It was one of the best of years, it was the worst of years, it was the wokest of years, it was essentially the most problematic of years, it was the yr of AI, it was the yr of scooters, it was the yr of Large Tech triumph, it was the yr of Large Tech scandals, it was the yr of Musk’s shame, it was the yr of Tesla’s redemption, it was the yr of shitcoin justice, it was positively not the yr of AR or VR, it was the dumbest timeline, it was the spring of stanning, it was the winter of wtf.
It was, in brief, a yr tailored for The Jons, an annual award celebrating tech’s extra doubtful achievers, named, in an awe-inspiring match of humility, after myself. 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 Jons 2017)
THE FEET AND LEGS AND TORSO OF CLAY AWARD FOR SUDDEN REGRESSION TO THE MEAN
To Elon Musk, who prior to now yr went from (in lots of eyes) “messiah who might do no fallacious” to “man who has paid a $20 million nice and stepped down as chairman in an effort to settle with the SEC relating to allegations of tweeted fraud; been sued for very publicly accusing a stranger of pedophilia with no proof; feuded with Azealia Banks; been roundly criticized for the circumstances in Tesla’s factories; and been pilloried (although additionally, and to my thoughts extra precisely, tentatively praised) for his new Boring Tunnel.” Don’t have heroes, children.
THE BUT ON THE OTHER HAND THERE ARE ALL THOSE SHINY NEW ELECTRIC CARS AWARD FOR ATTEMPTED DOOMSAYING
Surprisingly, regardless of the earlier award, this one goes to the herds of bears who spent a lot of the yr claiming that Tesla’s imminent doom and chapter would turn into apparent and indeniable any day now. The roars of the bears appear to have grown a lot quieter of late, most likely as a result of the Mannequin three’s manufacturing charge has rocketed from 1,000 per week firstly of the yr to 1,000 per day of late. No imply feat on the a part of Tesla workers.
THE YES BUT THE DIFFERENCE IS THE RUSSIANS KNOW IT’S DISINFORMATION AWARD FOR BAD OPSEC
To Donald Trump, who apparently continues to make use of an insecure iPhone which the Chinese language and Russians pay attention to. The excellent news? Officers have “confidence he was not spilling secrets and techniques as a result of he hardly ever digs into the small print of the intelligence he’s proven and isn’t effectively versed within the operational specifics of navy or covert actions.” Put much less diplomatically, the President of the US doesn’t pay sufficient consideration to briefings to have any essential secrets and techniques to share. Nothing to fret about there! Trump responded by tweeting a denial, saying he solely had a “seldom used authorities mobile phone” … from the iOS Twitter app.
THE YOU MUST ADMIT I WAS AT LEAST RIGHT ABOUT EVERYTHING BEING DIFFERENT NOW AWARD FOR BUBBLY BITCOIN PREDICTIONS
It’s too simple and apparent to present this award to John McAfee, who I believe of truly angling for a Jon yr after yr. And as a believer that cryptocurrencies have long-term significance, I’m not going to award anybody for his or her less-outlandish-than-McAfee medium-term beliefs. So this award goes to Bitcoin uberbull Tom Lee, who claimed Bitcoin would finish the yr at $15,000 … within the second half of November. There’s some extent you virtually must admire; the purpose at which hype turns into delusion.
THE SURE BUT IT’S A MORE CONNECTED KIND OF MISERY, EXPLOITATION, AND DISINFORMATION AWARD FOR DESTROYING THE GLOBAL VILLAGE IN ORDER TO SAVE IT
To not Mark Zuckerberg, truly, whose firm has, in its zeal for connecting the world, and its perception that that is at all times and routinely a very good factor, amplified genocide, offered a platform for manipulation and disinformation which can have helped tip the Brexit referendum, and 2016 presidential election (each of which have been admittedly so shut that there have been most likely dozens of features which “helped tip” them) and is more and more extensively seen as a major web unfavorable for the world because of its enterprise mannequin of incentivizing “engagement” above all else. He’d be a worthy recipient, however this goes to Sheryl Sandberg, for epitomizing Fb management’s thin-skinned tunnel imaginative and prescient whereby they routinely suspect anybody who criticizes Fb of getting a bad-faith ulterior motive, when she “requested Fb’s communications employees to analysis George Soros’s monetary pursuits within the wake of his high-profile assaults on tech firms.”
