Deepfake Mythology

Yes, impeachment has become cheap. I think the Clinton impeachment set the tone. Mind you, he was a cretin, but still.

There’s an interesting trend in science fiction having to do with super-intelligence… in humans, not machines. The template was a wonderful novella (or novelette, no idea, not looking it up) called Understand. Highly recommended. His approach became the standard for movies like Limitless.

The premise is there’s a drug which increases the dendritic density of the brain. Blah blah blah. The end result is hyperintelligence.

In some of these stories, they end up running for office. Maybe that’s what we need. Someone who can play five moves ahead of everyone in the country.

But until then, anti-trust on FB. Break up the social media universe into many small bits. I believe that government needs a balance of anti-trust and regulation. You can have either one very heavily and the other light, or you can do both. I think that’s what it needs. It’s bad to do neither.

Also some kind of thought given to algorithm control. Same problem with facial recognition or any of those algorithmically driven businesses. One approach is to deny proprietary rights, like patents (I’m sure I’m using the words wrong) to algorithms. If they were totally open, we could break them apart and look inside… or pay someone to, anyway. We have as little insight into algorithms as we do into biology, which is why both of those things are lousy areas for Free Markets. You can’t have a free market if the thing being marketed is incomprehensible.

That’s why Hayek needed to come up with a Wisdom of Crowds philosophy. He knew that markets fail when the buyer is ignorant. So he figured out how the buyer wasn’t ignorant… in the aggregate.

Of course, I’m not an aggregate, I’m just me, so I’m fucked when shopping for medical care. Or algorithms.

Even if one buys the Wisdom of Crowds argument, which is perfectly good for things of which people have some understanding, like how many jelly beans are in that jar, it is also true that Crowds are cretinous. They can adopt a falsehood as quickly and easily as anything else. In fact, what a Crowd believes has more to do with how “sticky” the narrative is than with how “true” it is. Boring truths but exciting lies, is what drives the world.

Due to FB’s recent changes in its algorithm, someone can put out some crazy shit, get 10k followers or likes or whatever, right away. If they just did it for kicks and didn’t really believe it before, they believe it now. And they evangelize. Stickiest ideas win.

[Side Note: I believe Qanon started this way, by evolutionary algorithms. Plug in a few thousand notions into FB in robotically generated accounts, they get tried out and stickier ones proliferate. Less sticky one die out and are never heard of again. It’s like a deepfake mythology. If there’s a takeway from this whole email, it’s those words.]

As you know, our memories are faulty. We believe things that didn’t happen, remember things that we never saw. Our mind is a fucking mess, but perfectly functional on a day to day level.

You can’t sell a political platform on a premise of, You don’t know how to think right, people are taking advantage of that, we want to protect you. That would just be insulting.
So we need a government that is, to a degree, paternalistic, much like Behavioral Economics was, sort of. When Medicare Part D was set up, under Bush II, it gave citizens a choice of plans. It was totally clear which plans were better for whom, but we were given choices. Which choice would be first on the list? It’s well known that people preferentially pick the top choice. It would have been easy and fair and right to put the best choice first, but let people pick another one. Instead, the Bush II administration decided they should make it random. So, picking the way people are known to pick, most people would pick the wrong program for themselves. They couldn’t possibly be “educated consumers” unless they had medical degrees. And “experts”, those foul creatures, were not allowed to help; they were thwarted. It’s just not fair.

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