Mental Laziness

"All those moments will be lost in time... Like tears in rain." - Roy Batty, Blade Runner

a cyborg with intellectual laziness as imagined by AI
AI Generated "Lazy Brain"

2023 has been a crazy whirlwind of daily advancements in AI. And, while I promise I won't go too far into geek town, something new resets the previous day's thinking every day. It's been blurry. Funny enough, I'm working on a deck around some of these things for my day job, and if I wait a few hours, I have significant changes to make.

Take a quick peek via Google at the last 24 hours:

If I look again later today, I'm confident there'll be a bunch of new things. It's this year hot potato.

But that's not really what's on the top of my mind for me this week. It's more about what happens to us as a society when we give these types of tools, in the name of efficiency, to groups of people who haven't learned how to think.

There's a great post in HuffPost back in 2015 that talks about "Why Public Schools Don't Teach Critical Thinking":

The school owes its students to teach them how to think, not what to think; to question whatever they read, and never to accept any claim blindly; to suspend judgment until they've heard all sides of a question, and interrogate whatever claims to be true since the truth can withstand any scrutiny. Critical thinking is life's essential survival skill, compared to which everything else is an educational frill!

How much of this technology will contribute even more to the intellectual laziness we all deal with daily?

If you take a step back for a minute, think about how many decisions and statements are made by folks around you by those (and, perhaps yourself) who are just reacting, not thinking.

(Side note: probably another great topic is learning how to respond, not react).

Thinking is some of the most demanding work you will do.Thinking takes time. It's hard. It means slowing down. Sometimes it even means taking opposite views of your previously held beliefs, or the group think or 'that's not how we used to do it' mindsets.

I came across a great post on 'Combating Intellectual Laziness', which introduced me to the Reddit forum /r/changemyview. Described as a 'a forum that houses some of the most productive discourse on the Internet with a user base that represents wide ideological diversity.'. The mission:

to be a place to post an opinion you accept may be flawed, in an effort to understand other perspectives on the issue. Enter with a mindset for conversation, not debate.

You should try to steer clear from environments that encourage groupthink, too. Just look at the best (and worst) brainstorming sessions you've been in - what do you think is more productive? Is taking four highly motivated people and sticking them in a room/chat/whatever to bounce ideas off one another, or putting 20 people in a big groupthink? Studies have shown that with more people in a room, the number of views that each person adds will be reduced in a large group setting.

Working on your critical thinking skills and techniques is one of the best investments you can make. It helps fine-tune your internal bullshit detector. And while it's important to understand that everyone thinks differently, it's equally important to understand not everyone thinks.

You have a brain. Use it.

Well everybody on Earth deals with fear - that's what little brains do ... Fear is like a giant fog. It sits on your brain and blocks everything - real feelings, true happiness, real joy. They can't get through that fog. But you lift it, and buddy, you're in for the ride of your life.

If you enjoy these posts, you can buy me a coffee ☕️, check out my store or just share my work. If you'd rather just keep up with my daily ramblings, follow me via your favorite RSS reader, via Mastodon or keep reading my posts on this blog. Your support is much appreciated!

Slow Tech

I've spoken before on game theory and how taking a bit of a hypergame approach to life can be a super exciting thought experiment.

The metagame 'is an approach to a game that transcends or operates outside of the prescribed rules of the game, uses external factors to affect the game, or goes beyond the supposed limits or environment set by the game.' Or put simply: there is a 'higher-level game' - the game about the game.

James Clear had a wonderful post reminding me of just that this week:

Step 1: Life is a series of games. Carefully choose which games you want to play.
Step 2: Each game has a set of rules. Develop a deep understanding of them.
Step 3: Master a niche within the rules. Play to your strengths.
Step 4: Step outside the rules. Create your own game.

