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Zuckerberg ditches annual challenges, but needs cynics to fix 2030


Zuckerberg ditches annual challenges, but needs cynics to fix 2030 – TechCrunch

Idealists alone can’t build utopia

Mark Zuckerberg won’t be spending 2020 focused on wearing ties, learning Mandarin or just fixing Facebook. “Rather than having year-to-year challenges, I’ve tried to think about what I hope the world and my life will look in 2030,” he wrote today on Facebook. As you might have guessed, though, Zuckerberg’s vision for an improved planet involves a lot more of Facebook’s family of apps.

His biggest proclamations in today’s notes include that:

  • AR – Phones will remain the primary computing platform for most of the decade but augmented reality could get devices out from between us so we can be present together — Facebook is building AR glasses
  • VR – Better virtual reality technology could address the housing crisis by letting people work from anywhere — Facebook is building Oculus
  • Privacy – The internet has created a global community where people find it hard to establish themselves as unique, so smaller online groups could make people feel special again — Facebook is building more private groups and messaging options
  • Regulation – The big questions facing technology are too thorny for private companies to address by themselves, and governments must step in around elections, content moderation, data portability and privacy — Facebook is trying to self-regulate on these and everywhere else to deter overly onerous lawmaking

Zuckerberg Elections

These are all reasonable predictions and suggestions. However, Zuckerberg’s post does little to address how the broadening of Facebook’s services in the 2010s also contributed to a lot of the problems he presents:

  • Isolation – Constant passive feed scrolling on Facebook and Instagram has created a way to seem like you’re being social without having true back-and-forth interaction with friends
  • Gentrification – Facebook’s shuttled employees have driven up rents in cities around the world, especially the Bay Area
  • Envy – Facebook’s algorithms can make anyone without a glamorous, Instagram-worthy life look less important, while hackers can steal accounts and its moderation systems can accidentally suspend profiles with little recourse for most users
  • Negligence – The growth-first mentality led Facebook’s policies and safety to lag behind its impact, creating the kind of democracy, content, anti-competition and privacy questions it’s now asking the government to answer for it

Noticeably absent from Zuckerberg’s post are explicit mentions of some of Facebook’s more controversial products and initiatives. He writes about “decentralizing opportunity” by giving small businesses commerce tools, but never mentions cryptocurrency, blockchain or Libra directly. Instead he seems to suggest that Instagram store fronts, Messenger customer support and WhatsApp remittance might be sufficient. He also largely leaves out Portal, Facebook’s smart screen that could help distant families stay closer, but that some see as a surveillance and data collection tool.

I’m glad Zuckerberg is taking his role as a public figure and the steward of one of humanity’s fundamental utilities more seriously. His willingness to even think about some of these long-term issues instead of just quarterly profits is important. Optimism is necessary to create what doesn’t exist.

Still, if Zuckerberg wants 2030 to look better for the world, and for the world to look more kindly on Facebook, he may need to hire more skeptics and cynics that see a dystopic future instead — people who understand human impulses toward greed and vanity. Their foresight on where societal problems could arise from Facebook’s products could help temper Zuckerberg’s team of idealists to create a company that balances the potential of the future with the risks to the present.

For more on why Facebook can’t succeed on idealism alone, read:

 

