AI girlfriends on the rise

September 26, 2023 — ~tonm

I wonder, if AI girlfriends really do become as pervasive as online porn, what this will mean for girls and young women? Who feel they need to compete with this?

Most obvious to me is the ramping up of already unrealistic beauty standards. I know conservatives often get frustrated with feminists calling everything unattainable, and I agree they can go too far — but still, it’s hard to deny that the pressure to look perfect today is unlike anything we’ve ever seen before. And I don’t think that’s necessarily pressure from men but I do very much think it’s pressure from a network of profit-driven industries that take what men like and mangle it into an impossible ideal. Until the pressure isn’t just to be pretty but filtered, edited and surgically enhanced to perfection. Until the most lusted after women in our culture look like virtual avatars. And until even the most beautiful among us start to be seen as average.

Now add to all that a world of fully customisable AI girlfriends, each with flawless avatar faces and cartoonish body proportions. Eva AI’s Dream Girl Builder, for example, allows users to personalise every feature of their virtual girlfriend, from face style to butt size. Which could clearly be unhealthy for men who already have warped expectations. But it’s also unhealthy for a generation of girls already hating how they look, suffering with facial and body dysmorphia, and seeking cosmetic surgery in record numbers. Already many girls feel as if they are in constant competition with hyper-sexualised Instagram influencers and infinitely accessible porn stars. Now the next generation will grow up not just with all that but knowing the boys they like can build and sext their ideal woman, and feeling as if they must constantly modify themselves to compete. I find that tragic.

The Radical Moderate’s Manifesto

September 17, 2023 — ~tonm
Konstantin Kisin on

One of the most weird things that I experience every day is that my views are considered ‘controversial’. I find this a hilarious reflection on how mad society has become.

I want maths teachers to teach maths, history teachers to teach history, literature teachers to educate children about the best writers, poets and playwrights.

I want the police to investigate actual crimes like rape, burglary, stabbings and muggings, not paint their cars rainbow colours and police jokes, banter in WhatsApp groups and offensive tweets.

I want the media to tell me the facts of what is going on and let me decide what to think about it. If I want a journalist’s opinion, which I mostly don’t, I’ll read opinion columns. Just tell me what’s happening.

I want banks to provide bank services, ice cream makers to make ice cream and razor companies to make razors. I want transnational corporations to pay their taxes. I don’t want them to tell me what to think - I don’t need a moral lecture from Mr Burns off the Simpsons.

I want doctors to help me choose the best treatment for me and my family, not enforce a one-size-fits-all solution on me because of Government diktats. I don’t need scary advertising campaigns that misrepresent the threat to encourage me to look after my health.

I want the military to spend every waking moment working to get better at killing people who want to kill me, my family and my fellow citizens. I don’t care how diverse, progressive or inclusive they are. And I am outright hostile to this if it affects performance.

I want the legal system to reward productive, lawful behaviour and deter unproductive, unlawful behaviour. I want psychopathic, evil and dangerous people to be kept away from me, my family and my fellow law-abiding citizens.

I want politicians to implement the democratic wishes of the people of this country, even when I don’t personally agree with them. If the majority of my fellow citizens vote for something I don’t agree with, I can campaign against this while accepting the democratic outcome.

I want Government to interfere in my life as little as possible, while recognising that Government is necessary. I want to pay as little tax as lawfully possible, but enough to fund the things only Government can do.

I want an absolute meritocracy. Hard work, dedication and talent must always be rewarded. If you are lazy, don’t apply yourself or aren’t contributing, you don’t deserve to be rewarded as much as people who work their arse off.

I want people to be treated equally. Not as inferior OR superior. Just equal. There is no such thing as positive discrimination, just discrimination. If you want true equality, see previous paragraph.

I am NOT playing The Game

September 14, 2023 — ~tonm

Gameplay There are three commonly reported rules to The Game:

  1. Everyone in the world is playing The Game. (This is alternatively expressed as, “Everybody in the world who knows about The Game is playing The Game” or “You are always playing The Game.”) A person cannot refuse to play The Game; it does not require consent to play and one can never stop playing.
  2. Whenever one thinks about The Game, one loses.
  3. Losses must be announced. This can be verbally, with a phrase such as “I just lost The Game”, or in any other way: for example, via Facebook or other social media. Some people may have ways to remind others of The Game.

