May 31Liked by Oliver Willis

I'm 66 and my adult children turned me on to TikTok - initially to follow their accounts about my grandchildren. Now I also follow some amazing young content creators who brilliantly share their art, books and information on antiracism, the threats against LGBTQ people, antifascist action, gentle parenting and, of course, there is the private account of my oldest granddaughter which is my fave!

Your article reminds me that any endeavor that involves humans can be perverted for bad outcomes or used to forward progress and uplift us all!

Expand full comment

I think AI has a specific purpose for advancement in

many areas. I'm not afraid of

it, but I do feel a certain amount of caution where bad

actors are concerned.

This was a good article.

Expand full comment

"It wasn’t an A.I. chatbot that convinced millions of people that President Barack Obama was a Kenyan socialist secret agent."

The cognitive limitations of the fascist crowd are obvious, but ultimately, they gravitate towards narratives that affirm the worldview they already hold.

I wrote about this several years ago, and recently updated it here:

'The Psychology of GOP voters: Pathologically Fantasy Prone People.'


"Who is susceptible to a fascist cult and its vile, deranged moronic figurehead?

Someone who perceives “historic or contemporary events and developments which threaten their values”, and so feels to need to construct a preferred identity, a more positive sense of self— based on power over others— within a fantasy they have blurred with reality."


Here's the thing, I have never bought into the idea that rank and file fascists are duped.

Consequently, I've never subscribed to the notion that they are somehow misled into 'voting against their interests', which in turn is the basis for the well-worn complaint that we could sway these same rank and file fascists to renounce their allegiance to the fascist regime if only those darn bumbling Dems just stopped sucking at messaging.

The rank and file fascists DO vote their interests. Too many "on the left" just can't seem to wrap their heads around the idea that the rank and file fascists see the world in an entirely different way, and so the rank and file fascists see the elevation of an apartheid regime in the service of cis gender hetero White Christians as their overriding interest.

They will never, ever, be persuaded that they are pawns in economic class warfare. Or that they will do better under Democratic programs. (And they're not entirely wrong about that, but that's neither here nor there.)

They would rather burn our civil society to the ground, and die in the process, than live in a pluralistic democracy.

Or haven't you noticed?

Expand full comment

excellent article! question why isn't facebook and twitter being banned. I think they are way more problematic than tic Tok...I am off of all the bullshit social media crap...oops not substack...lol

Expand full comment

"Simultaneously, we have seen brilliant progressive voices emerge with viral content on platforms like TikTok — pushing ideas and concepts that have been declared dead on arrival by the mainstream media." I'd love to learn more. What voices have emerged from TikTok?

Expand full comment

You left out contemporary events like Trump-Russia hoax, which was 100% human administered right smack in the middle of AI age!

Expand full comment

I might have agreed with you but I watched the Google whistleblower and author of Scary Smart talk for two hours on YouTube about what scared him about AI, and he spoke of 1) sentience, 2) emotions and I have to say both these things make me nervous in a machine

Expand full comment

Could not agree more. "Moderation in all things" can apply to tech regulation. Thanks for this.

Expand full comment

Love the post. I see it has an optimistic tinge to it. I am myself a software engineer, have spent a decade in tech, and my only problem with AI is that it’s not intelligent as it stands today. Large language models which is what ChatGPT and others are, don’t have a sense of what is or isn’t a fact. They make plausible sentences based on whatever was fed into their internal universe (which is made of intricate ML models). As such, there are applications of these things, sure. They can be useful in some areas such as assisted software development (coding) or in a things such as grammarly. Where it fails me is when people deem it as effective in any area such as justice system or any other governmental organizations that deal with real people and would want to resort to “AI” (note, the “intelligence” part) to decide who gets a chance to be free through the parole system, and who doesn’t. I am short on references but in my limited reading on such subjects, these kinds of painful scenarios keep coming up. Where racism and misogyny are often encoded into LLM (or a similar AI) because of the training data that was used to train its model. So calling it a type of intelligence is one of major qualms for now.

I follow the work of Paris Marx, Timnit Gebru and Emily Bender who like to drive this point home. In case, any of the readers here are interested.

Expand full comment

Love my Kal pic❤️

Expand full comment

I’m 60, I love Tiktok and I’ve got AI writing my VBScripts. The tech is great, humans however... Nice of you to bring up D&D. I used to play, still don’t eat children or worship anything except maybe chocolate.

Expand full comment

Almost anything that has been invented can be used for good and/or evil. Nothing is inherently good or bad until you add the human factor. People have always been the problem. Or the solution too, I guess.

Silly to try and ban TikTok. How do they think they’re going to enforce that? It’s just performance art. I don’t use TikTok because I feel it will be another vortex for all my time to be sucked into. ;)

Expand full comment

Be. Scared.

Of anything. But be scared of something!

Expand full comment

Perfect timing Oliver I just got a scary text from a friend this morning asking my opinion about. AI-about which I know nothing.

Expand full comment