Can Human Beings Escape the Realm of Data?

Image credit: Alina Grubnyak via Unsplash

Are human beings just complex arrangements of data waiting to be surpassed by artificial intelligence? Computer scientist and tech entrepreneur Erik J. Larson’s new Substack called “Colligo” aims to challenge the reductionistic explanations so prevalent in our society and present a deeper and more nuanced perspective.

In his debut post, Larson expresses his desire to highlight the problems with our data-driven world and present a richer humanistic vision. He firmly believes that if we view ourselves solely as data, we become mere inputs into something else, hindering our potential for flourishing as individuals. Larson’s stance aligns with his book, “The Myth of Artificial Intelligence: Why Computers Can’t Think the Way We Do,” where he argues that computer and human intelligence are distinct and should not be conflated.

Through his Substack, Larson hopes to make his ideas more accessible to the general public, further expanding on the insights he has shared in publications like Wired and The Atlantic. His perspective is a welcome addition amidst the varied and often conflicting views on artificial intelligence. While some view AI as catastrophic, and others believe it to be humanity’s savior, Larson provides a balanced and thorough perspective on AI and its implications for human nature and our unique qualities worth preserving.

Larson starts from the premise that the world is flawed. He contends that our current reality revolves around data dominance, algorithms for data analysis, and even perceiving ourselves as data. However, Larson questions the concept of “Dataism,” which posits that everything, including ourselves, is reducible to data. He asserts that this view is either trivially true or most likely false, and as a worldview, it lacks depth and richness.

The essence of Larson’s venture extends beyond mere discussions on AI; he intends to explore what it means to be human in a digital age and how we can resist the “tyranny of data.” Our debates on technological benefits and challenges ultimately stem from varying perspectives on the purpose of human existence and what gives life meaning. Larson emphasizes that we are more than data-driven machines and that our potential goes beyond input and output. In his new project, Colligo, Larson invites individuals who share a passion for truth, good writing, and human flourishing to join a community that values humanism over mechanistic worldviews.

Larson’s Colligo is a platform of intellectual exploration, and subscribing to it promises an exciting journey. As Larson outlines the available subscription options, he genuinely looks forward to readers accompanying him on this new endeavor. It is evident that Larson’s unique perspective will provide fresh insights and provoke thought-provoking discussions. Prepare to embark on a captivating exploration of what it truly means to be human in an age dominated by data.


What is Colligo?
Colligo is a new Substack account created by computer scientist and tech entrepreneur Erik J. Larson. It aims to challenge reductionistic explanations prevalent in society and explore deeper and more complex perspectives, particularly regarding human beings and their relationship with artificial intelligence.

What is Dataism?
Dataism is a worldview that posits that everything, including human beings, can be reduced to data. It suggests that data is the foundational element for understanding and explaining various phenomena in the world.

How does Larson view AI?
Larson distinguishes between computer and human intelligence, arguing that they are not interchangeable. He believes that AI should not be perceived as a catastrophic force nor humanity’s savior. Instead, Larson provides a balanced perspective on AI’s impact on human nature and the importance of preserving human qualities.

What is Larson’s goal with Colligo?
Larson intends to examine what it means to be human in a digital age and challenge the dominance of data in our society. He aims to resist the “tyranny of data” and promote a deeper understanding of human existence and flourishing.

What is the value of subscribing to Colligo?
Subscribing to Colligo provides access to Larson’s thought-provoking insights and discussions. It promises a unique journey exploring the implications of AI, the significance of humanism, and a more nuanced understanding of human nature beyond data-driven perspectives.

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