The Tyranny of Time.

time-zone-watchIn the mornings, I often sit with some coffee and survey the traffic on the nearby highway, watching people trying to get to wherever they are going for whatever reasons. They are, of course, in a hurry.

They are, of course, not going anywhere fast in traffic.

It’s cyclic. The government has paid people to pay people to build an overpass not far away, spending 500 million Trinidad and Tobago dollars as far as the public knows. Nobody claims to actually want it other than the government. It’s supposed to alleviate traffic, I suppose, yet when it rains, the nearby highway floods and causes traffic anyway. And it will cause traffic with the overpass that they are building too.

Yesterday, I found myself in traffic coming back from the grocery store. I got stuck for 45 minutes in what normally only takes me 7 minutes or so to get home, so I stopped for lunch, surveyed the traffic, and spent another 20 minutes getting home, surrounded by people standing still yet… in a rush.

The clock won’t stop. A pulse of a heart that doesn’t belong to you can drive yours into overdrive pushes nutrients past you as fast as they move toward you, away from you as fast as they get to you, and there is no pause.

Yet you can take one.

The Eternal Clock

Writer finding museEvery morning, I wake up, drink coffee to the sounds of tropical morning before the sun rises, and consider things. I might have some ideas I scribble down in one of the many notepads I have laying around in the hope that I revisit. For the most part it’s about the moments of peace before the traffic on the highway becomes an insistent and intrusive hum.

This is when most people are asleep, nestled safely in a soft bed, maybe laying next to someone comfortably only to be jolted awake by an alarm that they forgot to turn off for Saturday – or worse, an alarm that they need on a Saturday. Those of my generation remember the alarms of the insistent beeping, jolting consciousness to the forefront even when your body tries to deny it.

I do not do this. I don’t remember ever having to do this except on those younger binges at night where I sedated myself so much that pickles withered with envy, or when I had an schedule as erratic as a bumblebee. It’s no coincidence the two merged so often, where to get to sleep I needed a bit of help, particularly in the many jobs I had that fueled me with stress that in retrospect wasn’t mine. It was the anxiety of dreamers that fueled me so often and robbed me of my dreams.

Yet I am a dreamer too.  I always have been. The world dead people designed and a select living few get to modify causes people to live the same lives with different appearances. You are not supposed to dream, they tell you.  You are supposed to do in this world, daydreaming is not productive.

Drive to work at the same time everyone else is driving to work from a place where everyone lives to a place where everyone works. Hurry up. Wait. Hurry up. Wait. Start work, whatever that may be. Fire over here, stomp stomp. Fire over there, stomp stomp. Ring ring phone call with more niceties than actual content. How am I? Interrupted.

Hunger is tucked away until a scheduled time to eat, a schedule that may have absolutely no connection to when you are hungry. Comply, so you can run around trying to find food when everyone else is trying to find food at the same time – who came up with this system? – then rush back to work. Or, take time in the morning or evening to have a meal to take to work, in the hope that someone else doesn’t eat it in that shared refrigerator with the mystery foods that archaeologists are on their way to investigate. Is that supposed to be green? Get back to work at the same time everyone else is back to work, a shared misery of sorts. Rush back home because of errands, but do so at the same time as everyone else, to the same place as many, because property values are better here or there.

Fix this, clean that, do this or that for people with people you may or may not like, depending on commitments you made or someone made for you. Then you have some free time, and whatever you do, you can’t do some things because tomorrow it starts again. Get to bed? You can’t sleep? SLEEP. You have to do it again when you wake up.

Life is full of tomorrows we yearn for despite this in the hope of… something. Life is full of yesterdays that look a lot like tomorrows.

These days, social media constantly interrupts with glimpses of those that don’t appear to live these lives and this perpetuates the hopes of tomorrows but can make the yesterdays more full of regret. If only I had… Meanwhile, people listen to billionaires because if they have that much money, they must be smart despite the fact that they demonstrate consistently that the only reason that they have money is because they make it faster than they lose it.

