Now, as I keep saying, I’m well aware that I sound completely bonkers when I suggest that Tik-Tok and Big Tech can read our minds. And I only keep suggesting this because Tik-Tok keeps pushing me videos which are so specific to me that I struggle to figure out how it could just be its “algorithms” being responsible.
What’s more, the videos pushed make reference to thinks that I’ve not told anyone about.
The latest example is this — I am reading novel Project Hail Mary and I’m at a portion of the book that deals with the issue of gravity in space. Well, what was I pushed just now? A video about that exact thing.
I’m sure I’m reading too much into this, but, still. It’s very spooky.
I have spent a lot of time speculating that Tik-Tok might have some not-so-limited ability to like, read our minds and stuff. And then it does something like this — it keeps pushing me videos that seem to imply I’m a lesbian.
It’s all very odd.
I don’t understand how this is happening, given that 80% of FYP is nearly-naked women running around, jiggling their bodies to the latest dance trend. But out of the last 20%, a good 5% is of very, very female-oriented information that makes my eyes pop out.
I mean, how many times can one man see an up close, graphic and personal diagram of the female reproductive system before you start to think Tik-Tok has you all wrong?
Anyway, no harm no foul. I can only assume something about what I like on Tik-Tok makes the “algorithm” go haywire.
Now, I’m the first to admit that the idea of Tik-Tok being able to read our minds is pretty fucking bonkers. It’s just not something the average person can process as a serious concept. If you broach such an idea, people are going to laugh at you or roll their eyes or think you’re nuts or all three.
And I honestly can’t say I blame them.
But, I don’t know, man. Some of the videos that Tik-Tok pushes me are very, very specific to me. And then happens all the time. The latest incident was when I got pushed a video about why it is that it’s easier to accidently fall asleep on the couch than to intentionally fall asleep in your bed. I sleep on the couch all the time and this is an eerie insight into my interior monologue.
In fact, just in the last few days, I’ve given the idea of sleeping in a proper bed a lot of thought. And, then, there you go, I get pushed a video about that very subject.
Spooky. Spooky. Spooky.
But I have no proof and there’s no reason to believe that all of this isn’t just co-incidence.
Tik-Tok has seemingly come out of nowhere to become one of the most popular social media apps in use. I have to confess I use it a great deal and I’m an Old. But Tik-Tok is curious because it’s not nearly as utilitarian as Twitter or Facebook.
It seems to exist solely for the purpose of flinging off memes at an alarming rate. Most of the time it’s mindless fun. And, even more interesting, at least in my experience, it’s something of a “safe space” for attractive young women. If nothing else, it’s a very female oriented app.
What’s more, there’s very limited room for any sort of discussion on Tik-Tok. To the point that it’s rather useless. Though, I have to admit that Tik-Tok’s comment sections are even worse than YouTube’s which is saying something.
But back to the question at hand — why is Tik-Tok so addictive? Some of it is the app really knows its users really well. To the point that I sometimes think it can read my mind, but that’s just bonkers. I will note, however, that there may come a point when it becomes a running gag that instead of wanting some alone time with their boyfriend’s phone, suspicious girlfriends will just want access to their boyfriend’s For Your Page.
It is interesting that apps have devolved to the point that there is zero thinking involved now. Once Tik-Tok figures you out, you see video after video that you, personally, will like. And I think that’s why it’s so addictive. Most of the time, any video you’re pushed by the service is something you’re honestly interested in to the point that you spend way too much time on it because there never comes a point when you say, “Yeah, this is not for me.”
Not that there isn’t the occasional hiccup. Occasionally, I’ll find myself looking at a video that I absolutely hate. But that’s reasonably rare on Tik-Tok.
The successful of mindless Tik-Tok does make one wonder what comes next. I guess it will be something connected to the metaverse.
I’m very well aware that any suggestion that Big Tech can read our minds is demonstrably bonkers. It’s just not something any reasonable person can take seriously. And the only reason why I even mention it or keep thinking about it in a very conspicuous manner is how often Tik-Tok pushes me videos that are very, very specific to me personally.
If there was any reasonable explanation for how their “algorithm” knew something specifically about me, then I would dismiss the idea that digital telepathy was possible just like any one else.
But consistently since I started using Tik-Tok, I have been pushed videos that seem to reference specific things that I’ve thought about — and told no one else about. I have not written about it. I have not tweeted about it. I have no spoken about it. It’s something that’s been exclusively a part of my internal monologue.
I guess it seems so ridiculous on the face of it because it’s just something the average person is unwilling or unable to believe is even possible. We would know about it if they were doing it, right? For Big Tech and Tik-Tok to read our minds, it would be such a big technological advancement that they would tell us about it, right? Right?
