Happy New Year! It’s been a transformational year in tech. The golden era of startups ended. Sorry about that. The tech industry ultimately wheeled over a big rock it had dismissed and/ or leaned on for years, and uncovered the writhing morass of unprofessional behavior beneath. We evidenced major AI breakthroughs, a cryptocurrency megaboom, really truly self-driving vehicles, and 18 SpaceX launchings.
But the Jons are not about those kind of accomplishments. The Jons, an annual gift called( in an awe-inspiring fit of humility) after myself, celebrate tech’s more dubious achievers — and hoo son oh son were there a great deal of those this year. So let’s get at it! With relatively limited farther ado, I give you: the third 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 tracking UFOs and harboring mysterious and possibly otherworldly alloys in stores, etc. etc. etc ., turned out to be, incredibly, at the least half true-blue, per the New York Times’s revelation that such a programme designed did exist until 2012. But wait, there’s more! That program’s superintendents are now employed by — that’s liberty — DeLonge himself. WTF. Does this imply UFOs are real? Likely not. Was this programme pure pork? Very perhaps. Is this nonetheless the most excellent narration 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” grew “Otto CEO” diverted “Uber self-driving vehicle impresario” gyrated “man in the dock looking down a whole heap of legal disturbance 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 constitution, 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 defense arguing that the secular authorities should recuse themselves alone from his contingency because of their long questionable record of misunderstanding and curbing 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 exploited DRM to juice before igniting out spectacularly. Worse more when DRM was responsible for the virtual carnage of Second Life’s puffins and rabbits. But Reefill certainly made the patty, or, as Marie Antoinette might situate it, eat the brioche: they want people to pay for the right to unlock tap water stations. I sure look forward to our aura filters that must be fed districts/ satoshis every few hours so that we don’t have to breathe the raw polluted mutagenic biohazard air of our intrepid brand-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 craze and horror from basically every certificate expert alive throughout that date. 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 denounced the massive insurance infraction that exposed 143 million Social security systems numerals etc. on one engineer not doing their place, rather than on, oh, say, the person responsible for a corporate design so pathological that the security of the company’s data — and data administration is this multibillion-dollar company’s one profession — wound up being delegated to a single person with no omission 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 creator which eleven days ago abruptly rebranded itself Long Blockchain Corp and promptly verified its broth surge 500%. Now that’s a fulcrum!
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 array of the allegations of unprofessional behavior, and then , not five months later, tried to reinvent himself as a motivational orator notification students about the hazards of the “bro culture” while also sending more-or-less form emails to people “who have shown public interest and a ardour for this cavity, ” asking for opinion regarding “the website that I am representing which is intended to be a[ informed of 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 earlier this year, and specifically its Healing Oasis zone for those for whom, uhhhh, the stress 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 consultations include seminars that comprise mainly of reciting in Haskell and new asanas identified “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 life major in there, but, I signify, c’mon, otherwise we’d is right there 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 parody. It is, nonetheless, very silly. I’ll made “Marmot Man” Preston J. Byrne show exactly why 😛 TAGEND
This is absurd. Where an issuer can be identified( say, a sovereign) and the thing being bought and sold comes with legal rights( say, gains from oil production ), you obviate the necessity of achieving mining. If you’re countries around the world, the various kinds of organization you want to run is a permissioned organisation where you control the validators , not an open method that is likely to be hijacked by a cluster of anonymous electricity 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 dunces who continue hoping to ban end-to-end encryption, most notably the present UK authority. Reiterate after me: encryption is math . What’s more, countless implementations of that math are open-source. You cannot ban math. If you coerce some companies to remove math from their application, people who want to use math will just use different application which does have math. All you are able to do is airstrip the added benefit of math from the people for whom math is an ancillary rather than primary assistance. Everyone will lose. Please stop being idiots.
( UK government books: please oust “math” with “maths” in the above section to aid comprehension. I would assume this to be said 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 arrive of: “ghost towns, with few active useds and no self-evident supervising. As engineering produces, numerous are second- or third-rate, with long loading periods, busted associates and repeated fault messages.” I’m sickened, stunned , that frantic injustice is inversely related with intellect 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 shady, incomplete, devious, and/ or market-warping cryptofinancial demeanor over the last year or so, as doggedly and faithfully documented by more another anonymous entity known as Bitfinexed, via the latter’s Medium affixes and Twitter feed. Went a assortment of free time and those who are interested in business skulduggery? Then I urge “youve got to” dive down that rabbit puncture 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 travelled from a revolutionary “we open governments” cipherpunk superstar to a more-or-less Putin apologist and seeming misogynist preoccupied with Hillary Clinton who is now fundraising by selling CryptoKitties. The course between playful 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 bad Twitter tweetstorms, which mostly try to remix actuality with severely written Hollywood law/ government thrillers, demonstrate a whole new kind of train-wreck political performance artwork informed by stunning paucity of self-awareness.
Mensch is perhaps the most unhinged of the three, but Garland is first among equals, because a) he apparently believes there is a million-dollar conspiracy to label him a plot theorist and b) in the months and months and countless, endless tweets since he first rose to prominence with his “Guys, it’s day for some game theory” tweet, he has still , in 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