Why ‘Fairness’ Matters in Techno-Optimism, How To Successfully Take Time Off Between Jobs, and Why ChatGPT Changes the Lives of Indie Developers [linkblog]

Hunter Walk
4 min readNov 14, 2023

I love to write. And don’t maintain a ‘schedule’ per se, but have always said that ‘if two weeks go by and I haven’t posted, it means something is amiss.’ Well, something is definitely amiss in the world so maybe easing back in is best done by sharing others’ work.

Tech is a Tool, not a Religion [Philip Rosedale/Second Life +++] — I worked for Philip during the early years of Second Life, which was an amazing experience coming out of grad school. He’s a lifelong technologist and I’m appreciative of his voice in this discussion of techno-optimism. “Fairness is a Requirement” for maximization is a particularly strong statement because it recognizes the deep power that emotion has in determining our reactions. I’ll quote an extended passage from his post, but recommend you read it fully:

We, like Capuchin monkeys, are pro-social mammals — very dependent on each other for survival — and this evolved behavior could only have evolved alongside a keen sensitivity to fairness. Think about it: if we have evolved cooperative behavior without an awareness of fairness, ‘free riders’ (those contributing less than the average in a group) would have won out and reduced the amount of cooperation we were doing back toward zero. This is why perceived fairness is VERY important to us, and why the following statement can be regarded as necessary-but-not-sufficient for creating well-being:

We believe markets lift people out of poverty — in fact, markets are by far the most effective way to lift vast numbers of people out of poverty, and always have been.

Sentences like these are often defending the argument: “It’s OK that wealth inequality is increasing (due to the actions of free markets, btw), because poor people have more stuff now than ever before” (phones, cars, refrigerators are typically-given examples). But it’s not OK at all, because we are evolved to value fairness so highly. In fact, we are surrounded by examples of people being willing to die over fairness — for example if you think that your children are being treated unfairly.

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Hunter Walk

You’ll find me @homebrew , Seed Stage Venture Fund w @satyap . Previously made products at YouTube, Google & SecondLife. Married to @cbarlerin .