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comment by bfv
bfv  ·  140 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit - David Graeber

    I think the argument is not that technology is at a standstill because it doesn't pay off, the argument is technology serves whoever is willing to pay for it and lately, that technology has been serving more boring masters than it did at the height of the Cold War.

    I'm okay with that.

On the other hand, I saw the best minds of my generation pour their talents into finding eyeballs for ads and and writing bots to trade castles in the air with each other...




kleinbl00  ·  140 days ago  ·  link  ·  

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-z4PZQkZMMe4/UCuvnzneuzI/AAAAAAAAALk/o2eV5OhaJS0/s1600/IMG_7616%2B%25282%2529.JPG

This is a guard tower in my town. During the Reagan years there was a machine gun nest on top. My english teacher, when she was in high school, would stand under it with her girl friends and stage-whisper stuff to each other in Russian to draw the fire of the cute guards who manned it up top. it was all very jocular - "ha ha pretty girl I will fire a .30 carbine over your head to make this exciting."

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f6/Minutemans_MIRV.JPG

This is a Minuteman III re-entry test at Kwajilein. Its warheads were developed by people I've met.

These are the signs I grew up with. I was surrounded by wilderness, always behind 10-foot hurricane fences, always with these signs posted every 500 yards. Beyond them was unexploded ordnance and other stuff.

This is Omega West. If you took a right at the bottom of the canyon, you got the skating rink and the reservoir. If you took a left you got guys in fatigues running at you with M-16s.

______________________________

I'm sorry you saw talent wasted on advertising and trading. Me? I was stoked the first time I talked to a guy involved in the Human Genome Project because it was the only project I knew of at the lab that wasn't directly or indirectly related to vaporizing Soviet children.

I stand by my statement.

bfv  ·  140 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I thought the point was that there was a vast unexplored area between military horrors and capitalist banality that where we could be pointing our efforts in ways that would better serve everyone who isn't Buck Turgidson or Lex Luthor.

kleinbl00  ·  140 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    On the other hand, I saw the best minds of my generation pour their talents into finding eyeballs for ads and and writing bots to trade castles in the air with each other...

There's nothing new about this, though. David Ogilvie went from being one of the most important people in British intelligence to being the head of an ad agency. Isaac Newton spent his dotage trying to turn lead into gold. Graeber's article argues that technological progress is largely due to military competition:

    It’s often said the Apollo moon landing was the greatest historical achievement of Soviet communism. Surely, the United States would never have contemplated such a feat had it not been for the cosmic ambitions of the Soviet Politburo. We are used to thinking of the Politburo as a group of unimaginative gray bureaucrats, but they were bureaucrats who dared to dream astounding dreams. The dream of world revolution was only the first.

One of Graeber's larger points is that technology is a product of opposition. My larger point is that technology exists outside of opposition, and tends to kill fewer people in that case.