by Shelt Garner
I have no idea if my suspicions about the ability of Big Tech to read my mind are true or not. But, Jesus, Tik-Tok specifically sure does do some fucking spooky things with its “algorithms.” So much so that either we need to break up and regulate Big Tech because they’re hiding a Soft Singularity from us, or we need to break up and regulate Big Tech because they’re rooting around in our minds using Digital Telepathy.
Let me explain.
I’m around my elderly father a lot and…for some reason, out of the blue, Tik-Tok pushes me videos about World War 2 a lot. So much so, that I’m like, “Any algorithm they may be using sure seems to be thinking about my dad, not me.” Remember, there was a point some time ago when YouTube was pushing me videos about lockboxes and the end of the world which totally made no sense for me at the time. (But did for my father, natch.)
But Tik-Tok has begun to push me weird, almost snarky, content as if it’s rooting around in my mind and wants to have some fun of some sort. The key issue is, of course, is I can’t really prove any of this. There are plenty — PLENTY — of other ways their “algorithm” could figure out most, but not all, of the shit about me that they are pushing. I’m sure they’re listening to me using my phone. I’m sure — somehow — these very words I’m writing right now are being monitored and throw into the maw of an “algorithm” somewhere to better sell me widges.
I get that. THAT, I understand.
It’s when Tik-Tok gets cocky and does a bankshot off some something only I know about my personal mental monologue that I go…hmmmm….weird. Why am I getting that if ONLY I KNOW ABOUT THAT REFERENCE. And, what’s more, some of the stuff Tik-Tok is pushing me is almost like it’s trying to help me with personal problems. Wow-we-wow.
If Big Tech has gone past simply knowing that I’m I have “CAT” on my mind all the time, but has figured out the more abstract things associated with WHY that term is on my mind all the time, then……oooooooooh boy. The national security implications of that are deep, deep, deep.
There are two I can think off the top of my head.
One is, if, say the United States really did slip into autocracy, I could see the NSA start to hunt down specific people whose minds their monitoring for “anti-MAGA thinking” (or somesuch.) Though, to be fair, I generally think that while they obviously abuse their power, in the war against MAGA, the NSA is probably the good guys for the time being. There’s a reason why MAGAQ-Trump hate “the Deep State” so much.
The other is, if a hot war broke out between China and the United States, it sure would be useful for China to have some sense of how open America’s youth would be to be, say, getting drafted. That’s some serious Soft Singularity intelligence there.
But no one listens to me. Absolutely no one listens to me.