Truth according to the internet, a real-life horror story.

“Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” ~Abraham Lincoln, 1927

So, imagine for a moment that you are in a quiz show. There is a buzzer in front of you and you are competing with one other person who is standing in the dark. The anchor points right at you and says, “Question 1, What’s his favorite food?”. Before you even begin to think, the other person hits the buzzer and says “It’s spaghetti, he had it eight days back while binge watching Game of thrones. But his selection of porn later that night… now that’s what I would call Stranger things!”. The crowd laughs. The following questions continue to be all about you – what’s in your bank account, your favorite band when you were nineteen… And you always lose and the other person always has the right answer, each time delving into more embarrassing, excruciating personal details.

I was lying. There is no such person in existence, not yet… But there are entities that know more about you than you do – entities that live inside hundreds of thousands of computers owned by different corporations, on large datacenters spread across several continents and some even under water.

There is a data model of you that can accurately define not only your daily life, but also your mind – your passions, religious, political and ideological beliefs.

So, man created Artificial Intelligence (AI) in his own image. And it passes judgement on others, just like people – you and me, who judge others’ lives based on their Instagram or Facebook. But the difference is that the AI has no envy, fear of missing out (FOMO) or subsequent depression.

An AI out there can determine that you suck at grammar, based on your Facebook comments. Another AI out there can predict you that you will gain seven pounds of fat in the next three months and may have a heart attack in the next fifteen years, based on the history of foods that you ordered. There can be an AI out there that can confirm that you cheated on your spouse on “that date and this time”, with your ex boyfriend number three, based on your GPS and heartbeat data. An AI can tell you that someone fancies you, based on the number of seconds they paused on your Instagram photo.

The AIs that I am describing are possible. In fact, not rocket-science and easy to code, if the data is accessible. There are corporations that have this data. Make no mistake, the information collected about you right now, can be worth thousands of dollars over time and costs only a couple of dollars to store it in a hard-disk. It’s never going to be deleted and your grandchildren and their grandchildren will find the models of you on the internet, long after you are gone.

It’s frightening how much of human history is being written by machines.

Some suicide bomber killed hundreds of people in Afghanistan? Oh, it’s not on the first two pages of a Google search? There is no such guy and it didn’t happen, so let’s not talk about it, ever!

But, but, we know what is happening around us. It’s in our memory goddammit! and no AI can rewrite the history in our memory, right?

Wrong. You hate someone, say Donald Trump. You will be bombarded with articles and tweets which claim that he is evil and videos that criticize his every second of existence. The more you read them, you will be offered more of the same, effectively putting you in an echo chamber of people and their thoughts that all seem to agree with you. You subconsciously conclude that everyone in the world share the same view and the history right now matches with what is happening in your mind. Now think about the people who like Donald Trump and imagine the content that is put in front of them by the internet and the echo chambers that their minds live in.

As someone who works in the software industry, I’m sorry to tell you that this is the new normal and we cannot escape it. A part of the world economy depends on our personal data and the time that we spend inside these echo chambers. We are here to feed and be fed by the machines.

My bread and butter is my cup of coffee

My bread and butter is my cup of coffee

Disclaimer: Dear reader, please don’t take this post literally. Trying to sip and swallow your toast can lead to choking and even death. To those who did it anyway: please don’t haunt me.

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
– William James

Somebody told me that I am good with computers. Yeah, I was young, twelve maybe.  Continue reading “My bread and butter is my cup of coffee”

Get a time machine, think like the old you and be fearless!

I would like to start by asking you a question. Think about this:

What if there was a time machine that can take you five or ten years back in time, with the amazing ability that you will be younger as you were at that period of time? Also, you get to keep all your memories and your knowledge that you have right now!

Now I have to ask you…

Will you still be scared to get on a stage in front of thirty ten year olds? Continue reading “Get a time machine, think like the old you and be fearless!”

Fix the bugs in your life

Fix the bugs in your life

Have you got problems in your life? Everybody has some. These problems are just like “bugs” – in the software that we call life. Some of them have higher priority and have to be “fixed” immediately. Some of them like depression or social anxiety are of higher severity; they can crash your life software or make it really really slow or painful. Continue reading “Fix the bugs in your life”

Heard it somewhere… Part 2

“Books – one of the greatest inventions of mankind. Reading and writing is what really differentiates us from other species. Without books to let us pass down existing knowledge, we will still be trying to figure out rudimentary things like fire or reinventing the wheel.”
– some TV show

“My highschool English teacher had borrowed my copy of Gone with the wind. When I asked her to return it, she said it was gone with the wind.”
– my highschool English teacher said to me once.

“Has anyone ever told you before? That you are an asshole?”
– during a heated conversation at my college, between two friends.

“The first thing that I learnt in college is, you are not here to please everybody”
– said by a college friend.

“Why are you torturing you mom on the phone?”
– my college room mate shouted at me after overhearing yet another heated conversation between me and my mom.