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The Tinkered Mind
A meditation app is forthcoming. Stay Tuned.
May 7th, 2023
Everyone knew it was fake, but that didn’t matter - it was working. Lucilius was constantly scrolling the different social media’s, obsessively taking temperature of the discourse. He’d also built several algorithms that were constantly scraping the platforms for discourse, rating the material, and generating a more accurate depiction across hundreds of thousands of posts. It was clear: it was working. Despite what everyone was actually saying, the emotional temperature of the situation was diffusing, and Lucilius couldn’t be more excited that his dumb little idea was having an effect. His phone chimed, and he looked at the screen and read the message:
“I think you just saved the world. lolz”
“More…” Lucilius muted to himself. “We need more…”
He looked at a neglected set of monitors. Arrayed across them was pipeline of generative video programs. The technology had just come into being and impressive examples were popping up on the internet, but Lucilius was one of the first to string together a few to create something with purpose.
In Lucilius’ eyes the increasing speed in technological development seemed inconveniently paired with growing political divides. Not just within his own country, but also between countries. The old monsters of war aside, Lucilius worried that the political miasma might present even greater existential risk when supercharged by new abilities that might be weaponized. But Lucilius had a different idea.
He used his generative pipeline to first create a dialogue between the two leaders of the two entrenched political parties of his own country. He wanted the dialogue to be accurate - true to the character of each real person, but he prompted the actual content of the dialogue to be far more compassionate, far more nuanced than what actually occurs in real life. Lucilius’ best guess was that political rivals rarely actually have meaningful face-to-face conversations, and in Lucilius’ own experience, face-to-face conversation was where all the value was. Everything else was posturing for the crowd, he thought. So He figured it’d fake a type of posturing for the crowd that might actually help. He then took the dialogue, which was several hours long and used deep-fake technology to generate a video of this conversation occurring over a long dinner. The result was astonishingly realistic, and Lucilius quickly cut out soundbites and hot takes that optimized the nature of the conversation, which was both charged but productive. It addressed conflict but it was conducted with the compassion that is always missing from the usual political theatre. But most importantly, it was captivating. Everyone knew it was fake - like any movie at the theatre, but no one could stop watching it and posting.
Why can’t our political leaders be more like this?
I never thought of so many points they brought up…
What do the REAL people think about this?
If only this conversation was real….!
But it was real. Not in the sense that the political leaders had had the conversation, but that it was having a real effect on the population and the way each half of the population saw the other across that ephemeral political divide.
Sometimes, Lucilius figured, in order to heal, you have to fake it till you make it. No - it’s simpler than that, he thought. Sometimes, you can’t believe it’s possible until you see it. See it to believe it.
“Can you trick yourself into believing something better by seeing the ghost of a better dream?” He said aloud. He smiled.
And then he multiplied his efforts. His strategy was like Grant - more, more, more - all of it to be fed into the meat grinder of culture. Overwhelm them with a better story of what things could be.
But Lucilius’ ambitions were only beginning.
He rented out several GPU clusters and started building scripts for meetings between different leaders of the world..
And then a curious thought struck him. His heart sank as he remembered a friend he had not spoken to in years. His smile faded as he remembered their last argument.
As he watched the scripts for world leaders materializing on different screens, his vision faded in focus as he was overwhelmed with memory. Then he shook himself. He brought up a fresh script generator and started describing who he himself was, and the friend he missed after so many silent years.