The AI online community has become extremely toxic.
I wrote about AI influencers back in January when ChatGPT was a novelty. I noticed, much to my dismay, how a sudden surge of marketers was flooding Twitter and LinkedIn with AI hype posts. I could summarize them all with a single sentence—not in substance but in intention: “if you’re not consuming my AI content (or, as I’d call it, their well-crafted anxiety-inducing bait threads) you’re making a huge mistake.” Basic textbook strategy of relentless hyping on the currently most profitable thing before it dries out to then move on to the next one. François Chollet echoed the observation earlier this month:
“Really striking how every AI hype tweet is explicitly trying to induce FOMO. ‘You're getting left behind. All your competitors are using this. Everyone else is making more money than you. Everyone else is more productive. If you're not using the latest XYZ you're missing out.’”
Nailed it. Their modus operandi is rather simple: make us feel that we’re missing out if we’re not keeping up daily with AI. Nothing too fancy. There are no unfathomable abstractions or persuading schemes needed (hey, crypto bros) because anyone can find out the wonders of generative AI by themselves. And of course, these shady actors offer, for a modest fee, the exact solution to the otherwise career-defining misstep they warn us about.
Let me confess something: I feel FOMO. They “got” me. On the one hand, I have to keep up with everything, and navigating a sea of info-debris is exhausting. On the other, FOMO is a phenomenon that affects anyone who doesn’t make a conscious and constant effort to stay out of its grip—and even then, it’s really hard to discern what’s worth reading and what’s merely intended to induce a sensation of pressing haste and urgency.
In my naivete, I was hoping the leeching would eventually stop. It won’t. For the first time, gold diggers have found an eternal mine to profit from forever. AI has a unique trait that distinguishes it from other areas these grifters have attempted to exploit to our detriment before, like crypto, web3, or the metaverse: it works. And because it works, this ugly trend won’t hit a peak and slowly die out (that was NFTs’ anticipated destiny), it’ll only grow stronger.
That's why I feel a responsibility to double down on this topic, and why I want to give you a remedy. In my previous essay, I called attention to the issue to alert you. I won’t go over it again. In this one, I’ll share the means to stop AI FOMO: You just have to keep reading to get ahead of 99%… just kidding. In all seriousness, below are a call to action and two insights that I’ve personally found to be useful (albeit not super intuitive). I keep them present all the time. I’m happier. Body’s calmer. Mind’s sharper.
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