“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’.