TWIT 816: Who Owns the Clone

Beep boop - this is a robot. A new show has been posted to TWiT…

What are your thoughts about today’s show? We’d love to hear from you!

@Leo, as a reminder of your next new purchase :wink: Sauna Model Overview – KLAFS Their pull out ones seem really nifty, if not inexpensive.

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That was a very expensive show. :no_mouth:


Please, more guests/shows like this!
The episodes with more thoughtful comments from nuanced guests are way more interesting than journalists talking to each other about things they know only a little.


Absolutely excellent episode! As I’ve said before, Amy Webb elevates any conversation she’s in - even if it’s nothing more than reading a shopping list.

I am extremely disappointed to hear how pervasive it is for companies to almost actively refuse to engage in the kind of risk analysis needed to forecast the potential 2nd-order and 3rd order consequences. I would have though that kind of avoidance would be tantamount to a dereliction of responsibility.

I really wish Leo had pressed Kevin more on his role as a VC with regard to this. I know they said that many companies at the funding stages don’t do that - but I would hope this is something he will engage it. How many challenges with tech today could have been better handled with simply doing more risk analysis and consequence evaluation?


The best part of my spring break so far is laying on a beach chair, listening to some TWiT!


Kevin’s mindset is sand in the gears of intelligence. I cannot stand the way VCs like him think, but it’s good to get an airing of it for accountability’s sake especially with someone incisive enough to pierce his lazy, group-think hucksterism and facile hype like Amy, she’s such a breath of fresh air in that regard and did a decent job for this episode—she called such moves “smart” but that’s very different than the sweeping “should” from Kevin as tee’d-up by Leo. As a Discord user, I am incensed and disgusted at the prospect of Microsoft buying them—spoken obviously by Kevin not as a user but as a shark (he would likely protest shark is user advocacy via “innovation” in features enabled by getting gobbled by a behemoth, a tired, pernicious, ultimately snydely paternalistic canard). His blind glibness about “rough edges” on crypto-currency is outright revolting, and pretending like “on-boarding” through subsidized platform-controlled incentives that herd behavior into corporate-approved avenues is any solution to being un-banked or under-banked is an insulting feudalism that shows his ignorance of what he’s even playing at with his ridiculous cheerleading rhetoric and obnoxious social hounding about it! He is a creature of tech-bro culture running as a hack flak for capital in many of the worst ways, and he turned in a performance on-par for his ilk, which is to say sub-par for the course society must chart for a viable future. It’s no surprise he presided over one of the earlier social-media supernovae,, which poetically his brand of corporate fealty imploded in the infamous 3.0 redesign before it could metastasize into a Twitter-scale mosh-pit of flash-mobs, but even before then his brand of pile-on agitprop fostered the puerile, know-it-all, drive-by culture rampant on Digg from chan culture that later metastasized to Reddit and begat Gamergate as erstwhile handmaiden to right-wing conspiracies he’s too un-self-aware to feel the cognitive dissonance about even to this day as he decries them ~02:15:00!

Floating shares (“on the blockchain” jazz-hands) in his own DNA? (~01:03:50 & ~01:59:00) Fight for control and ownership of your own body, Kevin! You’re your own protean Hunger Games! No corporation or shareholders support your being fed anymore, because your shares are worth more than your actual body. Boo-hoo. But you were one of the first! Amy called that a groan-inducing “interesting”. The fact that corporate ownership of a life-form just because it brokered the transaction initiating its existence could even be on the table shows how porous and myopic her rubric of triangulated analysis actually is. shaking head

~01:31:00-01:34:30 - Leo got it right and I’m grateful he said it: think ahead and you shouldn’t create these social networks, certainly not as for-profit corporations, and absolutely not driven by algorithmic amplification, let alone wedded to it as their business model and reliant upon it for a vital proportion of their revenue—and again, the solution is not to trouble-shoot how to make a healthy corporation out of this! The myth that fiduciary duty to shareholders is the only internal accountability of corporations that places executives under culpability for NOT being sociopaths also must fall as it is not, in fact, enshrined in law, only in bad precedent.

Amy disappointed me in her hagiographic tones toward Bezos’ strategic thinking; she brushed right past Leo’s incisive check on her rhetoric that Zuckerberg’s a great strategic thinker, just operating under destructive “constraints” to wax rhapsodic about Bezos’ playing a longer game, overeager it would seem to me to give her own headspace more oxygen by playing up that angle rather than attacking Lex Luthor’s erstwhile empire so direly inhuman/e that’s it’s sparked a union movement for the 1st time in a generation. I really appreciated Leo’s pithy terseness in response describing human employee’s roles in such prospective designs. I really wish Amy would tread a little more carefully using Bezos as a battering-ram against short-term shareholder-coddling thinking, even though I sympathize with her impulse to instrumentalize any leverage against the moneyed knuckle-draggers the wall of whose brick-heads against which she finds herself obliged to bang hers in her own business consultancy.

