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Feckless cops vs corporate robots. Zuck nibbles the 💊. Shanghai's primal scream.
Future Forward. April 12, 2022 edition.
Each week, I share the most important news in Web3, AI, the pseudonymous economy & the forces shaping the future of humanity.
This is both funny and a preview of the future: Feckless man against corporate machine. Human with guns versus unstoppable 2,000 robots that cannot be intimidated or jailed.
Here’s the big question: Was this a crime?
If a human was driving in this situation, this would be crime & the driver would either go to jail or––depending on the situation––get shot. Plenty of brown people have died for less.
Over the next 20 years, human institutions are going to have to figure out how to regulate & police robots. Robots neither feel pain nor fear death, so billy clubs & 9mm pistols are not going to do the trick.
If corporations are people, then are corporate robots above the law? Can a robot commit a crime? If a robot does it, is it always just an “accident”? Who is liable when robots violate the law? Will robot cars have a driving record?
These are not easy questions.
However, according to my sources at OpenAI, it’ll be “a couple months” before the API goes into private beta. You can join the DALL-E 2 waitlist here.
Interesting thing to note: OpenAI claims that DALL-E 2 does not posses the ability to “generate violent, hate, or adult images.”
“By removing the most explicit content from the training data, we minimized DALL·E 2’s exposure to these concepts. We also used advanced techniques to prevent photorealistic generations of real individuals’ faces, including those of public figures.”
This is smart and IMO either
easy – because the AI can’t actually do the thing they want to “prevent”
difficult – because they probably have a gigantic dataset
Meanwhile, some people are more excited than others…
Personally, I’m rooting for Midjourney, but OpenAI has a definite distribution & capital advantage.
The visionaries over at Facebook have come to realize that avatars are something that people will invest money in. Who knew!
I wonder if anyone in the Facebook C-suite owns a Cryptopunk or a Bored Ape? If I was Zuck, I’d force everyone to start buying NFTs.
The deeper problem, however, is that Facebook’s unique selling proposition as a social network is their real-name policy, which states:
Facebook is a community where everyone uses the name they go by in everyday life
Real names what made the Facebook network so revolutionary to begin with. Suddenly, for the first time, you could find real people on the internet, learn about them and connect with them. This was a very useful invention, but also created unexpected problems.
In 2011, Alexis Madrigal of the Atlantic explained the problem in Why Facebook and Google's Concept of 'Real Names' Is Revolutionary…
The kind of naming policy that Facebook has is actually a radical departure from the way identity and speech interact in the real world. They attach identity more strongly to every act of online speech than almost any real world situation does.
We have different expectations for the publicness and persistence of a statement depending on a variety of factors. There is a continuum of publicness and persistence and anonymity. But in real life, we expect very few statements to be public, persistent, and attached to your real identity. Basically, only people talking on television or to the media can expect such treatment. And even then, the vast majority of their statements don't become part of the searchable Internet.
Online, Facebook requires an inversion of this assumed norm.
Facebook explicitly bans pseudonyms and has from day #1.
Pseudonyms enable privacy and obviously, in his heart of hearts, Zuck thinks privacy is bad.
Zuck even went on the record sounding like Chinese Communist Party member.
“Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.”
-Mark Zuckerberg, Founder/CEO of Facebook
Ergot, I don’t expect the Z man to change his mind on this anytime soon. More likely, he’ll try to shoehorn web3 into his real name metaverse.
However… Web3 is all about pseudonyms, going back to the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin: Satoshi Nakamoto.
Any Web3 platform that bans pseudonyms & alt-identities is DOA.
Unless Facebook is willing to abandon their founding principles––which is possible, though unlikely––the boys in Menlo Park are going to have a tough go of things in the new internet we’re all building.
When buggy software meets a decentralized, immutable blockchain, bad things are bound to happen. Given that we live in America, bad things means lawsuits.
Will be interesting to see what insurance products get built to address this kind of software execution risk. Web3 companies will need it. Personally, I like the idea of a decentralized betting market instead of traditional insurance. I’m sure that Web3 will provide, eventually.
BAYC continues to show who the true cultural visionaries are. From the news writeup:
The first of three installments for the series of animated short films, titled “The Degen Trilogy,” will premiere at NFT.NYC in June, with the NFT community of apes and non-apes alike having a say in parts of the film’s plot.
Bored Ape owners are invited to submit their apes for consideration as characters in the trilogy, along with made-up character descriptions that will be reviewed by an actual Hollywood casting director.
I just hope that their creative execution matches their clear ambition. Kudos to Coinbase for bankrolling the experiment. Will be fun to see. I am rooting for them!
Free combo meal if you own $APE, Bored Ape and Mutant Ape or Bored Ape Kennel Club NFTs. This is powered by a new-fangled technology called “Token Gating,” where a QR code is used to scan customers’ MetaMask wallets. Makes me hungry just thinking about it.
Looks like the National Basketball Association has a crush on Web3. From the article:
The filing, submitted by the NBA for “The Association,” covers a laundry list of virtual items including “game tickets, game programs, trading cards, collectibles, memorabilia, jerseys” and even “memes relating to the field of basketball authenticated by non-fungible tokens.”
The league also appears to be in possession of two Ethereum Name Service (ENS) domains – nba.eth and theassociationnft.eth
Supply chains are shutdown and Chinese kitchens don’t have a lot of processed, shelf-stable foods that are common in the West, so a lot of people are going hungry. I’m not there so I can’t say for certain, but it looks like a lot of people are losing their minds.
The screams are eery, like out of a horror movie.
Luxury brands are even sending care packages to its customers.
It’s scary to consider, frankly. Big hugs to the people of Shanghai. I do not envy you.
PS I’m testing out a new avatar. How do you like it?