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Disclaimer: I was tired when I wrote this text so it might not follow the grammar rules and at times it goes out of topic that I wanted to write about but despite being tired I wanted to put it out of my head in the public realm for people to discuss. I was watching a documentary The social dilemma on Netflix today. It is about how addictive the social media is for most of the population and how through advertising and featured content selected/catered to every individual's preferences as its based on data mined and machine learning. Basically anything you do on web is stored under your profile and the machines (AI) is learning about you and serving you content you like and are most interested in as. The side effect of that is that this locks people in what I'd call an artificial reality bubbles. (Best example is at the time around elections if you're for example supporter of one political party you are going to be fed by machine learning algorithms the news that will be against the other political party - even if those news are fake). This is not real or objective reality it is what became known as fake reality constructed on fake news. Basically today you're always fed things that you're personally interested in and 2 different people are going to get different youtube video suggestions - because machines are designed to learn from your data input on every step. People who are aware of that can be more or less immune to it but most people just view things (information) that they are offered / fed. Even the people who worked for companies such as Google and Facebook are falling victim to it. The lines between what is real and what is fake are blurred now days more than ever. One could argue that through owning the media powerful political or corporate interests always more or less controlled information and that is true. What is interesting today is that the information (or ability to shape the world view of the masses) is going to be more and more controlled through designers of machine learning algorithms But machines (algorithms) will never know what is real or not real or what is good or what is evil... A badly designed self learning algorithm can go out of hands and do damage. It has already happened. I'd say that today information is controlled/manipulated, filtered and disseminated by big tech that own social media and no longer by big media networks (which are all having to retort to use social media because that is where the most people are and there will be even more). Couldn't help but my mind started pulling certain parallels and connections between the addictive power of social media and persuasive tech today with the dystopian social science fiction novel Brave New World by English author Aldous Huxley. The novel was written in written in 1931 but it is very important to understand the world and to what scenario of the possible future the society today in 2021 is going to. In the novel the participants of the society take drug called soma. They take it whenever they feel some kind of stress or discomfort - that is what they always did and always want to do as they were not raised to be able to handle real life and to think critically and independently about things - they always follow and do whatever others are doing. The futuristic society from the novel is ran by artificial intelligence and all the people belong to hierarchical groups based on their brain capacity to understand things / intelligence. From managers levels whose job is to protect the way of life and make sure everyone follows rules down to cleaners. It is a natural response of a human to want to avoid any kind of pain or stress and that is why even in today's society many people retort to different types of addictive behaviors or abuse of substances when the life becomes or is tough. I think for non critical people (its usually those that are not educated) its easier to develop addictive behaviors as their self control systems are weaker. The most addictive thing for most humans is money. Society is indeed controlled by money and always has been. There is a real danger that a big size of human population becomes kind of like cattle for big tech businesses to milk them. Many people call it Matrix. One could argue that today in form of social media some form of Matrix or traces of it is already formed. As machine learning algorithms and artificial intelligence gets more advanced then such system or way of life we are developing in our society can easily be overtaken by artificial intelligence at some point in future (probably not in our life time but who knows). There is a risk that in future people become slaves to self learning tech in transition period to tech companies that produce those algorithms and the final outcome could lead to total control. For now the programmers have the self learning tech totally under control but in coming future things can quickly go out of hands. There is interesting series - Brave New World currently on Netflix if anyone is interesting to watch. American way of controlling population was always through soft ways of persuasion and propaganda (advertising, brands, pop culture, sexualized culture) - catering to peoples desires. There is another extreme that is currently kind of in the hands of China that could lead towards the future that is more Orwellian - destructive to the welfare of a free and open society. It denotes an attitude and a brutal policy of draconian control by propaganda, surveillance, disinformation, denial of truth (doublethink), and manipulation of the past, including the "unperson"—a person whose past existence is expunged from the public record and memory, practiced by modern repressive governments. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orwellian But I believe the way the tech is progressing we're kind of entering to something similar to the dystopian world that Aldous Huxley depictured in his novel in 1931. It is fascinating. So yes I am noticing parallels between a novel and the effect of modern social tech on people and how its re-shaping society.
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