THE PICK A HORSE ANY HORSE BUT LOOK JUST ONE HORSE AWARD FOR OXYMORONISM IN THE FACE OF SOCIAL MEDIA
To everybody — particularly journalists and media executives — who thinks that the large social-media firms are too highly effective and that tech firms ought to train extra management over the dissemination of public speech, and/or to everybody who says that the large social-media firms shouldn’t ever censor whereas being completely conscious that they’re already exercising management over the dissemination of public speech by way of their timeline algorithms. There are various, many copies of this specific award to go round.
(Word that there are at least two intellectually constant approaches right here: one is to be explicitly supportive of social media firms moderating speech; one other is to favor non-algorithmic, non-amplifying, non-optimized-for-engagement, strict-chronological feeds)
THE COMETH THE HOUR, COMETH THE SPECTACULARLY OUT-OF-TOUCH COVEN OF CLUELESS OLD WHITE MEN AWARD FOR REMINDING US THAT SOMETIMES THE CURE IS WORSE THAN THE DISEASE
To the members of the US Congress, each homes, for making Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai appear cuddly, pleasant, sensible, heat, human, plugged-in, and in-touch with the widespread man and girl, by comparability with their unbelievably clueless query. Who can overlook “Senator, we promote adverts,” and/or “Congressman, iPhone is made by a unique firm”?
THE STREET FINDS ITS OWN DISUSES FOR THINGS AWARD FOR BOOTLEG URBAN RENEWAL
To Lime, Chicken, and the opposite scooter firms whose merchandise have spent the yr being thrown by the dozen into Lake Merritt within the coronary heart of Oakland, presumably with the collective intent of turning that vacant water into reclaimed land, simply as downtown San Francisco is constructed on the carcasses of crusing ships from the 49er gold rush.
THE OONTZ OONTZ OONTZ TRONC TRONC TRONC AWARD FOR FINALLY GETTING THAT THE JOKE WAS ON THEM
To Tribune Publishing, till not too long ago often called Tronc, for reminding us of their unbelievably horrible identify once they lastly — lastly! — determined to desert it in favor of one thing not risible. A small silver second-place award goes to Oath, the proprietor of TechCrunch, for thereby rising to the highest of the “Worst Media Firm Identify” rankings.
THE SOMETIMES NOTHING IS A REAL COOL HAND AWARD FOR DOING NOTHING BECAUSE NOTHING WAS NECESSARY
To Twitter, who, when famous far-right wacko Laura Loomer handcuffed herself to Twitter’s NYC constructing after she was completely banned by them for hate speech, responded by — brilliantly — doing nothing in any respect. They didn’t ask the police to take away her. They didn’t press costs. They ignored her utterly. And Loomer went from “she is not going to take away till CEO Jack Dorsey reinstates her account” to “After a number of hours of complaining concerning the chilly, Loomer ultimately requested to be faraway from the door.”
THE COME ON NOW DON’T BE EVIL WAS A LONG TIME AGO AWARD FOR REDEFINING GOOGLEY
To Google, clearly, for being compelled to come back to phrases with what certain seems from the surface like a tradition of pervasive sexual harassment by a large worker walkout in the identical yr its plans for a brand new censorship-friendly China search engine leaked. Look not for the trigram in thy brother’s eye, and many others.
THE CENTRAL CASTING MAD SCIENTIST AWARD FOR BRINGING US THE DYSTOPIA WE DESERVE
To He Jiankui, the self-funded physician who apparently introduced us the world’s first two human infants genetically edited by way of CRISPR, with out letting something like an ethics evaluate board, a well-considered profit/threat ratio, the pre-existence of well-established less-dangerous methods to realize the allegedly desired end result, or the rest stand in his manner. However then, if he had, that wouldn’t actually have captured the 2018zeitgeist, wouldn’t it?
