Week Three: Not Your Robot

January 24, 2021

I am not a robot. And even if I were, I would not be yours.

How did we arrive at a web that is increasingly hostile to actual humans? Efficiency. There is something to be said for slowing down to enjoy life, or to take time to do something right. Efficiency is not king; far from it. Lately, I find efficiency is often the reason I feel so busy.

Thanks to reCAPTCHA, many services and sites demand you do Google's bidding. What do you gain from it? Not much, really. I've encountered so many reCAPTCHAs during last week's delete shenanigans, I wanted to scream. It wasn't just tick-the-box, it was improve-our-shitty-AI-image-classification ad nauseum. On the other hand, this could indicate success at avoiding too much of Google's insipid crapulence. Small win?

Maybe. But I still have a ways to go. Google is still too present. At the moment, I still have three Google accounts, including two accounts for organizations I work with, though I have been deleting or updating profiles tied to my personal email address. I plan to stop using it for email soon. I still have a phone and two tablets running Android, but I don't use the tablets much, and I have been wanting to switch to a more minimal phone like the Punkt MP02. Unfortunately, without VoLTE on T-Mobile, it won't work. I can only assume that is T-Mobile's fault, not that the other carriers are any better.

And then there is YouTube which, during a pandemic, has indeed been a source of entertainment. It, like Facebook, has a certain incessent nag about it: Some folks I want to follow aren't elsewhere. I get it, YouTube is convenient, path of least resistence and all that jazz. But it's awful. Every time I turn around, I'm reading some article about Content ID stiffling human creativity based on an amateur understanding of how copyright should work. Never mind that it isn't Google's job to enforce copyright, you'd think a company with as many employees as it has would have some collective intellegence to be able to tackle a problem without going into full-on overkill mode. On the other hand, LBRY seems to be gaining some ground with at least a few folks I follow. I wish there were an alternative that didn't tie creators or fans to one platform or another.

Suffice it to say, Google is an abusive company, and I want to be rid of them. This is in part why I started baz.bar: I wanted to stake a claim on my own little piece of the 'net. When it was new, it was all about connecting people in a new way. Over the years, it became a place that emphasized systems over people, as it continues to be dominated by ever larger corporations.

It's time for a change.