But Arthur C. Clarke said once that, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” If Tik-Tok can read our minds, this is what I think is happening — it’s not granular. They can’t turn off any specific element of what your thinking about, so you only notice what’s going on when it deals with issues surrounding your body.
It’s things to do with the body that your most likely not tell anyone else about and, as such, when you get pushed videos by Tik-Tok that reference such things, you notice that it’s something you haven’t told anyone about.
Now, of course, you could say that it’s similar to how Target got in trouble once for sending to a young woman’s home coupons for pregnancy related things, even though she had not told her family yet. It think figuring out that someone is pregnant through what they do online is a lot different that being pushed a specific video about this or that thing about your body that has exclusively been a part of your internal monologue.
Another thing that goes against the idea of digital telepathy is someone, somewhere, would know the technology exists and, as such, it would leak out and we would know about it. It’s well known that Facebook and others have been looking into digital telepathy, but Facebook recently made a big deal about how they were scrapping the project.
So, I don’t know. For the time being, I’m just going to have to accept that I sound bonkers for even mentioning the possibility that Big Tech can read my mind through my cellphone.
We live in an era of post-accountability. Trump is above the law. And if you’re racist or misogynistic in the public sphere, then you cry about being “canceled” and get your own chat show on Fox News.
With that in mind, I wonder if anyone would actually care if my personal paranoia about Big Tech being able to read our minds would really matter in real terms if a document leaked proving it was all real. Just think of the massive about of corrupt bullshit that Trump has managed to get away over the last few years without any real accountability.
He’s a corrupt, criminal idiot and he’s probably going to become president against in 2024.
So, the case could be made that if Big Tech can, in fact, read our minds, that it’s actually hurting itself in the long run. I know, personally, I would like the opportunity to by a $1,2000 mindcap that would allow me to interact directly with the Internet without even having to deal with the bullshit of the Metaverse.
Even if that wasn’t a possibility, given that we all but know that ETs are real and it’s a lulz, I think outside a few pointed rants from far Right and far Left thought leaders that the whole thing would be forgotten within one or two newscyles.
Which leaves me to believe, again, that the only way we have return to accountability is some sort of civil war. Only when things grow REALLY EXISTENTIAL will the idea that was once so assumed — if you do something bad you’re held accountable — will come back.
Let me be clear — I do not think Tik-Tok (and Big Tech) can read my mind. But there continue to be times when I struggle to understand how an algorithm would know something so fucking specific to what was going on in my mind.
In this case, I have something so specific that I can point to it and wonder. Now, obviously, you don’t know what’s really going on in my mind. And it’s possible that there is something I did without thinking about it (no pun intended) that tipped Tik-Tok off to what I was thinking about. But, either way, things are very Soft Singularity no matter how Tik-Tok figured something out about what is rolling around in my mind.
So, here we go. There’s a famous picture of man in a crowd of Nazis who is the only person not to do the Nazi salute. Here it is:
Ok, no big deal. Well, would you believe I was looking at my Webstats and I saw that someone had literally asked the question, “Why is there a circle in the picture?”
This question was at the forefront of my mind for some time. Then, just today, Tik-Tok pushed me a very, very specific video that answered that very question.
This is probably the most specific that Tik-Tok that has gotten when it comes to pushing me spooky content. I say this because the only because I simply can not think of any possible way that Tik-Tok would have any indication, any metric that I was interested in that specific picture unless it was reading my mind.
Now, before I continue, let me be clear that I don’t think Tik-Tok can read my mind. But it IS entertaining to think about various aspects of a scenario whereby it is. Also, let me also be clear — the vast majority of how Tik-Tok has me (and everyone else) figured out is using the FYP really is algorithms. They really do have the ability to figure me out using nothing more than algorithms. What I’m going to talk about is those few times when Tik-Tok has pushed me something that is so specific to me that I struggle to understand how it’s possible that nothing more than scanning all my Internet use, etc. would explain things.
Ok. Here’s what I’ve managed to glean from my study of Tik-Tok which is totally not reading my mind.
Tik-Tok gets itself in trouble when it seems to latch on to something that has flashed through my mind for a moment or two with intensity. So, I futz with my headphones, thinking really intensely about my headphones and their different features.
Then, next thing you know, I get pushed a video on Tik-Tok about, you guessed — headphones.
I suppose you could say that in that specific situation Tik-Tok is so deep even into my computer usage that they somehow figured that out. I’ll give you that one.
But, then again, how do you explain the “But I’m A Cheerleader” incident I mentioned a bit ago. That is something was exclusive to my mind. That’s just eerie. And, as I keep saying, I’m totally willing to accept that all of what I’m noticing can be explained via algorithms.
I guess, I’d just like someone with the technological know-how to explain things that are very specific to my mind that Tik-Tok has decided to push me videos about.
Even though I KNOW that Tik-Tok isn’t reading my mind — that’s just crazy talk, right — I continue to be at a loss as to how it figures out the phenotypes of girls I like or even more weird, their personalities.