The grand calculus of economic incentive dressed as a cartoon character dancing on your phone, reinforcing everything you have been told about what you’re supposed to do. If only you had used that time to do something that you should have.

We are all time travelers, wandering through it at the same time and at the same rate, lost in a pattern where time only exists to make us the hands on analog clock.

The hands spin, but the clock remains the same.



The Bell Curve of Creativity

Bell CurveI was considering the issue of artificial intelligence and creativity, and why what I recognize as creativity just doesn’t show up. The idea of creativity is, at best, vague and subjective.

And then I thought a bit about how what we presently call artificial intelligences are trained. Simply put, the training data that these collections of algorithms are trained on is a big part of it, as well as how the training is done. That’s the technical side, and if you really want to drill down into that, leave a comment below and I’ll find some well written stuff. Basically, the AI tries to stay in that 68% area while creativity occurs across 100% at varying rates.

The more interesting idea to pursue, in my opinion, is how we as a society perceive creativity. Music, as we who are old enough to remember the 70s and prior, was very, very different – because the companies were looking for a sound rather than the sound. Nowadays, record companies – do we still call them that? – want specific things because people want… specific things. So, from my perspective, a lack of creativity in popular music might be true. That could be balanced by social media stuff that artists do – please continue – though the first YouTube example that comes to mind is Justin What’s-his-name.

Part of this personal perspective may be a factor of age. I’ve seen more stuff than someone half my age. Truth is, I’ve probably seen more stuff than people older than me too because of the interesting life I’ve lived. Still, I have to admit my own bias.

I’m curious what others think about creativity themselves – and what they think of creativity with artificial intelligence. Feel free to comment below, or send a link to a friend who might have some ideas. I’m genuinely curious what others think about this because I know I don’t have the answers here. I just end up with more questions.

Artificial Creativity

artificial creativity in a cup overflowing with silicon impressionismOn the left I gave DeepAI a prompt of, “Artificial creativity in a cup overflowing with silicon.” in an impressionist style. It didn’t generate what I was thinking of, and it didn’t give me much.

I’d begun fiddling with ChatGPT, as I wrote about in, “A Chat With GPT on AI“. There, the answers were ambiguous – though necessarily so. In querying it on many things, though, I found the same style of answer more than once, and a certain fondness for words. This should be no surprise in present language models.

I’ve split myself in two world, since within me I have much overlap between technology and other interests and being creative. Previous experiments with doing it all on one site just seemed to confuse people. After all, they don’t expect someone to be both. In that regard, is more technical, while here on I do everything else.

Oddly, artificial intelligence is thought to challenge both the technical and creative and those with the overlap.

So I decided to ask ChatGPT to write something on creativity and see what it had to say. I was impressed with rationality yesterday. Today, let’s see what creativity I can get out of it.

ChatGPT Creative prompt
ChatGPT generated the following:

Artificial intelligence (AI) has made remarkable progress in recent years. From self-driving cars to natural language processing, AI is revolutionizing industries and transforming the way we live and work. But can AI be creative? The answer is a resounding yes.

AI algorithms can generate new and innovative ideas, produce original artwork, compose music, and even write novels. In this blog post, we’ll explore some examples of how creative an artificial intelligence can be.

  1. Art

AI algorithms can create unique and stunning pieces of artwork. These algorithms use machine learning techniques to analyze existing artwork, understand their composition and style, and then generate new pieces based on that information. One example of such AI-generated artwork is the “Portrait of Edmond de Belamy” by the Paris-based art collective Obvious. The portrait was sold for over $432,000 at Christie’s auction house in 2018.

  1. Music

AI algorithms can compose original music in various genres, including classical, jazz, and pop. These algorithms analyze existing music and use machine learning to identify patterns and structures. They can then use this information to create new pieces that are both unique and appealing to the human ear. One example of such an AI-generated piece of music is “Daddy’s Car,” which was composed by the Swedish AI startup Amper Music.

