Meta Dreams—Somethings

Also, the recency bias of the internet, the death of search, and the most dangerous BigTech firm in the world.

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I am working on an another essay on the state of web search. So there will be no mini-essay this week.

📕Something to read

  • Search is Dead: I have written a lot about the dire state of searching the web for utility and entertainment. Both the supply and the demand sides. I have tackled how the upstart ‘alternatives’ are anything but. In the new essay, I will tackle some more recent developments in this area.

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🗣Some Quotes and Notes

Now or Never

We have a recency bias in mass media and social media. Just compare last week’s headlines to current headlines. A great thread by David Perell on the topic.

We’re trapped in a Never-Ending Now- blind to our place in history, engulfed in the present moment, overwhelmed by the slightest breeze of chaos. Here’s the bottom line: How can we build an informational environment that prioritizes the accumulated wisdom of humanity over the impulses of the past 24 hours?

— David Perell, The Never-Ending Now


Meta’s recent reveal of it’s new Metaverse offerings reminded me of this comment from a few years ago.

Text is mightier than the Metaverse.

Kids can do video calls with their smartphones but prefer texting. We could discuss Hacker News stories with video chat but we prefer text.

Billions and billions spent on making movies as polished as possible, yet “I thought the book was better” is what we always hear.

The Metaverse will be programmed with text.

The quarterly reports outlining its financial losses will be written in text.

When journalists ultimately write its obituary, they will write text.

Hacker News Comment, user: @dandotway

The Most Dangerous Game-Players

The most dangerous American big tech company is not Apple, Google or Amazon. It is Palantir. If it were the all-encompassing villain in some dystopic sci-fi story, the story would be panned for being too ridiculous.

But what if the S2 shop had killed the farmer in the purple hat in error? And what if, out of fear of backlash over yet another civilian casualty, the data that showed otherwise was deleted so that it would never become known? This invites the question: Who has control over Palantir’s Save or Delete buttons? “Not me,” says Kevin. “That’s an S2 function.” Who controls what data gets saved as potential evidence, and what data gets deleted—including data that could potentially act in a defense? What happens to the rule of law when individual citizens are persistently surveilled without knowledge of, or access to, the information that is being collected on them?

— Annie Jacobson, Palantir’s God’s-Eye View…

Thank you for joining me this week. If you know some who might enjoy this, please forward this email to them. See you next week.

Mudassir Chapra

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