The Exigent Duality
In the Mind - 14:21 CST, 9/14/23 (Sniper)
Just like Gabe Newell at Valve, it turns out that Jensen Huang of Nvidia has similarly unorthodox management views. I suppose it makes sense, as both of them come from technical backgrounds. This part jumped out at me the most; bold emphasis is mine:

"To speed up the decision-making process and stay up-to-date with realities, Huang gave up usual status reports. He feels that by the time status updates reach him, they often lose their 'ground truth' (original essence and authenticity). To counteract this, he encourages any employee to email him their immediate 'top five things' on their mind. Every morning, he dedicates time to reading around 100 of these emails, ensuring he is in touch with the ground realities of his company."

This reminds me of Tolstoy's exposition in "War and Peace", where he opines that the value of generals in warfare of that period is overstated. For example, Napoleon is looking through a dense cloud of smoke, and has no idea what's actually happening. Moreso-- and here is the relevant point-- by the time he issues an order, the order is delivered on horseback, then the response is returned to him also by horseback, the information is no longer relevant given the ground-realities of the battle, which change moment-to-moment.

Jensen Huang, whether intuitively-or-otherwise, has reached the same conclusion, only in a business context rather than a warfare one. Incidentally-- and this probably deserves a post all on its own-- a big part of why football (soccer) appeals to me so much is that it is, by a mile, the sport which most reflects actual warfare: the game is very morale-based, with collective psychological ebbs and flows, which are simply not present in the same way in competing sports. The matches are two armies, constantly in various altering states of aggression and retreat-- confidence, and insecurity.

Unskilled Sophist

If I taught a university course on rhetoric and sophistry, I would use this video as a case study for my students. Not only is it rhetoric-in-the-extreme, but she isn't very good at it-- which makes breaking down the tools transparent and easy.

She begins by saying, "Yes, the Constitution is valid, except when there is an emergency-- and I've just declared one." Of course, this is simply a basic logic fallacy: "I made a contract with you, and it's valid until I say it isn't." Of course, that means it isn't a contract at all. She then changes gears to-- what else-- a hilariously transparent, non-argument emotional appeal-- saying something about an eleven year-old, and "parents who have lost all of these children".

After that, she invokes the wording "have a debate"-- even though she is unilaterally invoking what are objectively dictatorial powers, which she invented out of thin air ("contract is valid until I say it's not"). In her next sentence, she throws "safety" into the mix, which is a magical, meaning-loaded, single-word rhetorical tool in and of itself in today's world.

Her very next series of statements involve a silly conflation of concepts: "I need to violate your rights because they have a right to be safe." This amounts to a word salad of negative rights, so-called "positive" rights, melded to her mystical ability to unilaterally suspend contracts. It's a bizarre twisting of concepts which brings to mind that age-old question: "Is she evil or stupid?" It would be fun to set aside ten minutes with her to untwist her thought pretzel, then see if she is amenable to correction.

Finally, as a sort of cherry on top, she invokes the classic non-argument "Well somebody needs to do something." Of course, "something" is as broad as is the universe: consuming cyanide is "doing something". It's a non-sequitur: it has no relation to the rest of her discourse. It would be like if I robbed a bank, then told the police "Well, I was low on cash." They would correctly reply, "What has that got to do with anything? You still can't rob a bank."

Finally, she's asked "Do you really think criminals are going to stop carrying guns for thirty days because you say so?" Her response: "No. But it 'sends a message'." Again, she's not just a sophist-- she's a very poor one. A skilled user of rhetoric can do so in a way where untrained listeners are unable to "make out" the sleight-of-word. But in this woman's case, what she's saying is patently silly to absolutely anyone who hears it.

I've had a lot of practice dispelling rhetoric: growing up, I would constantly lose debates with my father, even though I knew I was correct, and could logically prove it-- yet somehow, he would always wind up with the upper hand. I would often go to my mother: "I know I'm right, so how did I lose the argument?" It wasn't until I was in my twenties, reflecting back on specific examples of the phenomenon, that I was able to recognize the sophistry word-and-meaning twisting involved: my father was somewhat of a master! It was one of the most valuable skills he equipped me with when I was a child, even though it was of course done accidentally.