  1. Writing

AI algorithms can also write original works of fiction, poetry, and even news articles. These algorithms use natural language processing to understand the structure of language and then generate new pieces based on that understanding. One example of such an AI-generated work is “The Day a Computer Writes a Novel,” which was written by an AI program developed by a team at the Future University Hakodate in Japan.

  1. Inventing

AI algorithms can even invent new things. For example, a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge used an AI algorithm to design a new type of superconductor material. The algorithm analyzed data from thousands of existing superconductors and then used machine learning to identify new combinations of elements that could be used to create a more efficient material.


Artificial intelligence has come a long way in recent years, and its creative potential is becoming increasingly apparent. From generating new artwork and music to writing novels and inventing new materials, AI algorithms can produce original and innovative works that are both impressive and inspiring. As AI continues to advance, it’s exciting to think about what other creative feats it may achieve in the future.

Well, that is impressive. It’s a lot like someone showing a resume. But by itself, it doesn’t show much creativity, does it? It basically writes around some references. This is not to say that AI cannot be creative – the images I use these days are from DeepAI, as an example – but that creativity is limited to what the AI experiences through what it is trained on. It is limited by what it experiences, and what that limitation is… looks a lot like what we train it with.

Certainly, I think writing will be affected – and I have been mildly disillusioned about that. But I also believe that since an artificial intelligence only uses the information we share with it, it can’t truly be creative in a human sense because it lacks the human experience. It might throw words together or create images and music, but it can’t tell you how it feels the first time you eat ice cream or the way you feel when it falls.

It regurgitates in our language because it has no experience beyond what we feed it. It has no expectations, no way to love or hate other than the biases we feed them. When it comes to being human, it is not a competitor.

Unfortunately, though, it will be damned good at marketing.

What Do We Deserve, To What Are We Entitled?

childhood complex trauma_Yesterday I sat with someone discussing a young man I once knew. He’d dealt with a lot – a psychologist might consider calling it ‘complex trauma’ during his formative years, and we were just beginning to get into what children deserve where I found myself grasping for a better word.

Fortunately, the meeting was cut short by someone else before I felt completely ignorant. Why had I not thought about this issue before? It’s not as if I don’t have enough nephews and nieces running around having children at this point. I even have gotten to the point where I’ve lost a nephew and most recently and sadly, a niece, to the inevitable.

There’s a lot of talk about what children deserve. There’s also plenty of talk about entitlement, used in the present day as a negative. There’s a weird space in between. We all believe that children should be given love, protection and safety, and an opportunity to grow – all of these things relative and varying to degree around the world.

The dictionary definition of deserve is related to being worthy of – and generally relates to having earned, or being worthy of. The dictionary definition of entitled contradicts itself in an interesting way. One definition of entitled is to have a right or legitimate claim to something, while the other contextual definition is the assumption that one has the innate right or claim to… stuff.

In modern popular usage, when someone’s entitled, it’s used as a synonym for being spoilt.

We have agreed upon human rights, as in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. We have The Convention of The Rights of the Child, so… do we deserve rights or are we entitled to them? There’s a dilemma in there, particularly because there is so much room for interpretation in any form of right.

A right to be loved? How does one assure that? To be protected? It can get very complicated very quickly with different interpretations even within one culture. Multiply that by the number of cultures in the world.

This is not to say that children should not be treated with love and care by any means. Most of us have an implicit understanding of this, be it through nature or nurture (likely both), but we really are not too great at explaining this when pressed on it, but where one child’s parents may shower them with gifts as their version of love, another child’s parents may not do that (and may not be able to!) so they show love in other ways, maybe. It’s not exact. And, frankly, it doesn’t help children as much as we would like.

Right now, it’s quite likely that within a kilometer radius of you, there’s some child that doesn’t have a home with love to go to – or if so, maybe it’s expressed in very negative ways. Once legal requirements are there for the parenting, a checklist of practical things being done for the child, whether it’s done with love or not is immaterial to a Court of Law because it’s about what you can prove, and only in extreme circumstances can one say that there is no love for a child.

