I read this thing the other day where someone built a robot that could do improv comedy. There were these links out to other AI programs that could paint and write. Seems a bit on the nose that people can create robots that can take away artists but nobody can seem to figure out anything marginally better than the combustion engine but that probably has to do with multinational companies staying in business thanks to the most profitable resource in modern history BUT HEY THANKS FOLKS YOU'VE BEEN GREAT HAVE A GOOD NIGHT.
Later on, wife and I watched a TED Talk about how the algorithm for YouTube Kids was fucked and you could get from Peppa Pig to a masturbating Mickey Mouse in 10 steps, or 20 minutes of autoplay. Again, I'm not entirely sure why this is a thing. Perhaps there should be a job wherein it is their entire prerogative to ask whether this is beneficial to the advancement of the human species or not.
We've advanced to the point wherein we're spinning our wheels. There are so many pointless scientific studies: ones that make great headlines but when you actually read about what they did in the study, you realize that people just got hundreds of thousands of dollars to sit around and ask high people if they can remember something. I love science. I really do. And I say this as someone who's happily gone to sleep at night getting paid to do ridiculous shit: that's some bullshit.
I'm not saying that advancement is a bad thing. No! Not at all. If you can figure out how to make a fortune basically just yelling at people to buy your shit, then that's cool. The rest of us get into wine or ESPN or conspiracy theories — you get your kicks walking into a columned building and going "WHO WANTS TO OWN FLORIDA ORANGE JUICE?" and, I mean, sure, dude. Go for it. But shaping the entire economy around that is just plain weird. You can't base your whole future on speculation. That's what children do. It doesn't really fall on the shoulders of investors individually—it's sort of a Tyranny of Small Decisions thing—rather the whole notion that nobody owns the companies they work for——nobody owns their work——that all you're doing is getting the guy above you richer——is what's leading to Trump and Brexit and all that shit. No wonder people aren't happy and suicide and depression rates are through the roof. Because nobody knows what the fuck is going on. And increasingly we're wondering if the people who should know what the fuck is going on actually have any idea what the fuck is going on. Hence the cognitive dissonance.
A bubble bursting is telling, because it's the only time these types of people wake up to the fact that they're that type of person. There can be personal bubbles. You invest too much in one area of your life and you fuck up the whole thing. We're living in a media bubble, for sure: any person can buy a domain and a platform and get an audience. That's thrilling if you're a) a fucking idealist or b) 9 years old, but just because you can doesn't mean you should. Which, coincidentally, is my synopsis of every Ayn Rand book ever. Which is sort of where we're heading. I kind of get the feeling we're towards the tail-end of one of those civilizations like the Roman Empire that managed to advance very far but get fucked up by bad middle management. (And they let the Goths move out! Everybody needs a bit of goth in their life!)
So while Rome / D.C. / whatever other stretched analogy / burns, a group of assholes build things that we don't need. And—this is probably me just getting older—but what the fuck are you doing with your life when your biggest issue is creating a worse improv comedy show?
It's not Everest. You're not saving lives. You're just being a dick.