Quotable (#228)

Consensual reality still crashing:

[University of Washington professor Kate] Starbird says she’s concluded, provocatively, that we may be headed toward “the menace of unreality — which is that nobody believes anything anymore.” Alex Jones, she says, is “a kind of prophet. There really is an information war for your mind. And we’re losing it.”

(The ‘we’ — as usual — is fog-shrouded.)

Quotable (#227)

The end of the Universalist nightmare will be intrinsically perplexing:

Whether the emerging global system becomes multipolar or a-polar remains unclear, but universalist and messianic ideology is on the wane. The Western-led world order is in crisis, but no messianic ideology has yet offered an alternative. Instead, a drift towards regionalism has increased the influence of small powers amidst the chaos of a profound geopolitical transformation. The post-Western world looks to become post-ideological, too. Even Donald Trump’s administration has embraced a form of American exceptionalism shorn of globalizing and messianic goals. […] A century after their birth, Wilson’s and Lenin’s messianic geopolitical visions have passed into history, but their disappearance has also greatly complicated making sense of a world in the process of rapid fragmentation.

Thinking in pieces and patches begins.

Quotable (#225)

Edsall:

As the forces of reaction outpace movements predicated on the ideal of progress, and as traditional norms of political competition are tossed aside, it’s clear that the internet and social media have succeeded in doing what many feared and some hoped they would. They have disrupted and destroyed institutional constraints on what can be said, when and where it can be said and who can say it. …

Gutenberg 2.0 (undeniably?).

Out of Time

Some realistic questions about prospective machine intelligence regulation:

… we still don’t have a concrete answer about how to effectively regulate the use of algorithms. AI is just another very complex layer added to this already complex discussion, sometimes directly related to “big data” (in the case of deep learning, for example) and other times addressing far bigger questions (in the case of sentient machines, for example).

The UF (accelerationist) response is probably predictable: There isn’t time to reach answers. Acceleration means only (and exactly) that the problem is receding, or escaping. If it would only slow down, everything would be okay. It won’t.

Quotable (#214)

Calm realism from Shadi Hamid:

I could try to explain what I think our nation is, but I can no longer be sure if tens of millions of my fellow citizens would agree. But I cannot simply take solace in the fact that soon there will be more non-whites and therefore more people who share my ideology. This is a recipe for more conflict, not less. […] Well before Brexit and the rise of Trump, Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev wrote that “threatened majorities — those who have everything and who fear everything — have emerged as the major force in European politics.” They feel threatened in the United States as well; the only difference, perhaps, is that they do not have everything but still fear everything. Yet as demographics inexorably shift, both the perception and reality of this “threat” will only grow. Unless something changes, American politics will continue to collapse along ethnic lines.