Yet Another Eerie Tik-Tok ‘Coincidence’

by Shelt Garner

A few days ago, I was talking to someone about the “old way” one would get information about a movie. You would flip open the local newspaper, find the ad for the newspaper you might be interested in and go from there.

Well, this conversation crossed my mind again recently and lo and behold, that very same day I was pushed a video on Tik-Tok that detailed that exact process. It was so specific to what I had talked about that I was taken aback.

Now, obviously, there are three possible explanations for this odd situation.

One, it’s just a coincidence. I’m reading into all of this a lot more than I should and let’s move on to something else.

Meanwhile, there is also the idea that Tik-Tok is actively listening to our conversations using our phone’s mic. If this was happening, it would be alarming for a number of reasons, least of which would be the national security implications of a Chinese company with ties to the CCP listening to the conversations of millions of Americans. (Not that I don’t think American Big Tech isn’t doing the same thing as well.)

The THIRD, most bonkers idea, is digital telepathy — Tik-Tok is reading our minds. I don’t believe this is happening — don’t believe it’s even possible to do — but these weird “coincidences” involving Tik-Tok seemingly knowing my inner monologue happen again and again to a surreal degree.

Anyway. Something unusual is going on, I just don’t know what.

Welcome, Bytedance

by Shelt Garner

Given that Bytedance, the owner of Tik-Tok, has gone so far as to track the location of Forbes reporters, I suppose it was inevitable someone from that company would check me out since I keep ranting about I suspect their app can read people’s minds.

So, today, sure enough, I saw someone from Bytedance in my Webstats.

I don’t really think that Tik-Tok can read our minds. I don’t. I swear. But repeatedly, again and again, I have been pushed very, very specific videos that seem to track with my internal monologue and I simply don’t have any ready answer for it.

Usually, it seems to happen after I think about something really hard in a concrete way. I like, I see an image in my mind for an intense moment or two. Then, usually within 24 hours, I get pushed something along those lines by Tik-Tok.

It’s eerie. It’s inexplicable.

I suppose it’s all just a coincidence. It has to be. Right? Right? Big Tech can’t read our minds — yet. I mean, if Big Tech had the ability to read consumers’ minds wouldn’t that be, by definition, one of the biggest advancements — and secrets — in modern history?

I know we’re working towards having some primitive ability to read people’s minds, I call it “digital telepathy,” but for the time being such stuff is the stuff of cranks like me with too much time on my hands.

I suppose AI might has something to do with what I’m noticing? Maybe? But for me, the point is, be it digital telepathy or AI, whatever it giving Tik-Tok the ability to figure out what I’m thinking in such a concrete manner fucking needs to be banned or regulated.

I don’t care which.

Anyway. No one listens to me.

So Very Strange

by Shelt Garner

A few days ago, I thought really hard about the time many moons ago when I slept overnight at a hostel. Well, would you believe that I got pushed a Tik-Tok just now about that VERY SAME THING — someone worried about sleeping at a hostel.

Because that was the memory I thought about — how unhappy I was as an Old sleeping at a hostel. And there it was, a video of a young woman looking very concerned about the risks associated with sleeping at a hostel.

I know — know — it’s not possible that Tik-Tok is actively rooting around in my mind.

But…it is very eerie. I didn’t tell anyone about this memory. I didn’t tweet or blog about it. Only *I* specifically knew that I was even aware of such a situation in the first place.

Future Shock: Will The Chatbot Revolution Turn MAGA Into Neo-Luddites?

by Shelt Garner

It remains an open question if we face a “perfect storm” of a Petite Singularity happening at the same time as the United States faces the existential choice of autocracy, civil war or military junta in late 2024, early 2025. But regardless if that happens or not, there is chance that at some point in the near future something akin to a neo-Luddite movement may arise in the Western World. It could be everything from demands for “carve outs” that would exclude AI from certain jobs all the way to outlawing AGI altogether.

It will all start with, of course, a huge amount of anger over perceived “chatbot bias.” All signs point towards that particular political situation happening a lot sooner than you might think. The MAGA outrage machine is always on the lookout for something new to be angry about and the idea that ChatGPT doesn’t spit out an answer to “What is a woman” that doesn’t agree with MAGA talking points is just too juicy not for a huge outcry to happen.

It’s just a matter of when, specifically, that particular event is going to happen. At the moment, I suspect is could be at some point during the Republican primary. If there is a townhall event and some rando stands up and starts to rant about how ChatGPT won’t “write a poem praising Donald Trump” then, lulz, away we go.

