Reposted with permission of EconomicPolicyJournal.com
I like a good TED talk. Mainly the tech and scientific ones. The social ones tend to get gummed up with statist, interventionist groupthink. [Al Gore is always in the intro--cringe.] I thought this one about online filter bubbles by Eli Pariser would be a tech one.
Eli said he was raised in the sticks of Maine. He thought the internet would bring him and everyone else in the world together. Instead, Facebook and Google are filtering our content based on what they think we want to see. Artificial reinforcement of cognitive bias is the result. Libs get search results with links to Daily Kos and Salon (just kidding, you wish Salon). Repubs can only see Palin supporters in their FaceBook feed. Okay, somewhat creepy and big brotherish.
He had me until he started talking about solutions. He said, be afraid of the cold, heartless algorithmic gatekeepers. You need human gatekeepers with ethics to monitor and direct the algos. Just like the ethical journalists of old media past. He said journalism, imperfect as it is, "got us through the last century". In fact, the mainstream media has been the perennial go-to apologist and enabler
of state sanctioned murder
. The ethical media helped to nearly wipe us off the planet
At this point, Eli smells like just another shill for the elite. A quick Google search confirmed my bias, as the #1 result was his paraphrased Wikipedia entry (apparently, Google knows I dig facts). He is the board president of Soros' MoveOn.org. So at least we know which power center
Eli closes with an impassioned plea to the audience, with a special shout out to Google founders "Larry and Sergei", who happen to be in the audience. Please make the internet a better place by bringing people together. Please let our ethical human gatekeepers into your PageRank TM formula. [No need to fuss with a simple "on/off filtering" toggle.] Rousing applause. Standing O.
I'd like to thank the Academy.
Sorry, but this smacks of the Fairness Doctrine
. I was wondering how they
would creep in control over the internet. Overt control (internet kill switch) sets off too many alarm bells (but it's still in the pipe
). In the future, Search will be mandated to be socially responsible, community conscious and to celebrate diversity. In the future, Search will be less useful where it counts. Rather than impose content balancing on individual sites, the chilling effect will come top down from the largest portals.
Industrious seekers of information will still be able to self-direct their propaganda flow with some trouble. Meanwhile, the masses will be spoon fed the standard diet of oligarch-directed propaganda. Everything will be back to normal. The Google home page will be the new Walter Cronkite. Here's what to think, world.
It's the standard interventionist MO. Create a false problem. Solve it with more control by the lettered welfare overlords. Maintain the illusion of choice. In this case, the means of control of information itself are at stake.
Somewhere hot, Goebbels smiles.