Platformonomics TGIF #14: July 7, 2023


New post format: a weekly rollup of links, comments on those links, activity updates and attempts at humor.  The intention is quicker hits in addition to the less frequent big posts and more timely hammering on my favorite themes. This is my primary hangout until the contours of the post-Twitter world become clear. Be sure to subscribe below and to the right to receive all my output via email.

Note that my poor, overtaxed server struggles to serve up all the images to email users at the same time, so if you don’t see images, be sure to click through. Server upgrade in the works.


“An iron curtain has descended across the continent”

The European Union’s Butlerian Jihad is yielding results, though probably not quite as intended. Threads was unavailable in EU countries at launch, following in the footsteps of the still unavailable Google Bard. Behold the Great (Regulatory) Firewall of Brussels! We’ll see how European citizens, particularly the younger, more riot-curious demographic, appreciate the efforts of their unelected regulators to turn Europe into a technology desert that gets new software late, neutered or not at all. Next: Google and Meta go big with VPNs.
Previous: AI Regulation: Move Fast and Regulate Things, Italy Makes OpenAI Offer They Can’t Refuse
Related: Macron accused of authoritarianism after threat to cut off social media

When You’ve Lost Heineken…

Everyone Hallucinates, Not Just LLMs

Even the saintly New York Times hallucinates, though they call theirs “Corrections“.

The Times has a history of hallucinations contributing to real-world harms that require more than a small print “correction” to ameliorate. Like an LLM, they continue to print things that “sound right” despite having no factual basis:

We will leave the topic of the Times’ new and equivocal stance on the First Amendment for another day.

But sure, the bar for LLMs and self-driving cars should be perfection, not merely matching or surpassing error-prone journalists and humans.
Previous: Living in a Glass House: The New York Times On Tech

Open Source Software is a Protected Class

Speaking of hallucinations, John Luttig wrote a good piece on VC delusions around generative AI. This was especially entertaining:

“Debating the merits of OSS publicly is delicate: open source software is a protected class. It is unbecoming to say mean things about it.”

Previous: Dining Preferences of the Cloud and Open Source: Who Eats Who?

A PR Campaign About Nothing: AWS and Generative AI

I’m not sure where to even start on AWS’ incoherent PR campaign around their absence in generative AI. Many words. Few bits (the TBDs here are brutal). Schizophrenia. Serenity. Dueling executives named Matt. Invoking “enterprise” like IBM in the prime of its decline. Repeatedly placing stories about non-generative AI to underscore their cluelessness.

But at least they’re not somberly droning on about existential risk, so they have that going for them.

Know Your Customer Comes to the Cloud

The utilification of the cloud continues.

There is No Party Like the Chinese Communist Party

So much winning!

The EU is no doubt considering its own Commission for Discipline Inspection…

Footnotes of History: The Browser Company?

Paul Graham: Well, nobody knew like–there were no investors then. These guys that we raised–everybody was a noob, right? We were noobs in raising money, but our investors were also noobs at being investors. They had never invested in any internet companies before. The internet was very hot at the time because of the browser company. Damn, I can’t believe I forgot what it was called.

Jessica Livingston: Netscape.

I’ve reluctantly joined Threads to make Elon feel ever so slightly worse about his stewardship of Twitter. The degree of difficulty to make Mark Zuckerberg the good guy is inspiring.

Obviously exchanging one erratic and self-interested overlord for another is no improvement. I’m more interested using this web site as my home base and the hub for my interactions elsewhere.

And the spurt of Bluesky activity over the Fourth of July weekend has totally sputtered out. Nevertheless:


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