leo

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How can we classify negative effects of new technologies?
Answer by leoOct 02, 20221

Early adopter influence is one in some cases, I think when the tech plays a part in providing infrastructure, perhaps also elsewhere.

Kelly talks about crypto, and this is my motivating example here:

Today, though decentralised in name, most of the biggest organisations in crypto are controlled by tiny groups of people, typically single digits (for the orgs where voting takes place on the blockchain, you can verify this yourself).

Such concentration isn't really a problem when a space is small, like crypto is today (relatively: <1 million active users by far; etc). But it becomes significant when the tech becomes widely adopted. For example, Ethereum, the most important blockchain right now, is de facto (could argue de jure) controlled by Vitalik Buterin. If trillions of dollars of industries are moved onto Ethereum (like, perhaps the $14tr securities mkt), then that becomes problematic (specially if people less socially-minded then Vitalik are influential!)

New infrastructure technology creates new elites from the people who were there first. I suppose trains are a historic example. That concentration of power only comes when blockchain works really well, but it can be problematic

I suspect the problem comes when these new elites attempt to reframe society. This necessarily causes instability and can block better improvements, even if this reframing is an improvement on the status quo