Blog: Denoising the Encoders of Chaos
If you use any form of media, you can attest that there’s a revolution coming. You don’t know what it is but you know, deep down in your core that it’s coming. Not just one revolution, but there’s many. It’s the century for revolutions, a renaissance for the modern human. The endless stream of deliberate provocations have been telling you at least for a few years that “…we are only years away from creating a General Artificial Intelligence you fool”. It must be true, as even Elon Musk alongside many other big player advocates of tech and science are championing its revolution and warning us of its consequences. Artificial Intelligence is here and it’s here to stay, in a few years replacing many minimum wage workers with intelligent machines and in a few more years replacing everything.
While you feel the fear, doubt and uncertainty of your future creeping behind your shoulders like a weighty shadow which has no human resemblence, another endless stream of adrenaline inducing mish-mash of words, the “latest news” let’s you know that there’s nothing to worry about. Smart people with aspirations to help mankind are rising through the seven floors of hell created by one Donald Trump (which was heaven before him and he’s responsible for making it hell). These heroes which we will identify as Non-Trumps are only here to save you from the demon and that is the only thing they want to do, aside from making the world a better place. You don’t have to worry about your job as they will fight for you rights, guaranteeing that you will later be payed by a universal minimum wage. Non-Trumps are never-before-seen revolutionary politicians who say what’s on their mind and fight for what’s right, even if it means giving up on everything (or something along these lines, the author is not sure). They are a new breed of politicians who emerged suddenly as a result of changes to the year digit of the calendar. They can absolutely, positively never be replicated in entirety from previous politicians in history. They are charismatic, resourceful, sassy and popular, unlike politicians of before. They bring neo-conservatism or democratic socialism, ideas never seen before in history (never seen much, considering the grand 12.5 billion year span of things).
Your sensors have weakened through the years, it must be because of capitalism and the huge amounts of student debt that it enslaves its children to. You are adamant it is true as you are constantly pre-occupied with this tide of useful information that comes from your tiny, smart, device which confirms your thoughts in a peculiar way. This device is also your doctor and your best friend as it can speak and say quirky things and it blesses you with your required dopamine fix for the day. It tells you about your loved ones and how much they like you. It lets you fantasize about those who don’t love you back by showing them as they interact with your stories (among the bazillions of others). Truly, it’s a marvel designed to bring humans together and develop strong and (numerous) modern bonds.
Clearly it’s much easier to send disposable pictures to someone than to go the old clunky way of continuous interaction and even worse, communicating by vocal cords, a relic of the past and a non-revolutionary symbol of conservative anti-progressivism. Vocal cords are only to be used with smart devices that will listen to you in your home, never sharing your deeply personal and private talks with anyone since they’re in your home and they don’t know anyone. Your home is smart and it is your friend, it does sophisticated and elaborated routines that the old clunky homes of yore were unable to do. It can lock your doors, turn off your lights, set an alarm and hopefully in the future make you bacon and eggs (which is still in research phase, being developed with a combination of blockchain technology, internet of things and deep learning), when the technology of smart-cities reaches its peak and revolutionizes everything. Everything. From smart fridges to smart lights to smart toilet paper. Everything will be smart.
And let us not forget about the blockchain revolution. Not Bitcoin though, because we know from respectable people in the finance industry and market experts who accurately did not predict the 2008, 1999 and other crises, that Bitcoin is counterfeit money technology with no real value that solved the double spending problem of digital money so that it could be used by drug dealers and other insidious non-conformists. However blockchain on the other hand is going to revolutionize everything, by making all forms of transactions based on a central server structure trust-less and without middle men, as shown by recent theoretical developments.
Now is the revolutionary time to get serious.
You see the numerous advertisements on your favourite time wasting platform urging you (subliminally) to leave your university and achieve mastery in a self-learnable discipline in the form of a Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs), whose relevant jobs will likely be outsourced to countries with cheaper workers (**cough** Bangladesh)? Deep learning is the current revolution so you must learn it, so come and learn it on our platform (where you will surely learn the deep knowledge not available on Wikipedia in ~5–20 hours, while other stupid people devoted 6–30 years of their lives to understanding the concepts and getting PhDs) and we shall coax you into a monthly subscription and give you little practical knowledge, this is our forte. Better yet, our platform is superior than all other similar platforms, as you can see by the many paid testimonials. We have CEOs and all the other colours of Benetton across twitter shouting us out and keyword tweeting about our courses and how they help you learn the sexiest jobs in the universe.
Because it’s not about knowledge, it’s about cheap labour. The larger-than-life companies of Silicon Valley, China and some other dudes have more demand for certain jobs than they are supplied, keeping the worker prices relatively high. What would be more ingenious than flooding the market with cheap easily-otherwise-accessible knowledge that could be self learned while at the same time making money selling courses and certificates? We know that one MOOC course won’t make you the next Geoffrey Hinton. It probably won’t even help you become the next Milton Waddams. But you buy it anyway because it might help you land that sexy job you hear about.
Simultaneously, while you’re bleeding your personal and private data all over the web, recommender systems that are designed not to recommend you something you might like are monitoring (albeit, in a useless way to you) most of your decisions and information. When they are accurate, they are designed to throw you in a never ending rabbit hole for something you might like, making you waste hours upon hours of life which you will never get back. They are designed to entangle you in a tiny eco-system of bubbles and echochambres. They make you feel safe but at the same time anxious for more content as the content will never let you feel content. They don’t work because they were never designed to work. Now imagine those recommender systems that don’t work, in the real-world, recommending you things that you don’t need but invoke an urge to become lost in a world of malcontent.
And now let’s not forget about blockchain, because it’s an existential revolution. It opened the doors to a stock-market like experience for any average Joe (or Jane) that knew how to turn on a computer and had some money. Through this experience, mom and pop “traders” felt what it was like to crash and burn in a financial market from their couch while eating Doritos, without some broker telling them that it’s the best idea to sell. They saw the pumps and the dumps and the pump-and-dumps. They plotted how machine traders executed orders in ways no human would match and no way for them to keep up. They felt first-hand how a system so entrenched in the basics of finance is so terribly rigged against you (hopefully). They saw the failed ICOs and lost their life savings. They (hopefully) understood that nobody has any idea about how these markets work and some even developed a bullshit scanner for bullshit artists. They became hard and rugged like scarred skin.
Just like the rigged game of stocks, our smart devices are encoders of chaos rigged against us. They create a plethora of noise for some vague reason their engineers thought that some project manager needs, which stemmed from a stoned CEO. These devices and their applications were engineered to every detail, but not every outcome. They are exemplar of the law of unintended consequences. They are a game where there is no clear way for us to win and many ways to lose. However just like the stock market, they will always be useful when used wisely and infrequently. And how that can be done? By denoising all the chaos they exude, by ignoring bulk of the recommendations, by filtering the buzzwords from the useful content. By ignoring most of content on popular social media.
The revolution of our age is that we finally have everything we need to cut the bullshit. It’s not AI, Blockchain or any other myriad of buzzwords. It’s how we finally have all the tools, to understand
That we’re being fucked with.
(The author understands that they used hyperbole to critique a hyperbole.)