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comment by goobster
goobster  ·  403 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Something is Wrong on the Internet

I wrote an application in HyperCard many years ago, that took text files of word parts - prefixes, suffixes, roots, etc. - and combined them to make "words." Then it ran the results through a couple of filters to eliminate words with common oddities that English doesn't like - three consecutive consonants, Q without a following U, X without a vowel on both sides, etc. - and output the final list in a semi-randomized order.

It created both fascinating and terrible words.

The combinatorics were interesting to watch, and the edge cases were where things got really weird and unexpected results appeared. That became my favorite part of the program!

That was in, like 1990, or somewhere around there.

It was a blunt instrument that would occasionally spit out excellent results. (If a client liked one of the words, they could buy it for $60k, or something. Not from me, sadly... from the company that paid me $500 to write the software for them.)

We like to think our computers are so smart, and our tools are so amazing. But honestly, all we have are seriously blunt hammers. We just have millions and millions of them pounding away, like the proverbial monkeys on their typewriters.

All these CGI studios need is for ONE of their videos to "hit", and it pays for the army of monkeys. Generate 10k videos and upload them programmatically, and the numbers pencil out.

But, as KB says about Google's algorithm changes, the smallest tweak can completely disable an entire industry.

It'll happen. And the content farms will iterate the next generation of their content engines.

Over and over.

This is not content for humans. It is content for computers.




OftenBen  ·  403 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    This is not content for humans. It is content for computers.

I just got a chill.

Considered abstractly, these are the dreams of the internet, right? Images and sounds and ideas created for it's own amusement at the conscious request of no human entity.

With some fudged definitions, that just might sound like a half-convincing sci-fi plot.

kleinbl00  ·  403 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It assigns intent where there isn't any, which is a lot of fiction as well - apophenia is one of the driving mechanisms of our conscious and subconscious thought processes so no wonder we see patterns where there are none.

Technically speaking, "dreams" are the wargaming of your subconscious. As the acetylcholine rinses away the neural connections that aren't strong enough to survive, it triggers an unconscious replay of all those that are and reinforces the memories and experiences that have value to us as organisms - positive, negative, fight, flight, love, hate, good bad. A dream is your unconscious psyche having a fire drill over something it thinks you'll have to deal with so that when it happens, you'll be ready.

A bunch of different connections firing, some washing away in oblivion, some strengthening through repeated views... I can see the similarities. What's different is that there's agency to the dream. There's a greater focus. The whole reason we're having this discussion is Alphabet refuses to be that greater focus. They don't want to be the curator. As such there's a neurobiological similarity but it is not the dreams of a conscious thing. It is the twitches of neurons without a greater brain.

FirebrandRoaring  ·  403 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    A dream is your unconscious psyche having a fire drill over something it thinks you'll have to deal with so that when it happens, you'll be ready.

This statement makes clear the intents of some dreams and make others' entirely less clear.

OftenBen  ·  403 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    It is the twitches of neurons without a greater brain.

That's the part that freaks me out though. The fundamental architecture is there. It doesn't have a purpose, but I keep feeling the word "YET" clutching to the end of that statement.

I wonder what the electrical signals of the first proto-nerve cells looked like in early multi-cellular organisms.

kleinbl00  ·  403 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Intelligence does not spontaneously arise, particularly on networks that are way simpler than the human brain. But yeah, from a storytelling standpoint it's an easy leap to make.

OftenBen  ·  403 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    Intelligence does not spontaneously arise,

I believe this part is still subject to hot debate, among those who study such things.

But yeah, it's a narrative convenience exploited at least as far back as Heinlein.