Blissful New Yr! It’s been a transformational yr in tech. The golden period of startups ended. Sorry about that. The tech trade lastly rolled over a giant rock it had ignored and/or leaned on for years, and uncovered the squirming morass of sexual harassment beneath. We witnessed main AI breakthroughs, a cryptocurrency megaboom, actually actually self-driving vehicles, and 18 SpaceX launches.
However the Jons should not about these form of accomplishments. The Jons, an annual award named (in an awe-inspiring match of humility) after myself, have a good time tech’s extra doubtful achievers — and hoo boy oh boy have been there a whole lot of these this yr. So let’s get to it! With little or no additional ado, I provide you with: the third annual Jon Awards for Doubtful Technical Achievement!
(The Jons 2015) (The Jons 2016)
THE WHOLE WORLD OWES THIS GUY AN APOLOGY BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN HE ISN’T A LUNATIC AWARD FOR REVEALING THE TRUTH WHICH IS ACTUALLY OUT THERE, WELL KINDA, BUT STILL I MEAN HOLY SHIT
To Tom DeLonge of Blink-182, whose apparently delusional disquisitions a few secret Deep State authorities group devoted to monitoring UFOs and harboring mysterious and presumably otherworldly alloys in warehouses, and so forth. and so forth. and so forth., turned out to be, extremely, no less than half true, per the New York Occasions’s revelation that such a program did exist till 2012. However wait, there’s extra! That program’s principals at the moment are employed by — that’s proper — DeLonge himself. WTF. Does this imply UFOs are actual? In all probability not. Was this program pure pork? Very presumably. Is that this nonetheless probably the most glorious story of 2017? You betcha.
THE IF YOU DISRESPECT THE SACRAMENT OF LINEAR REGRESSION ONE MORE TIME I WILL GET OLD TESTAMENT ON YOU AWARD FOR TRULY GODLIKE SELF-REGARD
To Anthony Levandowski, former “Alphabet self-driving automobile impresario” turned “Otto CEO” turned “Uber self-driving automobile impresario” turned “man within the dock staring down an entire heap of authorized hassle which in flip unearthed much more jaw-droppingly unhealthy Uber conduct,” however imagine it or not that’s what this award is even about:
Two years in the past, ‘Levandowski based a non secular group, Method of the Future, to “develop and promote the belief of a Godhead based mostly on Synthetic Intelligence.” And folks say tech is secular! I for one stay up for a novel authorized protection arguing that the secular authorities ought to recuse themselves completely from his case due to their lengthy problematic historical past of bewilderment and suppressing God’s prophets.
THE IF WE COULD PUT DRM ON AIR WE WOULD AND DON’T THINK WE AREN’T THINKING ABOUT IT AWARD FOR COMMODIFYING THE UNCOMMODIFIABLE
It was unhealthy sufficient when Juicero utilized DRM to juice earlier than flaming out spectacularly. Worse but when DRM was accountable for the digital genocide of Second Life’s puffins and rabbits. However Reefill actually took the cake, or, as Marie Antoinette would possibly put it, ate the brioche: they need individuals to pay for the correct to unlock faucet water stations. I certain stay up for our air filters that should be fed quarters/satoshis each few hours in order that we don’t must breathe the uncooked polluted mutagenic biohazard air of our courageous new DRMed dystopian future.
THE WE’RE VERY EXCITED THAT OUR TERRIBLE ARTICLE HAS STARTED SUCH AN INTENSE CONVERSATION THOUGH ADMITTEDLY ON CLOSER INSPECTION IT DOES SEEM TO CONSIST OF EVERY EXPERT IN THE ENTIRE WORLD TELLING US WE DONE FUCKED UP AWARD FOR OVERSTANDING YOUR JOURNALISTIC GROUND
To The Guardian — for many years, certainly one of my favourite, most-trusted, most-read information organizations, for whom I’ve written myself — for his or her colossal WhatsApp screwup, which, inexplicably and indefensibly, took them 5 months to simply accept and semi-sorta-kinda-retract, regardless of an ongoing refrain of fury and horror from mainly each safety knowledgeable alive all through that interval. For disgrace.
