Sean Parker, Chamath Palihapitiya, and Scott Galloway are on to something. What’s even worse than the repeal of Net Neutrality?
It’s what Facebook’s empire of apps and copycats are doing to our brains.
In a year that’s seen #MeToo, we’re also witnessing what a hard Brexit means, a social credit system and what the Western duopoly of Facebook and Google are doing to trust online.
2018 is being ushered in with nothing but shades of dystopia and crypto mania.
As we discuss a quasi-hipster Universal Basic Income, I think we need to face the facts, reality is a lot more sinister and profiteering.
Silicon Valley has hacked us with media companies that have weaponized algorithms that aren’t just engineered for app addiction, but engineered to exploit businesses with Ads that everyone feels they need.
In many respects, it’s a scam. Each year, how many small businesses “throw away” money on Facebook and Google Ads? They believe metrics on videos that are designed to deceive them.
Google pulling YouTube from Amazon devices, is not something a good samaritan of the web would do. Instagram, has become the very definition of eye-candy influencers, hypocrisy and a dangerous kind of depraved narcissism.
In 2017, social media became, synonymous with fake media. This contributes to an epidemic of trust that’s only getting worse. It’s no longer just government, politicians, banks, that we no longer trust. Now it reaches to the very heart of Silicon Valley and it goes like this; if I can’t trust the web, what or whom can I trust?
Weaponized Algorithms And Silicon Valley’s trust Dilemma
So when does society stand up to the algorithmic bullies? An unfree web that’s not decentralized, but utterly dominated by digital advertizing empires that control the future of the web and monopolize our time.
Millennials supposedly care about a better world, yet we help build a persuasion architecture that’s so maligned in favor of profit and engineering the psychological vulnerabilities of users, that you can’t call them simply social media or media companies anymore.
They are social engineering platforms at such a massive scale, that living in a digital dystopia, now seems inevitable.
The social media platforms have grown into persuasion architectures, so desperate for app user retention they have become nothing short of brain hacking channels.
In 2017, a term as benign as “echo bubble”, has turned into a playbook of how to hack our attention for profit.
Fake news has become fake virality, deeper funnels down the rabbit-hole of gamification and neuro-hacking and social feedback mechanisms.
Take away the bots, replace them with pods and add an exponential number of duplicate and fake accounts. What a great community!
By weaponizing algorithms against users, Silicon Valley a la Uber, is sabotaging the future of trust in technology firms.
The crimes, are actually pretty serious. Scott Galloway isn’t the only person who believes these companies should be broken up. Even people who work in them; know the damage they are causing and their guilt is making them speak up.
A video that I find very descriptive to what is occurring is one of Scott Galloway’s recent presentations:
- Skip to 2:00 to hear how Facebook is tapping into our need to love.
- Skip to 5:00 to hear why big Silicon Valley companies need to be broken up.
- Skip to 6:00 to hear about Facebook’s initial response that the platform had been weaponized. (“That’s Crazy”)
We trust Google and Facebook, with our deepest needs, our deepest fears, our most urgent emergencies for answers, human contact, socialization, support and all those things that make us human — and what do they do to us? They engineer our attention, optimize us, and exploit our personal data and privacy for profit. As the web evolves, we are finding out what this really means.
What did Sean Parker Say about Facebook?
Sean Parker, the billionaire early Facebook investor and Napster founder, says Mark Zuckerberg knowingly created a monster with addictive social media. Parker, speaking at an Axios event, pulled back the curtain on Facebook’s early days, saying it was designed to consume people.
When insiders who used to work at Facebook are coming out with the truth of how their media company games users, the problems of a centralized web and Silicon valley monopolies becomes apparent.
What did Chamath Palihapitiya say about Facebook?
Sean Parker expressing fears what Facebook is “doing to our children’s brains” is pretty tame, or descripting Facebook as a “social-validation feedback loop”. Chamath was more forthcoming, he went on to add Facebook is “ripping apart the social fabric of how society works”.
Net Neutrality’s repeal can be undone, but can the damage Facebook has caused? In a world of automation and so called AI, who monitors the algorithms and the centralized monopolies who usher in the new world?
This really is a question of AI-regulation, not to mention tax evasion and an app-hacking dopamine economy that is only getting worse.
In a world where media companies don’t even censor their material for fake news, video content that could be inappropriate for our children, and foreign agencies hacking other countries; the entire context of Silicon Valley as being a field of weaponized persuasion architectures that can be turned on American citizens, becomes very very real and worrisome.
In the attention economy that these companies have created, mobile addiction is real and our mental and social health is suffering big time because of it.
It’s also a problem because big tech companies have hijacked the free web. Tech companies are more powerful than banks, than Governments, probably more dangerous than the threat of nuclear weapons or global warming, because they can warp our very experience of time and free-thought.
They are also utterly and completely unaccountable for their actions.
What does a dystopian techno-dictatorship look like exactly? Benevolent propaganda filled machines. Fake altruism, stale outdated rhetoric about building community of a farcical mission statement. That sounds a lot like Facebook in 2017.
The worst part is this, what did we expect when we gave unimaginable power and future authority to a bunch of nerdy engineers in their 20s?
