Note — Nov 08, 2020

The DOOM! Report

Seen in → No.149

Source → nemesis.global/memos/the-doom-report

New Nemesis report based on their research on the end of trends. They ran a survey, took some of the answers they received, and then by K Allado-McDowell expanded on them using GPT-3. I haven’t read all of the synthetic text but it in a way it reminds me of something like academic writing, in the sense that it somehow feels like it’s hard to parse because of the reader’s lack of fluency in the language while hiding something of worth underneath. Where in academic writing it’s because of the abstraction of layer upon layer of references (and/or pedantic over-writing), here it’s because GPT-3 doesn’t understand what it’s writing, it’s just spewing text abstracted from layer upon layer of inputs. You could probably replace “academic” with “business speak” or “sports ball speak,” the point being that it’s close enough to make it look like it’s making a sense you might be missing… but it’s not, it’s just writing without understanding, it’s the million monkeys coming up with Shakespeare’s cousin but each monkey is a node in the neural layers. (First quote below is from the humans’ intro, last two from the “AI” with emphasis by the humans.)

[W]ith subsequent tweaks to the sentence fragments we used to seed it, as well as trimming back excess text and hitting “generate” again, we started to receive some interesting results. Then we began feeding some of the more exciting concepts back into the machine, improvising the inputs and departing from our original survey synopses. […]

The fractal property of trends and prediction implies a meta-fractal perspective that made a few respondents uncomfortable. We may be witnessing the end of the trends in general. Even what we may be witnessing as a new trend or paradigm may be (a) a higher order statistical cluster, or (b) a continuing trend within a collapsing paradigm. […]

To explain these trends, we draw on the emergence of the social philosophy of koinonia and its manifestations in history. The key insight is that this particular cognitive-social principle can affect both the individual and group level. Koinonia is a type of relationship that describes a commonality of people in sharing a distinct connection or purpose.