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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  • 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

  • After The Gold Rush Crunch Network

    After The Gold Rush

    The startup gold rush of the last ten years is over. Sorry. Those hordes of ambitious entrepreneurs still stampeding to the Bay Area in the hopes of building their Minimum Viable Product, getting into Y Combinator, and growing their app into the Next Big Thing–they’re already too late. That era is behind us. It was a good run, even a legendary one, but it is over. Time for the new… Read More

  • We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Cyberpunk Dystopia Crunch Network

    We Now Return You To Your Regularly Scheduled Cyberpunk Dystopia

    Apple will lose this battle with the US government. Maybe not this year, or next, but soon enough, and for the rest of our lives. It is folly to pretend otherwise. Most ordinary people, and most powerful people, don’t care about abstruse theoretical arguments against back doors and weakened security. They care about—or want to exploit—the raw visceral fear of terrorist violence. Read More

  • When Data Goes Bad Crunch Network

    When Data Goes Bad

    So I know this guy Sulemaan from my Toronto days. Really good guy, despite being a Spurs fan. Sulemaan has a son, Syed, who is flagged as a security risk, a suspected terrorist, every time he flies. Syed is six years old. This is, of course, completely insane. But the data has been parsed; the algorithm has spoken; and so others must suffer from the idiocy of those who built the system. Read More

  • How To Fix Tech’s H-1B Problem Crunch Network

    How To Fix Tech’s H-1B Problem

    I’m a Canadian who has spent a sizable fraction of his adult life working in the USA, so immigration, especially as it relates to the tech industry, is a pretty personal subject. I was at a Waterloo Engineering alumnus event in San Francisco this week, and, inevitably, the arc of every conversation bent towards immigration, and how Kafkaesque it can be, even for us fortunate Canadians. Read More

  • The Great White Fail Whale Crunch Network

    The Great White Fail Whale

    Call me Ishmael. Some years ago–never mind how long precisely–having nothing particular to interest me in meatspace, I thought to visit the Vale of Silicon. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen. Whenever my meds get such an upper hand of me, that I yearn to troll passersby–then, I account it high time to get to cyberspace. Read More

  • Bitcoin Is Dead (Again), Long Live Bitcoin (Again) Crunch Network

    Bitcoin Is Dead (Again), Long Live Bitcoin (Again)

    Oh, the drama, such drama. Last week, longtime Bitcoin developer Mike Hearn declared “the Bitcoin experiment…has failed,” and resigned from that community with a fusillade of verbal grenades (and a New York Times profile of his dissent.) This in turn provoked a whole torrent of hot takes and reactions, which mostly had one thing in common: contempt for all who disagree. Read More

  • Book It, Baby Crunch Network

    Book It, Baby

    Remember e-books? Those were the days, weren’t they? Those crazy few years when the fad of reading on a Kindle swept the nation. Now, of course, that fit of mass hysteria is behind us. E-book sales are falling, down more than 10% in 2015 — YA down 44%! — while used bookstores are coming back. Yes, that’s right; print is regaining its regal primacy; e-books are dead. Right? Read More

  • The Cruel Inequities Crunch Network

    The Cruel Inequities

    There are few people in technology more infuriating than Y Combinator’s Paul Graham, who earlier this month dropped a brilliant summary and analysis of the ongoing refragmentation of modern societies, followed immediately by a blinkered, muddled, wrong-headed essay on technology’s role in economic inequality. The response from his fellow tech VCs was remarkable. Read More

  • Why Bitcoin Matters Crunch Network

    Why Bitcoin Matters

    The most epochal financial transaction of this century, to date, occurred on May 22, 2010. It did not involve Wall Street, or the City of London; it took place in Jacksonville, Florida. It did not feature collateralized debt obligations, or credit default swaps. It was a purchase of two Papa John’s pizzas, in exchange for a payment whose present value currently exceeds US $4 million. Read More

  • It’s The Jons 2015! Crunch Network

    It’s The Jons 2015!

    Merry Christmas! 2015 was a truly great year in technology, bringing us self-driving electric cars, reusable orbital rockets, the rise of precision gene editing… and some lesser achievements. Since nothing of interest will happen in the next four days, I have decided to jump the gun; today I announce my annual dubious achievement awards, named, in a fit of awe-inspiring humility… Read More

  • Technology And The Deep State Crunch Network

    Technology And The Deep State

    Donald Trump; Bernie Sanders; Jeremy Corbyn; Marine Le Pen. If you had suggested only a decade ago that any one of those four might become a significant political figure, you would have been laughed out of any room. What has happened to politics as we knew it? Where are the military-industrial complexes of yesteryear? Is this all Facebook’s fault? Sort of. Not really. Let me explain. Read More

  • OMG LOL SSL FUD Crunch Network

    OMG LOL SSL FUD

    Bad enough when some scrappy little startup comes to town and disrupts your profit margins into oblivion. Even worse–to any right-thinking capitalist–when a motley crew of idealistic do-gooders sneaks into your barn and sets one of your cash cows free. But what can companies do when faced with this sad and eternal truth: why buy your cow when they can get its SSL certificates for free? Read More

  • This War On Math Is Bullshit Crunch Network

    This War On Math Is Bullshit

    The smoke had barely begun to clear from the horrific attacks in Paris, in a neighborhood where I used to live, before the usual suspects started trying to twist the facts to fit their authoritarian agenda. CIA director John Brennan was only one of many posturing grandstanders hoping to use the slaughter as a political tool to attack secure encryption. Read More