Friday, April 27, 2018

Algorithms, Manipulation and Democracy

This photograph taken on September 28, 2017, shows a smartphone being operated in front of GAFA logos (acronym for Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon web giants) as background in Hédé-Bazouges, western France. (DAMIEN MEYER/AFP/Getty Images)

In the dial-up days, before countless social platforms, and prior to all of us being Googlefied, when Face Book, Amazon, and Apple, didn't even exist and before we were tracked and trolled, the world really did seem less complex, safer and truly socially balanced, based on real life interactions and relationships, not virtual 'friendships and realities'.

I've more than one friend, and I'm sure you do too, or perhaps you're one of those individuals, that's so consumed  by everything connected to the internet and find it's difficult to engage in face to face conversations. Preoccupation with texting on cell phones is the norm in spite of people being together in the flesh. It's not just very annoying, it's just plain rude. I expect I'm more acutely aware of this behaviour, because I have no cell phone

One day while visiting my friend I jokingly said something to him, as he plopped down into his big easy chair, in front of his huge flat screen.

He was singing the praises of how awesome it was having all his devices hooked into one another through the internet. He was obsessed and addicted to his internet activity, pleased and proud about how he could watch TV, be on the net, be on his phone, all at the same time. I joked saying, one day your internet connection will be implanted into your brain and you won't need to connect any of your devices. It was supposed to be funny, but I eerily wondered to myself if this is in fact the way humanity was headed and that there will be cyborgs among us or sitting in their big easy chairs.

I do believe we've all gone doolally with our addiction to the internet, and have really gone off the rails. We are being manipulated by algorithms. as we commune with the 'Great Data', instead of one another, and appear hell bent on becoming digitized humanoids. It's a worrisome situation. If you're not concerned about it I suggest you might want to be.

 I'm with Dr. Taylor Owen Digital Media and Global Affairs expert who says we're being manipulated and our democracy is being threatened.

Neil Harbisson - Cyborg Artist

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