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posted by janrinok on Wednesday January 25 2023, @03:02PM   Printer-friendly
from the circle-of-life dept.

https://pluralistic.net/2023/01/21/potemkin-ai/#hey-guys

Here is how platforms die: first, they are good to their users; then they abuse their users to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those business customers to claw back all the value for themselves. Then, they die.

I call this enshittification, and it is a seemingly inevitable consequence arising from the combination of the ease of changing how a platform allocates value, combined with the nature of a "two sided market," where a platform sits between buyers and sellers, hold each hostage to the other, raking off an ever-larger share of the value that passes between them.

[...] Search Amazon for "cat beds" and the entire first screen is ads, including ads for products Amazon cloned from its own sellers, putting them out of business (third parties have to pay 45% in junk fees to Amazon, but Amazon doesn't charge itself these fees). All told, the first five screens of results for "cat bed" are 50% ads.

This is enshittification: surpluses are first directed to users; then, once they're locked in, surpluses go to suppliers; then once they're locked in, the surplus is handed to shareholders and the platform becomes a useless pile of shit. From mobile app stores to Steam, from Facebook to Twitter, this is the enshittification lifecycle.


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  • (Score: 1) by khallow on Wednesday January 25 2023, @07:33PM (12 children)

    by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 25 2023, @07:33PM (#1288576) Journal

    Imagine a world with UBI, where people do things because they want to, not because they need money for food or rent or their 2nd Gulfstream V... I wonder if you can.

    I imagine they could watch some really great TV and keep a really nice sofa warm. Then they would vote for this great guy who will promise them more UBI though he's a bit nebulous on how. And the enshittification of modern society would continue.

  • (Score: 5, Touché) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday January 25 2023, @08:02PM (11 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday January 25 2023, @08:02PM (#1288587)

    >I imagine they could watch some really great TV and keep a really nice sofa warm.

    We all know the limits of your imagination.

    --
    🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by khallow on Wednesday January 25 2023, @11:20PM (10 children)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 25 2023, @11:20PM (#1288605) Journal

      I imagine they could watch some really great TV and keep a really nice sofa warm.

      We all know the limits of your imagination.

      We all know the limits of UBI too. It's not going make great people out of couch potatoes - because we have similar programs today and well, they don't do much for us. The "we'd do great things if only someone would give us a piddling amount of money per month" is nonsense.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Wednesday January 25 2023, @11:46PM (9 children)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Wednesday January 25 2023, @11:46PM (#1288608)

        >because we have similar programs today and well, they don't do much for us.

        In your mind. First problem with the programs you refer to is that they require recipients to be verifiable couch potatoes or risk conviction on federal felony fraud charges. Then we can talk about the army of administrative bureaucrats that are paid gatekeepers for the program which provides no security to non couch potatoes.

        Change that and you will see vastly different results from the program.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 1, Disagree) by khallow on Thursday January 26 2023, @12:17AM (8 children)

          by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 26 2023, @12:17AM (#1288617) Journal

          In your mind. First problem with the programs you refer to is that they require recipients to be verifiable couch potatoes or risk conviction on federal felony fraud charges. Then we can talk about the army of administrative bureaucrats that are paid gatekeepers for the program which provides no security to non couch potatoes.

          First, such programs as you refer to are still cheaper than UBI. Need-based is funny that way - you're only paying for a small number of people rather than everyone. Second, we have pension funds as the UBI equivalent which are not needs based. You don't have to achieve couch potato status or even stop working in a lot of cases. There's a few interesting retirees out there, but for the most part it's just a mass of people who aren't doing much. I don't mind people who worked hard and now don't. But I don't want to pay people to become couch potatoes. That's harmful in two ways, both as an utter waste of my money and as a great harm to people who are encouraged to just sit around.

          • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday January 26 2023, @02:29AM (7 children)

            by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday January 26 2023, @02:29AM (#1288636)

            What part of "you're financially secure enough to go back to school or otherwise take the time required to find a better job" is encouraging people to just sit around?

            If someone is so lazy that their true ambition is to toke up on the sofa and watch endless television entertainment, I'm pretty sure I'd rather have somebody else as a co-worker anyway.

