Jon Evans

Jon Evans is a novelist, journalist, and software engineer. His novels have been published around the world, translated into several languages, and praised by The Times, The Economist, and the Washington Post. His journalism has appeared in Wired, Reader’s Digest, The Guardian, The Globe & Mail, and The Times of India, and he writes a weekly column for TechCrunch. Jon also has a degree in electrical engineering and a decade of experience as a software developer, building everything from smartphone apps to billion-dollar asset-allocation services.

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  • Westphalexit Crunch Network

    Westphalexit

    As technology advances, a world partitioned into nation-states makes less and less sense. That may sound crazy, if you take it as granted that our world must be divided into nations. But the whole concept of a “country” is a 400-year-old weird hack, riddled with crippling bugs, plagued by contradictions that sharpen each year. It is unlikely to survive this century. Read More

  • A brief history of cryptocurrency drama, or, what could possibly DAO wrong? Crunch Network

    A brief history of cryptocurrency drama, or, what could possibly DAO wrong?

    It makes SILICON VALLEY look like C-SPAN — and yet it’s a documentary. Yes, it’s Cryptocurrency!, the show! You already know it’s been the hit of the last half-decade in extreme-nerd, get-rich-quick, and/or libertarian-conspiracist circles. But the story so far may seem incredibly… well… cryptic. So if you’re just tuning in, here’s a timeline to catch… Read More

  • The dredge report: being an account of an expedition into the hyperreality of the California Delta Crunch Network

    The dredge report: being an account of an expedition into the hyperreality of the California Delta

    It has occurred to me that perhaps TechCrunch pays insufficient attention to slurry, sediment, silt, sludge, mud, and muck; to canals, earthworks, levees, dikes, dredges, and the Army Corps of Engineers; to the vast engineering works, with lifespans measured in decades, that literally reshape our world. So last weekend I boarded a bus hired by the Dredge Research Collaborative. Read More

  • Learn deeply, but baby, don’t fear the Skynet Crunch Network

    Learn deeply, but baby, don’t fear the Skynet

    Who’s afraid of AlphaGo? Everyone who’s anyone, you might think. Elon Musk, Bill Gates, and Stephen Hawking have all expressed concern about the “existential threat” of AI, just as “deep learning” neural networks are revolutionizing the AI field. Should we be scared for our jobs? Or even our species? Fear not, I have answers! They are, respectively… Read More

  • FFS, Facebook Crunch Network

    FFS, Facebook

    For your convenience. For your security. To better serve you. To offer you the best experience. To better fit our future plans. To comply with regulations. To optimize our resources. These are the blandly vicious lies that companies proffer when they want to take something away from you. I thought I was used to this game, but this week I was actually upset by it again. Et tu, Facebook? Read More

  • Vive la France! Vive la Tech!… But do these two great tastes taste great together? Crunch Network

    Vive la France! Vive la Tech!… But do these two great tastes taste great together?

    I spent last week on a junket in Paris, paid for by the French government, visiting the various hubs and spokes of the burgeoning French startup scene. I don’t think they’ll invite me back, after they read this. My considered assessment is that the French government, and to an extent the larger French tech scene, lacks ambition, boldness, and confidence, and their technology… Read More

  • Who’s afraid of the IoT? Crunch Network

    Who’s afraid of the IoT?

    It’s heeeere! The Internet of Things, I mean. I just spent several days at the Connected Conference in Paris, which focused on IoT hardware. They built a whole home full of connected devices, showcased the War for the WAN and underscored that the IoT is — as always — not quite what we imagined, and not quite what we hoped. Read More

  • 42: The answer to life, the universe and education Crunch Network

    42: The answer to life, the universe and education

    “We believe that IT has nothing to do with math and physics… it is more artistic than scientific,” says Nicolas Sadirac, as he cheerfully slaughters whole herds of sacred cows. “Knowledge is not useful any more, because IT advances in revolutionary ways, not iterative ones… we ask our students not to learn, just to solve the problem.” Oh, yes, and… Read More

  • All the cool kids are doing Ethereum now Crunch Network

    All the cool kids are doing Ethereum now

    In the beginning the Prophet Satoshi brought us Bitcoin. And the cryptogeeks and libertarians looked upon it, and said lo, we smile upon this, for it is good, and decentralized, and solves the Byzantine Generals Problem. For a time all was well. But then came wailing and gnashing of teeth and wearing of sackcloth. And then came the Prophet Vitalik, bearing Ethereum; and lo, it was even… Read More

