The Imposters of Tech

9 Jun 2024

It’s 2024, and we cannot go a second without being reminded of AI. It’s everywhere! YouTube channels, newsletters, gurus, and experts promise to dispel AI’s magic, bring you insights from behind the curtain, and tell you how to make money.

Precedence Research projects the global artificial intelligence (AI) market to reach USD 2.5 trillion by 2032.

Remember when the metaverse was the “Next Big Thing”? Facebook rebranded to Meta in 2021, pouring over $10 billion into developing metaverse-related technologies. Companies followed suit, investing billions, promising a new reality just around the corner. Your son will most certainly live there, and your daughter must prepare her virtual resume for her virtual job, for which she will be paid in virtual money!

Right around that time, NFTs were taking the world by storm. Wherever you turned, you couldn’t avoid those boring Bored Apes, childish penguins, and all kinds of ugly “art” meets tech hailed as the new revolution, selling for millions with the involvement of major celebrities like Paris Hilton, Jimmy Fallon, and Justin Bieber.

We heard it all: crypto will go to the moon, AR/VR will redefine gaming and virtual experiences, and blockchain promises a decentralized world for everyone. Now, the buzz has shifted to AI.

Suddenly, everyone is an AI expert, launching newsletters, starting YouTube channels, and offering courses, consultations, and quick-fix solutions to leverage AI for success.

The list is endless, but the promise is more or less the same: a metaphorical mattress where your dreams and dollars can multiply and live happily ever after!

From the infamous “Here in My Garage” Tai Lopez to the convicted financial criminal Jordan Belfort, “The Wolf of Wall Street,” these false prophets, while predictable, often cannot predict anything. They emerge when a new technology gains traction, positioning themselves as pioneers despite having no real contribution, minimal experience, and shallow knowledge. But the imposter’s playbook is highly effective: find a trending topic, declare expertise, hype it to the moon, and capitalize on the craze.

They hide behind flashy creatives, fun memes, big buzzwords, and exaggerated claims, building their brand over the broken dreams of their misguided followers. Desperate for quick gains, their audience hangs on their sophisticated words and grand promises while drowning themselves in losses.

The Real Cost

Misdirected investments, wasted time, and shattered expectations are common outcomes of following the imposters of tech. If you missed investing in Nvidia and want to catch the next OpenAI, don’t worry. They ease your FOMO and quickly turn it up with “follow me and subscribe to my newsletter, where I reshare news headlines and pretend I got secret insider knowledge from the founders.”

These self-proclaimed gurus rarely provide the sustainable, actionable insights necessary for genuine success. After all, they have invested all their time in branding, outreach, and spamming your feed while the real experts are busy learning, building, and innovating.

Most of the time, you are oblivious to what’s happening behind the scenes and their shady dealings under the table. A class action lawsuit, filed in December of 2022, alleges Hilton, Fallon, and other celebrities conspired in a “vast scheme” to artificially inflate the price of Bored Ape NFTs and enrich themselves, the crypto payments company they used to get the apes, MoonPay, and the company that made the Bored Apes, Yuga Labs.

Celebrities like Tom Brady, Larry David, and Kevin O’Leary may have been responsible for billions of dollars in damages and losses by lending their credibility to the failed cryptocurrency exchange FTX.

But they are not the cause, they are a symptom of a meme culture that rewards bombastic claims and a decrepit media industry vying for access, offering little if any, pushback.

“At this point, I think I know more about manufacturing than anyone currently alive on earth.” Elon Musk claimed at the TED Conference on April 2022.

These so-called experts often follow a familiar pattern. They emerge when a new technology gains traction, positioning themselves as pioneers despite having minimal experience or knowledge. They rely on flashy presentations, buzzwords, and exaggerated claims to build their brand. Their success hinges not on the depth of their understanding but on their ability to captivate an audience desperate for quick gains.

Dream outcomes, unnecessary innovations, cookie-cutter solutions, and a few things that may have worked once but nothing you can use to achieve or replicate success in a rapidly evolving, highly unpredictable tech landscape.

How to Spot a Genuine Expert

So, how do you distinguish between a real expert and an imposter? Look for substance over style.

True experts demonstrate a deep understanding of their field through consistent, valuable contributions. They acknowledge the complexities and limitations of the technology rather than presenting it as if it’s some kind of magical wowoo dust, when sprinkled on anything it would make it bigger, better, cheaper, and available for everyone!

People like Andrew Ng, who consistently provides valuable insights and has a proven track record in AI, or Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, continue to contribute meaningfully to technology discussions. They are educators, scientists, builders, innovators, and value creators who prioritize your growth.

A genuine expert will:

  1. Provide In-Depth Knowledge: They offer detailed, nuanced explanations rather than oversimplified, sensationalist claims.
  2. Acknowledge Uncertainties: They admit the limitations and challenges of the technology, presenting a balanced view.
  3. Show Proven Experience: They have a track record of working in the field, backed by tangible results and peer recognition.
  4. Focus on Your Growth: They aim to educate and empower you, not just sell you a product, service, or newsletter subscription.

The AI Malaise

AI, like every technology before it, is transformative, but it’s not magic. It holds great potential in its ability to augment human capabilities. But most of the headlines about taking over the world, doing our jobs, and the rosy future waiting for us as soon as we reach the singularity are nothing more than words with nothing to substantiate it.

Just like the headlines on blockchain taking over every database and crypto replacing every currency and rendering banks irrelevant!

If you’re truly interested in the reality behind the fog of headlines meant to sell ads, focus on understanding the principles, limitations, and practical applications of technologies like AI.

Invest your time in learning before gambling your money away. Seek reputable sources and mentors who prioritize your development.

Stay curious, stay skeptical, and let your genuine pursuit of knowledge guide you to real opportunities and growth. Question the credentials of those who claim expertise and seek out diverse perspectives. The true promise of AI, or any technology, lies in its ability to empower you, not in the empty promises of fast money.

If anything, the past few years have shown us that there is always another trend and, with it, a chance to ride the waves of change.

Let the hype fade, and let your curiosity and commitment to building yourself up guide you to genuine opportunities and real growth.