Have you ever found your social media feed inundated with things that trigger you? When I say trigger, I mean emotionally and incite something in you.
This is by design.
Yes, that is correct. Algorithms are perfected from machine learning that knows what incites and elicits your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. So much so, you might be surprised that this technology most likely knows you better than anyone else. Even yourself!
As we embark into the age of machine learning, people in general do not realize how advanced this has become. This machine learning started with your online shopping habits. This was key to marketing companies and businesses to better understand you to focus on selling you. This quickly evolved into using a plethora of data points from internet search engines, sites frequented, social media posts, and shopping history to “label” you and put you in bucket. This bucket being others that you closely attribute to in habits, interests, political views, and more.
The dawn of the internet was more than an opening of communication across the planet. It was the introduction to very low cost, even free, data farming. Data is now the most valuable commodity in the world. Period.
The archaic days of how firms, government agencies, and businesses getting to know you was very in-depth and took a substantial amount of time, money, and manpower. It was very expensive and for some, like the government, took science to another level to get a “profile” of you. That profile now is easier to obtain and delves much deeper into who you are. So much deeper, it knows your thoughts and beliefs without even asking you to share them.
This alone has birthed fear from several individuals. Should we fear it? That is something you must answer for yourself.
Some do not bear thought to it, as they get personally catered to by means of news, social media feeds, advertisements, search engine results, and more. Their entire existence is manipulated and controlled by the tech giants. It is all in the algorithms tuned in for your life.
Algorithms seems to be something most do not understand but a good amount of enterprising people have cracked. It is not that hard to see what algorithms thrive on if you really look from both sides of a fence.
Let us go back about five years, which is not that long, but when I tripped upon something I found very curious. Having always been active on the major media channels, I had the accounts on the biggest platforms. It took a bit, but I started noticing a trend.
For reasons I cannot explain other than pure curiosity, I created dual accounts with pretty much every major platform. Upon creating the new accounts, I went polar opposite (which is hard as I am a very centered person) from my current “real” accounts. However, I did “like” and “follow” some of the same things in my main accounts but was a little radical and extreme on what I posted, followed, liked, and shared. I saw the difference immediately. Even the major influencers I followed and liked, would be shadowed by small accounts which by chance, paralleled what I posted. Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram were the main ones, and I was amazed at how major influencers who consistently went viral, were never in my feed even though I followed them on BOTH accounts. Algorithm.
Another discovery I made on both accounts, keywords.
Okay, I know EVERYONE knows keywords are important, just like hashtags, but this was different. Let me explain this better. On Twitter, I noticed tweets getting serious attention and likes when certain subjects were in the tweet. Rolling across my feed consistently were tweets with thousands of likes from accounts with 500 followers and they were only following 1000 in return. Majority of these were about someone dying such as their spouse, dog, or family member. Which at first, pulled on my emotions and I “liked” it or shared it. Then I noticed something strange after awhile. A tweet from someone saying their husband died.
Well, being that my memory is acutely sharp, I remembered that SAME tweet from a few months back from the SAME person. Naturally drawn to investigate forensically for answers, I did. Low and behold, this person’s husband has passed away four times in the last eighteen months. Either the authorities need to be called to investigate this person as a person of interest in multiple homicides, this person has very bad luck, or this is utter bullshit.
This is where I get confused. I have found A LOT of these type of “attention” posts and don’t understand the ideology behind it other than…attention. There is nothing beyond the bait. No sales pitch or anything of the sort. Just a need to get likes on a tweet or post.
As I found this confusing, what really had me curious is why are algorithms keying in on these phrases and words? Seems words with positive connotation were deeply buried in the noise of tweets with negative connotation. So, social media wants us to be upset, sad, angry, triggered, and at odds with one another? Of course, they do. That is what draws you in and keeps you coming back. No one watches the news to hear about all the happy and normal things going on around you are in the world.
Propaganda would not exist if the entire world was properly educated and possessed openminded, rational though processes.
Back to the data farming of machine intelligence. These algorithms and data points that are collected from you serve as ammunition to stir your emotions. They are used to not make you discontent. As complacency is boring to them. Someone that is not triggered easily and can think logically is a hard read for algorithms. How? They typically are not reliant on social media as much as others.
In a day and age where technology is king, it is also very dangerous. Dangerous in the sense that it is molding the minds of the people who fall victim to it. How?
The current political situation in the United States has caused serious division amongst the people. The problem? The ones causing it knows very well what they are doing. The Trump movement is a marketing masterpiece in which it preyed heavily on algorithms and analytics to gain the support of a base that easily buys into such. This non-Political movement is very much a masterpiece taken from the age-old fascist playbook chapter of Nationalism with a broader goal of Authoritarianism.
Never being a political pundit or even much interest into the whole scheme of how petty politics are, the 2016 United States election opened my eyes. I saw an absolute narcissistic, power-hungry swindler take one of the most powerful positions in the free world. It disturbed me then and continues to this day to fear the outcome of this madness he has created.
No one better played the social media channels better than Donald Trump. Only when it became apparent how dangerous his rhetoric had gotten, did big tech lock him out. Good move? I am still not sure. The man is uneducated but is prolific in marketing (aka manipulation). Everything about him defines the key elements of a picture profile of a cult leader. His words, actions, and target audience.
The ideologically susceptible Americans paired to his online rhetoric, have hands down been one of the most dangerous issues we face to date with machine learning, algorithms, and analytics. It was a perfect storm and was bound to happen sooner or later. Who better to perverse it than a person who thrives on marketing delusion?
To sum up what all this technology has done for us as a human race is the reality of how dangerous it is in the hands of the wrong people. Letting tech control how society thinks, behaves, and thinks is asinine. Mass thought control has been going on since the existence of humans and cannot be removed from our society easily. Free thought is a privilege and a curse. The privilege being that it allows us to absorb this life how we feel we should. The curse being that for some, outside influences dictate their lives. They may not believe it, but it is true.
This was not meant to shun technology, but understand what it is doing and how to not let it control you. It is being used in many different facets. It has been weaponized and is being used against us in different forms as well as helping humankind. Choices are that of each individual on how they want to coincide with it.