FOMO & ChatGPT
Almost four years ago, I wrote a blog post about self-driving cars being a sign of corporate FOMO. There’s a fun story in the post of Howard Hughes creating an entire fake industry with real companies and universities falling for it.
The crux of it, though, is that tech journalism serves to amplify hype, which the tech billionaires use to artificially raise valuations, which are then offered as proof of the validity of the original hype.
When I look at some of my older posts — and four years ago is an eternity in blogging years, I’m often left thinking, hmph, that was wrong when I look at my older posts. Not here.
Swap out self-driving cars for ChatGPT and the main point stands.
There will be some incremental gains from all of this. Customer service chatbots will inevitably get better. The problem of SEO spam making internet search decrease in value will get worse.
Fundamental problems of storing, finding, and accessing information will remain. In fact, I fear they will get worse for much the same reason that the fantasy world of low-cost robot-taxis ferrying us around has made it so much harder to argue for the value of public transportation and car-free infrastructure. ChatGPT can whip up high-school level reports on general topics at the snap of finger, but convincing people that this doesn’t replace the need for specialist librarians, organized documentation, and deep research skills is going to become difficult.
The world of tech journalism is a place of eternal youth without any room for retrospection. Pointing out that most of these things end up being passing fads gets you accused of toxic negativity. Shrugging at this things makes you Luddite. I’ve seen this cycle enough times now to be certain of at least one thing: I’m getting old.