Image Credit from Steven Crowder, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons and Geetika saini, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
It should be no surprise that The Joe Rogan Experience is in the news yet again for another controversial guest. When twitter banned the tech entrepreneur and divisive figure Ron Halbert, he had received his invite to appear on the JRE only hours later. For over three and a half hours, Joe interviewed the young rich business man who has made a fortune running the predatory online code boot camp Silver Fingers Coding Camp. Ron’s personal and business twitter accounts were indefinitely suspended a few weeks ago for spreading misinformation and spamming personal ads to the outrage of dozens.
This twitter ban was Ron’s ticket to the JRE. Joe’s podcast has come under fire by many for his alleged Covid misinformation surprising those who never took his content that seriously. The growing hate around this most popular podcast in the world has made many wonder, how did the news media get into such a predicament that they care so much about what a MMA commentator thinks.
“I don’t understand what twitter is so afraid of, did they even give you a reason for the ban?” Joe asked Ron after downing a couple glasses of Joe’s sponsor Buffalo Trace Whisky and talking about how aliens are probably us from the future on ‘shrooms for thirty minutes. Ron replied, “Well Joe, here’s what is happening. They don’t want me to spread the truth and enable common people to make a fortune. The top one percent of the one percent believe that if everyone had the tools that they had, the whole market would collapse. All I’m doing is providing a service to everyone to learn the tools and capabilities to train and use their own AIs. You can predict anything with ML, that’s how it works. Just get the data and a lot of it is open source,” Ron said before aggressively plugging all of his products.
What Ron referred to is the claim he made many times on the long podcast that common Americans can use machine learning to predict the future and therefore make money off the stock market. Most ML experts have called this a ludicrous concept and that it’s not even the same as AI. Most don’t agree Ron’s promises could be realistic, but the misinformation about what you can do with Neural Networks, which got him kicked off of twitter, drives his predatory ads which targeted older workers who had their jobs replaced by automation. Because of all of the wild false claims about what ML can do and aggressive spamming, it was a miracle Ron was on twitter for as long as he was.
Ron and his overhyped code academy wasn’t even that well known until the JRE podcast. In response to Ron’s claims, Rogan replied “That’s crazy man, I had no idea it was so easy to learn how to game the financial system like that, no wonder they don’t want people finding out. It reminds me of the one time I had Bernie Sanders on years ago. Have you ever done DMT?” After the two talked about psychedelics experiences for another twenty minutes, Ron went for a bathroom break at 2Hrs 15min of the recording then started talking about how anyone can learn to code and that a deep learning neural network can solve nearly any problem. It was all just math.
Ron claimed that ML will soon one day replace everyone’s job and asked Jamie to pull up some monstrosity that Open AI did the other day while saying “It’s all math! Anyone can learn this stuff! You can too with my code academy.” Without pushing back on the wild claims Ron was putting out there, Joe asked “Is that like what’s going to go into Elon’s Neurolink? I think that’s going to be the game changer. Our thoughts will just beam into each others minds.”
He replied “I don’t know what that’s about” and then changed the subject. This was when Ron began to straight plug his code academy and how for only three thousand dollars of online courses anybody could start making six figures or more. The fact of the matter is, these promises are highly exaggerated. While Ron may have an average coding academy with Silver Fingers, his ads and what he promises have been considered falsely advertised success stories and they have even begun suing critics who have pointed this out.
Some critics have looked into it and determined that Mustang Steve, is not a real person. Ron claims this alleged graduate of Silver Fingers made millions with the knowledge he bestowed through his courses! He’s just a tool to push more low cost coding bootcamp online courses to the unsuspecting masses. While it’s theoretically possible to make millions of dollars off of options on the stock market, there is no way to do it reliably with some neural networks created after three weeks of coding knowledge.
Many ML experts and enthusiasts have been speaking out against not just Ron and Rogan, but of Spotify’s complicit behavior in allowing such dangerous misinformation to be so widely spread by the highly trusted comedian. Some math rock bands, particularly Maynard James Keenan from Tool, have been pulling their music from Spotify for this new scandal. He went on to say “I was on Joe Rogan to talk about the math behind my music, I can’t be associated with Joe or anything that hosts his dangerous content anymore,” James explained. “I received a text from my 88 year old grandma a few days ago with a link to this podcast with Ron Halbert with the text ‘I’m half way through the course and about to make some serious money with the computer business. You know how to get Visual Studio working on a Windows RG? I think that’s what it is. I want to get started today’. Absolutely despicable praying on old women like that.”
In an open letter, 43 machine learning experts asked Spotify to take down dangerous propaganda pushing second rate coding boot camp spam. They stated “We’re tired of watching all of our loved ones waste money on these awful online courses and thinking they’re an expert, it’s dangerous and irresponsible of Spotify. At least add a disclaimer at the bottom limiting expectations and to not try and predict the stock market or how it’s unlikely they’ll be able to automate anyone’s job.”
Many of those coding bootcamps can can give a basic understanding of how coding works, but believing you can become an expert over night and make tons of money on the stock market or as a software engineer is not anything most people can do, even with a formal education. As for the JRE, there may be a respite from the negative press as the podcast is planning on doing another 5 part series on “Big Foot and his impact on the Canadian constitutional crisis” with Jordan Peterson.
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