More AI Sludge + Law vs Lore

A few months ago an AI content sludge farm wrote an article / profile about me. Guess what…. It’s happened again.

10 minutes

This week my Google alerts informed me that I am the author of an article about Revolutionizing Heart Disease Treatment: Latest Innovations and Promising Future and the video version of the Permanently Moved episode The Prompt in Interactive Fiction and AI Art is prominently embedded at the top of the page.

Is this going to be what the Internet is going to be like now, forever forward? AI sludge writing articles written about me, other websites posting content sludge fraudulently written by me? Just wait until it happens to YOU.

Someone in the Garbage Day discord joked that if they ever get heart disease they are going to sue me over the terrible advice on that page that I’m supposedly the author of.

I still don’t know quite how I feel about the last AI sludge article. Now this has happened, I think I’m gonna bring it up with people and talk about it IRL as its weird.

Mat Dryhust had a whole riff about AI pollution recently which I’m embedding below: (Emphasis mine)

GenAI pollution exploits paths we were all encouraged to follow. Social media encourages redundancy. Quantity > quality was celebrated. Ek’s “continuous engagement”, TikTok strategies for producing mindless trivia, the feed resembling an endless marketing campaign for at best hurried, disappointing, things – or endless marketing campaigns for their own sake, solely elevating people who can keep your attention so that they might keep more of it.

Prior to GenAI for years the most popular accounts began to resemble bots , repeating the same talking points ad nauseam in response to incoming events, resembling agents canvassing for narrower and narrower positions, reinforcement learning on what particular tone of outrage or salt kept engagement up.

GenAI forces the issue as that mode of communication is easily automated. It will pollute, but also dilute, such that it will be hard to distinguish between attention hijacking humans or bots.

Perhaps a necessary evil to carve out an understanding that if you want nice things, they need to be paid for, and that there is very rarely a correlation between thoughtful creative people and a ceaseless capacity to engage. Nice things take time and funds. If you organize the web for attention games, bots will be better at that.

Original youtubers who cut their teeth in these environments are quitting. Publications closing. Twitter and Insta have lost much of their charm. GenAI will ruthlessly exploit weaknesses in how we organize culture until those weaknesses are patched.

This really cuts to the heart of things does it not? Bots will always out perform real people when the shape of a worlds physics is being exploited. The interesting word Mat uses is ‘Pathway‘. It has spaciality to it. The bots and scammers are exploiting a place. I touched on this at the end of my talk at DevConnect about navigation in worlds.

There are two ways to navigate a world / techno-social system. By Law and Lore.

Here’s an old thing I just dug out of my notes from Dec 2022 trying to explain the difference between the two approaches.

Law vs Lore

Navigating by Law, is to navigate within the strict technological parameters. Some agents within a world may attempt to maximise their paper clips within the Law. Gold farming, value extraction, high scores and winning may all be goal driven approaches to navigating the world. But navigating by Law may not be in the spirit of the β€˜Lore’. 

To navigate by Lore is to be guided by story, narrative, and represents the expansion of the world – pushing the world’s edge back into new frontiers.  For lore navigators, the world is not for maximising the acquisition of paperclips, but for telling stories about the paperclips and what they did with them. 

All worlds adapt, and change with new systems, features and controls. This changes the physics of the world. The question is, do these changes extend the physics/rules of the world? Do they lock them down? Or will they steer the world towards more narrative aliveness. 

The main method of tackling Bots in worlds is to change the physics in such a way that makes navigating by Law difficult or expensive. We encounter this strategy in our daily lives every single day when we fill in a CAPTCHA to prove our humanity.

CCP, Eve Online creators took a different approach. They acknowledged that bots exist and decided to allow their behaviour but only in certain zones on the map. They put them ‘over there’ on the world map and narratively accommodated them by saying to players that there are ‘weird and dangerous automated things out in the badlands’.

CCP made the LawBots part of the Lore.

But how do we get bots to navigate by Lore?

Again as Mat said, humans have been navigating by platform gravity for a while. I said as much the other month

I have long suspected that most of the replies on those apps are bots. But at least web pages were written by people? Unless its a recipe blog, and then its something written by a person for a machine. But the article about me was written by a machine for .. people? Other machines? Who knows?

Back in 2015 I thought that Twitters endgame was going to be all bots just faving and replying to each others messages

Maybe twitter becomes a myspace wasteland & all thats left are bots talking, favin’ and followbacking amongst themselves forever

I also sort of think that advertisers and investors won’t care.

