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Old 10-13-2020, 09:17 PM   #1
frankbell
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Christine Louise Hohlbaum asks, "Will big tech destroy democracy?"


She poses the question at Pyschology Today Blogs. Here's a bit:

Quote:
“The Social Dilemma” is a 95-minute documentary about former executives who were responsible for creating the social media environment we witness today. From the co-founder of the “like” button (meant to make people feel good by sharing the love, a currency that has turned quite the opposite when absent) to former employees from Google, Pinterest and Instagram. Every one of them, independent of the other, expressed deep remorse for the algorithm-based monster they can no longer stop. Artificial Intelligence has literally taken over. So-called “machine learning” has left its creators far behind, like Victor Frankenstein and the beast he built. Or an express train without a conductor, teetering dangerously on the edge of the rails. No way to stop it, they say? Is that true?
I commend her piece to your attention.
 
Old 10-14-2020, 04:41 AM   #2
hazel
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It's not a new problem. When Newcommen invented a coal-fired steam pump to make it possible to extract more coal by deep pit mining, no one envisaged that England's green and pleasant land would soon become covered with dark satanic mills. The industrial revolution just happened; no one commissioned it.

Similarly with the second industrial revolution of the early 20th century, fueled by petrol and electricity. No one foresaw what kind of monster the car would turn into or how it would reshape the landscape.

Technology always runs away with us. That's it's nature.

At least with social media you can opt out. Unless you're a celebrity of course in which case you can't.

Last edited by hazel; 10-14-2020 at 04:43 AM.
 
Old 10-14-2020, 06:31 AM   #3
ondoho
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Is she actually equaling "Social Media" to "Big Tech"?
Had she chosen "Social Media" for the title I'd tend to agree, but choosing such an empty buzzword just annoys me.
 
Old 10-14-2020, 07:37 AM   #4
fatmac
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Probably meant big tech companies - the likes of RedHat pushing their tech onto all Linux users, or at least, attempting to.
 
Old 10-14-2020, 10:00 AM   #5
cynwulf
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FAANG and those others involved in "social media", advertising, content delivery, etc do have free reign to do pretty much as they please. There is no doubt about that - smartphone addiction, a future dominated by IoT devices, self driving cars, etc - is not only on the horizon, but there are are those who will embrace all of this with gusto when it fully takes over. So it's a good business to be in if you want to get rich fast.

However articles like the linked one, always point out these typical problems - but never provide the solution. They speak of "regulation" and leave it at that - with no further expansion. Historically we've seen that regulations amounted to tokenism and that the tech giants had the expertise to work around lawmakers and legislation. Regulation tended to make a lot of money for lawyers, then once the big stink dies down - it's forgotten about and the perpetrators continue to do whatever they were doing - just in a different way.

As ever the article mentions the youth - and as the article does not point out - it's also worth mentioning, that many of the key people in that industry, have gone public as to not allowing their own children to use the very devices/services they have made billions from.

Despite this, people in general, allow their children to access such services/devices - often unrestricted.

It seems that common sense is dead and the typical attitude of the state, media, etc is that "regulation" is needed - i.e. protect the idiots from themselves.

Regulation seems to amount to censorship / regulation of those sites is always proposed due to their being the biggest (or because those proposing regulation have heard of them or that they simply de facto amount to "the web"...) and the much wider demographic they reach. While totally ignoring the rest of the web which is riddled with much fouler things..

How much is it about Republican or Democrat sympathies among the tech giants and "regulation", or the threat of that, of a given political party's propaganda, I can't say. But as ever there is an agenda - the real motivations and then there are those who help to push that agenda because they believe in regulation and / or censorship of the web and that it can work in the same way it does for TV...

Last edited by cynwulf; 10-14-2020 at 10:04 AM.
 
Old 10-14-2020, 10:15 AM   #6
cwizardone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cynwulf View Post
................How much is it about Republican or Democrat sympathies among the tech giants and "regulation", or the threat of that, of a given political party's propaganda, I can't say. But as ever there is an agenda - the real motivations and then there are those who help to push that agenda because they believe in regulation and / or censorship of the web and that it can work in the same way it does for TV...
It is corruption, pure corruption of the system by the mega-corporations and their "lobbyists."
To quote a poster I saw the other day, "In America, they call it "lobbying." Everywhere else in the world, they call it, 'Bribery & Corruption'."
And then there is this from the late Robin Williams, "Politicians should wear sponsor jackets like the Nascar drivers, then we know who owns them."

De-regulation was a serious mistake. The regulations exist(ed) to keep the system from being abused.

Last edited by cwizardone; 10-14-2020 at 10:19 AM.
 
Old 10-14-2020, 10:30 AM   #7
michaelk
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There is the addiction factor.

One small change is that social media sites have now started to increase there efforts in removing false content. I heard in passing on the radio that Facebook I believe is removing content on Holocaust denials. I think I forgot to send my dues to the Flat World Society...

The fact that anyone can post their opinion abut anything and if enough people view it and/or click liked (or whatever, I am not on social media) it can go viral in a matter of minutes. The more people see it being liked by known people the more they believe it as true regardless of the actual facts.

As to the political crap and as far as regulation goes in the US the GOP is trying to remove their protection of controlling content because false or misleading campaign ads were removed and their belief that social media is picking on the right wing but not the left. While the media sites do not make that information public I know that content is removed from both sides. However, it does seem IMHO like more fake news is being generated by the right.
 
Old 10-15-2020, 09:33 PM   #8
frankbell
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Quote:
Is she actually equaling "Social Media" to "Big Tech"?
That is an excellent point. I think she has, to some extent, conflated the two. Nevertheless, the electronic surveillance practiced by other aspects of tech, not just by "social" media, is methinks also corrosive. Think doubleclick.com.

I was thinking about this today, and particularly about the law that shields platforms from responsibility for what persons post on them. It came to me that, when the law was passed, a "platform" was a hosting provider or perhaps a service like Compuserve, Prodigy, or one of the many BBSes that used to be a thing (I miss BBSes). Those platforms enabled users to post content, but they did not manipulate it.

In contrast, today's "social" media manipulates content through their almighty algorithms, telling you what you want to see and should be interested in.

They are no longer disinterested, passive platforms for content provided by others, but active agents cynically manipulating users' eyeballs for financial gain.

I'm not sure that such manipulation was envisioned by or should be protected under the law.

That doesn't mean I know what to do about it. It just means that I realized it's a different ballgame today than it was two decades ago.
 
Old 10-16-2020, 02:41 PM   #9
ondoho
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^ Yes, I agree with that.
My initial comment was maybe a little offhand - but also had merit.
There's too many people who talk with authority about <insert_technology_buzzword_here> in such a roundabout way that it betrays their ignorance.
 
  


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