What If Tik-Tok Meets Subtle Fake Deep Fakes?

In the latest steaming, vomit-inducing silicon snakeoil... Tik Tok Live. I can't even. Read this Australian Broadcasting Corporation article if you're not aware of what's causing my fury. Once you're done over there, I have a hot take on this latest scam, designed to ride the backs of attention seekers in order to fleece them and the gullible addicts who, in turn, are feeding the narcissism cults of modern capitalism.

AI is pirating our very souls and gullible humans are its first prey.

I'm not saying all of these TikTok influencers are (or start off as) narcissists, but this whole "battle for gifts" bullshit is exploitation and, in an age when real work is shrinking almost as fast as the wages because of the idea that "jobs are a competitive marketplace," rather than a necessity to pay for basic living, is creating a world where even social interaction is being performance managed on undisclosed metrics. This is not free enterprise, this is exploitation, and Holly's probably perfectly normal levels of desire for attention are being exploited to milk the lost and gullible of their money and data, for nothing more than a moment of feeling loved by the ringleader of a corporate owned travelling medecine show. Holly, and others like her, are tools being exploited by TikTok. Meanwhile, like Meta, with "Facey," "Gram" and Threads, don't believe for a minute that TikTok aren't measuring and commodifying the data collected in these "social envy battles." You don't have to be a Marxist to see that this is social engineering and social control for profit. You don't have to see the social risks in this environment if rogue actor AI developers see an edge in this. I was appalled enough with Meta's use of our Facebook data to stop participating in facebook, despite losing touch completely with some of the best people in my life.

I have skin in the Tik Tok game, too. One of my daughters talks about aspects of her Tik Tok life. She's smart enough to not get too sucked in, and ethical enough to not do the exploits, but she's still young enough to laugh it off as a bit of light entertainment. She probably knows people throwing their future away on this kind of stuff. She probably doesn't realise the degree TikTok are digitally surveilling its users, nor how mauch they would be exploiting the metrics from that data to make their "services" irresistable.

You think you wouldn't be sucked in by this stuff? How's that Facebook or Instagram addiction, dear reader? Still think you're not an addict? I've had first hand experience in pulling away from this stuff. I used to not believe it was an addiction. I experienced a disconnection, a "cold turkey" kind of experience when I left social media. I substituted Mastodon as "methadone" but Meta had that covered with Threads, which hoovers all the data from the activityPub protocol that underlies the Mastodon network. None of this is conspiracy theory. Do your reading about the technologies in use.

So, how is all this social interaction data, that Meta, Tik Tok, Google and others are gathering, being analysed and used? With AI. Why is there such a goldrush mentality around corporate investment in AI? Because humans are collecting too much data from humans for humans to be able to analyse it anymore! We need thinking machines to even collate the data, let alone load the spreadsheets to run the numbers. Some of the formulae are so complex, thinking machines are needed to brute-force the calculations, iteration-by-iteration - there often isn't an overarching formula to this stuff - it can't necessarily be integrated or differentiated mathematically, it has to be graphed and the curves analysed. And that's just for the "ethical" use of all the human demographics being measured and calculated!

And where there's money to be made, there are the unethical and the criminal, too.

So, are the greedy/unethical/criminal elements piggy-backing of all of the now freely open source AI tech out there? D'uh, yeah. The fuck they wouldn't be!

And the overton window has shifted so far that I classify TikTok is simply in the "greedy" set. "Unethical" begins at Facebook creating a Mastodon scraping app, which is taking data without consent, via a loophole in that it's up to instance mods to block their feed from going to Meta's Threads. "Criminal" is self explanatory. The big manistream players haven't been caught yet, but money corrupts, money bins corrupt absolutely, to paraphrase Winston Churchill in a setting of Disney's Scrooge McDuck. Having money isolates the super wealthy from the reality of the working classes. And if you think you're middle class because you own a Tesla and have a mortgage, my maternal grandfather, a foundryman and trade unionist, and grandmother, a seamstress, owned their house and 2 bicycles, in the 1940s and they NEVER considered themselves middle-class!

Don't be fooled by the numbers. You're earning less than your grandparents when corrected for inflation. You'll never be as rich as the backers behind TikTok, even if you play TikTok's game. You'll never be as rich as Elon Musk. These people were born rich and have continued their families' scams. And now they're manipulating you.

Soon, in fact, it's kind of already here, at least in the criminal element (what hackers call "black hats"), the people like Holly McAlpine, mentioned in the article linked above, will be replaced by deep fakes. Not by deep fakes of the actual people - just believeable, AI fake personalities. Credible vocal phrasing, credible facial expressions, all the manipulative guile of confidence criminals. They probably won't even come from within the social media app corporations, either. They'll be undetectable at first (then begins an AI "arms race") and they'll be perfect manipulation machines. Firestarters, twisted firestarters, manipulating you not just for your money, but DMing you for your secrets, then using those to gently, kindly fleece you of all you own - in ways humans can't. And you won't know.

For now, this is still "science fiction," but there are already people, idealistic people with dreams to make the world a better place, working up AI applications that will be utterly unsafeguarded against corporate takeover or criminal infiltration. There are systems you can read about in the tech media, that are being developed with strong yesterday's security but no though about tomorrow's security. That is the biggest threat AI poses in the short term - the unethical using it to manipulate even the non-gullible to ratchet themselves into poverty, while the wealthy owners ratchet themselves to living like gods.

And, as always in the new tech world, it'll be naive kids, creating a "bicycle for the mind*", who will let the genie out of the bottle. Then begins an arms race between the rich and the rest of us. And the rest of us always lose.

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