THE THROW THEM UNDER THE BUS AWARD FOR THE BUCK STOPPING, UH, OVER THERE SOMEWHERE
To Equifax’s former CEO, Richard Smith, who blamed the large safety breach that uncovered 143 million Social Safety numbers and so forth. on one engineer not doing their job, moderately than on, oh, say, the particular person accountable for a company construction so pathological that the safety of the corporate’s knowledge — and knowledge administration is that this multibillion-dollar firm’s one job — wound up being delegated to a single particular person with no oversight or backup.
THE IF YOU LIKED IT YOU SHOULD HAVE PUT A BLOCKCHAIN ON IT AWARD FOR BEST CORPORATE REBRAND
To the Lengthy Island Iced Tea comnpany, an unprofitable micro-cap soft-drink producer which eleven days in the past abruptly rebranded itself Lengthy Blockchain Corp and promptly noticed its inventory soar 500%. Now that’s a pivot!
THE DON’T CALL IT A COMEBACK AWARD FOR MOST TONE-DEAF ATTEMPT TO TURN DISGRACE INTO A BUSINESS MODEL
To former VC Justin Caldbeck, who retired in shame after an array of accusations of sexual harassment, after which, not 5 months later, tried to reinvent himself as a motivational speaker warning college students in regards to the risks of “bro tradition” whereas additionally sending more-or-less type emails to individuals “who’ve expressed public curiosity and a ardour for this area,” asking for recommendation relating to “the web site that I’m making which is meant to be a [information about sexual harassment] useful resource.”
THE IT SEEMS PRETTY WIFTY AT FIRST BUT ON CONSIDERATION MAYBE WE SHOULD HAVE THESE AROUND EVERY CORNER AWARD FOR MOST INNOVATIVE CONFERENCE FEATURE
To the MAPS Psychedelic Science convention I coated earlier this yr, and particularly its Therapeutic Oasis zone for these for whom, uhhhh, the stresses of, uhhhh, the subject material might need develop into just a little an excessive amount of. However you understand what, the Ethereal blockchain convention a couple of months later had a yoga and chill-out zone too. Is that this a development? Will future tech conferences embrace classes that consist largely of chanting in Haskell and new asanas named “The Drone,” “The Blockchain,” and “The Web Of Issues”? We will however hope.
THE YOU DO HAVE A HISTORY OF BEING A LITTLE UNCLEAR ON BASIC ECONOMIC CONCEPTS AWARD FOR SILLIEST MAJOR CRYPTOCURRENCY PROPOSAL
Word that weasel world main in there, however, I imply, c’mon, in any other case we’d be right here all day: the federal government of Venezuela needs to concern a Proof-of-Work cryptocurrency backed by 5 billion barrels of oil. That is apparently not a joke. It’s, nonetheless, very foolish. I’ll let “Marmot Man” Preston J. Byrne clarify precisely why:
That is absurd. The place an issuer could be recognized (say, a sovereign) and the factor being purchased and offered comes with authorized rights (say, dividends from oil manufacturing), you obviate the necessity for mining. In the event you’re a rustic, the form of system you need to run is a permissioned system the place you management the validators, not an open system that may be hijacked by a bunch of nameless electrical energy thieves in China.”
THE MATH IS BAD AND MUST BE BANNED MMMKAY AWARD FOR FAILING TO UNDERSTAND THE LIMITS OF DEMOCRATIC POWER
To all of the clueless morons who preserve hoping to ban end-to-end encryption, most notably the present UK authorities. Repeat after me: encryption is math. What’s extra, many implementations of that math are open-source. You can’t ban math. In the event you power some firms to take away math from their software program, individuals who need to use math will simply use completely different software program which does have math. All you’ll do is strip the advantages of math from the individuals for whom math is an ancillary moderately than major profit. Everybody will lose. Please cease being idiots.
(UK authorities readers: please substitute “math” with “maths” within the above paragraph to help comprehension. I might assume this goes with out saying however, properly, this doesn’t seem like the case if you’re a part of the UK authorities.)
THE HOKEY INTELLIGENCE AND TECHNICAL COMPETENCE ARE NO MATCH FOR IGNORANT BIGOTRY, KID AWARD FOR CONFUSING WANTING SOMETHING WITH BEING ABLE TO DO IT
To the alt-right’s “parallel Web,” which has develop into a land of: “ghost cities, with few lively customers and no apparent supervision. As expertise merchandise, many are second- or third-rate, with lengthy load occasions, damaged hyperlinks and frequent error messages.” I’m shocked, shocked, that livid bigotry is inversely correlated with intelligence and technical competence.
