Headline, October 07 2022/ ''' '' SOCIAL MEDIA SORES* '' '''


 SORES* '' '''

THE WORLD NOW : THE CHAOS MACHINE : THE INSIDE STORY Of How Social Media Rewired Our Minds And Our World. So, what does !WOW! owe Humanity, the Students and the Future?

!WOW! IS A FAN. '' Social Media and Human Behavior '' : We live at a pivotal time. Humanity's written history spans only five thousand years. And !WOW!'S just over a decade + 2. Our future could last for millions more - or it could end tomorrow.

In Max Fisher's authoritative account of the impacts of social media, '' The Chaos Machine,'' he repeatedly invokes Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece '' 2001 : A Space Odyssey.'' 

The 1968 movie, in which a supercomputer coldly kills astronauts on a ship bound for Jupiter, was in Fisher's thoughts as he researched the book. Its stark, ambiguous aesthetic is perfectly poised between the utopian and the dystopian. And a story about trying to fix a wayward technology as it hurtles out of control, it is beautifully apt.

The cinematic opening to Fisher's book cuts from the shining halls of Facebook's headquarters to a view of Earth from contemplative heights. ''We see far-off despots, wars and upheavals........ A sudden riot, a radical new group, widespread belief in some oddball conspiracy.''

The way the book connects these dots is utterly convincing and should obliterate any doubts about the significance of algorithmic intervention in human affairs.

Fisher, a New York Times journalist who has reported on horrific violence in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, offers firsthand accounts from each side of a global conflict, focusing on the role that Facebook, WhatsApp and YouTube play in fomenting genocidal hate.

Alongside descriptions of stomach churning brutality, he details the viral disinformation that feeds it, the invented accusations, often against minorities, of espionage, murder, rape and pedophilia. But he's careful not to assume causality where there may be more correlation. The book explores deeply the question of whether specific features of social media are responsible for conjuring mass fear and anger.

The enjoyment of moral outrage is one of the key sentiments. Fisher sees being exploited by Google [ For YouTube ] and Meta [ for Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp], which discovered they could monetize this impulse by having their algorithms promote hyperpartisanship. Divisiveness drives engagement, which in turn drives advertising revenues.

Fisher details the evolution of behavioral technologies that belie the many denials by company representatives that their platforms are inherently or intentionally manipulative.

THESE DETAILS also don't stand up against the stated intentions of company founders. In 2017, Mark Zuckerberg wrote an essay claiming that the tech industry would be responsible for humanity's '' next step. '' Facebook, he said, would provide the '' social infrastructure '' of a new stage in human relations.

Peter Thiel, a founder of the companies PayPal and Palantir, expressed unambiguously anti democratic leanings as early as 2009, saying that society couldn't be entrusted to ''the unthinking demos.'' He and his Silicon Valley peers, Fisher writes, saw society as ''a set of engineering problems waiting to be solved.''

The story of these outsize protagonists is one of hubris and ignorance. Fisher traces the tech culture from which they emerged to the Gamergate scandal and to some of the more toxic forums on 4chan and Reddit, where extremist incels and neo-Nazis, among others, got their first inklings of power forged the alt-right movement.

In a culture with high tolerance for crude simplification, the tech billionaires are cloaked in the cliched myths of genius : the white male nerd displaying, to use Thiel's phrase, an ''Asperger's-like social ineptitude'' that is so often associated with in popular culture [ at the expense of any real understanding of the autism spectrum' with savantlike gifts. ]

But the mythologies mask deep failings. In the opening scene of the book, when Fisher is ushered through Facebook's ''steel and glass playground,'' he is carrying leaked documents that outline the platform's policies on speech.

There's no orderly or comprehensive list, only disconnected PowerPoint presentations and Excel spreadsheets, scattered responses to complex geopolitical matters, outsourced guidebooks with contradictory rules.

This is what Facebook's moderators are equipped with. One of the tech industry's biggest open secrets, Fisher writes, is that ''no one quite knows how the algorithms that govern social media actually work.''

The Honour and  Serving of the Latest Global Operational Research and Writings on Social Media & Times, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Tamsin Shaw.

With respectful dedication to Mankind, Leaders, and then Students, Professors and Teachers of the world. See Ya all prepare and register for Great Global Elections on The World Students Society :   wssciw.blogapot.com and Twitter - !E-WOW! - The Ecosystem 2011 :

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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