The Danger of Social Media Manipulated By and Through Artificial Intelligence

The Danger of Social Media Manipulated By and Through Artificial Intelligence

Be careful. A new societal danger is emerging because of the proliferation of social media. These comments are only a quick introduction to a much larger problem.

The designers of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, Quora, Reddit, TikToc and other forms of social media originally thought that they were developing something useful and wonderful for the world.

A series of unexpected side effects to social media are now coming into view. One result is that social media is leading us from what was originally the dawning of the new Information Age to what is now becoming the Age of Disinformation.

Almost like the calling of a siren in the storm, social media companies, empowered by artificial intelligence (AI) and using algorithms which allow precisely targeted advertising, these companies are now seducing much of modern humanity in an insidious addiction to electronic communication and immediate stimulation. Unable to make eye contact, our instant access to our personal machines and that which accompanies social media have made it all too easy to bury ourselves from real associations and even from ourselves.

Social media is now wrecking the lives of many of its users. It is causing a new form of addiction. In order to expand and grow social media technocrats have developed the goal of holding on to the attention of users. Corporations who provide various forms of social media have quickly become among the wealthiest new businesses in the world.

How do they acquire all of their money? It is through precisely targeted ads for products. Their primary goal is to manipulate your mind and change how you think. Their financial goal is to advertise and sell products.

The ads that accompany social media are hugely successful. This is because social media technicians have the capability of tracking every single action that an internet user takes. Using this data base they build a psychological and personal interest profile for every person. They accumulate a massive volume of data on every subscriber. This data on the user is organized digitally and hierarchically. Through algorithmic calculations they know who you are and can precisely predict how you or any other person will behave.

A note on algorithms:

In mathematics and computer science, an algorithm is a sequence of precisely-defined, computer-implementable personality profile, designed to perform a computation. In the context of social media, algorithms become a form of numerical identification based upon your whole history of internet use. This becomes the framework based on your historical behavior on the internet for determining how to reach you in product advertising.

Everyone on the internet, but especially on social media, is tracked. A new type of marketplace is being created. Trade in the past was usually in products or commodities, such as wheat, oil, gold, or manufactured items. The trade is now in “human futures.” This is how internet companies have rapidly become among the richest companies in world history. Social media are now the major drivers of consumerism. They already know a huge amount about you and every other person. Social media, like Facebook, tells them about you in great detail. The algorithms combined with artificial intelligence determine what ads to show you. Deceit, sneakiness and subliminal message are hidden and buried deep in the center of most social media.

The sophisticated psychology of persuasion is now tied into technology. A major goal of social media is to modify your behavior. People generally, but especially users of social media, are being programmed to consume. They are “hacking” into your personality and identifying your weaknesses. The goal is to manipulate you so that you buy more stuff. Subliminal messages are an effective tool to reach beyond your awareness. In the process they “reverse engineer” human motives for action. This is designed to exploit each person’s vulnerablities.

Addiction and manipulation are the tools in social media. Social media is becoming like a drug. The system is designed to foster addiction. At the same time it is causing a gigantic increase in depression. Since 2012 depression is up 180% in pre-teen girls who are particularly vulnerable. Suicide rates are also sharply up. This is a dangerous side-effect of social media. A few experts in the tech industry are sounding the alarm. The greatest impact is happening among those who are part of Generation Z (those born after 1996). This age group possesses higher levels of anxiety; they are more fragile and more easily depressed. Social media is causing a higher rate of teenagers who kill themselves. No protections have been put in place through regulations on the social media industry.

The goal of social media is to control you and thereby make more money. They will charge an advertiser 3¢ or 4¢ per person to present a thought modifier to fit a highly specific personality profile which the advertiser desires, measured in the tens of thousands of viewers. This form of artificial intelligence is claimed by tech experts to already control large segments of the world.

In this global system, each person has his or her own personal algorithm designation. Here is where this system becomes sinister. Human operators are no longer in control; the computers are in control. They follow programmed operating instructions. In this framework each person is playing against an AI computer which already knows all of a person’s weaknesses and tendencies.

A note about artificial intelligence"

Artificial intelligence (AI), is intelligence demonstrated by machine and computer programming. New uses of AI are rapidly transforming the world. Advances in AI capabilities have led to a number of innovations including self-driving vehicles and robotic military devices.

AI has the potential to impact and reshape nearly all aspects of our society, including our economy, but the development and use of the new technologies it brings are not without challenges and risks.

As AI grows more sophisticated, the voices warning against its pitfalls grow louder. Whether it's the increasing automation of certain repetitive jobs or autonomous weapons that operate without human oversight, unease abounds on a number of fronts.

Along with journalists and political figures, Pope Francis is critiquing and challenging this development. At a September, 2020 Vatican meeting, he warned that AI has the ability to “circulate biased opinions and false data that could poison public debates and manipulate the opinions of millions of people, thereby endangering the institutions that guarantee peaceful civil coexistence.”

“If humanity’s technological progress becomes an enemy of the common good,” Pope Francis added, “this would lead to an unfortunate regression to a form of barbarism dictated by the law of the strongest.”

In the twenty-first century, AI techniques and technology are surging forward.

The AI system is not concerned about truth. Google in searches about climate change provides an example about how this system works. A person can seek information on climate change and a spectrum of responses are possible, ranging from “Climate change is the great disaster and challenge of our time” all the way over to “climate change is a hoax,” plus a variety of variations in between. The response back to an inquiry will depend on that person’s algorithmic profile combined with the geographic area where that person resides! Objective truth no longer infuses this system. In this way people can become manipulated.

Social media also causes our population to become more divided than ever before. Wild and bizarre opinions become easily promulgated. Every person receives the information that fits their pre-ordained algorithmic disposition. The story of Pizzagate that arose during the 2016 election is an example of this genre of fake news.

This is a bias built into the AI information system because it has large potential to tilt toward false information. A recent example is the range of perceptions surrounding coronavirus. This process has led to what appears to be the subjectivity of truth. The system no longer includes respect for Truth or verified information. Everything is seemingly negotiable. This becomes a means for population control. This is even at work on political issues. Hardened opinions now emerge because different sectors of society are working with different sets of data and information. This undermines religion because the concept of truth is represented as subjective and elusive. However few clergy address this issue which is only going to become larger and more insidious in the near future.

Democracy crumbles under the assault of this form of AI. Culture wars become a result. AI cannot solve this problem. Insightful human leadership must arise. AI combined with social media brings out the worst in people and across society as most people cannot understand why such huge perceptional differences exist in our midst.

A significant issue is that no laws yet prevent Big Tech from gathering a person’s private information, habits and tendencies and then exploiting that information to manipulate the social media user. This is a failure of government’s laws and the social media corporations.

We cannot easily address major issues such as climate change, toxics in the food chain, the decline of biodiversity, logging of the public forests, or any other major ecological or social issue until this problem is resolved. At the root of these problems is the business model of profit before people. This presumption is the deep down underlying cause of this emerging social media crisis.

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