Author Topic: The Donald Trump Thread  (Read 130887 times)

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Offline kimmy

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Re: The Donald Trump Thread
« Reply #1515 on: February 04, 2018, 04:02:10 pm »
American democracy was not designed for mass communication and therefore it is exactly that which is challenging to bring it down.

The problem isn't with mass communication (which has been around for a very long time and is an essential part of democracy). The problem is with our new breed of personalized communication, which literally gives you the news you want to hear.

People can now choose media sources based on their political preferences. If you think Trump is a shining knight fighting for truth and justice, you can opt for media outlets that will give you stories that support that notion for you, and downplay any news to the contrary.  If you think Trump is a crook or a Russian puppet, you can do the same.  People can now choose their own reality, and the existence of an objective reality outside their preconceptions doesn't matter.  This goes beyond politics... anti-vaxxers and other conspiritards of many varieties do the same.

And it's gone beyond just people choosing to only follow media that supports their preconceptions.  Artificial intelligence is now fueling this as well.   When I open my web-browser now, it offers me a list of trending topics from around the web, but also topics that it knows I'm interested in.  Based on my previous searches and sites I visit, it knows that (for example) I was very interested in the Harvey Weinstein scandal. And when there's new information about Harvey Weinstein, it shows up on my list of suggested reads.   It also knows what websites I like, so it recommends articles from CBC rather than Fox News for example.  The artificial intelligence algorithms at work here are based around finding stories it thinks I will like, not around stories it thinks are the best or most objective source of information. Its goal is to make me happy, and its algorithm to try to do so is based on my existing prejudices.  The net effect here is that my web browser is guiding me toward content that confirms my preconceptions, as opposed to presenting an objective reality.

So once maybe mass communication provided you with a window to the world, but increasingly that window is turning into a mirror.

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