Seiler: Twitter goes full dystopia

If you haven’t already seen the new adaptation of William Gibson’s 2014 novel “The Peripheral” on Amazon Prime. Apart from the disappointing non-fiction parts, it’s a lot of fun.

The story takes place a few years from now in the rural south, where our young heroine Flynne is traversing the bottom rungs of the digital economy. One of her spurs is landing a contract as a paid virtual-reality gamer, which leads to her being hired by a shadowy corporation to beta-test a new game in a believably realistic futuristic metropolis. It turns out that she has arrived in London about a century in the future after the Earth-shattering “Jackpot” in a catastrophic set.

Flynne becomes a pawn in an espionage war between klepto-aristocrats: one side goes back in time to play with human history like an oblivious child, while the other side tries to undo that damage and make Jackpo better. to come

“The Peripheral” has a lot of humor that comes from the digital communication between the future and the past: the London setting is in our day when huge wads of money can be moved and buy everything from 3-D printing chains to quick-response mercenaries. They refer to Flynne’s reality as a “pinto,” one of the infinite branches created whenever someone digs into the past.

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There is great irony in the fact that Amazon, whose CEO Jeff Bezos is one of the world’s richest men, is producing a TV series.

At the top of that list is Elon Musk. There’s a character based on his name alone — who seems to have walked out of a Thomas Pynchon novel before entering Gibson’s novel. Musk’s takeover of Twitter has been less than 10 days old, and the platform is already plunged into chaos and uncertainty. As I write this on Friday, Musk has laid off half the company’s workforce as it tries to generate $1 billion a year in reported profits for debt service.

Musk’s first big monetization idea involved charging users who wanted a level of “blue-check” verification — often derided by many as bottom-up, stupid media elites. As the editor of a medium-sized newspaper, I want to make it clear that my family has been ridiculed for years for refusing to be verified, and if you think you have to pay $8 a month for someone. Privileged

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To borrow a plot from HBO’s “Westworld” (a show that shares creative talent with “The Peripheral”): Twitter’s business model has never been built around delivering a product. Powerful pieces of journalism; or misrepresentations about COVID-19 magic pills. If Musk wants to sell more ads around those things to generate more revenue, then go for it.

However, it should be noted that if the sidewalk starts to smell like salmon, few people will want to visit. A search for the N-word on Twitter last weekend revealed how many racists were excited by Musk’s arrival, rendering the word with copycats in clever graphic styles like Jack Nicholson in “The Shining.” Makes Jack a stupid boy.” I’ve reported a dozen of these accounts for violating Twitter’s ban on the use of racial/ethnic slurs. As of Friday, only three of them had been dealt with.

Musk decided to treat advertisers’ horror by responding to a candy store owner’s concern about a storefront window featuring a teenage thug in a leather jacket. “Twitter’s revenue has plummeted as activist groups put pressure on advertisers. With content moderation, nothing has changed and we have done everything we can to appease activists,” he tweeted. “Extremely nasty! They are trying to destroy free speech in America.” We’ve got a nice democracy – if anything happens to that, it would be a shame.

On Friday, NBC’s Ben Collins noted that Musk, whose Twitter bio notes that he’s covering the “dystopia beat” (a phrase that couldn’t be more sci-fi), could have harmful effects on Election Day. “The website is built on stilts and it can fall apart,” Collins said on MSNBC, summarizing the employees who took the bullet. If Musk allows up to $8 to screen people on Monday, the result will be candidates, election officials; He said the result of country-by-country spamming could be a galaxy of fake accounts, implying that it’s only for journalists or the public.

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A real jackpot!

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