Off-topic: Feeling the Information

Information Analysis Services I Lack

Image credit: Luca Fontana

Rarely can I fall asleep at once. For the spirals of current-events plus other tangential thoughts impede my ability to close my eyes and rest on-demand. At the beginning of the night I prefer to think of something completely irrelevant to try and soothe myself to slumber. For example, the biggest project on Earth — Elon Musk’s Mars colony, that aims to greatly increase Homo Sapiens’ survival chances, isn’t really connected to me personally — yet, so thinking about it is an activity detached from my present life situation that helps me fall asleep.

But, my thoughts tend to focus not, “How we get there” but rather: “Why are we going there?”. Why is our target the ultra-distance, ultra-expensive-to-reach Mars — a place that hates life as we know it? Doesn’t a space elevator and large autonomous space stations seem closer, cheaper, and more hospitable? Preliminary googling gives unsatisfactory answers. Sure enough, I visited the site seeking answers only to find daily time-gaps with no answers to my important questions and walked away feeling deeply disappointed.

The fact that Quora fails to deliver became obvious long ago (stackexchange as well). How come we still don’t have an alternative that incorporates incentives for experts, reasonable use of prediction markets, and the adaptive categorization of knowledge-sectors?

As for quick and simple answers to complicated questions, I, of course, heard that it’s a dangerous path considering all the conspiracy theories and “black swan” hunts that are out there. Possibly so. Analysis methods may vary, though. For example, when my body shudders, I consider it the result of a complicated analysis based on what is detected by my peripheral vision and other senses.

In choosing between excessive simplification and excessive intellectualization, I vote for the option that has both wings, with my UI attached to the former.

Not only do I want to consume pre-packaged information, I actually demand a service that allows me to “feel” the information, with my brain truly being a sense organ, in concert with the other five.

So, after the successful cases where my Mars colony sheep-counting exercise lulls me to sleep I inevitably wake up.

Morning

Morning comes, still in deep florama, I envy dolphins and bats. If I had a sense of echolocation, I wouldn’t even have to open my eyes and move a muscle to take a picture of the entire room, as if touching every object with my fingers while seeing a 3D image of the object touched.

Of course, I am grateful to evolution for my eyesight. Its range — even when compared to the best-hearing animals is many orders of magnitude better. The carrier wave frequency and — accordingly, the perception of details — are similar in orders of magnitude higher. But this morning, I would prefer the ability to see stars many light years away than have the opportunity to “touch” any object in the room with my ears.

The so-called scientific method and its general engineering approach has proven itself successful in the course of the last few centuries. When we upgrade something drastically and the result is the emergence of upper (successive) classes of machinery, they help to import some improvements to the preceding classes too. We have 21st century navigation on ships of 19th century design, it was Musk’s Tesla that brought to fashion large displays for older technologied cars. More importantly, we start to apply newly adopted standards and benchmarks to the entire tail of previously developed technological arsenal.

It is within this logic that I demand my hearing — which is evolutionarily older and parameter-wise inferior compared to vision — to be “upgraded” according to the best we know of vision and hearing, including the “active reflection” hearing some animals enjoy.

Investments to thought-controlled prostheses is a great thing, of course, but the time for majority markets to enjoy the tech has probably come too. My blame is little: I’m lucky enough to have ordinary body abilities. I’m not much into yachts or mansions and I probably won’t live to see a terraformed Mars, so at least let me dream of a new sense that I could buy some time in a foreseeable future.

Daytime

The lack-of-analysis torture continues as I go to perform my job duties. My daily task is to make sure the websites I curate make ad-revenue at least not less than yesterday. Have you ever seen Google Analytics dashboards? It’s a damn starship commander control from the 70s, with a separate bulb for every possible function. For me, it actually misinforms more than it informs.

I need to be able to feel that data. Google Analytics has hopelessly yahoo-ed. Someone, please outcompete it.

Some things grow so big that it becomes better to start from scratch when trying to improve them. Dinosaurs, hydrogen airships, large steam engines, big electricity plants, Google Analytics… Monsters get large and die under their own weight. To me, Google Analytics feels obese, I’ve been struggling with it for years, with analysis results not getting any easier to get or of better quality. The richness of data is often a profanity, especially if collected with no error rate measurement. A web page visitor analysis that I demand should at least operate with fuzzy logic and be able to filter out and focus on most important issues to the date.

Evening

The ability to filter out the most important issues is most important in most areas. Our world has become filled by fractalized events. There are so many very little things. Long-term careers, organizational belongingness, and long marriages are gone, we now have “projects”. Life has become richer yet diluted.

After working all day the old fashioned way, using my brain as a grinder for dirty low-level data, I deliver myself to the evening. I’m mentally tired. That’s why I neglect the chance to give an analysis of the recent day, which I should do. To effectively incorporate the day’s experience into my life, I should draw upon the multiple nodes of events and people as well as the ties — that is, the relationships between them.

Our brains technically possess more knowledge about the surrounding world than our consciousness is aware. Recorded networking data only adds to the phenomenon. Our minds solve creative problems — not in a particular order — but by limiting connections of neurons in particular segments of the brain. Similarly, we escape traffic jams when “too many ties” around our cars become “few ties” to free the way. Building borders and protecting important ties is key.

I’m totally pro-free-will, I would like to apply scientific method to my life and conduct daily virtual experiments, running events over and over again with various restrictions of the above mentioned ties. I would consider potential improvements and the acceleration of processes in order to draw lessons for the future. I would, but I don’t have the necessary application for such an analysis.

But, I have an idea of who could develop it for me. A huge army of scientists researching how neurons interact. To me, that looks strange. It is similar to finding an alien computer under a Mayan pyramid, then running the executable files on there and try to understand the game’s logic by looking at transistors’ behaviour through a microscope. Maybe a small division of that army could stop wasting time and look into the high-level logic of mental and social events, even if most of the big data is already stolen from us by IT giants. I don’t mind, take my ties, connections, and events. But, please make any forthcoming analysis worthy of the modern age and modern people, myself included.

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