New Data

This may seem totally obvious to some. Or, you may never understand it. Words are ambiguous, so naturally some error occurs in the transmission of thoughts via English, whether my loose use of it or your poor understanding of it. Nevertheless, please read.

The overwhelming majority of humans are boring, uninteresting, or utterly square. Whatever you are doing, chances are somebody somewhere else is doing it better than you. Whatever you are thinking, somebody has probably thought it before. The success of demographic market analysis is further evidence that humans are fundamentally not interesting. More precisely, it requires very little data to describe humans compared to the available population of them.

Last night in my sleep I tried to characterise the non-interesting property of humans in terms of decision. Essentially, humans are boring because they are predictable. Humans use causality. Human use of causality is possible only in the presence of historic data (and a certain assumption that few truly question, for pragmatic reasons). Historic data is old data. But old data isn’t purely observational. Anything that can be inferred from existing data is also old data. The development of logic, statistics and science facilitated the derivation from old data to even more old data. Derived old data is not new data because it does not tell us something that we could not have figured out.

For example, at some point I decided to learn to drive. The facts before that point increasingly indicated my livelihood was less than optimal catching public transport, and depending on others for lifts. Using causality, I could predict that continuing a life without a driver license would have been inconvenient. So I derived from old data the impetus to learn to drive from my impetus to live a more convenient life.

Humans rarely, if ever, make decisions in the absence of information. We want to be informed, up-to-date and accurate. But because humans make such well-informed decisions, there is no information content in the decision outcome. Such decisions are predictable from the information input, which is always old data. Therefore, given a well-informed human, all of her rational decisions may only generate old data.

To be interesting, we need to start creating new data from nothing. Predictability and being reasonable must be abandoned in favour of

spontaneity.

Do yourself a favour. Go out and do something just for the hell of it.