Each user online has a model created by computers, including details about your personal thought process you are unaware of that controls every single aspect of your life.
The humans at big tech are not responsible for the effects of social media on Americans. It’s the computers that run big tech, and they are leading us to a dangerous place.
At some point in school, everyone learned about our freedoms as Americans. One significant freedom is our right to be free of censorship. We learned as children that countries such as China, North Korea, and Cuba live with censorship and are only aware of the reality served to them by their governments.
As a kid in school, this is one of the first indications of the reality of our world, and we feel a certain amount of relief that we are American.
We have watched Russia destroy Ukraine while simultaneously telling its citizens that their sons were going to Ukraine peacefully for drills. Russian parents were clueless that their sons were being sent to a brutal warzone and were dying and forced to commit war crimes by their government.
The parents of Russian soldiers were misled, misinformed, and clueless about the fate of their children. The world watched in horror as Ukrainians & Russians died for a cause one man controlled from a safe place where he was the puppet master.
Putin’s propaganda is so expansive and complicated that even the soldiers were unaware of what they were walking into when they left Russia for “drills.”
In an interview with a reporter, one Russian mother who lost her son explained why her son died.
Do you understand why this war was begun?
I think if we had not started bombing them, the Ukrainians would have bombed us. We had no choice. But something went wrong, nobody saw it coming. Now that so many soldiers have died, we cannot stop. We need to press on until we achieve victory.
Do you understand why Russia is fighting in Ukraine? What was Yevgeny fighting for?
My son fought for us, for Russia and the Russians. So that we can keep using our phones, eat and drink like before. He did not die in vain, he died for us, so that we can lead long, happy lives, so that we don’t have to live through war and that bombs fall on us.
The Russian mothers show us one example of how easy it is to change someone’s perception of a situation by the type and amount of information they receive.
You are only as knowledgeable as the information you have access to, and if no other information is available, how do you even know it exists?
Mothers of Russian soldiers, such as the mother of the dead soldier in the interview, may never know any different because their news is riddled with propaganda from the Russian government, and the information they receive is censored.
If this was your reality, how would you know? A terrifying question, however, Americans rest at night feeling safe because, after all, we are entitled to the First Amendment.
As a writer, I recognize the importance of the First Amendment. It is what I love about writing. But what happens when it is not the government you need to fear?
What happens when it is not necessarily your freedom of speech that is in danger? How would you feel if you knew that the opinions and thoughts you are freely allowed to voice in the U.S. were manipulated and formed by something other than you?
That is precisely what the former executives at Google, Facebook, Twitter, and other big tech companies are trying to tell Americans.
The Social Dilemma.
In a documentary on Netflix called “The Social Dilemma,” former prominent big tech executives claim that there is a serious situation at hand for all Americans leading to civil unrest, division of the country, suicides in our youth, and violence.
The former executives from big tech explain algorithms and their influence on our daily lives in the documentary.
Involved in creating “The Social Dilemma” are heavy hitters in the social media world who had a hand in creating the social media platforms we know and love today.
The list is impressive and includes,
- Sandy Parakilas – Former Operations Manager at Facebook; Former Product Manager at Uber
- Joe Toscano – Former Experience Design Consultant at Google; Author of “Automating Humanity”
- Justin Rosenstein – Co-Founder of Asana and One Project; Former engineering lead at Facebook; Former product manager at Google
- Tim Kendall – CEO of Moment; Former Director of Monetization at Facebook; Former President of Pinterest
- Guillaume Chaslot – Former software engineer at Google (YouTube); CEO at IntuitiveAI
- Lynn Fox – Former Director of Corporate PR at Apple; Former Corporate Communications at Google
- Jonathan Haidt – Social psychologist at New York University; author of “The Righteous Mind”
Algorithms take all of the information collected from you by your devices and put them into a calculation to attempt to determine your next move. They design your “model” based on your likes and dislikes to keep you engaged because the longer you are online, the more ads you will click.
A computer decides the details of your “personal model” based on hundreds of thousands of bits of information gathered from you. It seems harmless. People don’t feel concerned because it’s convenient and easy and keeps them entertained.
