Quote (balrog66 @ 23 Oct 2020 16:31)
So I just watched the Social Dilemma, and whilst it isn't as magnificent as some people make it out to be (pretty hamfisted at points), I thought it'd be a good place to start a debate from. It's a decent watch and it's not very long, so if you're interested at all, see it.
Primarily focused on these points (and I'd like you to give your own viewpoints!):
- Do you believe that these social media companies are primarily responsible for the increase in polarization?
- How do we deal with the behavioral changes that big tech companies are (un)willingly enforcing?
- How should big tech deal with filter bubbles?
- Is there a way to create a business model for these companies that is still free use but leaves out the toxic aspects?
- Do we need separate legislation for children, and how do we enforce that?
If people have other talking points pertaining to this topic, feel free to add them. I personally think that we should start by limiting content for children. Child accounts should be time gated (per time zone). Child accounts should have zero advertising. No data gathering should be allowed to model the viewing behaviour of children.
And I do believe that social media has a heavy hand in the modern state of polarized politics. Honestly, one of the reasons I'm even still on here is that this is more or less a filter-less environment. Regardless of how much I disagree with people here, there are at least people here with differing opinions from me.
As far as the creation of a healthy business model, I think that's a really hard one. Ofc costs go down for these companies if they no longer have to store that much data. But I do like some of it, my Youtube recommendations are actually pretty great now that I've trimmed it down to purely my hobbies and interests. Maybe a subscription based, ad-free model only? I know that due to EU GDPR I can request these companies to destroy all data they have on me, which I think is something that should 100% be implemented worldwide. You have the right to be unknown.
The current algorithm is toxic due to it only focusing on maximizing advertising revenue (which loves the positive feedback loops). But I don't know how to fix that algorithm into something that will take away the positive feedback loops but also stay impartial.
Anyway, more than enough food for thought.
Regarding the bolded part: this would only be possible if account creation required hard physical proof for a user's identity. I strongly disagree with the notion that the internet would be a better place if we got rid of anonymity. On the contrary, it would only open the door even further for censorship, digital surveillance and the atomization of the digital sphere into filter bubbles (because people only dare to reveal their true opinions to others they know to be sharing the same views).
Basically, duff nailed it when he says that social media gives us the option to the let the worst in us come out. No amount of regulation of the internet or big tech will be able to replace a lack of self-discipline on the users' part. Fully solving this issue while keeping the internet free is impossible. And when forced to choose, I firmly stand behind a free internet.
We should, however, outlaw advertisement practices which are based on catering to our worst impulses and bringing them out. So I see arguments in favor of some legal restrictions on the search and recommend algorithms, so that they have to include some random results which are not based on the user's preferences. If, say, 20% of results/recommendations had to be chosen randomly, this would prevent feedback loops and filter bubble effects from getting totally out of hand.
Regarding political polarization: a lot of it has to do with the internet taking away power from the mainstream media. Before everyone was online, big news channels and newspapers had a much larger ability to steer the public discourse, to set the agenda, to push or suppress a certain narrative. The malleable, unideological center of the electorate was largely kept in lockstep by the mainstream media. So in this sense, I feel as if social media and alternative, online news sites have not only caused extra polarization, they also unveiled quite a bit of pre-existing polarization which was hidden in earlier times.
Additionally, I think that there simply exists more polarization these days than a couple of decades ago because of forces like globalization, neoliberalism, overpopulation and so on. Competition for resources and a good life has become tougher, more people are left behind, so it seems logical to me when polarization and radicalism increase.This post was edited by Black XistenZ on Oct 23 2020 07:41pm