Then I start to think about if Tik-Tok has even the slightest practical ability to read my mind and use that information to push me information, who else has it and what are they doing with it?
I’ve already had once instance where I fucking swear Tik-Tok pulled a fast on me by nudging me into what it felt was the best “second track” creative option for me — photography. That starts to make you think maybe we’re not just talking about digital telepathy but some combination of digital telepathy hooked up to AI.
That’s enough to make you stop cold in your tracks.
You know if Tik-Tok has such ability then Big Tech in America damn well has similar technology that’s probably far more advanced. Then there’s the NSA and CIA that probably has something far more advanced than even that. I’ve often idly wondered if maybe “Havana Syndrome” is some sort of extreme form of digital telepathy whereby the attack is about “downloading” as much of someone’s mind as possible.
That’s extremely fantastical and bonkers, but, again, I’m just running a scenario.
Anyway. All of this has got to be bullshit. There’s no way the technology exists to read our minds exists. We would know if it existed. Right? Right?
Tik-Tok can not read our minds. This is simply me idly imaging why it would be so hard for us to believe that it could.
If I’m regularly being pushed videos on Tik-Tok that have no logical explanation other than there is some way that the service is rooting around my mind, why is it so difficult for anyone to believe me? And, that, is really, why this bothers me so much — reality (especially a shared reality) is very, very important to me and if something is obviously happening and I’m the only person seeing it, it makes me question my own sanity and I fucking hate that.
The biggest obstacle is how unexpected something like that would be. The moment one establishes that something is even possible, you begin to have severe cognitive dissidence as you process it. There are a lot of questions associated with this possiblity.
If Tik-Tok of all people can read our minds, who else can? And what’s the technology being used for? How extensive is it? Is it a point-to-point technology or is the information that Tik-Tok (and others) is gleaning from reading our minds being aggregated and processed somewhere for some later, nefarious reason?
Then there is the issue of how such technology could be developed in secret. Digital telepathy would be equal to the mass adoption of the Internet itself in historical and cultural significance. And, given the national security implications, Tik-Tok being able to read our minds in secret might, in itself, be seen as an act of war on the part of the Chinese government at some point.
It also opens up the Pandora’s box of, essentially, the Singularity already being here now, but in secret. Or maybe some sort of “soft Singularity” may exist. And, again, the issue of — why hide such technology and what’s the long-term goal of its secret use?
Also, how do you explain how subtle, granular and nuanced some of the editorial decisions this mind reading technology seems to be making about me (and others.) Now, obviously, some of this comes not from any mysterious mind reading technology, but they really do have some very advanced “algorithms.”
And, yet, how is it possible that these “algorithms” could figure out not just the phenotype of girls I like, but their personalities? Is it even possible that it’s not just mindreading going on, but some sort of AI hooked up to what it finds out about me? When a service can figure out that there is a specific young woman in New York City that I would fall in love with at first sight if I met her in person…that’s pretty eerie. That takes some abstract thought on whatever “algorthims” are involved.
If my mind is being read — which it isn’t — it’s not just being read, it’s being read and rooted around in to make some meta-editorial decisions using the videos I’m being pushed on a regular fucking basis.
Or, put another way — given how eerie, how spooky, how specific Tik-Tok is when it comes to what it pushes me these days, whatever the reason seems like a pretty severe national security threat. If it takes bonkers white racist Tucker Carlson to draw attention to it, then, lulz….I guess?
But, again, if Tik-Tok has mindreading technology, then, you know damn well that Facebook, Google, et al have it, too, they’re just a lot more sly about it. Tik-Tok, because its nebulous connection to the autocratic Chinese government doesn’t give a shit.
Anyway, thanks for attending my TEDtalk. I don’t believe Tik-Tok can read our minds, but I fucking hate how spooky their algorithms are.
I’ve stopped thinking Tik-Tok can read my mind. It can’t. But I will note another EXTREMELY SPOOKY co-incidence that took place recently. As part of writing in long-hand scene summaries for the four novels I’m working on, there’s a word (it’s inciting, if you must know) that I write so sloppily that it looks like another word, a word that evokes alarm in my mind.
Occasionally in the last few months, Tik-Tok has pushed me some very alarming videos purporting from the product of that alarming word. I was aghast that I would be pushed that type of video for any reason and began to question why Tik-Tok’s fucking algorithms would be pushing me such alarming content.
Then it hit me — in my mind, I’m thinking “OH MY GOD…oh, I just wrote inciting…” If you wanted to believe that Tik-Tok had the ability to read my mind, you would say that what was happening was is the reason I was getting such weird videos pushed to me was the alarm in my mind that initial confusion generates within me.
But this is just crazy talk. Tik-Tok can’t read my mind.