Findings #6

Another week, another collection of interesting things from around the internet. This week has been a little wild across stock markets and general sentiment. I hope you're not being hit too hard.

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From Around the Web

After an interesting post on why America has been uniquely stupid, here's an interesting response.

Is Everything Falling Apart?
Jonathan Haidt thinks so. I’m not so sure.

As with the original, the article takes a look into how algorithmic feeds have polarised us. There is a little bit of hope tucked into this one, looking at how mass communication had some nice long term effects even when there was a rocky start.

I do think AI optimised news feeds are somewhat unique here though. Getting information to everyone is one thing but filtering who sees what based on shady signals is something entirely different. See my past post on loss functions for a deeper dive.

The question that sticks with me, is will we change? By that I mean, could the culture deciding against AI content filtering cause a pushback? The zeitgeist has a strong hand and it wouldn't be the first time that the inevitable consumption of technology was stopped by people changing their minds. (Physical Books anyone?)

DALL·E 2 and The Origin of Vibe Shifts
By Means of Natural Selection

This article from Alexander Kruel talks about an adjacent topic. In an effort for everyone (companies in this case) to come across as unique, when things become easy, people push back.

The article talks about how the availability of good stock photography leads to Corporate-Memphis (the cartoon people everyone uses, me included). With tools like Dall-E 2 the barrier to many new types of imagery is lower. Will this signal another shift?

Linking that back to news feeds, as people learn about SEO and how to hack the algorithms they get flooded. Eventually, people get sick of that content. Recipies with small novels before instructions and the same vapid stories on Linkedin.

Time will tell what happens but I would place my bets that the push back against Ad revenue optimised feeds will be strong.

From Me

I wrote an essay this week. I looked at how we estimate the future compared to how things change. I even drew a few diagrams. Check it out.

We are linear minds in an exponential world
I remember reading about an experiment long ago. Participants were shown a bar. This bar was supposed to represent the numbers 1 to 1,000,000. The researchers asked each participant to mark where 1,000 would appear on the line. Have a go yourself, gut feeling only. Take a

Tom and I also put out the latest episode of our podcast. You can check that out and subscribe here.

WASSAP Ep 05 - Letting Ideas Incubate and The Morals of Online Prescriptions
Episode 5 of We Absolutely Should Start A PodcastTom and Elliot discuss a meta-analysis of how to leave time between problems to help solve them and a DEA in...

Final Thoughts

Is it getting harder not to have an opinion on things? Thinking about online discourse it seems more and more that we're subject to forced FOMO. Have an opinion or you're against us. (Often heard on both sides of the issue).

This probably links back to ideas from Inflaters and Debaters.

Until next time.

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