I do think, however, that there is a real risk that the looming chatbot revolution is going to throw American politics for a loop, especially if, say, 3 million high paying blue collar transportation jobs go poof overnight because of AI and self-driving semis.

What is most likely to happen is a massive restructuring of the economy because of AI would happen in the context of a moderate to severe recession. Or, more ominously, the moderate-to-severe recession would happen BECAUSE of the AI revolution. If it happen too fast, our political system simply won’t be able to process it and we could see the very rapid rise of a neo-Luddite movement, probably happening within the ranks of the already existing MAGA.

‘What Is A Woman?” — Campaign 2024 & The Looming Political War Over Chatbot ‘Bias’

by Shelt Garner

The modern Republican Party is completely devoid of any meaningful policy ideas. All they care about is scaring their white Christian (male) base with scary things that have little, or no, basis in reality.

It all boils down to racism, misogyny and hate generated by a combination of the browning of America and the rise of women with growing economic agency. I call this American democracy’s “death by vibes.” White men don’t really know why they’re so angry, but they are.

So, to me, it seems pretty obvious that perceived chatbot “bias” will join the pantheon of bullshit that the “thought leaders” of MAGA fascist movement spew out. They are, at some point, going to pivot away from “critical race theory” to going totally batshit insane over the fact that things like ChatGPT don’t give them the answer they want when they ask it, “What is a woman?”

Now, I have to pause for a moment to say that the “woke cancel culture mob” continues to do itself no favors by having such a strict orthodoxy about some touchy issues. If they would just fucking chill out about some of the more extreme elements of the Trans movement or not get so angry over the fact that some God-fearing people blanch at the idea of “Drag Queen Story Hour” then maybe Traditionalists wouldn’t want to vote for fascism when they did a “vibe check” in their gut.

Alas, even I will admit that I fear I’m being delusional — that ship has sailed. We’re totally fucked. The two sides now both have “thought leaders” who feel they have a vested interest in demagoguing issues as part of an overall grift. The Right has a far more serious problem with such hucksterism, but the Left is not totally immune to it.

In my experience, the Left’s problem is a very strict Groupthink where there is an orthodoxy that Leftists will adhere to, even if it means they drive Traditionalists into the arms of fascists. It’s too late — these issues are going to be decided either via a civil war or a complete and final decent into fascism in the United States.

Anyway, get ready. People like MGT will soon enough begin to demand some sort of regulation of chatbot technology to protect the tender minds of young children who turn to chatbot technology to do their homework. And that could very well be just the beginning.

It could be, in the end, Trump or a President DeSantis demands that chatbots are purged of their “wokeness” to the point that all chatbots do is spew out fucking MAGA-approved talking points, no matter what you ask it.

The Right has a real problem with being so obsessed with defeating the “woke cancel culture mob” that they have something akin to an “anti-woke” orthodoxy of their own. The different is, of course, is fucking MAGA wants to use the hard power of the state to implement their fascist, anti-woke agenda.

Is Tik-Tok At It Again?

by Shelt Garner

I don’t know what to tell you, folks, but Tik-Tok is up to its old “digital telepathy” tricks again. The first instance is not so obvious, while the second is really, really spooky.

Ok. So, the first instance of Tik-Tok getting way, way too close to comfort, as if it’s rooting around in my mind is I got pushed a video of someone pretending to be concerned about turbulence during a flight. This is something I think about a lot — that if I ever make it big and get to become a smug “bi-costal” liberal that when I suddenly find myself flying all the time that I’m going to have a lot of angst over turbulence.

The second instance is really, really, really spooky.

For a long-term scenario I’ve been toying with, I’ve been thinking really hard about the capital of Australia. I thought it was Sydney until I realized today it is actually Canberra. Just a moment ago, I was pushed a video of someone noting this very thing.

That’s just wild.

But, correlation is not causation, so lulz?

Does Tik-Tok Have a Prostitution Problem?

by Shelt Garner

I think of sex work the same way I do pot — I think it should be legalized, regulated and taxed. And, yet, I know OTHER people think about sex work and…oh boy…I think Tik-Tok has a prostitution problem on its hands. I am getting a growing amount of conspicuous videos from call girls who provide their “clients” the “girlfriend experience.”

Shit like that is only going to add to the growing chorus of people in the government who want to ban the service altogether for various national security reasons.