  • Power laws rule everything around me Crunch Network

    Power laws rule everything around me

    We live in a time of great polarization. Politically, in nations across the world, both the left and the far right grow more numerous, and draw further away from the mainstream establishment, every year. Economically, the rich continue to separate themselves from the poor, as the very rich do from the rich. And in tech, of course, we increasingly live in a “winner-take-most” world. Read More

  • VR is terrible for traditional storytelling Crunch Network

    VR is terrible for traditional storytelling

    “But among them was this poor Earthling, and his head was encased in a steel sphere which he could never take off. There was only one eyehole through which he could look, and welded to that eyehole were six feet of pipe… He was also strapped to a steel lattice which was bolted to a flatcar on rails, and there was no way he could turn his head.” — Kurt Vonnegut… Read More

  • On the dark art of software estimation Crunch Network

    On the dark art of software estimation

    “How long will it take?” demand managers, clients, and executives. “It takes as long as it takes,” retort irritated engineers. They counter: “Give us an estimate!” And the engineers gather their wits, call upon their experience, contemplate the entrails of farm animals, throw darts at a board adorned with client/manager/executive faces, and return–a… Read More

  • The FBI is working hard to keep you unsafe Crunch Network

    The FBI is working hard to keep you unsafe

    Did you know that the US government is sitting on its own Strategic Zero-Day Reserve? A “zero-day” is a software vulnerability that allows adversaries to bypass or reduce security restrictions; lets them hack systems which use that software, basically. These are not restricted to shady criminal hackers. They are strategic weapons in the hands of nation-states, including America. Read More

  • We should be worried about job atomization, not job automation Crunch Network

    We should be worried about job atomization, not job automation

    In the future, machines will do tedious, repetitive work for us, and do more of it than humans ever could, simultaneously increasing economic output and liberating humans everywhere from drudgery. We all know what that means: Disaster! Dystopia! Catastrophe! Everybody panic, the robots are stealing our jobs! We’re dooooooomed! Read More

  • Dear Facebook, why are Facebook Comments so unremittingly terrible? Crunch Network

    Dear Facebook, why are Facebook Comments so unremittingly terrible?

    For long months now, Facebook Comments have been riddled by some of the most transparent, eye-roll-inducing “I make a good salary working from home” spam you’ve ever seen. Every mail service can filter it out; but Facebook? Home to cutting-edge AI research, massively scalable services, some of the smartest software people in the world? Nope, spam appears to be beyond… Read More

  • Hollywood vs. VR Crunch Network

    Hollywood vs. VR

    Let us all take a moment to celebrate the remarkable resilience of Hollywood. As “the music industry finds itself fighting over pennies while waving goodbye to dollars,” to quote the New York Times; as the publishing industry finds itself increasingly eclipsed by Amazon; as “the number of people watching TV is falling off a cliff,” as Business Insider puts it —… Read More

  • This war on math is still bullshit Crunch Network

    This war on math is still bullshit

    In the wake of Paris, San Bernardino, and now Brussels, the encryption debate has become such a potent cocktail of horror, idiocy, and farce that it has become hard to tease out any rational threads of discussion. There is so much stupidity that I hardly know where to begin; but let’s start with the farce. Everybody loves a farce, right? Read More

  • These are testing times: mavericks vs. ice people Crunch Network

    These are testing times: mavericks vs. ice people

    One of my earliest engineering jobs, before I fled hardware in favor of the (relative) ease and lucre of software, was in chip design. I remember being shocked when I learned just how much of the processor in question was devoted to test circuitry. Why waste so much on testing, I thought, instead of just getting it right the first time? Oh, how young and incredibly stupid I was. Read More

  • Technology and the laws of power Crunch Network

    Technology and the laws of power

    Is the tech industry partly responsible for the rise of Donald Trump? That’s what John Robb, who’s always worth reading, suggests in a series of recent posts, citing the great Nassim Taleb in support. His vision: “The nation-state as we’ve known it is rapidly hollowing out … this century’s spike in globalization, financialization, and technological change… Read More

  • On the war between hacker culture and codes of conduct Crunch Network

    On the war between hacker culture and codes of conduct

    Did you know that a Code of Conduct war is underway in the world of open-source software development? I realize that this sounds ridiculous. Codes of Conduct boil down to: “a) don’t be an asshole, b) this is how we define ‘asshole’ around these parts”. Who could argue with that? And yet this has become eruptively controversial — and with good reason. Read More