NOT dangerous at all….

“Randomized, controlled experiments conducted with more than 10,000 people from 39 countries suggest that one company alone — Google LLC, which controls about 90 percent of online search in most countries — has likely been determining the outcomes of upwards of 25 percent of the national elections in the world for several years now, with increasing impact each year as Internet penetration has grown.” – Robert Epstein

 “The YouTube algorithm that I helped build in 2011 still recommends the flat earth theory by the *hundreds of millions.* This investigation by @RawStory shows some of the real-life consequences of this badly designed AI…. So basically we have the two best AIs of the world, on Instagram and YouTube, competing to convince people that the earth is flat. Because it yields large amounts of watch time, and watch time yields ads. This is a #raceToTheBottom….Flat Earth is not a ‘small bug.’ It reveals that there is a structural problem in Google’s and Facebook’s AIs: they exploit weaknesses of the most vulnerable people, to make them believe the darnedest things.” — Former YouTube and Google employee Guillaume Chaslot

“The dynamics of the attention economy are structurally set up to undermine the human will. If politics is an expression of our human will, on individual and collective levels, then the attention economy is directly undermining the assumptions that democracy rests on. If Apple, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are gradually chipping away at our ability to control our own minds, could there come a point, I ask, at which democracy no longer functions?” – Former Google strategist James Williams

“Social networking sites might tap into the basic brain systems for delivering pleasurable experience. However, these experiences are devoid of cohesive narrative and long-term significance. As a consequence, the mid-21st-century mind might almost be infantilised, characterised by short attention spans, sensationalism, inability to empathise and a shaky sense of identity.” – Oxford professor Susan Greenfield

“Twice as many teenagers now have depression as a generation ago. This high rate of depression has no biological explanation. Instead, it appears to be caused by engagement with social media on smartphones. It’s now clear that there’s a strong association between use of social media and depression in adolescents. The more depressed adolescents are, the more they use social media; the more they use social media, the more depressed they are. Which causes which is unclear, but whatever the cause, it’s a vicious cycle.” — Dr. Nassir Ghaemi

“Just before July fourth, for example, Facebook automatically blocked a post from a Texas newspaper that it claimed contained hate speech. Facebook then asked the paper to ‘review the contents of its page and remove anything that does not comply with Facebook’s policies.’ The text at issue was the Declaration of Independence.” — Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.)

“Cosmetic surgery procedures have increased 137 percent since 2000, according to a report by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, with young people contributing to the rise significantly. In what scientists have called ‘Snapchat dysmorphia,’ young people are increasingly getting plastic surgery to look like the versions of themselves they see in social media filters.”

“God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains. The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them… was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?’ And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you… more likes and comments. It’s a social-validation feedback loop… exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”– Facebook’s first president, Sean Parker, on social media.

Keep it up: don’t read books, don’t debate ideas, just keep pressing the dopamine dispenser “like” button, “send” button, checking your feed! Guaranteed, you’ll be easy pickins’. 

True love exists…

true love!

Just not the kind of love portrayed in Hallmark cards, Valentines and sloppy sentiment. There are perhaps three types of true love that remain in the world. The meme above, my kind of gratuitous, irreverent humor, represents the third kind of true love, which I will get to. The second true love is the self sacrificial love of spouses for one another, or parents for their children. That love reflects the kind of love Christ has for His people, the Church, which, when reciprocated even imperfectly, is the first kind of true love. Notice I didn’t include the love of children for their parents. That’s not quite so enduring, since duty and guilt gets mixed in.

It is the third kind of true love I want to deal with here. A recent lecture sponsored by Hillsdale College and printed in their marvelous free publication, Imprimis, given by Roger Kimball (editor and publisher of The New Criterion and publisher of Encounter Books), speaks so eloquently to that third kind of love:It is an attack on the past for failing to live up to our contemporary notions of virtue. In the background is the conviction that we, blessed members of the most enlightened cohort ever to grace the earth with its presence, occupy a moral plane superior to all who came before us. It represents not the blunt expression of power or destructiveness but rather the rancorous, self-despising triumph of political correctness. The exhibition of wounded virtue, of what we now call “virtue-signaling,” is key. Consider some recent events at Yale University, an institution where preening self-infatuation is always on parade.”

What is “it” that he refers to? Specifically, the hunger to eradicate evidence of past sins by covering or destroying monuments of the past—portraits or statues of famous people and the like, but the driving force of this self-righteousness is the third type of true love, love of one’s own virtue.

For the common run of mankind, I suspect, the highest earthly pleasure is self-righteous moral infatuation. Like a heartbeat, moral infatuation has a systolic and diastolic phase. In the systolic phase, there is an abrupt contraction of sputtering indignation: fury, outrage, high horses everywhere. Then there is the gratifying period of recovery: the warm bath of self-satisfaction, set like a jelly in a communal ecstasy of unanchored virtue signaling. The communal element is key. While individuals may experience and enjoy moral infatuation, the overall effect is greatly magnified when shared.” That paragraph helpfully sums up the pleasure and symptoms of love of one’s own virtue. In the western part of the world of today, that’s the most persistent kind of love.

I say “western world” because so much of the rest of the world is too engaged in the daily struggle for existence to think about, let alone advertise their virtue. But what does the Bible say human virtue? “Every man is stupid and without knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols, for his images are false, and there is no breath in them. They are worthless, a work of delusion; at the time of their punishment they shall perish.” Jeremiah 10:14-15. Self Virtue is the modern idol.