The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

I read an article called “China’s AI Awakening” because I find AI technology amazing (side-note: I fear for humanity, seriously) but here was a funny paragraph in the article.

Across the capital, in fact, I notice a remarkable amount of interest in artificial intelligence. In one restaurant, for instance, I find a machine that takes my picture and then supposedly uses AI to determine how healthy I am. This seems completely impossible, but the machine says I’m in great shape before suggesting that I have plenty to eat.

I think the world is RIPE for a new variation on magic elixirs, and the new-fangled magic elixir is technology as a whole, but AI, deep learning, machine learning, whatever label you want to slap on something that isn’t actually any of those things.

I remember hearing on the radio a thing about this automaton that played chess, and was incredible at it. And this was around 1790. It turns out that there was actually a person hidden underneath this automaton and it was controlling the machine. There was actual intelligence and craftiness put into the design, but only about 10% was that … and then it was 90% smoke and mirrors. I think the new age charlatan will come to your house (electronically or otherwise) telling you that here’s this special $10,000 toilet that’ll tell you how your diet is based on monitoring your … um, output. And really all it will do is make beeping noises and light up some little buttons and then say something which is OF COURSE true like, ‘you should probably eat more veggies, dude.’

woman holding teacup

Psst. Smoke and mirrors is corporate speak for bullshit.

Or maybe it’ll be a smart watch for $5,000 which is really just a Garmin but with some apps loaded on it that do things like say, ‘Based on your heart rate we have detected that your genetic history is … mixed.’ And you’ll go, ‘oh wow, thanks watch, tell me more!’ and it’ll say some bland stuff that applies to that 70% that’s in the middle of the bell curve and someone who’s actually FROM Africa, and their whole ancestry is straight up Africa will go, ‘the hell? What’re you saying, watch?’

My point in all of this is … technology is cool, and terrifying, and be afraid of it when wielded by corporations or governments, but be skeptical of anything you as an individual can afford that tells you it can do wonderful things.

But anyway while you’re here I’ve got this app I created where you take a few quizzes and it’ll match you up with your soulmate. It’s just $99 a month to have the app and the only reason it’s not like one shot and you’re done is because, well it’s pretty technical I’d hate to bore you with the details. But just imagine that soulmate. Pretty great, right?

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