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Every radical turn in technology history has its great entrepreneur, and for space that person is SpaceX founder Elon Musk. His unswerving conviction that u201cspace must be affordableu201d led him to disrupt the old-school space launch industry with reusable Falcon 9 boosters, an achievement that has inspired hundreds of entrepreneurs and investors to take up […]n”,”protected”:false,”author”:36697590,”featured_media”:1932023,”comment_status”:”open”,”ping_status”:”closed”,”sticky”:false,”template”:””,”format”:”standard”,”meta”:”outcome”:””,”status”:””,”crunchbase_tag”:0,”amp_status”:””,”relegenceEntities”:[],”relegenceSubjects”:[],”jetpack_publicize_message”:”Disrupting Space: A new event from TechCrunch https://tcrn.ch/3a5l7KD”,”categories”:[426985170,174,17396],”tags”:[],”crunchbase_tag”:[],”tc_stories_tax”:[],”tc_event”:[576727286],”jetpack_featured_media_url”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/TC-Sessions-Space-Post-Image.png”,”jetpack_publicize_connections”:[],”shortlink”:”https://tcrn.ch/3a5l7KD”,”rapidData”:”pt”:””,”pct”:””,”featured”:false,”subtitle”:””,”fundingRound”:false,”seoTitle”:””,”seoDescription”:””,”premiumContent”:false,”premiumCutoffPercent”:1,”tc_cb_mapping”:[],”associatedEvent”:”ad”:”display”:true,”title”:”Tickets are now available to discover the next frontier in space – get yours now and save $150″,”override_link”:””,”date”:1593043200,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/events/tc-sessions-space-2020/”,”status”:”pre”,”title”:”TC Sessions: Space 2020″,”termID”:576727286,”event”:1931495,”authors”:[1551056],”hideFeaturedImage”:false,”_links”:”self”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1932016″],”collection”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts”],”about”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/types/post”],”replies”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/comments?post=1932016″],”version-history”:[“count”:8,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1932016/revisions”],”predecessor-version”:[“id”:1932324,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/posts/1932016/revisions/1932324″],”authors”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/guest-authors/ned-desmond”],”https://techcrunch.com/edit”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1932016&action=edit”],”author”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/tc/v1/users/36697590″],”wp:featuredmedia”:[“embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/media/1932023″],”wp:attachment”:[“href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/media?parent=1932016″],”wp:term”:[“taxonomy”:”category”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/categories?post=1932016″,”taxonomy”:”post_tag”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tags?post=1932016″,”taxonomy”:”_tc_cb_tag_taxonomy”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/crunchbase_tag?post=1932016″,”taxonomy”:”tc_stories_tax”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_stories_tax?post=1932016″,”taxonomy”:”tc_event”,”embeddable”:true,”href”:”https://techcrunch.com/wp-json/wp/v2/tc_event?post=1932016″],”curies”:[“name”:”wp”,”href”:”https://api.w.org/rel”,”templated”:true],”_embedded”:{“authors”:[“id”:1551056,”name”:”Ned Desmond”,”link”:”https://techcrunch.com/author/ned-desmond/”,”description”:”Ned Desmond is COO of TechCrunch. He was also responsible for Crunchbase from April 2012 until September 2015, when Crunchbase spun out of AOL/Verizon to become a standalone, venture-backed company. “,”slug”:”ned-desmond”,”links”:”facebook”:”http://www.facebook.com/ned.desmond”,”twitter”:”http://twitter.com/neddesmond”,”linkedin”:”http://www.linkedin.com/in/neddesmond”,”crunchbase”:”https://www.crunchbase.com/person/ned-desmond”,”position”:”Contributor”,”cbDescription”:”

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Instacart’s wider rollout of Pickup an attempt to rely less on gig workers?”,”content”:{“rendered”:”

Earlier today, Instacart more widely rolled out its Pickup product, which enables customers to retrieve groceries directly from stores. The announcement comes just a day after Instacart shoppers unveiled their latest action to #DeleteInstacart, another step in the ongoing series of protests against the grocery startup’s wage and tipping practices.n

Next Monday, Instacart workers are asking customers and the general public to tweet at Instacart, telling the company they will delete Instacart until the company meets their demands. They wrote:n

We have fought for fair pay, but Instacart continues to lower it. This current protest only has one small demand — to raise the app’s default tip amount back to 10%. This is the same default setting Instacart had originally, but the company has repeatedly lowered it (as well as resorted to outright theft) to take it away from us. Combined with their recent bonus-cutting act of retaliation, workers are now bleeding out of both sides — our pay is too low AND the default tip amount is too low.n

In a statement, Instacart said it’s tested a number of default tip options over the years, including a 10% default, no default and a 5% default. That has been in place for the last two years.n

“Ultimately, we believe customers should have the choice to determine the tip amount they choose to give a shopper based on the experience they have,” an Instacart spokesperson said. “The default amount serves as a baseline for a shopperu2019s potential tip, and can be increased to any amount by the customer.”n

In light of a new California gig worker protections law, which Instacart opposes, the greater push into pickup services could be a way for the company to beef up its argument that gig workers are free from the control of Instacart, and that its part-time workers* do the bulk of what Instacart says is its fastest-growing business.



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