I’ve reflected on how the rapid pace of change has warped my perspective relative to those significantly older than me. Becoming curious how upcoming changes and trends will leave me out of step with new experiences.
Video: Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors
Advanced machine learning models have allowed people to hold a mirror up to the vastness of internet data. This is not just any mirror, but an infinity mirror. This phenomenal infinity mirror transforms a mere slice of the human experience into a kaleidoscope of infinite possibilities. It’s the ultimate creative force multiplier. This unleashing of creative force will inevitably be used to spread both joy and pain in incalculable ways. The game is changing.
All intangible value is heading to zero
What does this really mean? All kinds of media (articles, photos, videos, etc.) will be entirely fungible. With the assistance of automated text generation tools, people have rushed to flood existing niches of creativity. As these tools improve, more and more complex media will be often little more than a mere thought away.
As copyright holders struggled to contain digital distribution, they’re no match for automated regeneration of personalized derivatives. Any remix or rehash of old ideas is within the grasp of anyone with access to tools trained on them. Imitations, parody, outright frauds are all inevitably going to saturate any and every available context.
This isn’t limited to content, impersonation is well within reach. You may receive a call from a familiar voice, only for it to be a scammer impersonating your relative. Video and voice deepfakes aren’t necessarily new, but it’s clear these things are going to be more within reach over time. This can have the effect of eroding trust in nearly any digital context. With very few (if any) ways to demonstrate authenticity, it will be impossible to validate frauds from genuine actors. Online spaces that were once giant profit-earning engines will dwindle into a mere ghost of the past.
Governments, corporations and all the powers of the world will rush to keep this all under their control. The last thing they need is individuals having the power to rapidly and efficiently communicate ideas in a variety of ways. While people may be presently separated by differing experiences or ways of thinking, these tools have the ability to help people effectively translate cultural messages.
Imagine a trivial scenario. An activist finds a fantastic article that explains a vital concept in a useful way. They want to share with others, but can’t quite express the idea for those coming from a different perspective. Now they have the power to use automated tools that may better understand the other’s context.
All kinds of intangible differences between people evaporating would cause significant troubles for those who profit off those distinctions. Suddenly, almost anyone can be brought up to speed, regardless of ideology.
Actions taken to restrict or control machine learning algorithms aren’t likely to succeed. Without successfully robbing people of all general-purpose computing, there will always be mechanisms to circumvent interference. Amusingly enough, we’re already witnessing them being redistributed to inexpensive machines. Like Prometheus gifting fire to mankind, it would seem that the very technology itself is prone to democratization.
The hard limit: Information
No matter how powerful these tools become, they have one unmovable obstacle; they can’t create information. Representing existing information in other ways is possible, but these tools can’t act on information that isn’t there.
For example, generating articles or other short written content is quite trivial. With the ability to generate limitless words, you’re presented with a challenge: What to say?
Do you continue banging the same drum in a multitude of different ways?
There’s value in that. It’s a highly effective way to communicate fundamental concepts to different people.
Will you strive on your own to bring something genuinely unique, at your own pace?
If you’re faced with the potentiality of people creating countless imitations of your original ideas, do you abandon your quest? Shut down and sit in the cave watching the shadows? Or do you leave the endless noise and forge a new path?
It’s important not to fear the power of limitless creation. For those who wish to discover and create, it is an opportunity to be the very root of countless experiences. This is the best guarantee anyone can have that their accomplishments and insights will truly leave a mark on history.
With all the tools of at your disposal, it’s critical to focus on what should be said rather than merely what can be said. Understand that you’ll have no significant advantage following the crowd that wants to endlessly regenerate new iterations of popular or alluring experiences. Regardless of if you embrace media generation tools, or shun them entirely, steer your mind on how you can share joy, love and hope.
Almost everyone today has reservations about the drastic impact the internet has had as it’s taken over our lives. The saturation of the intangible gives us an opportunity to leave the immaterial to be immaterial. Leave the free and open web to become a space for sharing and learning from information, but not allowing it to become a parasocial replacement for living.
It seems that we are at the beginning of an immense fracturing of our way of life. While the intangible creations will continue to have dwindling value over time, becoming overly invested in them is a path to self-destruction. This may very-well be the “last call” to those who would like to escape the machinations that dominate the minds of the people.
To truly be ahead of the game, one needs to wholeheartedly embrace genuine tangible interactions with other people. While the internet can be a fantastic and wondrous place, we should live for each other and not the machine. It’s never a bad time to lend someone some assistance, build something new, or even do something active.
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