One of the sad things about a decentralized system is that they will never go away — they simply enjoy a slow death with critical infrastructures being turned off one at a time.
I was recently told that Google Feed API had been shut down, years after Google closes the Reader. It, unfortunately, breaks many of my “serverless” single-page web apps (the HTML5 Word Cloud being one prominent example).
Twitter closed the RSS feed for user timelines a few years ago. Facebook once had RSS feed for the profiles, but they realized they could put everyone in their walled garden.
Granted, for the users’ sake these centralized systems are better regarding the user experiences. There just wasn’t a viable evolution path for the RSS ecosystem (or, “blogging,” in layman’s term) to outgrow the walled garden today.
For the “better” user experiences, we traded in the portability of data, the ability to remix the data (like the Word Cloud case), and with the present democracy-endangering challenges like fake news, we ended up being inevitably helpless, and look at these mighty companies to tweak their algorithms. It’s just not their responsibilities to enable their users to read across the aisle.
The next thing should turn this around.
You don’t normally find an educational video on YouTube ticks at 44 minutes mark, but I would strongly recommend you check this out if you are into this kind of things like me. Thoth’s Pill – an Animated History of Writing talks about writing systems across the world and what linguists think, as of present, how they had evolved.
The more you understand this, the more you would realize the traditional definition of ethnic groups/race cease to apply to the real world, and monoculture nation-states will never work beyond a few million people.
One of the downside being a middle manager in the office is the loss of focus on the big picture and focused on getting your team, your company, and your product to succeed. The article, “F**k work” by James Livingston, asks for application of universal basic income, and what’s the shift of mindset the world would need to make that happen.
To me, it serves as a bloody reminder of what work is essentially about to individuals within the society, and what it has been unfulfilling for most of the people in the society (those who maybe ended up gave us Trump).
The broader issue covered by this post is how the economy can work without sank generations of creativity into just for bread and butter of their families. I have to admit that I immediately think of the Star Trek Federation society upon reaching this paragraph, where people work because of their aspirations and sense of achievement.
Incidentally, I have been reading The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton, and he too touches the meaning of work. Finland recently became the first country implementing universal basic income, but it applied as a tool for welfare reform, not a challenge to the meaning of work itself.
I don’t know what can be done to bring this kind of massive social change, something so fundamental, almost since the beginning of the human civilization. Nonetheless, we must remain helpful as that’s the only way to keep the dream alive.