The AI Rabbit Hole

Had a couple of ideas rattling around the ole noggin for this week. Started writing a bit on the Vaccine Passport initiative that some of y’all may have heard politicians yelling at each other over. I think there’s some to unpack with that but I don’t have a strong POV on it at the moment other than it’s definitely a problem technology should be solving.

This is a consortium trying to figure the interoperability part out: I am not sure what to make of their white paper other than I think it’s too long and doesn’t say much of anything unique given what you would think that group would bring to the table. I am a fan of anyone taking a whack at standards though. Maybe that’s always got to be the first step in what is a massively messy process. Rick in accounting knows that feeling come tax season AMIRITE.

When I was researching some on these digital vaccine passports I did see this ad (in this article if you’re interested)

And I was like oh hell yeah. I don’t have any DUIs and I like money.

But then I saw his license was clearly a California license. And that he was standing in front of an obviously different DMV logo:

It appears our ad man, John Doe – as listed on his ID, is not from the Old Dominion but in fact a member of the west coast elite. Why is this California man trying to steal my VA DUI money that is rightfully mine?

A deeper look at his ID reveals some interesting facts:

He has no birthday
His photo is a sample
He is 5’6 and 170 pounds - putting him in the 13th percentile according to Tall.Life
His hair is listed as brown but is obviously white

Point being I think at this point I have realized two things:
This man is a fraud
I think I’ve put more thought into this than anyone rightfully should

Naturally the next step was for me to see how I could get my VA DUI money for practicing a life of safe driving habits. This took me to

At least they got the right DMV now. And I’m now seeing this ploy was to get me to reconsider my insurance. Outside of such a bizarre trigger to reconsider insurance - I wanted to know more who thought this was a good idea. Who are the puppet masters pulling my strings to encourage my behaviors online?


The fine staff of They seem harmless enough:
“ collects information from thousands of products and services to help you make the right choice and find the best. Our team of experts are here to provide in-depth reviews and comparison notes of the leading services. Compare and Save!”

Clearly I wasn’t getting anywhere with their homepage - lots of broad platitudes. I wanted to know why these ads were so bad and what the purpose they served was. These people were probably just pawns in a broader game.

I needed to go higher - I needed to follow the money and at the footer of their website I saw:

MEDIAFORCE. So who the hell is mediaforce?


They are the global ai powered customer acquisition platform duh.

I’m starting to get a sense of why their ads suck.

But who are these people then? The force of media?

Wait a goddamn minute. THEY’RE THE SAME PEOPLE.

I had to know more.

I found an explainer video on their about page:

And now I think these people might be kinda insane. Or rock?

I honestly can’t tell how I feel about them. And now it’s weird because now I have a (manicured) face and a vibe of people building technology that I think is a kinda bad and seemingly a little predatory.

So what now?

I’m still left wondering why Global AI Powered Customer Acquisition Platforms are cranking out really lame content and ads.

So I did what any red blooded American does when they have a question: I googled it.

I found this:

“Power every creative decision.
No more A/B tests or educated guesses.”

It goes on to say in the header: “PREDICT CREATIVE PERFORMANCE WITH A.I.”

If my experience is any indicator, the AI product they build just says: “Yeah, it kinda sucks. But I guess go for it.”

Digging a little deeper:

I think it’s pretty telling that in their product pages the ads already seem bad.

I’m not trying to be a downer on AI tech, quite the opposite actually. I desperately want to build useful shit on top of it.

But if this is what we are running towards - what’s the point?

AI is a potent and incredibly powerful technology. It stands to create a ton of opportunity for the world and an immense amount of utility. But also I think smart people are getting sucked into using AI to create more noise in what was already a noisey environment. I don’t offer any real paths forward here other than a generic gut check I recommend we ask ourselves as we get into this very lucrative space: Are we using this for any actual value? Or are we selling Mason some bad ads?

Mediaforce or seem like a collective group of smart people offering a novel solution to the world. I hope they find some more novel ways to make it work than my buddy John Doe from California fail to get me to buy insurance.