Happy New Year! It’s been a transformational time in tech. The golden era of startups ended. Sorry about that. The tech industry lastly flattened over a big rock-and-roll it had neglected and/ or leaned on for years, and exposed the fidgeting morass of sexual harassment beneath. We witnessed major AI breakthroughs, a cryptocurrency megaboom, really truly self-driving gondolas, and 18 SpaceX opens.
But the Jons are not about those kind of accomplishments. The Jons, an annual honor reputation( in an awe-inspiring fit of meeknes) after myself, celebrate tech’s more dubious achievers — and hoo boy oh boy were there a lot of those this year. So let’s get at it! With relatively limited further ado, I give you: the third largest annual Jon Awards for Dubious Technical Achievement!
THE WHOLE WORLD OWES THIS GUY AN APOLOGY BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN HE ISN’T A LUNATIC AWARD FOR REVEALING THE TRUTH WHICH IS ACTUALLY OUT THERE, WELL KINDA, BUT STILL I MEAN HOLY SHIT
To Tom DeLonge of Blink-1 82, whose apparently delusional disquisitions about trade secrets Deep State government organization dedicated to moving UFOs and harboring mysterious and possibly otherworldly alloys in storehouses, etc. etc. etc ., turned out to be, unbelievably, at least half true-life, per the New York Times’s revelation that such a programme designed did exist until 2012. But wait, there’s more! That program’s deans are now be applied by — that’s privilege — DeLonge himself. WTF. Does this mean UFOs are real? Perhaps not. Was this program unadulterated pork? Exceedingly perhaps. Is this nonetheless the most excellent legend of 2017? You betcha.
THE IF YOU DISRESPECT THE SACRAMENT OF LINEAR REGRESSION ONE MORE TIME I WILL GET OLD TESTAMENT ON YOU AWARD FOR TRULY GODLIKE SELF-REGARD
To Anthony Levandowski, onetime “Alphabet self-driving car impresario” transformed “Otto CEO” moved “Uber self-driving automobile impresario” changed “man in the dock gazing down a entire heap of legal trouble which in turn unearthed even more jaw-droppingly bad Uber behavior, ” but believe it or not that’s what this award is even about 😛 TAGEND
Two years ago,’ Levandowski founded a religion band, Way of the Future, to “develop and promote the realization of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence.” And people say tech is secular! I for one look forward to a novel legal justification underlining the fact that the secular permissions should recuse themselves perfectly from his dispute because of their long questionable autobiography of misunderstanding and muffling God’s prophets.
THE IF WE COULD PUT DRM ON AIR WE WOULD AND DON’T THINK WE AREN’T THINKING ABOUT IT AWARD FOR COMMODIFYING THE UNCOMMODIFIABLE
It was bad enough when Juicero pertained DRM to juice before kindling out spectacularly. Worse hitherto when DRM was responsible for the virtual holocaust of Second Life’s puffins and rabbits. But Reefill truly took the cake, or, as Marie Antoinette might situate it, snack the brioche: they want people to pay for the right to unlock tap water terminals. I sure are hoping to our aura filters that must be fed parts/ satoshis every few hours so that we don’t have to breathe the raw polluted mutagenic biohazard air of our intrepid new DRMed dystopian future.
THE WE’RE VERY EXCITED THAT OUR TERRIBLE ARTICLE HAS STARTED SUCH AN INTENSE CONVERSATION THOUGH ADMITTEDLY ON CLOSER INSPECTION IT DOES SEEM TO CONSIST OF EVERY EXPERT IN THE ENTIRE WORLD TELLING US WE DONE FUCKED UP AWARD FOR OVERSTANDING YOUR JOURNALISTIC GROUND
To The Guardian — for decades, one of my favorite, most-trusted, most-read news organizations, for whom I’ve written myself — for their colossal WhatsApp screwup, which, inexplicably and indefensibly, took them five months to accept and semi-sorta-kinda-retract, despite an ongoing chorus of frenzy and cruelty from basically every defence professional alive throughout that period. For shame.
THE THROW THEM UNDER THE BUS AWARD FOR THE BUCK STOPPING, UH, OVER THERE SOMEWHERE
To Equifax’s onetime CEO, Richard Smith, who accused the big security violate that exposed 143 million Social security systems amounts etc. on one engineer not doing their racket, rather than on, oh, say, the person responsible for a corporate design so pathological that the safety of the company’s data — as well as data management is this multibillion-dollar company’s one task — wound up being delegated to a single person with no oversight or backup.
THE IF YOU LIKED IT YOU SHOULD HAVE PUT A BLOCKCHAIN ON IT AWARD FOR BEST CORPORATE REBRAND
To the Long Island Iced Tea comnpany, an unproductive micro-cap soft-drink producer which eleven days ago abruptly rebranded itself Long Blockchain Corp and swiftly checked its asset soar 500%. Now that’s a pivot!
THE DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK AWARD FOR MOST TONE-DEAF ATTEMPT TO TURN DISGRACE INTO A BUSINESS MODEL
To onetime VC Justin Caldbeck, who withdrew in disgrace after an display of accusations of unprofessional behavior, and then , not five months ago, tried to reinvent himself as a motivational talker admonishing students about the hazards of the “bro culture” while also transporting more-or-less form emails to parties “who have conveyed public interest and a fondnes for this space, ” asking for admonition regarding “the website that I am constituting which is intended to be a[ information about sexual harassment] resource.”
