I'm skeptical of prediction (fortune tellers are charlatans), but I do believe in leading indicators. If you want a look at your likely techno-oppressive future, just look at how we treat kids, blue-collar workers, and prisoners:
Another important concept: the quantitative fallacy. If you want to do computer work on a complex issue, qualitative elements are daunting. Say you want to do exposure notification - it's easy to use Bluetooth beacons to tell whether two people are close to each other.
But it's hard to know what's actually going on with the people those beacons represent: are they in adjacent, sealed cars stuck in traffic, or are they college kids attending an eyeball-licking party?
Rather than address chewy, irreducible, hard-to-compute qualitative stuff, quants are prone to just incinerating it, leaving behind a quantitative residue of dubious value, which is nevertheless easy to do computation on.
It's not just contact tracing: think of the urge to reduce fair use (a complex, qualitative doctrine hinging on an artist's intent and the resulting aesthetic effect) into a set of hard and fast rules: if you quote two lines of poetry, you're cool. Three lines? Piracy.
This powers Goodhart's Law: "a measurement becomes a target, then ceases to be a good measurement." Discarding the qualitative leads us to extend the lives of suffering, terminally ill people even when they beg for release: they're living longer!
Connected to this: Chickenization, a term from the poultry industry, describing the misclassification of workers as contractors, allowing employers to shift all the risk onto workers and all the benefits to themselves.
@pluralistic Nothing new, sadly. Technology that is "given away for free/available cheap" frequently is neither. Broascast TV, 1950s. Led to hypnotized consumers buying products en masse, wealth transferred. Uber and telemedicine are today's extensions. When the accumulation of man-made artificial value (money) is considered wealth, our species, indeed our planet, suffers for it. Until humans redefine wealth as something else, earth fails.
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