of ecological collapse and amazon's labor practices is really a cry for help
many technologists out there *feel* guilty about finding computers interesting because in this moment, mainstream ideology simultaneously obliges AND castigates subjects for participating in society.
people are now expected to fulfill all duties family units would previously have shared, plus live healthy, never hurt themselves, never do anything socially unacceptable, always adopt politically correct ideas, look clean and have nice things. but also feel shame for all of that
you MUST buy to participate in society, but you must also FEEL BAD for buying.
nowhere is this logic stronger than in social computation.
language and communication have migrated online, but you are meant to feel bad about listening and speaking and worst of all enjoying without also simultaneously feeling guilt.
when people react to novel abstractions (software, products, protocols) they often first speak the criticisms they expect society to enunciate. "but what about the environment" "is this really necessary" "how does this help people"
these are all fine questions to reflect upon, but why do we so often react this way, right away, to the category of software-related abstractions, but not new netflix shows or recipes or dances.
why do people who otherwise do nothing (not even much research beyond headlines) about labor conditions in the supply chain or environmental collapse suddenly become critics fighting for these causes when faced with new things, especially in software and products?
i believe this knee-jerk reaction is a 'call for help' because it verbalizes the reprisal the speaker fears will be lodged against *them* if they were to enjoy the novel abstraction directly without guilt
confronted with new software or hardware, we ask accusingly how this abstraction fits into the ecological and consumerist narratives because we must secure a good argument for the new thing's legitimacy before we feel safe enough to express curiosity and pleasure ourselves.
this is one reason @tesla is successful. the argument justifying ostentatious consumerist pleasure is built into the product. this echos zizek's analysis of starbucks building charity into the coffee they sell.
society provides ready-at-hand arguments like "think of the environmental impact" or "another bauble made by children and destined for the landfill."
tesla and others embed the counterargument in the original product pitch. "here's something you can consume AND help transition the world away from gas" perhaps this is the BEST feature of any tesla vehicle.
environmentally legitimized consumption is like moral autopilot. it frees the consumer's mind from the need to swerve and dodge the hypocritical and opportunistic arguments left-leaning folks will lodge at any consumption activity but esp. gadgets.
. @elonmusk is a fantastic abstraction artist because he has repeatedly married viable engineering futures with socially expedient discursive counterarguments that make the participant a moral superior! there are others doing this same work but he is the best known.
so the next time someone's first reaction to a new abstraction is a predictable negative critique, just remember that they are ASKING FOR PERMISSION to enjoy.
if you give them an argument they can feel safe using against the next person they tell, their heart will open.
You can follow @nnnnicholas.
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