            The real fears of UBI come from the old sermons: "Idle hands are the Devil's workshop" and all that, but the silent minority has learned to hold their tongues about such things when they might mark themselves as religious nutjobs at a time when religious nutjobs aren't in control.

            --
            🌻🌻 [google.com]
            • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday January 26 2023, @03:24AM (6 children)

              by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 26 2023, @03:24AM (#1288645) Journal

              What part of "you're financially secure enough to go back to school or otherwise take the time required to find a better job" is encouraging people to just sit around?

              The whole thing. If you're that financially secure, you're secure enough to sit around.

              • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26 2023, @08:34AM (3 children)

                by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26 2023, @08:34AM (#1288680)

                Have we run into the limits of imagination again?

                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday January 26 2023, @02:11PM (2 children)

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 26 2023, @02:11PM (#1288699) Journal
                  Indeed, but not on my part. We have this game played all the time. Capability != what people actually do. Reminds me of people buying a fancy sports car. The car can do all kinds of amazing things, but you'll get pulled over/arrested, and/or lose control of the vehicle at an inopportune moment because you're racing on a normal road with normal drivers not the highly controlled circumstances of a specialized race track. The capability of the sports car can't be realized.

                  Here, we have similar issues. And I know we do, because we already have income. It may not be basic, but it is pretty close to universal (around 58% [statista.com]in the US in 2021). This magic you speak of hasn't happened yet which indicates to me that it won't happen with UBI either. It's just a fantasy driving this.

                  Finally, the elephant in this room is who will pay for it and how will we control negative effects like increased inflation and debt? Glancing through US spending, there's only about $3 trillion (mostly Social Security) that can be theoretically replaced at present. JoeMerchant's proposal of $15k per would generate about $5 trillion in new spending (over 330 million citizens roughly). So right there, even if things go without a hitch, we've increased spending by about $2 trillion per year (40% increase). And we've created two additional problems: what happens when someone promises more UBI and gets elected? Each additional $3k is another trillion USD in spending per year. There's now an incentive for voters to vote for their interests and against the future of the US (or other developed world country).

                  What happens with mundane things like inflation - while I've heard it might be going down, it was 8% for a bit, that's $400 billion in baked in spending increase for a single year of UBI, if you want it to keep up with that level of inflation. And it doesn't help with medical cost increases (from Medicare in particular) which are set to soak up many trillions in US federal spending in future years.

                  Given that US government spending is already a significant contributor to inflation, we've put in a positive feedback mechanism for inflation. By itself UBI won't cause runaway hyperinflation, but historically when a government does one big dumb thing, it usually does many others. This reduces our room for error, all for terrible reasons.

                  Rather than build a fragile society with a bunch of couch potatoes, how about we build a resilient society that can handle the troubles and disasters that a society routinely faces?
                  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26 2023, @06:29PM (1 child)

                    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26 2023, @06:29PM (#1288753)

                    > who will pay for it

                    The same people who pay 50% of all income to 1% of the population.

                    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Thursday January 26 2023, @06:45PM

                      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Thursday January 26 2023, @06:45PM (#1288759) Journal

                      The same people who pay 50% of all income to 1% of the population.

                      Here's hoping other people get the clue too.

              • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Thursday January 26 2023, @01:31PM (1 child)

                by JoeMerchant (3937) on Thursday January 26 2023, @01:31PM (#1288693)

                >If you're that financially secure, you're secure enough to sit around.

                True, but looking at the adult offspring of the wealthy, they don't seem to be sitting around doing nothing in any greater proportion than the rest of us.

                --
                🌻🌻 [google.com]
                • (Score: 1) by khallow on Friday January 27 2023, @01:38PM

                  by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Friday January 27 2023, @01:38PM (#1288902) Journal

                  True, but looking at the adult offspring of the wealthy, they don't seem to be sitting around doing nothing in any greater proportion than the rest of us.

                  There seems to be some disagreement [soylentnews.org] about that.

                  Playing golf and drinking martinis is not working. That's the way you do it, money for nothing, and chicks for free. (D. Trump theory of economic justice)

                  And another effect that bears mentioning. We already have UBI in the form of pensions. And an interesting social phenomenon emerged - the idea that one could stop working became acceptable everywhere. Suddenly there was this thing called "retirement" which everyone could do.