Computer Scientist Predicts the Future
Clif High will blow your mind. He can’t out-and-out tell you the future, or even show you his face – but he’s happy to provide hour-long podcast interviews on YouTube every month where his theories and predictions are hashed out and picked apart. This is how most people (including myself) stumble upon the eccentric Clif High. There are many ways to describe Clif and his work: linguist, inventor, futurist, naturalist, computer scientist, metaphysicist. The list goes on and on. Most people know him as the inventor and operator of a unique and highly complex software called the Web Bot Project.
The Web Bot is an arsenal of data-gathering internet-spiders which scan the internet daily for certain buzzwords, then place them in a 3-dimensional matrix where the tension/release values of the words are graphed. If that’s a little confusing, think of it like this – as a linguist, Clif has established a lexicon where the tension values (the emotional effect) of any given word is comparatively graphed against other words. Ultimately it monitors short-term and long-term shifts in online language. “…We’re able to notice shifts in language patterns that really shouldn’t exist because the context of the language is always basically the same – how many different words do you really need to describe apple pie? Yet we keep reaching and finding new ones constantly, so there has to be some driving force for it.” So when Clif takes a huge step back, he’s able to gauge the collective mood of the English-speaking world. He can see what new words are being used and why, as well as the words that are falling out of the common lexicon. The Web Bot identifies trends in language, ideologies, and social relations, as well as gives clues as to the language which will be used about future events. That’s right. Clif’s Web Bot predicts the future.
The Web Bot has quite the impressive track record. It allegedly identified the language surrounding a number of historic disasters before they occurred, including the September 11th attacks, the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, and the Columbia shuttle disaster. Needless to say, perhaps, it has also accumulated a lot of data surrounding the 2012 Mayan long-count date. “…All humans are basically physic, and it leaks out in their choice of words in such things as garden forums or pie baking sites or whatever – they will change language based on physic impression.” “…Just the mere idea that we can, at a collective level, forecast the future seemingly with a greater level of accuracy than chance should allow – we can do this at 3 or 4 levels of prognostication – it makes me want to re-examine how the whole universe is put together.”
But how could this be possible? Even if the Web Bot can in fact gather and analyze such huge masses of online data, where does future-telling fit in? Clif described his initial hypothesis in an interview with new-age radio Well Rounded Corners – “We are an organism that was designed for tribal-life. We are only demanded, in a tribal setting, to deal with 145 individuals in one lifetime, and therefore our brains are structured to store data about people at that level, and also to communicate with them at a level where we maybe frequently couldn’t use words (predators are around and you have to be silent, enemies etc.), so our whole communication structure is focused on being visual. We have, as a technological species, twisted the visual part into reading and writing, when the saccadic movements should really go to support hunting, gathering, and avoiding being prey…” From a biological perspective, this is how our “modern” society can be viewed- as a misappropriation of our instinctual, natural behaviors to a sedentary, technologically-aided lifestyle. Clif goes on, “In any event, we’ve twisted our psychology and biology to suit our technological way of life, and I was willing to bet because of the way Universe is structured in my view, that it was working secretly behind our backs so-to-speak, to bring out what we really need, which is that 68% of communication that is lost because most of our communication now is not face to face and we don’t have that body language. That component is missing. I was willing to bet that we were going to expand our vocabularies and change our way or dealing with speech totally to get that through. I think I’ve tapped onto that.”
Believe it or not, one can’t deny the profundity of what Clif High is doing right here in Olympia. As the internet becomes more and more integral to our daily existence, to collect, analyze, and forecast the subtleties of its language seems extremely telling.
Clif is also an avid practitioner of Japanese Aikido and releases monthly meditative lectures on YouTube called “Clif’s Wu-Jo.” He and his associate George Ure run a website for the Web Bot Project called Halfpasthuman.com, where the latest Web Bot data can be purchased for digital download. Support Clif and The Web Bot Project!