Brain Dump

Here are a few articles and videos that resonated with me over the last week:

  • The AI landscape is accelerating in yet-known ways that could potentially be dangerous or wonderful. I love this view that 'even if AI technology did not advance past today, it would be enough for transformation.' It's an important space to watch and proceed cautiously, but things out there aren't slowing down, so get ready - 2023 will be a wild tech year. — [via Acceleration.]
  • A great one from Jason Fried on better discussions on new ideas: 'We don't want reactions. We don't want first impressions. We don't want knee-jerks. We want considered feedback. Read it over. Read it twice, three times even. Ponder. Sleep on it. Take your time to gather and present your thoughts.'. Too often, I default to reactions, and I need to work more consciously on just shutting up and thinking more. — [via Don't be a knee-jerk]
  • One piece of commentary I get about what I'm doing here on Makoism is that people generally appreciate the frankness around how 'we all deal with shit.' This post is an important reminder that 'no matter how things unfolded and even if you believe you have failed, you did the best you could. You did, so show yourself some mercy.'. Like I said in Forge the Path, accept that the past is fixed, and the future isn't set in stone. — [via You’re Doing the Best You Can]
  • A bit of history that I needed to be aware of - The New York Times used to have a period in its masthead for over 100 years. Then, one day, it was gone. This is how its removal saved them $600 a year in ink. — [via The Designer Who Put a Full Stop to the Period!]
  • I'm a recovering PKM junky and article pack rat. This year, I took a sharp detour and said enough: I'm not going to create tons of notes I never go back to or try to build wacky wiki links between thoughts. I loved the thinking in this post of '*I'll read the articles I want to read right away and will try to live by the idea that if I don't read at the moment, I'll eventually close the tab and never read that article. *' It's an incredibly freeing take — [via The truth about read-later services]
  • Odd science fun tip for the week - using a soda maker, such as a SodaStream, to expel CO2 into a bag of greens will make them last longer. — [via How to Make Greens Last Longer]
  • One of the more important reads of the week - the difference between leaders and the 'worry police.' 'Leaders change their opinions, their strategies, and their agenda. They do this visibly and often by stating, 'I was wrong' in front of everyone. Leaders help you grow, and they help you build.'. Damn right. — [via The Worry Police]
  • I consistently have friends that comment'apps are spying on me', wondering if their phones are listening to conversations, and in some ways, they're correct. The idea of 'web fingerprinting,' a way that you can be tracked 'by studying your web browser and hardware configuration, many websites use a fingerprinting library to generate a unique ID.' I'm surprised more aren't aware, but you need to read about the lengths companies are going to undermine your privacy — [via Web fingerprinting is worse than I thought]
  • I'm sure this has greatly impacted people as we were all isolated from the pandemic, but an alarming study on how feelings of loneliness take a toll on our physical and mental health. Recent studies show that it can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease, double the risk of Type 2 diabetes, and raise the likelihood of dementia by 40%. — [via How Loneliness Reshapes the Brain]
  • A fascinating read on the term'Atari Democrat' from the early 80s regarding a group of democrats that 'suggested that the support and development of high tech and related businesses would stimulate the economy and create jobs.' — [via Atari Democrat: How Atari Inspired a Centrist Political Movement]
  • New York Magazine had a sober look at what's going on lately inside the Metaverse. The subtitle of 'searching for friends in Mark Zuckerberg's deserted fantasyland' is the tip of the iceberg on what has always seemed like a strange vision of where people would want to spend time. — [via Who Is Still Inside the Metaverse?]

This Weeks Vibe

This week (March 24th) marked the 50th anniversary of Pink Floyd's famous Dark Side of the Moon. Even the Empire State Building got into the action with it's dynamic lights to celebrate. In addition, an amazing new box set has been released.

From The New York Times:

Stately tempos, cavernous tones and solemn framing announce the high seriousness of “Dark Side,” which begins and ends with the sound of a heartbeat. The album juxtaposes overarching sonics and grand pronouncements with human-scale experience. Its tracks are punctuated with voices from Pink Floyd’s road crew and friends, dispensing loop-ready tidbits like “I’ve always been mad” in working-class accents.

Be well. ✌🏻

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Jamie Larson