How Easy it is to be Seduced

Yet Another Reason to be a Critical Thinker.

I get 200-300 emails a day. By and large, I read most of them, and respond when it seems appropriate.

A good number of these are from people I don’t know but have heard of my work. Their emails cover the gamut from: asking for more information (on one of my topics of interest), sharing information, thanking me for my efforts, to trying to establish a connection with me.

So last week when I received a Linkedin request to connect with Mandy Xu, an “Executive Director at Merrill Lynch” it wasn’t out of the ordinary. Even the fact that it was from an attractive woman wasn’t all that unusual.

You’ll have to take my word, that I responded to Mandy, primarily due to her business position — and NOT her good looks!… The first exchanges were semi-normal. Then she wrote:

“John, I read your bio and you’re excellent, you’re an excellent physicist, are you still currently serving as the Executive Director of the Coalition for Sensible Energy Decisions?” A few things here were hints that this might be AI. For example, “excellent physicist” is not normal talk. For example, there is no coalition “Sensible Energy Decisions” (rather “Alliance for Wise Energy Decisions” AWED).

I corrected Mandy about AWED and her response was “Sounds interesting. I’m currently leading a team working on Artificial Intelligence, using AI to trade quantitative contracts, do you know anything about AI?”

The first part was non-responsive. Regarding AI I do know something, so I asked Mandy to read my four-part commentary on it, to see if she was real and competent.

Mandy’s response (within 30 minutes, i.e., not sufficient time to read what I wrote on AI): “This is a very well-written review article of yours on AI. The most amazing thing about AI technology is that it is constantly learning and every time you search for it, it remembers the knowledge you searched for. It is memorized in its brain and it doesn’t forget it.”

IMO this is non-responsive for several reasons — indicating an AI “person” — so (after a few superficial exchanges) I politely told Mandy that I was terminating our relationship. She objected (offensively!), but I persisted. She then finally (cordially) complied…

At this point, I had no proof that this was AI — other than male intuition, and some Critical Thinking. After sharing this with a friend, she showed me the Linkedin page for Selina Fang, a “Technical Director for Adobe.” Oh, and here is Selina’s picture:

Hmmm. As a senior, my memory occasionally fails me, but I seem to remember seeing this woman before. Maybe she has a twin — and they each had their picture taken in the same room, wearing the same outfit, with the same do, etc.?

Two thoughts here:

  1. I’m curious to know why I was targeted. For example, was someone trying to implicate me for having a relationship with some attractive woman? They might then use that to discredit my other writings (e.g., against AI).
  2. This is an omen for things to come… Shortly… In this case, their plan was tripped up by some inadequacies of the AI response — but that will likely not happen in the near future, as AI gets better.

This is yet another message about the extreme importance of being a Critical Thinker — and seeing that our K-12 schools are actually teaching Critical Thinking.

As I’ve written before, most US K-12 schools are NOT teaching Critical Thinking, but they are instead teaching the exact opposite: conformity.

Woe are we if this is not quickly rectified!

PS — Here is an outline of a plan to fix the schools in your state. It’s up to you…

©2023. John Droz, Jr. All rights reserved.

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