Socionomics Alert: Technology Makes Our Lives Much Worse

You may agree or disagree with these articles. The point isn't whether there is some truth in them or not, but that it reflects an overall negative attitude towards technology and more broadly growth and development. There are always positives and negatives, but during periods of negative/falling mood the negative views will outweigh the positive.

Seattle Times: Bitcoin backlash as ‘miners’ suck up electricity, stress power grids in Central Washington
In a normal year, demand for electric power in Chelan County grows by perhaps 4 megawatts ­­— enough for around 2,250 homes — as new residents arrive and as businesses start or expand. But since January 2017, as Bitcoin enthusiasts bid up the price of the currency, eager miners have requested a staggering 210 megawatts for mines they want to build in Chelan County. That’s nearly as much as the county and its 73,000 residents were already using. And because it is a public utility, the PUD staff is obligated to consider every request.

The scale of some new requests is mind-boggling. Until recently, the largest mines in Chelan County used five megawatts or less. In the past six months, by contrast, miners have requested loads of 50 megawatts and, in several cases, 100 megawatts. By comparison, a fruit warehouse uses around 2.5 megawatts.
Bitcoin presents a legitimate concern for utilities because they don't know how long growth will last. But you will have to look very hard to find the optimistic view: we have a major power gap that needs to be filled by nuclear, fusion or some other new technologies. Instead, people focus on costs and limits.

CBS: Are ‘Smart’ Meters Spying On You? Rockland Electric Company Says Absolutely Not
Mashable: Let's all chill out about this whole 'Alexa is spying on you' thing
"Echo woke up due to a word in background conversation sounding like "Alexa." Then, the subsequent conversation was heard as a "send message" request. At which point, Alexa said out loud "To whom?" At which point, the background conversation was interpreted as a name in the customer’s contact list. Alexa then asked out loud, "[contact name], right?" Alexa then interpreted background conversation as "right". As unlikely as this string of events is, we are evaluating options to make this case even less likely."
That explanation is 5 days old and I haven't come across it anywhere else. Everyone thinks Alexa is a spy device. One meme I've seen has someone talking into the Alexa saying, "Hey wiretap, get me the recipe for cheesecake."

Medium: Jeff Bezos Can Thank Exploited Workers for His $100 Billion
Observer: Report: Amazon Workers Have to Process 300 Packages an Hour and Pee in Bottles
The Onion: Jeff Bezos Tables Latest Breakthrough Cost-Cutting Idea After Realizing It’s Just Slaves

Tesla is now a favorite of short-sellers thanks to production issues and Elon's conference call behavior, but the general mood has also turned negative.

Marketwatch: Is Tesla the next Enron? One hedge-fund manager charts a gloomy path
Observer: Is Tesla the New Enron? Here’s Why Some Wall Street Bears Say Yes
Burning Platform: Elon’s Undoing
Bloomberg: Tesla Manufacturing Woes and Fatal Crash Combine to Sink Shares

Media report on every single crash of a Tesla care (or any self-driving car)

BBC: Tesla hit parked police car 'while using Autopilot'

Aside: Journalists, probably the single most hated profession in this round of negative mood and mostly deservedly in my opinion, managed to step into the middle of the mostly one-way hate on Elon Musk by inserting themselves into the conversation.

Daily Beast: What It’s Like When Elon Musk’s Twitter Mob Comes After You

Finally, from Quartz: The Amish understand a life-changing truth about technology the rest of us don’t
It’s not that the Amish view technology as inherently evil. No rules prohibit them from using new inventions. But they carefully consider how each one will change their culture before embracing it. And the best clue as to what will happen comes from watching their neighbors.

“The Amish use us as an experiment,” says Jameson Wetmore, an engineer turned social researcher at the Arizona State University’s School for the Future of Innovation in Society. “They watch what happens when we adopt new technology, and then they decide whether that’s something they want to adopt themselves.”

After observing a given technology’s effect on outside society, Wetmore explains, each Amish community can vote on whether to accept or reject it. If a person is seriously ill, checking into a hospital is acceptable. So is accepting a ride in a Ford F-150. But the Amish refuse to own television or automobiles because they’ve decided those technologies erode their community and neighborliness.
The whole article is great, but here's where Socionomic theory will really come into play:
Do you think the opposite is happening where people in our society want to jump into their world? Not become Amish per se, but people are trying to replicate some of those characteristics.

I wrote an article a couple years ago that we’re all becoming a little bit more Amish. Again, the Amish don’t always simply reject a technology, but they have very specific rules about how it is to be used.

What really fascinated me over the last few years is the number of people who have developed rules about their cell phone usage. The federal government doesn’t really regulate cell phone usage at all. Some state governments regulate whether you can use it while driving, but nobody says you are not allowed to use your cell phone at the dinner table.
An image from the article, from 1924, still in a mood upswing:
In the 1930s, we ended up as a society deciding that four-year-olds should be the one to blame. We began to train people even before they began to speak about how to cross the street and how to avoid it in the street. We redesigned our world to be safe for automobiles and dangerous for children.

Those are the conversations we’re having today.

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