The Dysfunction of Infinite Feedback

In so far that we had praised the extraordinariness of the invention of the Internet and other technology that “connect” us, there is always the other side of the equation.

Beyond hacking, beyond privacy, beyond other social issues, I find there is a bigger underlying trend that needs to be look at — the amount of feedback we receive because of all these inventions.

Let’s define feedback first. Feedback is an evaluative reaction or response to an originating process or activity.

We know feedback is useful for us to improve in whatever we are doing. Complicated machinary would always have a feedback system to adjust, adapt, and correct a subsequent action from the prior one.

Individually speaking, we have parents, friends, relatives, co-workers doing that.

But we are living in a modern world of technology, and in this society through the Internet and various other technology, we can get as many different feedback as there are people out there in the entire world. Thus an enormous amount of feedback.

That causes two perceivable problems.

1st one has to do with the amount of feedback rendering all the feedback completely useless. Just remember what happens when you put a microhpone to the speaker that its sound is coming out of. You get this unbearbly sharp, squealing sound becase you have created in infinite feedback loop. Our brilliant Internet and social networks can precisely create such a loop, and having too much feedback and having too much options are the same, where one gets completely confused.

2nd problem has to do with the quality of feedback. Feedback allows us to improve in so far that it is a constructive response. When one has as many response as there is Internet users out there, the quality naturally goes down the drain. Worse yet, when one takes them seriously, one likely becomes immobile because when someone who has many judges watching his every moves and beat him with a stick when he does wrong, he simply cannot move. Or, he can only move when everyone approves and we know that’s nearly impossible.

Applying the above perceivable problems that are currently affect every facets of our modern life — the individual, social, cultural, national, and finally global level — we have a world that is mostly confused and thus chaotic, and also a human social entity that is mostly unadaptive and unable to do what it needs to do.

I mentioned the above 2 problems without mentioning a key… issue. The media companies. Wherein if you add their “selling of drama through exaggeration and twisting of the facts” — be it news or TV programs — that serves to amplify the two said problems, it is only natural that the world is as absurd as it is now.

And we cannot blame the media companies either, because they do what they do only because it DOES sells.

One last observation is how we seem to find truth in only what has feedback coming from the news/media and the majority population connected by the Internet and technology. What has little to no feedback from those places, what cannot become famous, has no meaning and is not important. Is that truth?

Here ends my rant of the day :)

This post is more or less just an observation but is very much related to three posts from the past. You read and connect the dots :P

Originally posted 2010-03-14 21:56:48. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

What If You Are Wrong

What if you are wrong?
What if we are wrong?

What if everything that we have come to known, everything that we have done are completely wrong all along?

Therein lies one of the biggest reasons that people hardly ever change.

Yet, therein lies the key to real change.
Therein also lies one of the key to spiritual growth — that everything we think we know as truth is not so.

Can you accept?

Knowing that you are wrong.
Knowing that you don’t know.
Could be the biggest hurdle for the change you need.

Knowing that you are wrong.
Knowing that you don’t know.
Is a wonderful first step to a new beginning.

Originally posted 2009-09-13 22:14:07. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Subprime Mortgage Crisis? Student Loan Crisis?

MSNBC has this article: Pricey student loans sow seeds of trouble.

While scholarship, grant money and government-backed student loans — whose interest rates are capped — have taken up some of the slack, many families and individual students have turned to private loans, which carry fees and interest rates that are often variable and up to 20 percent.

Consumer prices on average rose less than 29 percent over the past 10 years while tuition, fees, and room and board at four-year public colleges and universities soared 79 percent to $12,796 a year and 65 percent to $30,367 a year at private institutions, according to the College Board.

Meanwhile, complaints about marketing of private loans — like ads promising to approve loans worth $50,000 in just minutes — are on the rise. The complaints have made their way to lawmakers, who see a need to regulate the highly profitable and diverse group of companies and the loans they make to college students.

In other words, available government loans is not able to keep up with the increase in student tuition in the past years, forcing students to turn to private loans that have some very hefty interest rates.

“College students, you need a large sum of money for school? And have little to no credit? No problem! We will still give you the loan. (But we will take back a lot more from you later, in the form of interests, yeah!!)”

