Michael Krieger of Liberty Blitzkrieg has written another good article, this one on the dangers that the algorithms used by tech giants pose to our very ability to think. Are you sure your thoughts are your own when every interaction online is being used to present the ideas that are most profitable to those with the power?
…It’s important to note that while much of the recent focus on tech giants revolves around market dominance and anti-competitiveness, the real danger posed is far more extensive. Particularly since the post-election “panic of 2016,” these companies have begun to more earnestly morph into digital information gatekeepers in the name of empire and the national security state.
Day by day, tweaked algorithm by tweaked algorithm, and with each new thought criminal banished from major digital platforms, we’ve seen not only dissident views marginalized, but we’ve also lost a capacity to access information we’re looking for should tech company CEOs or their national security state partners deem it inappropriate. The powers that be have determined the internet permitted too much freedom of thought and opinion, so the tech giants stand ready to bluntly throw the hammer down in order to reverse that trend and regain narrative control. The algorithm will be used to get you in line, and if you don’t comply, the algorithm will destroy you.
More from TruthDig:
Stiegler believes that digital technology, in the hands of technocrats whom he calls “the new barbarians,” now threatens to dominate our tertiary memory, leading to a historically unprecedented “proletarianization” of the human mind. For Stiegler, the stakes today are much higher than they were for Marx, from whom this term is derived: proletarianization is no longer a threat posed to physical labor but to the human spirit itself…
Stiegler firmly believes that a distinction must always be upheld between “authentic thinking” and “computational cognitivism” and that today’s crisis lies in confusing the latter for the former: we have entrusted our rationality to computational technologies that now dominate everyday life, which is increasingly dependent on glowing screens driven by algorithmic anticipations of their users’ preferences and even writing habits (e.g., the repugnantly named “predictive text” feature that awaits typed-in characters to regurgitate stock phrases)… As Stiegler’s translator, the philosopher and filmmaker Daniel Ross, puts it, our so-called post-truth age is one “where calculation becomes so hegemonic as to threaten the possibility of thinking itself.”
This is the true crux of what we’re dealing with, and so we find ourselves at a terrifying transition point in the entire historical human experience should we fail to correct it. As a consequence of their dominant market shares in core areas of our modern digital world like e-commerce (Amazon), human-to-human communication (Facebook) and information access (Google), tech giants now have the capacity to replace human curiosity and thought with opaque and ever-changing algorithms…
The internet was supposed to free information while connecting people and ideas across borders. This promise is being lost with each passing day, and rectifying the situation is one of the most significant challenges we face. Should we fail, we can look forward to a future where humanity consists of little more than digitally lobotomized automatons responding like lab rats to algorithms created by tech CEOs and their national security state partners.