For now though this endgame is a long way off, we need to figure out how to navigate techno-social systems that contain both human and non-human agents.


Photo 365

052/365/2024

The Ministry Of My Own Labour

  • I’ve been doing the layout and design for a zine thats swag for a conference on the 15th. Only decided last Sunday that the telegram group was going to do something so its been a bit mad. Wrangling texts, Affinity design layout work, art direction call, and general chasing and cajoling
    • More on this soon
  • Met @polysemic IRL in central this week. Had a great morning chatting over coffee
  • Updated the images on this Solarpunk post
  • Lots of Novara Media work. Spreadsheets and prep for various sales calls
  • Had a call with an editor about worldrunning.guide lots of great feedback
    • I have about half a days work to do and then I’ll bump the version number to V2. Very proud of this essay collection
  • Wrote the introduction to a zine that I’m going to publish soon. after the surprise zine i’m currently working on
  • Invitations sent to potential experience.computer guests
    • Also sent a cold email to a company to see if they would sponsor the show. Let’s see

Terminal Access

Andrew Dana Hudson has a set of short eco/sci-fi stories published online co-produced along side the LuleΓ₯ University of Technology Energy Dept.

What does the future hold for the energy system in northern Sweden? How would your energy behavior change in a future where the price of electricity varies with the weather? What would you do more of during periods of low electricity prices, what would you postpone during periods of high electricity prices?

We apply science fiction to help us and others to think about the future and to create a greater understanding of what an energy system with a large share of renewables can mean for society.

You can read more about the project and the stories in his newsletter this week.

Dipping the Stacks

From Emma to Alix, Gen Z’s biggest podcasters are working from bed

For Gen Z, hosts mic’d up in hoodies and chatting from an unmade bed could also be a refreshing escape from the more buttoned up aesthetic of Instagram, according to Jennifer Grygiel

My attention is reserved for important things – time spent offline

You don’t seem to care much about your attention, to value it as much as Silicon Valley does.

Everyone’s Existential Crisis

Social knowledge is thus more epistemically fraught than personal knowledge. However, it is critical to our ability to function and coordinate and, furthermore, it is what gives that ever elusive quality of β€œmeaning” to our lives.

Science and history cannot afford to be indifferent to each other | Aeon Essays

The problem is that the scientists and the historians have stopped talking with and listening to one another.

Scientists found the thickly contextualised, sharply focused histories of now-discarded science irrelevant and indigestible. Historians bridled at the scientists’ demands for a mythologised and anachronistic version of the past. We think it’s time to restart the conversation, for the benefit of both scientists and historians.

45 Years Ago, One Kids Book Series Taught A Generation How To Make Bad Decisions

There are surprising plans beyond the traditional format that Gilligan couldn’t divulge in 2023, but even as technology evolves, nothing beats the experience of reading a physical book and not knowing what awaits the reader when they turn it over.

The Internet’s Meaning Crisis – by Drew Austin

So much of what we encounter online just doesn’t matter, and even worse, offers no mechanism for us to start caring about it.

Reading

Still reading A Swim in a Pond in the Rain by George Saunders. Going slow not because I’m not enjoying it but because the moment I’ve been getting into bed recently I’m just falling asleep.

Although its been out for a few months I’ve just got round to reading Other Jay’s book Dust: The Modern World in a Trillion Particles. It’s really good! Dull of insightful information and it’s fantastically written. At its best when the chapters are wound around her travel writing. Took some notes towards the end and have bought a book based off the chapter on climate change.

Dougald Hine emailed to recommend Ignition: Starting Fires in a Burning World by M.R. O’Connor. I’ve picked it up and its now at the top of the ever larger TBR pile. I also bought Escape from Model Land: How Mathematical Models Can Lead Us Astray and What We Can Do About It by Erica Thompson as an audiobook.

Music

Shibusashirazu – Shibuki

I’ve gotten really in to Japanese Jazz outfit Shibusashirazu Orchestra in the last month or so. My route in to their discography was their 2007 album Shibuki.

Shibusashirazu roughly translates as “we don’t understand/are unaffected by cool” and for the last 40 years Shibusashirazu have been living up to the name. The track ‘Flight On The Corner’ below is a cracker. It’s driving rhythms, crazy saxophone solos, guitar solos – its got it all.

If you have time, check out their 2016 Glastonbury appearance. I had it on my second screen whilst working this week and its also got it all. No dancers, people doing live calligraphy/ink art. What a wild experience it must have bee in the tent!

Remember Kids:

In the word CHAOS let the Book be sealed

Liber B vel Magi

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