Another year passed and with it we are in a new decade.
The thing with decades and years and centuries and millenniums is that they are just breaking points – a time for introspection to gather thoughts and tools for the years to come. Is it just me or was that last decade a bit of a mess?
Let me expand to see what I mean. The things of importance that happened in this decade, as imprinted in my mind, are all relatively panic-related, psy-ops kind of procedures. For things that affected me directly, or at least troubled me enough to remember them now we have:
- Economic crisis in Greece and Europe in general
- Arab Spring and all the war related events in Arab countries, ISIS
- The annexation of Crimea
- The oil spill at the Gulf of Mexico
- Fires destroying a great part of the Amazon rain-forest
- The Occupy movements that went away as fast as they appeared
- The rise of social media leading to events like Gamergate and then the election of Donald Trump as POTUS
- The refugee crisis in Europe
- Sexual harassment reports, in a wide spectrum including Weinstein, Epstein and such
- Panama papers, Paradise papers, leaks everywhere that led to nothing in the end
- Julian Assagne was arrested after years of living in the embassy of Ecuador in London.
- The end of an era in Free Software with the resignation of RMS
- The SJW movement and the opposition in the form of alt-right
- The ecological grassroots movements like XR in the UK and Greta Thunberg
And then we start the year with an execution of Iran's general by the USA. Things are not going really well.
The listing above is not in any way exclusive, it's just some events that I can recall easily as being the pillars of the last decade. What the heck did happen in the world? It's like this whole decade was a huge crisis, but on the other hand it feels like nothing happened. What's going on?
At least some issues are now open, like the treatment of marginalized groups and ways to empower them and such. I fully support these movements, even if in my opinion sometimes the can get obnoxious. The cancel culture is a part of this field. I agree with the issues, I'm not in favor of the outrage culture, the leftism as defined by Ted Kaczynski. It's good to have the issues on the table though, at least for now. We should seek resolutions in this decade, and strike in the heart of the problem creating such.
In technology this decade was the total "business-ification" of the Internet and the move away from personal computing devices. SaSS and such software, mobile devices that are useless without network connections, social media psy-ops. Adware everywhere.
What happened, in my view, is the tech world moved away from the concept of personal computing and more into business operations. Almost all buzzwords of the last decade are stuff used to make developing in easier for enterprises. We have DevOps, we have CI. The personal computing space now seems to be communicating with APIs even though we have in our pockets computers with lot's of power.
At the same time we have the big breakthrough of "Open Source" as an enterprise buzzword.
Microsoft 💔 Linux
Permissive licenses, new models like Open Core, Chrome OS.
What I feel is a gray area is the modern incarnation of Artificial Intelligence as Machine/Deep Learning. While the methods developed could prove to be of utmost value and a lot of them are developed in Free Software projects, the data used to train the algorithms is owned by Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook and such companies that have showed their true colors the last decade. We need to create ways to have access or gather data, to train algorithms that are in favor of the commons. The big conglomerates have already started to use them in ways that are against the people – killing drones, research of fossil fuel reserves, psychological warfare campaigns. This is a challenge for people of the new decade. We need to create our own tools and infrastructures that will serve our needs and not the ones of the 1%.
It's not all bad though. We have the first big wins in decentralized software/social media with ActivityPub and it's famous implementations like Mastodon, Pleroma, Peertube. There are huge possibilities in this stuff and some great work is happening right now, so I can't wait to see more. IPFS is also a big interesting thing, I think that I will offer my blog through IPFS this year.
The concept of functional package managers like Nix and Guix is also something really interesting. Personally I follow closely Guix's development because it's in Guile Scheme and also it's completely Free Software.
Hopes for the new decade
What I would want for the new year/decade?
I want the natural environment to be thriving and not destroyed by humanity's activities. I want knowledge and information to be freely available. I want people to be excellent to each other, to let others freely express themselves and to empower and be empowered. I want to hear of less conflicts and more constructive cooperation.
That's all! Happy new year.