Our client actively follows the political scene both provincially and federally here in Canada, and is also an avid consumer of political news from south of the border. He has always strived and advocated to look at all perspectives, both left and right, before considering and arriving at an opinion and stance on the various issues that are impacting our citizens, businesses, governments and country. But now he’s very weary of the fake news Trump effect, and the escalating preponderance that more and more people seem to be getting their news and formulating their opinions from their daily social media feeds from sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Snapchat.
He recently came across a quote, which he altered slightly to sum up his concerns:
“Our social media feeds are personalized based on our past clicks, likes, dislikes and sharing behavior, so we mostly consume political and other important content that are very similar to our own views. Without realizing it, we are all developing tunnel vision. Rarely will our social media feeds expose us to opposing views, and as a result, we eventually become victims to our own biases.”
It’s his view that social media is overwhelming all of us. Our news and content feeds are becoming more and more predictable. Why? Because our content feeds are being determined by predictive algorithms from each of these social media sites. If you don’t think it is happening, here is a recent marketing post issued by LinkedIn:
“Productivity bots to improve communication with your network – New automated systems will use information in your messages to suggest responses, meetings, ice breakers, or insights to help you have important conversations more easily.”
Is our critical thinking dead?
Have you heard the term “fake news” lately? Shouldn’t we all be responsible for questioning what news is real and what is fake? The mainstream media used to be our sole gauge post and source for all the news, and nothing but the news! With the advent of the 24/7 news cycle and cable news channels, it appears many of our journalists, and the news organizations they work for, are being swayed toward opinion-based social media style reporting to compete against the Internet and to stay relevant.
Are our social media accounts reducing our personal tolerance and willingness to listen and perhaps accept different viewpoints?
In 1968, the film 2001: A Space Odyssey was released and introduced the fictional character named H.A.L 9000. H.A.L. was a Heuristically programmed Algorithmic sentient computer, or as we have come to know it, artificial general intelligence.
“Dave, although you took very thorough precautions in the pod against my hearing you, I could see your lips move.”
By the way, it didn’t end well for either Dave or HAL in the movie!
Funny thing, this originates from 1968, but it sounds awfully like the daily debates, if you can call them that, on social media between the political left and right today! I am confident all these social media sites, from inception, had good intentions, and fundamentally were set up to make money for their creators. Each of them have tried to make our lives simpler by creating algorithms and bots which predict what we want to view and read. All in the name of convenience and customer service. But are they inadvertently creating a false reality and unrealistic safe spaces where people are less and less likely to be personally challenged because a computer program is doing the thinking for them.
My company doesn’t sell social media services, so I really don’t have a pony in this race. Nor does my client. For now, I think I will sink back into the comfort of my hardware and network world, and focus on making the day-to-day business dealings for my clients just a little bit easier and more productive. But from this point forward, I think I will be a little more sceptical on what I like and dislike online, as I would prefer to do the thinking for myself rather than having a H.A.L., version 2017, do it for me!
Hurricane Computer Solutions is an Agency Partner of Oilfield HUB Inc. providing complimentary hosting and network security audits to companies purchasing an Oilfield HUB service package. Hurricane also offers an online data storage service called SecureShare. Our staff at Oilfield HUB Inc. are active and very satisfied users of SecureShare for our own business. Our supply chain experts are available to guide your company toward better vendor management and procurement practices and a life beyond your physical file server using SecureShare!