THE IT SEEMS PRETTY WIFTY AT FIRST BUT ON CONSIDERATION MAYBE WE SHOULD HAVE THESE AROUND EVERY CORNER AWARD FOR MOST INNOVATIVE CONFERENCE FEATURE
To the MAPS Psychedelic Science conference I covered the beginning of this year, and specifically its Healing Oasis zone for those for whom, uhhhh, the accentuates of, uhhhh, the subject matter might have become a little too much. But you know what, the Ethereal blockchain conference a few months later had a yoga and chill-out zone more. Is this a trend? Will future tech powwows include seminars that dwell mainly of chanting in Haskell and new asanas worded “The Drone, ” “The Blockchain, ” and “The Internet Of Things”? We can but hope.
THE YOU DO HAVE A HISTORY OF BEING A LITTLE UNCLEAR ON BASIC ECONOMIC CONCEPTS AWARD FOR SILLIEST MAJOR CRYPTOCURRENCY PROPOSAL
Note that weasel world major in there, but, I imply, c’mon, otherwise we’d be here all day: the government of Venezuela wants to issue a Proof-of-Work cryptocurrency backed by 5 billion barrels of petroleum. This is apparently not a gag. It is, however, very silly. I’ll told “Marmot Man” Preston J. Byrne justify exactly why 😛 TAGEND
This is absurd. Where an issuer can be identified( say, a monarch) and the thing being bought and sold come here for legal rights( say, dividends from oil production ), you obviate the necessity of achieving mining. If you’re a country, the various kinds of arrangement you want to run is a permissioned organization where you control the validators , not an open organisation that is likely to be hijacked by a assortment of anonymous energy thieves in China.”
THE MATH IS BAD AND MUST BE BANNED MMMKAY AWARD FOR FAILING TO UNDERSTAND THE LIMITS OF DEMOCRATIC POWER
To all the clueless twits who remain be expected to ban end-to-end encryption, most notably the present UK authority. Reproduction after me: encryption is math . What’s more, many implementations of that math are open-source. You cannot ban math. If you make some companies to remove math from their software, people who want to use math will really use different software which does have math. All you are able to do is piece the benefits of math from the person or persons for whom math is an ancillary rather than primary interest. Everyone will lose. Please stop being idiots.
( UK government readers: please replace “math” with “maths” in the above paragraph to aid apprehension. I would assume this goes without saying but, well, this does not appear to be the case if you are part of the UK authority .)
THE HOKEY INTELLIGENCE AND TECHNICAL COMPETENCE ARE NO MATCH FOR IGNORANT BIGOTRY, KID AWARD FOR CONFUSING WANTING SOMETHING WITH BEING ABLE TO DO IT
To the alt-right’s “parallel Internet, ” which has become a estate of: “ghost municipalities, with few active customers and no obvious supervising. As engineering concoctions, many are second- or third-rate, with long loading eras, ruined ties and frequent misstep messages.” I’m sickened, appalled , that frenzied racism is inversely correlated with ability and technical competence.
THE PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN, THE FINE PRINT IN THE CONTRACT, OR THE CURIOUS BEHAVIOR OF THE WEREWOLF IN THE NIGHT-TIME AWARD FOR MYSTERIOUS FINANCIAL SHENANIGANS
To the … one or more entities … some of whom seem to be related in some way to the Bitfinex exchange, and the Tether cryptocurrency, who have apparently been engaged in a entire galaxy of shaded, sketchy, unscrupulous, and/ or market-warping cryptofinancial demeanor over the past year or so, as doggedly and faithfully documented by yet another anonymous entity known as Bitfinexed, via the latter’s Medium berths and Twitter feed. Went a knot of free time and those who are interested in fiscal skulduggery? Then I inspire you to dive down that rabbit opening and marvel at what you find.
THE FEET, LEGS, TORSO, ARMS, AND HEAD OF CLAY AWARD FOR THE FARTHEST FALL FROM GRACE TO FARCE
To Julian Assange, who over the last seven years has extended from a progressive “we open governments” cipherpunk protagonist to a more-or-less Putin apologist and evident misogynist haunted with Hillary Clinton who is now fundraising by selling CryptoKitties. The argument between quaint and sorry is, I’m afraid, somewhere back thataway.
THE CALLING ME A CONSPIRACY THEORIST MEANS YOU’RE PART OF THE CONSPIRACY AWARD FOR MOST SELF-AGGRANDIZINGLY DELUSIONAL WORLDVIEW
Jointly awarded to Eric Garland, Seth Abramson, and Louise Mensch, whose breathless, incoherent, wearisome, and consistently incorrect Twitter tweetstorms, which basically try to remix actuality with poorly written Hollywood law/ government thrillers, epitomize a whole new various kinds of train-wreck political carry-on art be a primary consideration in breathtaking need of self-awareness.
Mensch is perhaps the most unhinged of the three, but Garland is first among equates, because a) he apparently believes there is a million-dollar conspiracy to name him a scheme theorist and b) in the months and months and countless, endless tweets since he first was increased to importance with his “Guys, it’s time for some game theory” tweet, he has still , so far as I can tell, never actually discussed any game theory . As such his award shall come with a bonus shaggy-dog bobblehead.
THE REALLY IT DIDN’T EVEN SEEM LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME TO BE HONEST AWARD FOR THE MOST ILL-CHOSEN TATTOO