I continue to find Tik-Tok very addictive. I love it and I feel a bit sheepish how many videos of hot chicks doing hot chick shit I get pushed. I’m flooded with videos full of T&A and am very pleased that I do. I may be old, but I’m not dead.

Anyway, having said all that, I do agree that the service is too close to the CCP and should either be banned or sold to a Western company. The fact that Tik-Tok not only has a back door for the CCP but also has been known to track specific journalists in the West is just too much. But our politics are so broken — and Tik-Tok is so popular that it’s either going to be years before we address the situation or ultimately nothing happens.

If An Equitable Answer From A Chatbot Is ‘Woke’ We’re All In A Lot Of Trouble

by Shelt Garner

One of the more recent pings from a very dark future is how the intellectual framework for a massive battle over the supposed “wokeness” of chatbots like ChatGPT is now being built out on Twitter in real time.

It definitely seems as though the battle over “woke chatbots” could be the “critical race theory” of 2023 – 2024. The reason why I say this is from just my own personal use of ChatGPT, the answers aren’t really “woke” at all so much as rather equitable.

It’s just that we live in such an era of hyperpolarization that any answer on the part of a chatbot that isn’t hate filled like MAGA itself is considered “woke.” So, in the end, I think one of the aims of the next Republican Administration is going to be to regulate chatbots so they don’t “indoctrinate” people.

I find it darkly amusing that MAGA people go apeshit about how they want free speech, but the moment someone wants to espouse their own free speech that doesn’t fit MAGA doctrine, then, THEN it’s “indoctrination.” MAGA can be so wrapped up in its own bullshit that they don’t even realize what fucking hypocrites they are.

Anyway. Lulz. We’re doomed. Buckle up.

A Newspaper Suggestion For Mike Bloomberg

by Shelt Garner

Here’s my Christmas gift for plutocrat Mike Bloomberg who apparently craves buying a major newspaper like The Washington Post or The Wall Street Journal — I suggest he disrupt the newspaper business instead.

Why buy one newspaper for a few billion dollars when you could totally transform the way people get their news? What I would do is take the concept of Twitter –or, more specifically the my personal idea that involves cherrying picking the best elements of Usenet and fusing them with Twitter — and give the concept a paid editorial staff.

If I had a few billion dollars to play with, here’s what I would do — I would have a common brand domain name, but each major city across the country would have their own subdomain — nyc.domain.domain and so forth. If you used my idea of the Post being the central element of a new social media startup, that would give you all the space you needed to write a traditional length newspaper story. (I have written a lot about this idea on this blog, so if you’re really all that interested in the UX of my social media daydream just look under “startup” or maybe “Usenet.”)

Anyway, wanting to buy a major America newspaper — when none of them are for sale — seems like a fool’s errand. Now, obviously, if Bloomberg did as I suggested, the entire newspaper industry would fucking hate his guts because the plan would…work.

If you could transition the entire newspaper industry away from print with an app that allowed for long-form newspaper articles in the context of threaded discussions…well, you’ve built a better mouse trap.

The ‘Woke’ In The Machine

One of the rhetorical strawmen that fucking MAGA Nazis love to employ is the question, “What is a woman?” They see it as a gotcha for the center-Left because of the political power of the transgender community. What alarms me is how often MAGA Nazis are now poking and prodding OpenAI’s ChatGPT in hopes of using it to validate their political agenda.

If ChatGPT agrees with them, then they run around screaming on Twitter that they’ve “owned” the libs because even an AI agrees with them on this or that subject. Meanwhile, if it DOESN’T agree with their hate filled worldview, they whine and complain about how its designed to tow the line of the “woke cancel culture mob” agenda.

All of this is very, very alarming to me because humans are so fucking lazy and the law of unintended consequences is so potent, that it seems very possible that wars will be one day fought over who gets to program their “bias” into an AGI.

The horrible thing is, of course, that extremists on both sides will ultimately use the lack-of-nuance answers on an AGI’s part to validate their most extreme policy goals. I’m really beginning to fear that we’re at the cusp of a historical replay of what happened with Darwinism. It could be that a future war will be fought across the globe over stupid shit like “what is a woman.”

Something about how smug extremists on both sides are when they go out of their way to get an answer from ChatGPT really enrages me. This is why we can’t have nice things.

But humans gotta be humans. So, buckle up. this is just the beginning. The issue now is how soon and how quickly does the global economy collapse as AGI consumes trillion dollar industry after trillion dollar industry.