~01:39:00 Leo asserts wisdom too seldom aired and inadequately appreciated: no single human can have sufficient perspective to determine the fate of humanity as a given, corporate-brokered utopia. That’s the whole point of democracy: the people broker our own destiny, by means of egalitarianism. ~01:47:00 Leo’s “don’t track me, man” being wrong-headed irresponsibility is such an easy mark for Amy’s realism to peremptively defeat her in her own thinking and neutralize her advocacy for humanity, as a futurist: Leo’s point, I think, was that the ramifications of failing to place rigorously enforced limits on data gatherance and usage could be a supposed cure for irresponsible habits that is worse than the disease. Instead, Amy pragmatically dissembled about personal, private mitigations while scoffing at today’s protests amounting to little. shaking head ~01:41:00 Amy’s scenario of healthier snacks paying for food assistance with verified healthier habits because food assistance is “too expensive” is such a cop-out, and here’s where I swing back to criticize her earlier framing of “optimized farming”: rather than locking up human potential in corporate proprietism, we owe it to ourselves and future generations to stem the tide of climate change through emerging organic best practices like remineralization and de-desertification which simultaneously balance ecology, provide local food security through increased yields comparable to even the heaviest-input agriculture, reduce political tensions, and improve people’s lives. But there’s “too much” money to be made otherwise for it to pierce the “technorati”’s psycho-social bubble, apparently—I feel like a voice in the wilderness in tech circles bringing up this stuff, accosted as a Luddite who trusts in hippy-dippy platitudes instead of experts even though actual, independent experts inconvenient for corporate interests have decades of findings and field trials now. No thank-you, sunlight-free, GMO/IP’ed farming. Science doesn’t even fully understand chlorophyll! And yet grow-lights’ results are supposed to earn our blessing as what everyone’s bodies will be built out of? scornful scoff

~02:12:00 - Leo’s in the lurch under rarified 230 immunity; I’m glad he’s not getting baited into supporting any hasty alterations, while acknowledging that as Kevin points out ~02:15:00 there’s undeniably a problem, but I had to sit back and laugh hearing him then hand-wring about the “recruiting process” when Facebook’s own study pins their algorithms for the vast majority of radicalization cultivating fertile ground for recruitment! More navel-gazing from tech punditry beholden to its proprietary, corporate sponsors. shaking head


Don’t hold back, tell us what you really think! :rofl:

I wouldn’t have put it quite so forcefully, but Kevin’s background shows through. I hate the, just get it working attitude, as opposed to getting it right. We see time and again the security has to be first and foremost in business today, but he was saying startups don’t care about security or getting it right, that is a very sad confession to the state of IT.


The blithe dismissal of any concerns about people without access to banking (or worse, access only to predatory banking) was shocking.


I don’t share your worry regarding Microsoft. Of the major companies out there, the Microsoft of recent years has shown themselves to be a really good steward of the companies they’ve purchased. Mojang, LinkedIn, Git, Bethesda (and related) - I think they have done well under Microsoft’s ownership.

If Google or Amazon were to buy them - I would have major concerns over the privacy issues. If Apple were to buy them - you could guarantee that it would suddenly and inexplicably become a MacOS/iOS-only app - with support for other platforms vanishing completely. Of the major tech companies - I trust the Microsoft of today far more than any of the others, and I feel they will do right by the users of Discord.

I appreciate your characterizations, but I have one for Microsoft as well, both because of their monopolist history and more broadly as of a piece with corporate-surveillance tech itself. I find it revealing that your umbrage is couched in a hypothetical pitted against Apple. My point is to advocate instead for more open and federated systems like Mastodon. Discord is within spitting distance of its other siloed kin, a platform beholden to and controlled by a corporate parent.


Well - the Apple example wasn’t entirely created out of nothing. They do have a history of buying services and then retooling them to be limited to their own platforms. I suppose it’s hypothetical in the sense that Apple hasn’t actually purchased Discord - so any potential action on their part is just that: potential.

Microsoft’s monopolist history roughly 20 years old at this point, and with a completely different reason than this. Apple is also a monopolist, due to their price fixing with iBooks - but, as with Microsoft - that particular approbation isn’t relevant with Discord.

Regarding open source - Microsoft is one of the largest contributors to open source. I don’t believe Discord has ever expressed any intentions to go open source (if they have - I have clearly missed it), so their purchase by any any company wouldn’t necessary change that outcome.

If you have examples of more recent predatory monopolist behavior by Microsoft, I am more than happy to reexamine my opinion on the company.

It’s grounds to later be predatory that concern me about Microsoft, these days, but again no less so anyone else. The reason I acknowledged what you said about Apple was to dismiss it as clearly antagonistically motivated: can no one mention criticism of Microsoft without its demanding a reciprocal justification of Apple?! lol

That Microsoft is open-source doesn’t address my concern. Open source does not always mean absence of proprietary, controlling interest. They would have to be free both as in libre and in price, which I seriously doubt will happen from them. I mentioned Mastodon because it, to my knowledge, is both of those things.

Let’s keep the Apple/Microsoft warring to a minimum please–they’re both big businesses who care little about our opinions.


My problem with the Discord buyout is the same problem I have with every buyout. Why? Why build a company with the goal of selling it on? Shouldn’t they be building a company and products that are sustainable, that they believe in?

We have moved from mid-sized businesses “ruling” the roost to every company that doesn’t get bought out by a huge conglomerate or doesn’t turn into a conglomerate is a failure.

That is one of the things I like and admire about Germany, small and medium sized businesses thrive here, in fact they still make up the majority of turnover and, as a group, are the biggest employers in the country.

If one of the big 5 buys it, I think Microsoft is probably the lesser evil, but that still doesn’t necessarily make it a good move…


I agree with @big_D that this is frustrating. While I don’t necessarily have a concern about Microsoft - I really don’t like the trend in general that these companies are trying to get just big enough to be worth buying.

It almost seems impossible for there to be a ‘small’ tech business - you either get big (and thus ripe for purchase) or you fail.


WASHINGTON, D.C. Small businesses are the lifeblood of the U.S. economy: they create two-thirds of net new jobs and drive U.S. innovation and competitiveness. They account for 44 percent of U.S. economic activity.

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Little annoyed by Kevin’s dismissal of Bitcoin’s massive energy draw. Just because renewable energy exists doesn’t mean it’s OK to use something so horrifically inefficient. How many solar cells and hydroelectric dams will be needed to feed the beast?