It seems to me that there’s space for a lot of discussion on this because we all believe we know what a child deserves to some degree, but we can’t all agree on what that is aside from very vague things we call rights that some committee came up with and that I suspect most parents and children haven’t read.

A very strange thing, this.

The Hedgehog Picnics

hedgehogs around the fireAt least some readers will be familiar with Schopenhauer’s Hedgehog’s Dilemma, but those who aren’t it uses a metaphor of hedgehogs on a cold winter’s night pulling in their quills so that they can huddle closer together for warmth. Adversity gets people to pull their quills in, and when there isn’t adversity, they stick them right out again.

It’s been something I’ve been flipping around in my head for a long time. The problem with the comparison to humans is that we run around starting fires – some are for warmth, some aren’t and burn out of control.

When we build the fires for warmth, we gather around them like a campfire. Some stare at the fire, mesmerized, some put their backs to it and stare into the darkness so that they aren’t surprised by things that go bump in the darkness – some sit closer to the fire, some sit further back. Some get singed because they’re too close, too.
In the modern day, ‘fires’ are what we agree on. Common interests. Maybe sports. Maybe art. Maybe climbing mountains, or maybe sending around memes on social media.

And so the metaphor slowly falls away, but the basic idea that adversity causes people to come together is still there – and comfort tends to push people apart.

The Tyranny of Stuff.

A dead planetAs I mentioned in this post, I’m fiddling around with this world and have been researching a lot of what we know about Terra Conferti, or what some of us call Earth, and in particular, the history of the self-proclaimed dominant species on the planet, which we can shorten to ‘us’.

When there were significantly less of us, we wandered around the planet. It wasn’t necessarily a great life, but we migrated where we could find food, shelter, and when those things weren’t as good as somewhere else, we wandered off.

Nowadays, we pretend to deal with this wanderlust by going to hotels in other countries which, generally, are like hotels in any other country with some distinctive and sterilized things. Experiencing the way real people live in a country isn’t really in the offing except, perhaps, some eco-tourism.

Before the Agricultural Revolution, we wandered around, found food, had sex and probably got rained on a lot. The less lucky ones got snowed on. Everyone adapted to their general areas and environments, found traditional migration patterns they followed just like many other creatures. The agricultural revolution, though, meant large populations could be supported, and with those larger populations, we got to do nifty things like find places for stuff that we could have without carrying it around.

Some of that stuff allowed us to share generational knowledge, like twig technology. Some of it, maybe even most of it, is just useless stuff that we pay rent for with space that we pay for, one way or the other.

Where once we only carried what we needed to survive, we cling to things that we want. I’m not sure how much of that is progress, but it bears some scrutiny for any sentient species.

Tap, Tap, Tap.

Bloody writerIn an intimate moment, I’d mentioned to someone that I had finally gotten to writing again, that I had found a muse of sorts and that I was fleshing it out. They asked me how I felt about it, and I said…

“I hate writing.”

We laughed, and I was a bit surprised I’d said it. It’s not that I hate writing as people think of it, but by the time it comes to getting the idea out of my mind through my fingertips, or even vocalizing it in a way others understand, I find that aspect of writing the most taxing. I don’t think in words. I don’t imagine in words. I don’t know that anyone does. Maybe, because I haven’t done as much fictional writing, I simply haven’t grown the callouses to make the process less painful. I don’t know how true it is with other writers who do this sort of thing.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed,” Hemingway once said. For me, the fun part is the imagining, the testing of ideas, the planning. But when it’s time to get it out and share it, it can be painful. And to be even close to original in a world full of the same stories written by different authors, it’s hard, at least for me. Sometimes the words roll out without conscious thought when you’re dealing with something people can readily understand, but to be original means taking people to places where they may not understand – to suspend belief sometimes, to get people to look at things differently, or simply to share a complex perspective as simply as possible.

And so, while I may not be posting much…

Tap, tap, tap…