Wait…have I heard this before? I think this sounds similar to what they did in the subprime mortgage sector. Not only will students carry a bigger amount of debt out of college, they will also carry those debt at a much higher interest rate. This will clearly bring their monthly loan payment to double, triple, quadruple… than what their previous generations had to pay. And since I doubt future salary can increase at such a joyous rate, this gives birth to the question on how the future generation can afford their loan payments graduating from college. If they cannot afford them, they are going to start to default… oh crap…

And wait…have I heard this before? I think this also sounds similar to what’s going on in the subprime mortgage.

Despite this being pure speculation that I draw and agree with such a comparison from the article, I really wonder what are these people thinking? Is making instant or quick money all they care about now?

In short-term definitely, they will reap some heavy profits with the high interest rate, and probably packaging these loans to sell as collaterals also.

Now in long-term, I don’t know if it looks so good anymore, and I would say worse than what may happen in the mortgage sector because the people they screw over this time will be the whole future generation. Not only will all the investment and hedge-funds base on these student loans crash. These are the people who will be future consumers, the entire or majority of the population, unlike the subprime population that makes up a much smaller percentage.

So what these private loan companies will end up doing is crippling the future population’s spending power with these loans and probably destorying a good portion’s credits. Without spending power and credits, they can’t buy houses, they can’t buy services, they can’t buy consumer goods… Let’s see such a economy will work out then.

Again this is pure speculation and albeit pessimistic, I can’t help but see the resembling occurrence between the student loans and subprime mortgage. It seems like these people are just moving sector to sector aiming only to make a quick buck and to get instant gratification with no caring about other people’s lives. Where is their sense of decency and compassion? I don’t see any. They are now targeting 17-20 years old with little life experience and will probably make their life experience a sad and painful one before they have a chance to start it. I would rather live poor than having to sell my children’s life away like that, but actually in my standard, I would consider myself living rich the way I choose to live.

I sure hope they are ready for such a future.

Originally posted 2007-10-03 01:47:08. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Terrible June for Stock Market

arrow-down.jpgLet’s be thankful that it’s the 4th of July and the market can take a break from tumbling. The terrible June has left everyone staring at some bloody red balance sheets. Hopefully the market fares better in the 2nd half of the year.

I do not look forward to calculating my networth for June. Oh well.

Now is even more critical to be reminded once again of the important idea of investing long term, instead of dumping the all the stocks and funds at huge loss. As long as you maintain the idea of finding solid investment that provide modest gain and not some get-rich-quick-thingie, whether you went with index fund or not, you should be alright in the long term and hence, best to stay put.

Keyword being “should” because let us not forget that buying into the market does not guarantee return. Even if you buy index funds. Even if you diversify. There is always systemic risk. Perhaps a major catastrophe causes the downfall of the sector of your funds, or the Wall Street somehow disappears, or the global market gets destroyed all together ,or our money system simply disintegrates! Give me your best guess. These are not likely scenario but who knows. Pessimistic? Perhaps. But I am just reminding you that no form of investment guarantees return. It is not a privilege.

Actually, the results of the above-stated disasters may not be that bad. First of all, people are screwed all together in those cases, and as result, we may live in better harmony supporting each other. Yeah, I can be a dreamer sometimes. On another thought, the idea of money may disappear and could return people to the true state of living. Or we may return to an age of the survival of the fittest, which will force people to be physically healthy and capable. Alright, I digress. I am done exercising my imagination.

The current market is a mangled pile of mess that is the result of people desiring unsustainable amount of growth in a short period of time and many of these so-called growth are a result of manual fabrication through layers and layers of abstraction (ie. CDOs). A dozen drunken monkeys in a room probably cause less chaos that that. My opinion is that it will take awhile for it all to untangle. It may even take the next 2-3 years during which we see little to no growth, if no losses, in our investment. But like I said again, we should be looking long-term.

Speaking of long-term, people always quote that the market returns somehwere between 10-12%. I don’t really like that. Past pattern does not predict future, especially the future of a speculative market that is a projection of the ficklest human minds. And when you really think about it, a few decades of data is not even that big of a sample either. People just love pulling statistics out of their donkeys to justify arguments.

Here is the thing, I took a look at the Vanguard Wellington fund that has been around since 1929 and Vanguard’s website said the average return is 8.3%. That gives me some idea and helps set my expectation. I do my diligence in investing — studying, carefully selecting, diversify a good chunk through funs — and I shall be happy if I get a 5-8% return in the long run.

I am in no rush to become rich. The journey is the fun part.

Originally posted 2008-07-03 23:19:44. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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