2 min read

Being a node in the Global Computer

This bit by Venkatesh Rao about the Global Social Computer in the Cloud has stuck with me:

4/ What the "unplug for self-care" crowd doesn't get is that you are part of a Giant Social Computer in the Cloud (GSCITC) computing the future. The level and latency at which you consume information and act on it determines your "job" in the social computer. Your shitposting and FOMO are functional.

5/ The reason the unplugging doesn't work for most people is not that the Evil Platform Companies are trying to hack your attention and turn you into a helpless addict (though they are) but because you rationally realize you need a job in the GSCITC.

6/ If you don't manage your information economy career, you will default to the lowest-level job in the social computer: processing very low-latency information with small-minded cognition (bottom left) for small bets. It's the equivalent of low-level bug reporting/testing.

7/ This isn't a bad thing. A big groupmind composed of lots of small minds doing small-minded cognition can compute very profound things. It's just that your individual role in it is small. You can't see past the "people" and "events" level implications, but the emergent GSCITC can. Still, you can and should aspire to more.

I haven't been as good at thinking and writing as I'd like recently, mix of being busy with work and a bit of a general thinking slump, but I'm still enjoying the experience of being a relay in the Global Computer. Even without much brainpower I can pass on interesting things that I find, and then watch them travel around the network, and hopefully be useful to someone.

The main recent one that comes to mind is image streaming. I came across this tweet from Adele-Dewey Lopez:

Sounded interesting, so I had a go and wrote it up... and now several other people have tried variations on the technique, and I don't think it's exactly been a revelation for anyone but it's sort of percolated around being mildly useful and inspiring further thinking. And that's already pretty satisfying.