(Roughly) Daily

“Our poetry is courage, audacity and revolt”*…

By Josh Millard for the Tabs Discord

One of your correspondent’s daily delights is Rusty Foster‘s Today in Tabs, a newsletter that informs and provokes as it, inevitably, amuses. Take for example this excerpt from Monday’s installment, subtitled “Today in Fascism”…

Could the end of the AI hype cycle be in sight?” asked TechBrew’s Patrick Kulp and precisely on time today here’s a doorstop of LinkedIn-brained crypto-(but-not-too-crypto)-fascism from Egg Andreessen titled “The Techno-Optimist Manifesto.” It’s very long, and you should absolutely not read it, but it’s useful for finally making explicit the fascist philosophy that people like Brad Johnson have long argued is growing steadily less implicit in Silicon Valley’s techno-triumphalism.

“Techno-Optimists believe that societies, like sharks, grow or die,” writes Egg, and Rose Eveleth was already like 🤔:

But before going fully mask-off, Andreessen has some crazy things to say about AI.

There are scores of common causes of death that can be fixed with AI, from car crashes to pandemics to wartime friendly fire.

But AI can surely help us kill the right people in war much more efficiently, yes? Still, he needs to make a pseudo-moral case to keep pumping cash into the AI bubble, so we get this:

We believe any deceleration of AI will cost lives. Deaths that were preventable by the AI that was prevented from existing is a form of murder.

Got that, Untermenschen? Regulation == murder. [Followed by the photo at the top]

But let’s get to the good stuff, in the section titled “Becoming Technological Supermen” (I swear I’m not making this up).

We believe in the romance of technology, of industry. The eros of the train, the car, the electric light, the skyscraper. And the microchip, the neural network, the rocket, the split atom.

We believe in adventure. Undertaking the Hero’s Journey, rebelling against the status quo, mapping uncharted territory, conquering dragons, and bringing home the spoils for our community.

To paraphrase a manifesto of a different time and place: “Beauty exists only in struggle. There is no masterpiece that has not an aggressive character. Technology must be a violent assault on the forces of the unknown, to force them to bow before man.”

The first two paragraphs here are just bonkers. He’s horny for trains? I guess he saw North By Northwest at an impressionable age. But that last paragraph contains the only quote in the whole piece that isn’t attributed to a specific source, and it turns out it’s not really a paraphrase, it’s a direct quote from Filippo Marinetti’s 1909 “Futurist Manifesto” with “technology” substituted for the original’s “poetry.” I wonder if Marinetti wrote any other famous manifestos?

In case we somehow still don’t get it, Andreessen specifies that “The Enemy” is “the ivory tower, the know-it-all credentialed expert worldview, indulging in abstract theories, luxury beliefs, social engineering, disconnected from the real world, delusional, unelected, and unaccountable…” and then drops an extended Nietzsche excerpt. You know who else hated the ivory tower and loved Nietzsche?…

Industrial Society and Its Future (Are Gonna Be Great!),” from @rusty.todayintabs.com. Do yourself the favor of subscribing to Today in Tabs— it’s marvelous.

* Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Manifesti Futuristi


As we reprioritize prudence, we might recall that it was on this date in 1896 that Richard F. Outcault‘s comic strip Hogan’s Alley— featuring “the Yellow Kid” (Mickey Dugan)– debuted in William Randolph Hearst’s New York Journal. While “the Yellow Kid” had appeared irregularly before, it was the first the first full-color comic to be printed regularly (many historians suggest), and one of the earliest in the history of the comic; Outcault’s use of word balloons in the Yellow Kid influenced the basic appearance and use of balloons in subsequent newspaper comic strips and comic books. Outcault’s work aimed at humor and social commentary; but (perhaps ironically) the concept of “yellow journalism” referred to stories which were sensationalized for the sake of selling papers (as in the publications of Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, an earlier home to sporadic appearances of the Yellow Kid) and was so named after the “Yellow Kid” cartoons.


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