Tag: Cory Doctorow (page 2 of 7)

Blockchain and trusted third parties

As Cory Doctorow points out, merely putting something on a blockchain doesn’t make the data itself ‘trusted’ (or useful!)

In passing, it’s interesting that he cites Vinay Gupta in the piece, as Vinay is someone I’ve historically had a lot of time for. However, Mattereum (NFTs for physical assets) just… seems like a distraction from more important work he’s previously done?

In other words:

if: problem + blockchain = problem – blockchain

then: blockchain = 0

The blockchain hasn’t added anything to the situation, except considerable cost (which could just as easily be spent on direct transfers to poor farmers, assuming you could find someone you trust to hand out the money) and complexity (which creates lots of opportunities for cheating).

Source: The Inevitability of Trusted Third Parties | Cory Doctorow

Microcast #091 — Arguing in circles

Overview

An eclectic mix of articles in today’s microcast, covering everything from teens and tech to Fediverse functionality.

Show notes


Image via Pexels

Background music: Shimmers by Synth Soundscapes (aka Mentat)

Epistemological chaos and denialism

Good stuff from Cory Doctorow on how Big Tobacco invented the playbook and it’s been refined in other industries (especially online) ever since.

Denial thrives on epistemological chaos: a denialist doesn’t want to convince you that smoking is safe, they just want to convince that it’s impossible to say whether smoking is safe or not. Denial weaponizes ideas like “balance,” demanding that “both sides” of every issue be presented so the public can decide. Don’t get me wrong, I’m as big a believer in dialetical materialism as you are likely to find, but I also know that keeping an open mind doesn’t require that you open so wide that your brains fall out.

The bad-faith “balance” game is used by fraudsters and crooks to sow doubt. It’s how homeopaths, anti-vaxers, eugenicists, raw milk pushers and other members of the Paltrow-Industrial Complex played the BBC and other sober-sided media outlets, demanding that they be given airtime to rebut scientists’ careful, empirical claims with junk they made up on the spot.

This is not a harmless pastime. The pandemic revealed the high price of epistemological chaos, of replacing informed debate with cynical doubt. Argue with an anti-vaxer and you’ll soon realize that you don’t merely disagree on what’s true — you disagree on whether there is such a thing as truth, and, if there is, how it can be known.

Source: I quit. | Cory Doctorow | Medium