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TikTok and the digital info pig field

TikTok is based on the realization that over 90% of digital information consumers are simply “digital pigs” who will eat whatever is fed to them.

I don’t wish to comment on the politics behind TikTok controversy, but here is the founding philosophy behind TikTok: ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok, was founded in China in 2012 by Zhang Yiming and Liang Rubo based on an “epiphany” from their observation of the field of digital information:

The vast majority of digital information consumers are simply “digital pigs” who will eat whatever is fed to them.

As a result of that “epiphany”, they realized that the “search” based digital info paradigm was not optimal in terms of human engagement. The optimal model is the “feed” model.

So ByteDance focused on the instant-play (feed) model.  It started with text news and later became video-focused. But it has always been driven by the same basic but revolutionary idea, which is no longer novel today because other platforms such as YouTube have since essentially adopted the same philosophy.

But it turned out that the digital pig field is far more “productive” than the founders thought it would be. Not only can digital pigs grow fat extremely quickly, but a small percentage of users will become super feeders (feeding content creators) voluntarily and automatically. The company does not need to hire them or even discover them.

As a result, ByteDance’s tech development has always focused on maximizing the feedback loops of digital pig farming. That’s how the algorithms were developed.  

Grasping firmly on a core driving utilitarian concept without the distraction of other scruples and qualms for humanity can be a huge advantage. Having a large pool of programming talents available at a digital farming rate further helps.

It gets better now. With AI, TikTok’s digital pig field will reach a new level of self-feeding productivity.

But this kind of seemingly explosive “productivity” is not real creative productivity. What is produced is digital degeneration, and what is really exploited and then exhausted is human intelligence.

Under the magnified influence of this model, fewer and fewer people will be interested in finding truth and making real discoveries. More and more will be addicted to degenerative digital information, whether it is in text, audio, or video.

But the political determination of America is simply this: we cannot allow a machine that perverts American minds to be owned by the Chinese. Let the Americans own it. Let American capitalists corrupt American minds. It feels a lot better than by Chinese capitalists (of course, we don’t call them “capitalists”; we call them communists, just so that we can feel different from them and we can tell ourselves that we are freer).