I used to have a blog. It was right at this URL. When I moved to the Netherlands at the end of 2011 I published a post that went viral. It was in Italian but random people on the internet translated it in Spanish and English. Some national Italian news relaunched it too.
I wiped my blog off the Internet a few years ago. At some point I decided that it was a bit too radical. Radical opinions are not very professional. And I thought I needed to be professional. Don’t we all have to eat, after all?
Almost ten years later I suspect that none of that made sense to begin with anyway. I am no longer worried about being professional. I’d rather be radical again. I’d rather be authentic. I’d rather be right. But how authentic are we even allowed to be these days?
Pseudoscience and algorithmic selection reward uniformity of thought and skew opinions according to business needs. They are chipping our authenticity away. Hindering our ability to be right. Little by little. One listicle at a time. Turning independent thinkers into outcasts. I suspect the proliferation of conspiracy theories and fake news is also a side effect of this same mechanisms.
It’s no longer about truth, about being right. It’s about SEO optimization, about local optima. Your opinion is dangerous if you can’t monetize it. It’s about world-wide tribal groupthink. You’re in or you’re out. Nuances might clog the system because there’s no computational power allocated for those. Computer said “no”.
What if you are right? What if the outlier is you? You might be just outside of the confidence interval. You might still be right. What if the hypothesis or the training set was partial?
I like to think that post went viral because I saw things slightly differently than the overwhelming majority. Because I was radical. Because I was right. And I somehow had the courage of writing that down and publish it.
It takes more courage to be right these days. But no one should be afraid of being right. Or, even better, no one should be afraid of being wrong.
“Good judgement comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgement.”