In the early 20th century, long before there was Twitter and the Internet, iPhones and AI, Bitcoin and ChatGPT, when the Industrial Revolution skies were filled with dark soot and chimneys and the streets around the world were a cavalcade of trotting horses and carriages Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, then leader of the Bolshevik revolution and the first head of the Soviet Union, said the following: “There are decades when nothing happens; and there are weeks when decades happen.” Surely if Lenin were alive today, the saying would sound a little more like this: “There are minutes when nothing happens; and there are minutes where decades happen.”
Everything is an endless scroll now, and even if you spend an inordinate amount of your day in this maelstrom of limitless content and news, videos and gifs, you’re still missing out on a million things. What was once a daily news story is now being spat onto the internet millions of times per hour. Who do we have to thank for this eternal fear? Silicon Valley of course. And I’m here to tell you this is about to get a lot worse.
This was the year of technical chaos. Just peek into the busiest corner of the internet to see how quickly things can change in today’s techno landscape. Literally less than two months have passed since then Elon Musk bought Twitter for $44 billion, and since then more than 5,000 people have been fired (or terminated) from the company, ad revenue has been falling as some companies have reportedly lost faith in Musk’s leadership, the company has changed direction more often than I can count, and Twitter’s net worth is now a mere $13 billion, according to analysts. By the time I finish writing this column, Musk may no longer be CEO of Twitter (after all, based on a Twitter poll, he said he would resign if he finds a replacement who “foolish” enough to take over).
Of course, Twitter isn’t the only dizzying change in the past year. On January 1, 2022, a single bitcoin was worth $47,738.59. Today, it’s down 65% since then and is worth just over $16,000 — and no one would be surprised if Bitcoin dropped to zero or rallied to $50,000 by the end of 2022. Do you remember NFTs? At the turn of the year, they were all there was to talk about. There were monkeys and penguins and film stills and record albums and squiggly lines and John Cleese had an NFT bridge to sell you and now a lot of those things are in liquidation or down hundreds of millions of dollars. Jack DorseyConverted to an NFT, ‘s first tweet was purchased for $2.9 million in March last year and was worth just $280 as of April this year. Now the celebrities behind BAYC, or Bored Ape Yacht Club, are among them Gwyneth PaltrowJimmy Fallon and Guy Osary, are being sued in a class action lawsuit for urging people to buy “lost investments.”
At the start of the year, Coinbase, which had gone public just months earlier, was worth around $250 per share. Today it’s down 85% to $34 a share. That’s a drop in market cap from $52 billion to $7.8 billion. Tesla stock and market value more than halved over the same period, losing nearly half a trillion dollars. The same goes for Meta, which subsequently lost hundreds of billions of dollars in value Mark Zuckerberg decided that the future of Facebook was the Metaverse, and hardly anyone in the world agreed with him. The overall NASDAQ composite, which started the year high at 15,000, is now languishing around 10,000 compared to the last decade, when the composite has gone in the complete opposite direction.
All the technical chaos this year had some upsides. For decades, we’ve watched tech companies flout the law and generally just customers – us! – fool around and get away with it. And yet this year Elizabeth Holmes was found guilty of four counts of fraud and sentenced to more than 11 years in prison for her crimes. Sam Bankman Fried, the creator of the FTX crypto exchange, who had claimed he ran his $30+ billion financial institution at its peak solely out of “effective altruism” (as in, he made money to give it all away), was also arrested , after bankrupting the company in what appeared to be a Bernie Madoff-level disaster by allegedly spending billions of dollars in client funds.
And then there’s the biggest technological shift in the past year, the advent of AI and ChatGPT, which didn’t even exist a month ago, let alone early 2022. These artificial intelligent technologies may still be in their early stages, but the The speed at which they are growing and the impact they could have on jobs (especially white-collar and creative jobs) is truly terrifying and should give everyone pause for thought. Seeing ChatGPT write legal briefs, short stories, and screenplays is truly one of the most amazing — and terrifying — technological advances I’ve personally seen as a technology reporter in the last two decades.
https://www.vanityfair.com/news/2022/12/elon-musk-crypto-crash-coming-ai-takeover-2022 Elon Musk, the crypto crash and the upcoming AI takeover: The tech chaos of 2022 has radically changed our lives