THE PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE MAN BEHIND THE CURTAIN, THE FINE PRINT IN THE CONTRACT, OR THE CURIOUS BEHAVIOR OF THE WEREWOLF IN THE NIGHT-TIME AWARD FOR MYSTERIOUS FINANCIAL SHENANIGANS
To the … a number of entities … a few of whom appear to be associated indirectly to the Bitfinex trade, and the Tether cryptocurrency, who’ve apparently been engaged in an entire galaxy of shady, sketchy, manipulative, and/or market-warping cryptofinancial conduct over the past yr or so, as doggedly and faithfully documented by but one other nameless entity often known as Bitfinexed, through the latter’s Medium posts and Twitter feed. Obtained a bunch of free time and an curiosity in monetary skulduggery? Then I encourage you to dive down that rabbit gap and marvel at what you discover.
THE FEET, LEGS, TORSO, ARMS, AND HEAD OF CLAY AWARD FOR THE FARTHEST FALL FROM GRACE TO FARCE
To Julian Assange, who over the past seven years has gone from a radical “we open governments” cipherpunk hero to a more-or-less Putin apologist and obvious misogynist obsessive about Hillary Clinton who’s now fundraising by promoting CryptoKitties. The road between whimsical and pathetic is, I’m afraid, someplace again thataway.
THE CALLING ME A CONSPIRACY THEORIST MEANS YOU’RE PART OF THE CONSPIRACY AWARD FOR MOST SELF-AGGRANDIZINGLY DELUSIONAL WORLDVIEW
Collectively awarded to Eric Garland, Seth Abramson, and Louise Mensch, whose breathless, incoherent, interminable, and constantly improper Twitter tweetstorms, which mainly attempt to remix actuality with badly written Hollywood authorized/political thrillers, exemplify an entire new form of train-wreck political efficiency artwork knowledgeable by spectacular lack of self-awareness.
Mensch is probably probably the most unhinged of the three, however Garland is first amongst equals, as a result of a) he apparently believes there’s a million-dollar conspiracy to label him a conspiracy theorist and b) within the months and months and numerous, infinite tweets since he first rose to prominence along with his “Guys, it’s time for some recreation principle” tweet, he has nonetheless, as far as I can inform, by no means truly mentioned any recreation principle. As such his award shall include a bonus shaggy-dog bobblehead.
THE REALLY IT DIDN’T EVEN SEEM LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME TO BE HONEST AWARD FOR THE MOST ILL-CHOSEN TATTOO
THE THAT’LL SHOW THEM AWARD FOR THE MOST INEFFECTIVE ACT OF TECHNO-POLITICAL DEFIANCE
To the whole parliament of the Republic of Chechnya, who give up Instagram en masse in solidarity with their chief, notoriously brutal thug Ramzan Kadyrov, after he was kicked off the platform. As a consequence of this daring transfer … no, hold on, turns on the market have been no penalties in anyway, until you rely widespread mockery similar to this.
THE WORM HAS TURNED AWARD FOR THE MOST INEFFECTIVE ACT OF TECHNO-POLITICAL ADVOCACY
To PotCoin, a cryptocurrency that focuses on marijuana transactions, who sponsored former NBA nice Dennis Rodman’s January journey to North Korea within the hope of, and I quote, ‘one thing that’s fairly optimistic’ occurring. I imply, in equity, nothing disastrous occurred, however it appears to me that peace has not but returned to the Korean peninsula regardless of Rodman’s GOAT rebounding abilities. Perhaps subsequent time?
Congratulations, of a kind, to the winners of the Jons! All recipients shall obtain a bobblehead of myself made up as a Blue Man, as per the picture on this put up, which can probably develop into coveted and more and more priceless collectibles. (And evidently someday subsequent yr they are going to develop into redeemable for JonCoin.) And, after all, all winners shall be remembered by posterity forevermore.
1Bobbleheads shall solely be distributed if and when out there and handy. The eventual existence of stated bobbleheads is just not assured or certainly even significantly doubtless. Not legitimate on days named after Norse or Roman gods.