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The Battle for Your Brain: A Conversation with Igor Chudov

Plus, intellectual inoculations and digital vaccines

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This story is about my conversation with Igor Chudov. I was very excited to interview Igor. Many of us love his work but Igor doesn’t do a lot of interviews—and you know me, I am always interested in the soul, in the spark, in the fascinating things about the person. I want to understand the internals, one’s unique gifts for the world—all those things that make us irresistibly lovable and interesting to talk to.

And Igor is without a doubt a very gifted and interesting person! Which is to say, our conversation was fun. We talked about life, Igor’s journey, virtual walks on the virtual beaches that neither of us cares for, and of course the World Economic Forum and their wretched “battle” for our brains.

Let’s start with the World Economic Forum and the brain.

Your brain

Igor has written an extensive article—that I highly recommend—about the battle for the transparency of the brain. As a part of this battle, as discussed at a recent WEF panel, our overlords evidently plan to use their ability to read brain waves to enforce policies, such as, for example, the policy against office romance.

In this little “inspirational” animation that the nudge masters played at the panel, the lady in the cubicle thinks amorous thoughts about a co-worker—and immediately gets a pop-up on her computer warning her that office romance is strictly prohibited. Take that, conspiracy denialists!

So, Igor and I discussed our thoughts on whether this is realistic, whether they can actually try something like this, and whether it can work.

I can’t help but to interject with a song that I released in 2017, meaning it as a warning for the distant future:

I want to know you as a computer,
Forget the Biblical sense.
I want my perfect device to read your heart rate.
I want my perfect device to know your brain waves.

New intimacy, on display.
New connections,
All digitized.
New sky, in perfect 3D,
And yes, for $3.99 you can edit the color,
And for additional ten you can move the ad to the right.
Do you like it?

New intimacy
For the people.
Your momma's fears were silly!
It all worked out.

Intellectual inoculations and digital vaccines

In the interview, we also talked about the linguistic hijack of the word “vaccine" that led to the notion of intellectual inoculations and digital vaccines.

Interestingly, those two are not the same thing, at least as of this second (ten minutes from now, I don’t know, all definitions have been changing very fast). An “intellectual inoculation” is a psychological technique, and a “digital vaccine” is behavioral modification software. Here is Igor’s take on intellectual inoculations against misinformation, and here is my take on behavioral modification digital vaccines and other curiosities, such as anti-pesticide vaccines-not-vaccines for bees.

I hope you enjoy this conversation with Igor as much as I did! And I hope you appreciate how smoothly we sailed right through all potential triggeroo. :)

Note to readers: If you are in the position to do so, I encourage you to become a paid subscriber or donate. I love you in any case, but it helps A LOT. Thank you from my heart for your support!


Tessa Fights Robots is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.

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