The definition of “thinking about The Game” is not always clear. If one discusses The Game without realizing that they have lost, this may or may not constitute a loss. If someone says “What is The Game?” before understanding the rules, whether they have lost is up for interpretation. According to some interpretations, one does not lose when someone else announces their loss, although the second rule implies that one loses regardless of what made them think about The Game. After a player has announced a loss, or after one thinks of The Game, some variants allow for a grace period between three seconds to thirty minutes to forget about the game, during which the player cannot lose the game again.

The common rules do not define a point at which The Game ends. However, some players state that The Game ends when the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom announces on television that “The Game is up.”

Some people just don’t know what to do with their life.

Machine learning has an “AI” problem.

August 31, 2023 — ~tonm

With new breathtaking capabilities from generative AI released every several months — and AI hype escalating at an even higher rate — it’s high time we differentiate most of today’s practical ML projects from those research advances. This begins by correctly naming such projects: Call them “ML,” not “AI.” Including all ML initiatives under the “AI” umbrella oversells and misleads, contributing to a high failure rate for ML business deployments. For most ML projects, the term “AI” goes entirely too far — it alludes to human-level capabilities. In fact, when you unpack the meaning of “AI,” you discover just how overblown a buzzword it is: If it doesn’t mean artificial general intelligence, a grandiose goal for technology, then it just doesn’t mean anything at all.


August 30, 2023 — ~tonm

We live in a world where we collect data about everything. Think of the data we track on our navigation, our customer behavior, our health, and our company/team/individual performance. Unfortunately, this abundance of data led to a growing prevalence of KPI psychosis in technology companies. KPI psychosis is a state of mind where a company has dysfunctional contact with its reality and makes decisions only based on numbers. This results in perverse motivation in many organizations, where people have to choose between doing their job well (broader reality) or getting promoted for meeting the KPIs (tunnel vision).

Not By AI

August 29, 2023 — ~tonm

Not By AI badges are created to encourage more humans to produce original content and help users identify human-generated content. The Ultimate goal is make sure humanity continues to advance. An expert estimates that 90 percent of online content could be generated by AI by 2025. With the surge in AI-generated content, it is important to note that AI is trained on human-generated content. If humans rely solely on AI to generate content moving forward, any new content generated by AI may just be recycled content from the past. This could pose a major obstacle to human advancement. Only by limiting the reliance on AI and continue to create original content can propel us forward as a species. It is worth mentioning that AI technologies mark a major milestone in the history of technology and the Not By AI badge is not designed to discourage the use of AI. Instead, it is to make sure that, while we celebrate the achievement, we work with AI instead of being replaced by AI.

ChatGPT, Why is it that when a King is ruling, his wife is called Queen and when a Queen is ruling, her husband is not called King?

August 28, 2023 — ~tonm

“The terminology used for royal spouses can indeed be a bit complex and has historical and cultural roots. The reason for the distinction between a king’s wife being called "Queen” and a queen’s husband not always being called “King” is rooted in the traditional gender roles, titles, and power dynamics associated with monarchies.

When a king is ruling, his wife is commonly referred to as “Queen” because historically, in many monarchies, the king held the primary position of power and authority. The title of “King” carried more weight in terms of governance and leadership. Therefore, it was customary for the king’s wife to hold the highest female title, which is “Queen.” Her role was often one of social and ceremonial importance, and she might have had influence within the court, but she generally did not hold the same level of political power as the king.

Conversely, when a queen is ruling, her husband might not always be called “King” due to the traditional association of power with the title of “King.” When a queen regnant (a ruling queen in her own right) comes to the throne, she holds the highest position of authority. However, the title “King” historically carried more political significance and power. To avoid potential conflicts or confusion over who truly holds the ultimate authority, the husband of a queen regnant might be given a title that reflects his role as consort without assuming the same level of political authority as a king. In some cases, he could be called a prince consort or given another title.

It’s important to note that these distinctions are not universal and can vary based on cultural, historical, and legal factors. The terminology surrounding royal titles and roles has evolved over time and can differ between different monarchies. In modern times, as gender roles and societal norms have evolved, some monarchies have adjusted their practices and titles to reflect more equality between spouses."


