I want to be as available as possible on the Internet as that’s been the best possible path to being available to other weirdos for the longest period of time. I shift through a lot of chaff but the wheat has always been there. I’m not for everyone and everyone is not for me.
But the open human Internet is struggling under the weight of non-human actors. Machines create more and more of the content and so many interests groups, philosophies, nation states and general chaos agents are acting within the group mind and/or network state that we call the Internet.
You can complain about bots sure, and crypto folks are in the thick of it, but some of what’s going on is just the noise of people who are under the influence of algorithms. Humans are happy to be NPCs in the great game of life. And it’s much easier to play out a fantasy the Internet while you struggle to find meaning in your daily real life.
I like to intake as much information as I can but even I have my limits as to how much noise I can tolerate in the search for signal. Consider sending me an email. Maybe we go back to private corners of blog comments and email correspondence. Get a little more signal as a treat.
I like a little “woo” in my life. Anytime I hit a particularly interesting number in my daily writing I tend to do a bit of collective consciousness spelunking across the shared spaces of the internet.
Unsurprisingly, 1111 sparks quite a bit of interest across pop culture numerology depictions. The first search results were women’s interest magazines.
Women’s Health with the uplifting new beginnings represented by 1 before associating 11 as a doubling of 1’s energy as a “master number” with spiritual insight, enlightenment, and intuitive understanding.” Sure, I want an intuitive understanding of my life’s new beginnings. Good job magazine editors. Groundbreaking.
Because what good is hidden knowledge of divine intentions without an affiliate marketing link program with it? I’d love to know if search engine optimization on numerology combined with attractively curated e-commerce affiliate content hits the Cosmopolitan P&L in any meaningful way.
But if you really want lean into your pattern recognition and the subtle schizophrenia of Internet apophenia, my original source Women’s Health helpfully leans into “service journalism” by sharing that Kabbalists 1111 is a sign from God or divinity itself.
This is because the ancient Hebrew name for God, Yahweh or YHWH, when written resembles four ones.
I will caution readers that I don’t know if any of this is true. Obviously my goofy posting shouldn’t be seen as having the same rigor as a LessWrong epistemic status post. While I like a post-rationalist, I don’t know if any of the consumer friendly versions of ancient wisdom is true. I wouldn’t be taking my reading of the Talmud from magazines typically dedicated to recipes and workouts myself.
Women browsing random bits of pattern recognition at the grocery store or on their phone really is the stuff of fluff and the stuff of fear. Who knows what bits of knowledge might lead us astray.
Best case scenario you end up with a nice Oud candle that helped keep Cosmopolitan quiz writers paid. Worst case scenario, you might summon a malevolent algorithmic rabbit hole determined to fill your feeds with angels and demons.
I’m upset. I feel it in my body. Soma apparently means “body” in Latin, somatic is “of the body” so to have a response in your body is a somatic response. I’m having a somatic response.
I’ve been surprised at the emotional campaigns that have been waged against technology in the general, and artificial intelligence in the specific, as of late. But I am starting to feel the emotional weight of the collective fear and emotion in my own body. Futureshock is here and the fear mongers are here to tell you and I that we should be afraid.
The o-ed was written by David Evan Harris who is a chancellor’s public scholar at UC Berkeley. He used to work a Meta on ethical AI. Now this not the opinion of IEEE which is calls itself “the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.”
You’d think that sort of mission would be a little more on board with new technologies. But maybe David is just an extreme voice. Op-Ed’s are meant to represent a variety of opinions after all.
But how should I feel about the benefits of technology when it’s presented to me like this? They used a skull to really get across the visceral fear. No friendly face to make a concession to our silly human anthropomorphic desires. Let’s scare the stupid hairless apes.
I have an inherent skepticism when someone wants to sell me on the dangers of regular people having access to something new and potentially transformative. Why must we always default to the precautionary principle? Why is fear always our default?
I don’t want to let this sort of thing get to me. But I can see the narrative campaign being waged against artificial intelligence and the sheer volume and tenor of coverage leads me to believe that everyone is aware of its potential.
Claiming artificial intelligence is only for the knowledgeable few chosen by committee of expert sounds so sensible. But I think my body knows better. I should be upset by this.
I hope the rest of America is enjoying the polar vortex that is bearing down on them. Our weather improved somewhat from from there last two days of -40 into the comparatively balmy -5.
I do feel a little bit stir crazy being inside for this long or maybe I’m just feeling a little crazy from pain. I’m feeling some intense pain in my spine and joints during this freeze. It’s unclear if the pain weather related but I’ve got no reason to be experiencing any kind of flare so my mind has tied them together.
I’m hoping that as the weather recedes for us on the western half of the country I’ll be ready to leap into action. I’m a bit antsy. I’ve been considering a number of moves as I have commitments to work on a number of portfolio and founder related initiatives as well as the most crucial #FreedomToCompute campaign.
I’d write more but I am not at the top of my game so I’ll dip back into reading and hope tomorrow is a good day.
