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On piracy and the "You can't stop the spread of software!" argument (5/5) 

And after decades of interminable debates, these rationalizations and many others are baked into internet culture as settled inviolable truths.

And now, in a completely different context, of regulating the spread of AI, people are using the same rationalization: "it's gonna get out inevitabley" to give up and do nothing.

It's much easier to do than to map out & think about the tediously vast logistical landscape.

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On piracy and the "You can't stop the spread of software!" argument (4/5) 

Similarly there was the self serving argument that the spread of information was inevitable anyway.

Which may or may not be true depending on a billion practical considerations, some of which favored that view decades ago but don't now & could easily change at any given moment.

(Not that I've *ever* watched porn video ever, but I have heard from those who do that information definitely doesn't stay on the net forever)

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On piracy and the "You can't stop the spread of software!" argument (3/4) 

And again, on the whole, I think piracy was a net positive. I just happen to think that, of the whole range of justifications offered, that one was one of several that were disengenuous.

And what happens to quickly is that if you point out it's disingenuous, people feel the need to defend disingenuous reasons as if it's the same as defending piracy itself.

Really the best reason is that it made the world a better place.

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On piracy and the "You can't stop the spread of software!" argument (2/3) 

For example, people would say I just pirate music so that I can sample before I buy. Which was a delusional rationalization, even then. The number of ways to preview tracks was widespread even then. If anyone wants to dispute that, I could list at least a dozen non-piracy ways to sample music online. If anyone wants to dispute those examples it would be over how this or that service doesn't perfectly fit idiosyncratic needs

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On piracy and the "You can't stop the spread of software!" arguy 

The early internet culture of piracy had any number of rationalizations and justifications.

I thought that age was magical and fun, and the benefits that went to young people vastly outweighed the harm, which I think was largely trumped up by industry lawyers and the like.

So on the whole, I think it was good for the world. But that said, I feel that a lot of the rationalizations were totally disingenuous. For example... (1/3)

hackernews (-) 

hn on every free speech thread:

"racism, nazism, homophobia shouldn't be suppressed. They should be defeated in the marketplace of ideas."

hn on gun research:

"the results of gun research could be misrepresented. therefore it should be suppressed and not funded!"

latest hackernews complaint (-) 

I was looking at an old submission of mine, on research showing that stretching before exercise doesn't reduce injuries.

The responses broke down into three major camps:

- the title is highly misleading for (reasons)
- this is obvious, old news
- this is obviously wrong and stupid

Everyone agreed it was bad, but no one reason was consistent with anyone else's reason.

US Politics Conspiracy Theory 

The bi-partisan consensus to Break Up Big Tech, but not any other monopoly of any kind at all, is because Big Tech is loaded with money and tilts Democratic.

So it's the one set of monopolies that R's are okay with breaking up.

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Funny how right wing trolls use "free speech" exact the same way that flat earthers use "do your own research."

(3) I think despairing over Being Right On The Internet because it's such a bad faith, disingenuous swamp of high effort trolling, concedes that ground to worst actors. And... they GAIN from that. They gain a constituency. They win.

And the breakthrough on climate, and with the parkland kids, has been on fearlessly calling people out on their bullshit. People forget that that works, that that is needed.

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It's also a problem I have with liberals and leftwing friends who are skeptical of the authority of truth and science because it's always invoked by shitheads.

(1) it IS always invoked by shitheads (2) they (the shitheads) are dumb and wrong for reasons that are tedious and take hours of quote-replying to sort through, where you get so deep in bullshit that the only constant is that people keep losing track of what their own arguments are because of their own short attention spans.

And (3)...

I think centrists need to understand that (1) respectful two way conversation isn't a success state in and of itself if it's not leading to a step two where they are building something and making progress on it. (2) Arguments being refuted because some of them are wrong and others are right *is* a success state.

The idea that there really is such a thing as truth, and that therefore some arguments are wrong and others right isn't "partisanship." It's a necessary premise for progress.

I remember a video that was "gee, a Democrat and a Republican have a respectful conversation! Why can't everyone do this?!"

It was a video of John McCain and Dick Durbin arguing over the effect of Bush tax cuts.

Nothing changed. Nobody changed their mind. They didn't really drill down deep or learn anything from each other. They didn't reach a compromise. They didn't decide that one of them was right and they didn't have a breakthrough that allowed a bill to pass.

But that was "success".

newspapers dying 

Newspapers and online content generally putting up paywalls is very instructive. Doesn't matter that there's a massive audience. A massive unmet need, swarms of people ready and willing to voraciously consume content.

A whole world of culture, commentary, interest. It's just walked away from, since there's no money to extract.

It makes you wonder how many other unmet needs have been walked away from or unmet because they couldn't be monetized.

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Until a week ago, I was an ordinary person - well, SORT OF ordinary, considering that I couldn't stand to be in the same room as more than 2 people at a time, I only wanted very specific clothes, & I hadn't found a bed I could sleep on for more than 4 hours at a time.

Now a multinational think tank is working with four factories to design me the perfect bed, clothes, house - because the world will explode if I don't relax.


This is, sadly, not very relaxing of a thought.

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The above #MicroFiction was written to @abbenm's prompt


It's for my #GreatNanoWrimoPromptCall Boost-a-thonℒ️ here -


Check out my Great NanoWrimo Prompt Call


Thanks for all the great prompts, guys! More coming all day, and I'll extend the boost deadline if anyone else wants fic; this is FUN!

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abben boosted

Hello All!

From now 'till midnight 11/29, if you boost this post & reply with a prompt, I'll write you a tootfic!


Check out my Great NanoWrimo Prompt Call - Support the Arts - Get Good Fic


17 pieces posted already & more coming - all free for you to read!

'Media Synthesis' (-) 

Feels like a really unnecessary buzzword.

It strikes me as coming from the same internet spaces that make unnecessary gaming terms and acronyms like 'RNG' and 'DLC' and 'procedural generation.' Which describe things that already have words, and, if you have experience around people who use those terms, are never used in a nuanced way. Sometimes vocabulary helps add meaning, but this is a case where it makes things dumber.

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