A Cult of Personalities Waste Billions
Delusional techies and scammers run rampant while scientists keep thoughts to themselves, believing they’ll be safe from the consequences.
This is an over-cooked rant, please read in fun!
This isn’t a change your mind piece. This is for you who already have strong suspicions. Each crap-tech listed will be followed with a short paragraph of context. It may also have a link to my favorite debunking. If you believe I’m a sour-grapes, just don’t get it, idiot — then work the numbers. Moreover, I invent tech myself (as Maxotics) so this isn’t a question of innovation and risk-taking. The question is, no matter how desirable the tech, do we have a civic responsibility to limit the investment of intellectual capital in cult-of-personality schemes like hyperloop?
Should tech that serves a super-small number of people (space tourists) pay a luxury tax? Should there be more financial regulation for tech that serves a large number of people from a mountain of debt, but risks the safety of space?
I’m sure there is plenty of crap-tech I’ve missed. Leave yours in comments and I’ll add. Thanks!
Also, I’m not including the rust and decay of existing social-network tech: Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc.
If you believe progress is a by-product of failure, keep in mind that there is a difference between old crap-tech scams refreshed (like hyperloop) and new explorations in science.
EVERYTHING Elon Musk does is crap-tech. Teslas are toy cars for the rich (if you own one, this isn’t judgement of you personally). As for SpaceX, sure, watching those rockets land is thrilling. But the primary purpose of rockets is not to land back on Earth. Did you know it reduces payload capacity?
Flying Electric Taxis. Batteries are too heavy to provide enough reserve capacity for safety. And I won’t be stepping into one in the rain.
Affordable EVs. Again, batteries are darsh-gone heavy and toxic. But I have to hand Musk credit for selling the idea of battery powered trucks. Holy-Moly! Is physics taught in schools anymore?
From Christopher Miller in the comments:
This “ground state of hydrogen” “breakthrough” BS is an entirely SEPARATE fantasy from that of those Cold Fusion cultists ! Stick the word “hydrogen” in blather related to ANY new energy generation scheme and it SELLS !!
iPhones. This is a case of relative crap-tech. When was the last time you stood in line to get one? What new innovation have you recently experienced in personal electronics?
Starlink. The economics have never worked out for satellite phones or internet. Not enough scientists say ‘no’ to the risks of 42,000 anythings orbiting the planet. I’ll call them electronic bankruptcy moths.
Starship. The vanity project to end all vanity projects by Elon Musk. I say vanity because the rocket’s skin is literally paper thin. Like batteries, fuel is HEAVY relative to the energy required. The rocket may end up doing nothing more useful than keeping a bunch of YouTube channels running.
Blue Origin and Virgin Galactic. Amusement park rides for the ultra wealthy. Technological and regulatory challenges sure. Science? Nope.
Hyperloop. Any physicist who stands behind this should be stripped of their PhD. All the problems of space brought down to Earth.
Theranos. There was and is no need for a court case. Any nurse with a brain could have pointed out the flaws.
Solar and Wind. Sure, solar and wind are great for charging your relative crap-tech phone or running your Netflix screen. But the tech isn’t there to run heavy equipment; the kind needed to pave roads, operate cranes, fly planes — do the stuff we need to physically survive the elements.
Fusion. I was on the fence about including it, but Christopher in the comments tipped the balance. I believe the fundamental question is, if we could create a mini sun on Earth, to take energy from, would the energy cost in getting starting fusion and keeping it contained negate what we gain through output? In any case, no one seems close to producing commercially viable electricity.
Cryptocurrencies. I believe they’ll survive (but so do many social evils) Scientists were slow to point out how much Bitcoin costs in climate change.
Covid. Many scientists try, but they don’t do enough to dispel snakeoil-crap the media runs with. They don’t come out and categorically insist that it’s relatively safe to be outside without a mask but NOT safe inside.
Artificial Intelligence. AI is BS that keeps on selling. We’re going to grow the economy on AI tech that improves telemarketing bots?
Reading most media stories, you’d think we’re entering a new age of clean energy and peace on Earth. I see a rude awakening. However, if someone invents a dog-walking robot, maybe I’ll change my mind.