The station measures wind direction, wind speed, wind gust, UV & light, temperature and humidity, as well as precipitation measurements (though that works much better with rain than snow).
The weather station feeds all the data to the display screen, which then pushes the data to our home automation system as well.
Two interesting details you may notice. The humidity was 73% outside which looks misty when it’s that cold. The other is our house was down to 61F. That is quite a spread of temperatures even still. Also fun fact, -40F is also -40 Celsius. It’s where we Americans finally agree with the rest of the world.
I’ve definitely felt the weather in my body. The pain in my spine is worse. But I feel it elsewhere in subtle ways. My joints hurt. My skin is dry. Even my sinuses are dry. It wears a bit heavier. I won’t mind when we get back to a more normal sunny and 30F.
You gave our generation the tools to be heard and you have shepherded those tools well over many years. I value your efforts. I value it with my loyalty. I have for almost twenty years. And I have always felt that loyalty was respected by WordPress through the commitment to protocols we agree upon because they work.
The software that powers this blog has done so reliably for 1106 days in a row. And it’s not even my first blog. I started blogging in college using WordPress. I launched an entire career because I published my writing not in books or magazines or newspaper but on the internet.
In the intervening decades, I’ve used lots of software and many types of media. I’ve committed to many kinds of technology and adopted any number of platforms, systems and even new languages. But the home I’ve trusted most on the internet has been WordPress. Thank you.
My parents are both readers. That’s what I inherited from them. The true richness of my childhood was not in any material resources (which varied) but in its prioritizing access to information. In my lifetime that went from libraries to the internet.
Now I get to be both a reader and a writer. And that’s how I know things have improved. Thanks for being a part of building those improvements Matt. Happy Birthday. I hope I get to write you another happy birthday wish here again when you turn fifty.
For as much fluidity as my daily writing habit has achieved, I can still get caught up in a synopsis. I have relieved any pressure to make a daily dispatch (which took some effort) but a quarterly or yearly one can get me to glitch. I like to add more information to my modeling like any self respecting nerd. As much as information integration looks effortless it is actually a laborious process. I read tens of thousands of words every single day.
Now I do work from a strategy. Which means I only adjust my tactics on a weekly or quarterly basis. And I will not be sped up on assessing the character of individuals or the caliber of their ideas if I can help it. When I need to move fast I have to do it within the guardrails of what I believe to be right.
And it’s important to remember that heuristics some heuristics don’t need regular updating. Moral codes shouldn’t need much updating. Maybe you believed the wrong layer of abstraction and have to change your priors to align with your moral code. That’s totally fine.
But you shouldn’t be changing around your code of ethics. That’s how you get criminals. Arbitrage is never permanent. Criminals can have a stronger moral compass than business people or religious institutions. This fucks with everyone. I cannot account for all sinners nor most demands for purity. I can however hold myself to my own standards and so should you.
I do what I can to telegraph my own belief systems and where I derived them. There are lots of signifiers I leave in my wake. I am a Christian. I am a capitalist. I am a Protestant. I believe in markets and judicial review. I believe some things are beyond market but all things are subject to forces beyond our control. That’s how I ended up picking Calvinism as a sect but it’s pretty niche.
I’ve believe luck is just opportunity meeting preparation and you can do a lot to increase opportunities and even more to increase preparation. I don’t like rentiers but I do like the bourgeoisie. Property rights are good and regulations are only as good as the people that make them. That’s why we I’d prefer we have fewer laws. We must act deference to our own failings as human but never so much that it harms our capacity to organize.
We got half a foot of snow in southwest Montana in Gallatin county but it looks as if we’ve more on the way with plenty of gusting wind and temperatures dropping to -10 Fahrenheit.
We’ve got a number of habits around storm preparations in our family. I like to take a shower, run a few loads of laundry and run the dishwasher. Cleaning up yourself and your house before a storm is a good habit.
The idea is that if you lose power for an extended period you will appreciate having a clean home. In the cold and dark you don’t want to be surrounded dirty dishes. The extra time to feel you live in a clean house is well worth it.
We finally got some significant snowfall in Montana last night. We’ve had a dry and relatively warm winter, so having half a foot of light powder was good news. It seemed to put everyone I met today in spirits.
I had cause to go into town and it was all smiles everywhere we went. A quick doctor visit was all enthusiastic exchanges about how beautiful it was outside.
The universe must have picked up on my general optimism as while we were in town some friends texted let us know they were coming through on their way to the airport. The timing worked perfectly as we went over to the other side of the valley to meet up before their next bit of travel and intersected for some socializing. Football games, bingo nights and bar food certainly sounds like a nice night in America.
As much pessimism infects our daily narratives, sometimes all it takes is a snow day and being together to remind you that we’ve got of reasons for optimism.
After reading about Joel Mokyr’s Culture of Growth thesis on the importance of a positive mindset for technological progress I’m reminded again that we have to bring that mindset to daily life.