In the span of a few days, dating back to the initial flush of articles about ChatGPT and its ascendancy as a form of artificial intelligence, I began been receiving spam emails about how AI can change my life. These emails and the pitches they contain have no connection to my reality — or, as far as I can tell, any reality — yet they exist precisely because some small number of recipients will inevitably respond.
Contrast this glimpse of internet bottom feeders and their hapless marks with a similar push now being made in the financial markets, and I see little difference. Massive bets are being placed on various search engines and corporations, which will purportedly turn the ability of a computer to communicate with humans into fortunes similar to those promised by ventures which pushed the miracle of crypto a year ago. Which is to say I don’t have a lot of faith in either spam email or the financial markets to identify and differentiate truly meaningful revolutions from con games designed to separate suckers from their money.
Speaking of which, it’s also interesting to me that at a time of steep inflation and genuine financial pressure on individuals and their purchasing decisions, and in a context where venture capital is indeed having a much harder time raising money, there is nonetheless a great pile of free cash that is looking for the next big thing. I mean how poor and beleaguered are we if we’re all walking around with $1K smartphones that are primarily being used to figure out how to get us to fork over our diminished reserves in promise of future riches? Or is that a working definition of 21st century poverty? Too poor to invest in scams?
— Mark Barrett