Front Porch Chats #80

New Spring brewing white ale in glass, outside on table

The white ale from New Spring Brewing has a lemon pepper nose, a little coriander in the middle and a very crisp finish. It’s about as good as you could ask for, on what is probably the last warm fall day. 

I saw this video from the Vlogbrothers this week and while I encourage you to watch it, please allow me to summarize for those who don’t have twenty minutes to spare:

The internet, like radio or the printing press before it, is a brand new thing for people and so, just like radio of the printing press, we are doing it badly. It is going to take some time for people to get a handle on it and we should do so in ways that don’t crush people who want to create content, but don’t let the hook off of those who want to use “the algorithm” as an excuse for why white nationalists, anti-vaxxers or con artists get promoted on their platform. 

However, in the case of ‘the algorithm’ I think the defense of ‘we didn’t choose this’ is seriously disingenuous. You wrote the algorithm to do something, smart guy. When it does what you told it to, you’re still responsible. You gave orders and there were commands executed at your direction. 

That we don’t have a better grasp of how to internet is scary, in and of itself. That it comes at a time when we are facing a triple threat of fascism, pandemics, and climate crisis-any one of which will end life as we know it-seems both spectacularly unfortunate and bone chilling. 

It’s also just a little funny, if bleak humor is your jam and these days, it ought to be. Just to keep your sanity. 

However, there’s no reason to give up hope. Hope is what makes this survivable. That we still have millions of people working every day to make themselves better, make their relationship to each other and the planet less toxic, trying to tame the seemingly unbridled and near limitless forces that get to broadcast ‘fuck you, got mine’ to the world faster than I can type. 

Sure we don’t know how, just yet. But once upon a time, we didn’t know how to get to the moon, or make a vaccine, or make beer. Or push ‘send’ and transmit a message that could be received by over a billion people. 

So let’s get there. 

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