in Technology

Unintended consequences

Awful to read that Bitcoin Mining Now Consuming More Electricity Than 159 Countries Including Ireland & Most Countries In Africa. This is tragedy of the commons writ large.

I could be overly-sensitive after having just read The Internet Is Not The Answer, but this just reinforces the point raised in the book that the Internet has led to many terrible unintended consequences. We are literally paying to burn fossil fuel and hasten our own destruction through climate change in the real world in order to gamble on being lucky enough to obtain a slice of currency in the digital one.

I love technology where it brings enjoyment or helps us to be better at what we do. But whenever I read something like this, as I have mentioned here before, Bill Joy’s words are never far from my mind:

Now, as then, we are creators of new technologies and stars of the imagined future, driven – this time by great financial rewards and global competition – despite the clear dangers, hardly evaluating what it may be like to try to live in a world that is the realistic outcome of what we are creating and imagining.

I’m starting to think his article is the most important thing I’ve ever read. It’s certainly something that has shaped my worldview and continues to pop back into my mind again and again.

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