Did we actually believe that they would make the world a better place? We have created a monster and called it a tool for globalization, when it’s one of the greatest concentrations of misused and misguided power on the web — that is directly opposed to values of decentralization, corporate social responsibility, and freedom of speech and privacy that young people believe in.
Messenger for Kids
When tbh was acquired by Facebook earlier this year, Snapchat copied and destroyed on Wall Street, it did not prepare us for what was next — Messenger for Kids.
No, it’s not enough that YouTube torments our children with inappropriate (but strangely addictive) content, now Facebook wants in on the fun as well.
Considering what we know now, is this really appropriate? Would an ethical Silicon Valley build such a thing? You don’t need studies on online bullying, teen suicide rates or that much common sense to realize mobile addiction isn’t exactly helping humans.
When Facebook executives and engineers talk so cautious and say such things as: “In the back, deep, deep recesses of our mind, we kind of knew something bad could happen.” It doesn’t go far enough, it means they knew full well the kind of social ill and havoc it would cause. But they did it anyways, because it was profitable.
That’s the kind of Silicon Valley that could break capitalism, and is on the path to making millions of young people mistrust capitalism itself due to abuses such as these.
We have to remember exactly who we are dealing with. A little over a year ago, Facebook helped create and engineer a social censorship tool that will likely help China in their social credit system that’s set to go live by 2020. What else has Facebook done to try to lobby to get into China? So many questions, so little truth.
What is occurring with black-hat practices in technology, is probably way worse than simply making us algorithmic addicts. It’s that Silicon Valley’s leaders are the example everyone follows.
So dopamine-driven feedback loop hacking of humans, is now the new norm that Snapchat, LinkedIn and Chinese app have copied.
This has shifted the entire paradigm of the web, for maybe decades. Companies are willing to do literally anything to retain users in their apps and get ahead in the attention economy.
Algorithm as a Killer Nano-Bot
The algorithm itself is not neutral; it’s designed to exploit and it’s a terrible foreboding of what is to come in the future of artificial intelligence.
Facebook and Google can learn to self-regulate, but it doesn’t change what the web has become because of Silicon Valley’s lack of foresight, its unstoppable greed for immediate profits.
While Elon Musk worries about killer drones, the algorithm harnessed for profit creates persuasion architectures that are far more sinister and dangerous, because we don’t even perceive the enemy or the mechanism of our gamification, addiction and the damage done to our freedom or privacy. O’ those pretty red notifications, let’s click on those!
Filters, memes, GIFs, notification spam, endless feeds of distraction. Technology professionals don’t even let their young children partake, do you ever wonder why?
Young people are now trained to have more vulnerability to gamificaiton, not less. We’re engineering young people to become zombies of the digital dystopia. A great global community of Zuck-erbies.
Someone who grew up on Instagram sees their online experience differently; vanity has been indoctrinated into their brains, just as effectively as if you cut open their skull and planted a chip.
I think you can appreciate the metaphor. No need for RFID chips, just hack them via their mobile devices, confusing their perception with their need for self-expression, social validation, connectedness, their seeking for influence, the idea that your online network is somehow benefiting you.
The belief that your online status among your peers is crucial to your development.
Chamath Palihapitiya began working for Facebook in 2007 and left in 2011 as its vice president for user growth, I think he would know.
Facebook’s founders knew they were creating something addictive that exploited “a vulnerability in human psychology” from the outset, according to the company’s founding president Sean Parker.
Nothing is accidental, neuro-hacking is a military technique, getting users to share data that can be exploited is a Silicon Valley “home-run”.
Facebook and Google knew exactly what they wanted to create, a monopoly that exploits users for profit. Facebook’s sense of social responsibility was to say that’s crazy. That’s in the end, how much they care about people and their own users.
Facebook’s incredible AI was very much okay that Fake new was sponsored by rubbles. We’ve created an attention economy that eats itself for profit, where our most valuable precious resource — our time and our life is wasted.
This isn’t artificial intelligence or the web the way it was intended, or is it? If data and attention are the blood and oil of the new economy, perhaps this is EXACTLY what was intended for us citizens.
You can’t blame the user, they’re a victim here. If I check my smartphone 200 times a day, I’ve just joined the ranks of the zombies of the digital dystopia.
Mark Zuckerberg or his wife are certainly not upset about this, Sheryl Sandberg is not crying in her sleep with guilt.
This is what Silicon Valley is supposed to do, to profit at any human cost. You will notice Amazon’s focus on customer-centricity here differs from first generation web empires.
We reward the companies that exploit the system the most. That’s what allows companies like Uber to break so many rules (and likely laws), in order to be first.
Facebook’s financial success however came at a cost, it made us more depraved, it devalued democracy and disrupted our trust in the establishment and capitalism itself — and that’s something very dangerous.
In the age of Facebook and Uber, leaders and businesses can no longer be trusted, and certainly not media or tech companies. This is a company that cares about profits, and we are not people, we are just data.
Silicon Valley has no particular conscience, no actual checks and balances. That’s why the artificial intelligence that they are building, might do far worse to vulnerable citizens than what we saw in 2017, in the future.
Correct me if I’m wrong?