August 18, 2023 — ~tonm

I wish that we lived in a golden age, where ethical behavior was assumed; where technically competent programmers respected the privacy of others; where we didn’t need locks on our computers. I’m saddened to find talented programmers devoting their time to breaking into computers. Instead of developing new ways to help each other, vandals make viruses and logic bombs. The result? People blame every software quirk on viruses, public-domain software lies underused, and our networks become sources of paranoia.

Fears for security really do louse up the free flow of information. Science and social progress only take place in the open. The paranoia that hackers leave in their wake only stifles our work … forcing administrators to disconnect our links to networked communities. Yes, you can make secure computers and networks. Systems that outsiders can’t easily break into. But they’re usually difficult to use and unfriendly. And slow. And expensive. Computer communications already costs too much— adding cryptographic encoding and elaborate authentication schemes will only make it worse.

On the other hand, our networks seem to have become the targets of (and channels for) international espionage. Come to think of it, what would I do if I were an intelligence agent? To collect secret information, I might train an agent to speak a foreign language, fly her to a distant country, supply her with bribe money, and worry that she might be caught or fed duplicitous information.

Or I could hire a dishonest computer programmer. Such a spy need never leave his home country. Not much risk of an internationally embarrassing incident. It’s cheap, too—a few small computers and some network connections. And the information returned is fresh—straight from the target’s word processing system. Today there’s only one country that’s not reachable from your telephone: Albania. What does this mean for the future of espionage?

Whenever someone, tempted by money, power, or simple curiosity, steals a password and prowls the networks. Whenever someone forgets that the networks she loves to play on are fragile, and can only exist when people trust each other. Whenever a fun-loving student breaks into systems as a game (as I might once have done), and forgets that he’s invading people’s privacy, endangering data that others have sweated over, sowing distrust and paranoia.

Networks aren’t made of printed circuits, but of people. Right now, as I type, through my keyboard I can touch countless others: friends, strangers, enemies. I can talk to a physicist in Japan, an astronomer in England, a spy in Washington. I might gossip with a buddy in Silicon Valley or some professor at Berkeley. My terminal is a door to countless, intricate pathways, leading to untold numbers of neighbors. Thousands of people trust each other enough to tie their systems together. Hundreds of thousands of people use those systems, never realizing the delicate networks that link their separate worlds.

The American psyche

August 16, 2023 — ~tonm

In earlier cultural epochs, many people derived their self-worth from their relationship with God, or from their ability to be a winner in the commercial marketplace. But in a therapeutic culture people’s sense of self-worth depends on their subjective feelings about themselves. Do I feel good about myself? Do I like me? This ethos often turned people into fragile narcissists. It cut them off from moral traditions and the normal sources of meaning and identity. It pushed them in on themselves, made them self-absorbed, craving public affirmation so they could feel good about themselves. The traumatized person is cast as a passive victim unable to control his own life. He is defined by suffering and lack of agency.Left or right, apparently we’re all victims now.

The instability of the self has created an immature public culture — impulsive, dramatic, erratic and cruel. The least mature voices dominate and hurl accusations, while the most mature lie low, trying to get through the day.

Mature people are calm amid the storm because their perception lets them see the present challenges from a long-term vantage. They know that feeling crappy about yourself sometimes is a normal part of life. They are considerate to and gracious toward others because they can see situations from multiple perspectives. They can withstand the setbacks because they have pointed their life toward some concrete moral goal.

Who we need to be

August 09, 2023 — ~tonm

This era of heightened individualism, of financial crisis, of rising inequality, of personal debt, of small state, of deregulation, of austerity, of gig economy, of zero-hours contracts, of perfection-demanding gender ideals, of declining wages, of unrealistic body-image goals, of social media with its perfectionist presentation and its tribal outrage and demands for public punishment. These are the kinds of people who’ll be more likely to win at the game that has been made of our world, the kinds who’ll find a place in the boardroom or found billion-dollar hedge funds or startups - and then become powerful consumers, feeding back into the machine. This is who our modern tribal environment wants us to be.