The former “big tech” executives say Algorithisms track you and profile you, and instead of predicting the future, they cause the future and have taken over every aspect of our lives.
They are used to screen college applications, job applications, loan applications & credit, and even how long an inmate will spend in prison or on parole.
The film claims that even political agendas and terrorist organizations are affected, making this a dangerous situation. In the past, Americans based their opinions on the same information they received from television or radio.
Today the information received is based on where you live, the rate of poverty in that area, and other statistics that can bring negative consequences. Algorithms were initially viewed as a way to combat racism; however, the opposite effect is being realized.
One example is from schools during Covid. In the U.K., an investigation revealed that algorithms were used to create test grades for students since they could not attend and take the tests. These algorithms were found unfair and biased.
They included data on students based on where they lived, the rate of graduation in that area, and social influences to decide if they passed or not. Almost 40% of students scored much lower than they would in reality based on the algorithms used.
Using negativity to make money.
Algorithms are based on gathered data from you. Whether negative or positive, the data collected is used to create an experience every time you log in online and is designed to keep you online as long as possible.
Negative information that may gain a response from you based on your personality type, location, and all the data collected regarding you is used by the computers to engage you longer and keep you from disconnecting.
Negativity is widely used because emotions keep you entertained and engaged, thus providing more clicks on advertising and making more money for advertisers. The negative information shown to certain personality types fuels radical agendas, grows hatred, and can also end in violence such as suicide or mass shootings.
The computers are so advanced that they know when you are ready to log off and how to re-engage you to keep you online as long as possible. The algorithms today decide what news you can see based on your collected data.
What you like, what you hate, where you live, the amount of money you make, and relevant statistics are only a few pieces of data that make up your model online. The data as a whole is put into a calculation that decides what you will see when you log in.
You will not see anything other than the content that fits into your data set, and what will keep you engaged the longest. The content you see will also consist of content that will cause an emotional response to keep you clicking. Negative or positive, it is up to a computer at big tech what information you can receive online.
Are we any different than the mothers of Russian soldiers?
The reality is that nobody in the United States is getting the whole picture online. You will only see the information pulled and calculated to keep you engaged and cause you to click.
Algorithms confuse society and cause overreactions that result in violence. Misinformation is spread quickly, and people stand up for causes that don’t necessarily exist because they have only seen one small piece of the puzzle.
Suicide in our youth, depression, and division in our country is the result. Every day the computers have grown stronger and more complex, gathering more data and showing you more content geared towards your model, which changes you, your opinions, and your future.
This is also true for your children. Society is slowly losing its inherent right to be individual and form opinions based on facts and is, in turn, clueless. Who you are, what you believe, and your future is manipulated and created from data collected without your knowledge, and who you become is based on statistics and computations of computers.
Credit worthiness decided by algorithms?
Algorithms are also used for creditworthiness calculations including approvals for loans and mortgages. The ACLU says algorithms are designed to scrape information about you even using variations of your name when your birthdate and social don’t match. This can cause denials for credit information pulled that isn’t even yours.
Tenant screening reports also suffer from frequent errors. Reports use algorithms to “scrape” information from state and county records to report purported facts like evictions, arrests, convictions, and debt collection actions. Because these algorithms are designed to “not miss anything,” they can include inaccurate information. Even more egregious, many algorithms search not only for the person’s name, but for variants of that name. “Anthony Jones” may be searched as “Ant* Jones”, resulting in a person being tagged not only as Anthony Jones, but also Antony Jones, Antonio Jones and Antoinette Jones. The tenant screening companies do little to confirm these “matches,” even when birthdate and residences don’t match.-aclu-wa.org
If you doubt the truth behind this theory, all one needs to do is look around. You can clearly see the division of our people and the results algorithms are having on our country.
In “The Social Dilemma,” it was asked of all the former executives of big tech,
The answer from all was a resounding “No.”
The former “big tech” executives in the documentary said that the problem had grown so substantially that the humans behind the computers don’t know how to change it.
They also noted that the tech giants did not intentionally design their computers, with the result being anything but a positive user experience.
What is your opinion of algorithms?
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