Saturday, June 8, 2013
Notes on a particular tone of voice from business
I want to get this down before I forget. It has to do with corporate attitudes towards inconvenience or harm to a small number of people. They are setting their own contextualization about the needs of the many outweighing the needs of the few. So there is a message like "we apologize, but this kind of thing is bound to happen given the volume of people/transactions/information that comes through our thing every day." Suppose this isn't true, though. One thing is for sure - they will never contemplate the fact that they actually ought to shut down, or that the harm has outweighed the benefit. No company ever comes to that conclusion. Massive volume could be a smokescreen, potentially. Either as a way to shrug off neglect, or as an excuse and a form of plausible deniability towards a fraud they are quite aware of as it is going on. We ought to be constantly savvy towards situations where the real story is portrayed as a side story. For example, take a fraud having to do with trying to sell unemployed jobseekers a list of job listings. Or other work schemes that involve upfront fees. I think it is sometimes taught as part of Critical Thinking 101 that you never, never, never participate in this. Because these fees actually ARE the core of the scammer's business. If a person is familiar with the fonts/typefaces and the use of hyperbolic claims and other weird attributes of job-related things that are completely un-credible, they might escape unscathed but unfortunately, many people will probably get embroiled in employment scams especially as unemployment remains high. So it's very important to take a look at whether large, established business can engage in a modified form of these schemes. This whole bit of writing that I am doing on this subject is kind of unformed so I want to get the anchor down and revisit it some other time. But here is the basic skeleton of what it's all about. It has to do with the cloud. It runs on volume of people and permits a shrug of the shoulders towards the well-being of any one person. A lovely employment attorney I interviewed last year used the phrase "skimming off the applicants," in regards to Amazon. It probably gets portrayed as a way to make money. It is a turnkey business for the makers, because they have no responsibility for whether or not anyone actually does make money. The term "not a good fit" can always be applied to anyone after the fact. Again, plausible deniability. The participation of the gullible novice is important. You take something that under the hood has nothing to offer, is economically non-viable, and say "what have you got to lose, why not just try it for a short time, with no obligation?" The person being targeted joins up, and in one way or another, provides something for free. It could be an upfront fee, or, it could be participation in a so-called "Web 2.0" website. The subtext of Web 2.0 is that it's attractive to an investor because the costs are reduced by the fact that users create free content, users consume content from each other, and possibly the proprietor makes money through advertising. A story is told about the importance of your social standing and the respect that is afforded to your opinions. Which makes people get the urge to create a bunch of opinions, which are now somewhat fake and made of air, since the pacing was forced. The cart is leading the horse. And also, the work that the person does is done in this environment of work now at the outset, for a promise of future rewards. This is the sleight of hand. The churning present is the real story, not the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Suppose it's 2050 and you have a crowdsourced telesurgery service. Surgeons from all over the planet are vetted for their qualifications and the top applicants get the privilege of joining the crowdsourced telesurgeon. The telesurgeon will act through a robotic drone with degrees of freedom comparable to the human body. When a surgery begins, doctors can participate in particular decisions of what to do next, in return for a penny reward. Through the use of massive redundancy, an action (like moving a scalpel five more degrees to the left) only takes place when 99% of the doctors in the crowdsourced telesurgeon have agreed. The quality of the surgery, when redundancy is used in this way, has been shown to be equally as good as having a real surgeon present. The patient doesn't even have to pay the penny reward to those doctors who made an incorrect choice. (Incorrect is defined as going against the consensus.) The proprietors of the telesurgery company are hailed for creating jobs. And the system is so popular (since work for non-crowdsourced doctors is faltering) that anyone who quits will be easily replaced by "skimming off the applicants."