In my thirties I had various debates over the phone with him, and won every time-- because I had learned to recognize the tools, and could call him out right away before he could construct a logic pretzel platform via which to launch a cohesive attack on my ideas. To his credit, he never became frustrated with me for having pulled the rug out from him.

It's Artificial, That's For Sure

Remember this post, wherein I explained how LLMs are not "intelligent", and that they don't "lie" because they are just generating words? Here is an article with a superb explanation of precisely that. As always, bold emphasis is mine:

"Despite their remarkable performance, LLMs sometimes produce text that is semantically or syntactically plausible but is, in fact, factually incorrect or nonsensical (i.e., hallucinations). The models are optimized to generate the most statistically likely sequences of words with an injection of randomness. They are not designed to exercise any judgment on the veracity or feasibility of the output."

That's another way of explaining that these models don't "think": they are artificial, but not intelligent.

Watered Down

At the height of the Fentanyl Floyd madness, when Blackrock-owned corporations began buying molotov cocktails for black people to throw at police officers, meetings at my employer became filled with these idiotic "Inclusion Contact" segments. They were essentially Woke Prayer Sessions, where people could "courageously" parrot the accepted talking points. Someone I read regularly-- maybe it was Victor Davis Hanson, or Charles Hugh Smith?-- theorized that while artifacts of that period would continue to exist, they would eventually get the political aspects removed, and simply become variations of "be nice to each other".

Sure enough, maybe a year ago the "Inclusion Contact" nonsense at my workplace morphed from guilty white liberal women and effeminate men worshipping black people and child groomers into, "Here is a book on how to manage your time", or "Here is the history of Cinco de Mayo". In other words, largely unobjectionable milquetoast topics which seem to validate the aforementioned prediction. My hope is that the only parts of the Cultural Marxist "New Values Regime" which persist as we some day shift into a new First Turning are so watered down as to be merely generic arguments in favor of pluralism. Not that I'm a huge fan of "Pluralistic Democracies" these days-- but if something has to "stick", it's better this than a genocidal civil war against white people and Christians, or something along those lines.

In any event, I have a tough time deciding if this is another example of the "watering down" hypothesis, or if it's merely a re-branding of the existing Blackrock and WEF ESG "DIE" model. I have noticed that Klaus Schwab and Bill Gates have largely disappeared from media appearances-- so the pushback against them has caused some shift in their mentality. What is yet to be discovered is whether that "shift" is an actual retreat or attempt at compromise with the plebes, or whether it's merely them temporarily stepping back into the shadows to "lay low" until things cool down.

Starfield Fun

I'm really enjoying Starfield. It's the first game in almost uncountable years, where all I want to do is play it. None of the individual pieces are anything new, but the way in which the developers mixed the various elements makes the experience seem novel.

Last night I stole yet another ship. It was parked nearby on some random moon. I waltzed up to it. Even though it was owned by "good guys", the door was unlocked, so I meandered in. I wandered around, nobody in sight! I found the cockpit, sat in the seat... ok, the game says I can take off... ok, flew to the planet with the station, registered the ship... it's mine now! I guess I was on Planet California, where the stealing of space ships was decriminalized. Now I've got four ships in my fleet.

Also last night, I was in the process of making bases on the various planets, strategically positioned to harvest elements-- Aluminum, Uranium, Copper, and so forth-- in a way that the resources would all be automatically shunted to a central base, from where I could conveniently collect them. The game said I could make eight bases, and I had assumed that was just for that star system-- today I learned, that's for the whole game!

Apparently deep in the science tree you can up that limit all the way to twenty four-- but I have my character planned out, and I was not intending-- at least for this playthrough-- to make a scientist. Yet, given how much I'm enjoying the base building aspect of the title, I may need to re-think my character "build".

On the technical side, I had to abandon the DLSS mod I was using due to frequent crashes. That said, even just using FSR2, I used the "Alex from Digital Foundry" optimized settings to get framerates anywhere from sixty to ninety frames per second. When combined with my TV's G-Sync support, the game is running very smoothly. Bethesda has said that they are adding official DLSS support into the game-- I may been able to hit a stable one hundred and twenty frames per second with my current settings. They have also said that fixing the HDR implementation is a top priority.