Year End Reflection ’17

Posted on Posted in Aperiodic blog

The leaves have turned and fallen to the cold frost below. In turn, signaling with the closing daylight, the end of another year has arrived. I suppose we all reflect on where we are presently. At least I do.

I can’t help but think evidenced by the most polarized society in my life experience, what role technology has played. The convergence of access, data and speed serving up both incitement and apathy. The air is replete with three to six second ads that work at stirring enough emotion to move people to act. And do some act without looking into the substrate of what’s galvanizing support of their position? Whether manipulated or manufactured, the possible truth be told. Filter bubbles and perpetual feedback loops served up by algorithms. In a perversion of Nir Eyal’s “Hook Paradigm” (Trigger-Action-Investment-Variable Reward) sometimes effectively managed by tech savvy contortionists a continent away.

Platform owners act with no culpability as long as they have profited handsomely. Thus, leaving the door ajar for permutations of same in the future… profits.

Engineered truth: both that of perceptions of angst that divide us and, that of the Social Era tech goliaths that normalize it. Transactional coexistence. However, not necessarily benign, as there are real world consequences that transcend the pixel and the mobile screen. Henry David Thoreau once said, “The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” It is time for the masses who spend their time, and time is life, ingesting, to awaken to this truth.

Oh the wonder of marketing in the Social Era where retargeting, AdWords and lack of disclosure, work. Where we captivate, cultivate and effectively corrupt in three and six second increments.
At least a few architects of where we are now are coming forward but, even if they will never be clean. Chamath Palihapitiya, former vice president of Facebook user growth recently stated: “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,”… “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem—this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.” Even former Facebook president and founder of the file-sharing network Napster, Sean Parker recently stated: ‘God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.’ Regarding social networks altering society and not for the better. I cite this quote from a November 2017 Fox News reporting of an Axios interview. Yes Fox News, real journalism does exist everywhere, after all 🙂

If good always triumphs over evil then, how does one explain how all the negative stuff seems to always prevail? Beyond cognitive negative bias that’s being burnt in to our psyches, can’t the inverse of hope and positive interaction govern the rules of engagement? As one last century sage said, “You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one”… My hope is that recent local, state and US Senatorial elections are the seeds of a trend towards the light, even as the days grow short & cold.

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