THE WHAT ARE THE NEW RUULES AWARD FOR MAKING NICOTINE MORALLY AMBIGUOUS AGAIN
To Juul, which has made a ridiculous boatload of cash and extra importantly made lots of people appear very foolish as they moral-panic about vaping as if it’s the similar as smoking, and others appear simply as foolish as they moral-panic about that ethical panic as if vaping has been assured on stone tablets to don’t have any deleterious unwanted effects in any respect. The place is the nuanced center? Ah, let’s not child ourselves, it’s 2018, nobody cares concerning the nuanced center any extra. Convey on the outrage!
THE LISTEN UP YOUNG WHIPPERSNAPPER I WAS THE CEO OF A CYBERSECURITY FIRM AND THE PRESIDENT’S CYBERSECURITY ADVISOR I’LL HAVE YOU KNOW AWARD FOR NOT ACTUALLY KNOWING ANYTHING AT ALL ABOUT HOW TO CYBER THE CYBER. CYBER!
To Rudy Giuliani, who actually was the CEO of a cybersecurity agency (Cyber!) and actually was the president’s cybersecurity advisor (Cyber! Cyber!) and but, as proven by his bewildering but hilarious accusations that one in all his tweets was sabotaged by Twitter, doesn’t truly perceive the Web in any respect. Or, we might presume, the cyber. Cyber!
THE LOOK WE’RE ONLY A $30B COMPANY HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO KEEP TRACK OF ALL THESE LITTLE DETAILS AWARD FOR FORCING PEOPLE TO INTERACT WITH OTHERS NEARBY
To Ericsson, who unintentionally disabled cellphone service for hours for tens of tens of millions of individuals across the globe as a result of it did not renew a (presumably TLS) software program certificates utilized by its switching companies forward of its expiry. You will get these totally free and routinely lately, btw. By no means thoughts the cyber (Cyber!) attackers; it’s malingering incompetence that may get us all in the long run. Talking of which …
THE WHO COULD POSSIBLY HAVE IMAGINED THAT SUCH A THING WOULD HAPPEN OR IF IT DID THAT WE WOULD RESPOND TO IT IN ALL THE WORST POSSIBLE WAYS AWARD FOR A REPERTOIRE OF PANICKED FLAILING INEPTITUDE WORTHY OF ARTHUR DENT
To the authorities at Gatwick college, who first shut down one of many busiest airports in Europe for nearly a day and a half in the course of the pre-Christmas rush as a result of there have been reviews of drones seen over its runways; then mentioned they couldn’t probably shoot down these drones for worry the stray bullets would possibly hurt somebody; then conceded the likelihood that there have been no drones in any respect (although it looks like there most likely have been); then arrested a pair who turned out to be utterly harmless; then reopened the airport with no decision however that of the set up of an costly new anti-drone system and the invention of a single, untraced, broken drone. This dithering paralysis raises many terrifying questions. I’ve two particularly. One: the folks answerable for Gatwick — once more, one in all Europe’s largest and busiest airports — by no means performed any menace modelling / situation evaluation / contingency planning at all? And two: what number of minutes-rather-than-hours would this shutdown have lasted if it had occurred at a significant airport in, say, Texas, earlier than the bullet-ridden carcasses of the drones in query have been dragged off the runway? I suppose we’ll by no means know. But it surely offers me a sure doubtful pleasure to bequeath to Gatwick, an airport I’ve recognized and disliked for a few years, this yr’s Jon of Jons.
Congratulations, of a kind, to all of 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 likely turn into coveted and more and more worthwhile collectibles. (And for sure someday subsequent yr they’ll turn into redeemable for JonCoin.) And, after all, all winners shall be remembered by posterity forevermore.
1Bobbleheads shall solely be distributed if and when accessible and handy. The eventual existence of mentioned bobbleheads will not be assured or certainly even significantly probably. Not legitimate on days named after Norse or Roman gods. All rights reserved, particularly these rights about which we’ve reservations.