ThoughtStorms Wiki

Context: AcademiaVsNewMedia, SocialMediaThought

Looks like LK99 wasn't an RTAPs : Now what?

A tweet-storm I made here, referring to 2023 hype about RTAPS

I'm reserving judgement on whether LK-99 really IS what we all hope it is.

BUT ... at the moment, while sceptical, I am genuinely impressed with the new social-media science infrastructure that we seem to be evolving.

Some thoughts ...

This is clearly "hype driven" in a way which leads to a lot of the bad things effects of social media.

BUT ... it is also getting a lot of attention on, and a lot of people swarming on, promising ideas, very quickly.

This happened with AI, of course, but LK-99 shows that the process may generalize to other scientific research

Now, is this a "good allocation of resources"? Will the hype distract scientists from important and good work, to chase fashionable nonsense?

For me the jury is out on that. RTAPS are probably worthy of this effort, so I don't think we can dismiss them as fashionable nonsense.

OTOH, one big test will be if LK-99 fails to be the RTAPS we are hoping for. Can the swarm move on and abandon it, or will it hang around as kind of zombie ConspiracyTheories, like perpetual motion machines?

Or maybe the swarm will only be able to move on from it when there's a new shiny thing to get excited about.

Might we be in for a period where serious science is destroyed by hype as researchers pinball from one promising crackpot idea to another?

I'd say the worse ClimateChange gets, the more desperate we become for a technical fix, the greater the danger that our entire intellectual culture will be sucked into such a fruitless quest. You can imagine a kind of malign, out-of-control emergent whirlwind (AttentionWhirlwind) sucking in all our attention to every overhyped promise.

(And think how easy it will be for malign actors to game such a system by making FakeNews claims to have found RTAPS or cold-fusion etc.)

OTOH, maybe the swarm turns out to be sufficiently smart to only focus on genuinely good leads. And we do find ourselves in a kind of new phase change in scientific research, of the kind the internet always promised, where social media has now got inside the OODA loop of academia / academic publishers, and is now driving science forward much faster.

I do hope for this but I've been caught out too often by the internet's capacity to go bad and disappoint, to simply declare that this is the case.

Let's all hope. But remain healthily sceptical.

Transcluded from arXiv



Backlinks (1 items)