Quantify This: Fuck You

Scientists find secret to writing a best-selling novel: Computer scientists have developed an algorithm which can predict with 84 per cent accuracy whether a book will be a commercial success — and the secret is to avoid cliches and excessive use of verbs

What’s behind the future of hit movies? An algorithm

What happens when the screenplay of the book that was successful passing through the first algorithm is sent through the second algorithm?

Fuck you is what.

Just because algorithms have detected patterns doesn’t mean a damn thing.

These are all based on human design.

There’s no Objective Omniscience here.

There’s no God in the machine.

Anything that — anyone who — says there’s a “formula” for success is a con artist, period.

You can be a goddammed genius, with an IQ off the scale, but what good does that do you if the milieu you’re engaged in is a bunch of drop-out drunks? If you think I exaggerate, see the story of this guy. There is a man who by any measure should be a raging success and he’s evicting drunks for his living!

Tell me how the fuck your algorithms account for that!

If I had his IQ, I’d be creating things, not grabbing people by their necks.

Books telling people how to succeed are all over the place.

How many people succeed?

Yet they follow the formulas!

Formulas are good just two things: Chemistry and cooking.

There is no algorithm that can quantify surprise popularity.

There is no algorithm that could have predicted the iPhone.

There is no algorithm that can tell you how long you’re going to live — and I don’t give a shit if you’re wearing twenty smartbands on your wrist and even measure your bowel movements.


If you’re looking for The Secret, you’re a failure to begin with.

You’re looking for shortcuts. Shortcuts exist only for those who want the egocentric trappings of success and not the hard work that actually creates it. They don’t want success. They just want to feel better. They don’t need a formula. They need therapy.

Google measures everything. Google uses Science. Algorithms.

Yet how many people have an emotional connection to any Android device like people do with their iPhone (at least the pre-iOS 7 one)?

Algorithms created and refine Google Plus. How often are you using that?

Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year on new TV programs. Most fail. But all the algorithms the Suits rely on tell them they should all succeed!

Quantification in entertainment is nothing new. You think they waited for computers for help? Then you’ve never heard of Q Scores. And that’s just the top of the iceberg of what they use. There probably isn’t any other endeavor on earth that relies on measurements as much as the entertainment industry does.

If everything Hollywood put out was as successful as their algorithms predicted, none of you would be reading this. You wouldn’t have time. You’d be too busy watching TV and going to the movies to bother with this foaming post at an obscure site that probably won’t even show up in a Google search for “algorithms.”

But here you are.

Because algorithms are bullshit.

Algorithm that, bitches!



Filed under Collapse, Pottersville, Writing

11 responses to “Quantify This: Fuck You

  1. Nice bit of Luddism there. Congratulations and welcome the “You kids get off my lawn” crowd. By your way of thinking, we should throw out the 80-20 rule and the Pythagorean theorem. Maybe instead of another ill-informed rant, you should do a little research into what algorithms are and what they can do.

    Read the actual research paper instead of flying off the handle about an article in the frigging Telegraph. There are lots of reasons to criticize the research, but you just spew nonsensical blathering. If you want to reject everything on this page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_algorithms), fine. That makes you a bigoted idiot who doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

    I considered a more reasoned response to your article, but the depth of your ignorance is such that I doubt anything less than full-on thermonuclear war would get through to you.

    • mikecane

      I will let your stupidity stand on its own pedestal without further reply.

      • The research isn’t what you think it is, you don’t know what you’re talking about, you’re pushing an article of faith (that success in unquantifiable) without realizing it, and you went out of your way to insult people you know nothing about. You are just being a jerk and you don’t like people treating you the way you treat others.

      • mikecane

        Nope. You miss that the point that these :”algorithms” are just human beings scoring things (by what standards?), putting them in some sort of order (by what standard?), and then charging Suits. I’m not against algorithms that do actual useful work. But these do not.

        >>>that success in unquantifiable
        I never said that. But to imply there is a formula that guarantees success is con artistry of the kind I inveigh against in my post. If anyone missed the point here, it’s you, in your eagerness to, I guess, defend the skills of actual programmers.

  2. JR

    I love your choice of paintings for this post, Mike!

    I also really like Heraclitus’s take on this:

    Whoever cannot seek
    the unforeseen sees nothing,
    for the known way
    is an impasse.

    Quantify that, motherfuckers!

  3. leaf

    Reminds me of when Google’s Eric Schmidt said that serendipity is now an algorithm. No, it isn’t. Human beings are far more complex than that.

  4. Because sometimes the f-word just feels so good

  5. E.T.

    On the other had, many algorithms are useful, especially in categorizing large amounts of data. For example, it seems that Netflix does a good job recommending movies to individual customers.
    Another interesting example, which I would define as ‘work in progress’, is Apple’s own Siri.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s