Sometimes it feels like I am just watching society die, apathetically, and consensually.
The first section discusses parallels of our current sociological problems to a mouse experiment that showed behavioral changes due to overpopulation under ‘utopic’ conditions. First world society appears to be crashing, as did the mice in Universe 25, the name given to the world designed for the mice. This portion is a description of our current sociological status.
In later sections, technological issues and the ethical problems of social media and the corporations that run them are presented. This presents ideas for the status of corporate powers in our society currently, most especially Facebook and generally, social media companies.
The value of an individual is based on the need the individual provides for a community. This value can be inflated, as individuals are less needed for communities. Eventually, a division between hive-minded masses and individual hyper-developed individuals occurs.
There has been a study on mice, exploring the concept of Utopia and the effects of an unchecked, growing population of mice living under the safest conditions. They were provided with proper nutrition, spacious and comfortable living conditions, and reproductive freedom.
Footage from the experiments as well as the in-depth explanation and analysis of the experiment.
With the emergence of streamlined and extracted social experiences, essentially the social equivalent to crack cocaine, these issues are of much more relevance today than ever. Social media has certainly transformed the way we operate in society. Many more people do not make eye-contact. Our body language is likely deteriorating in favor of the easier, more stimulating form of social interaction, social media. It is very often easier to confront people with the mask of anonymity or simply a screen with no body language outside of profile pictures and emojis.
In the mouse utopia experiment, issues began to arise as the population climbed. The previous generations established social norms that didn’t account for the increase in population that newer generations live with, which caused many mice to be socially outcast. Many mice may already feel socially satisfied, leaving many others to be neglected, for example.
During the third period presented in the experiment above, much of the space was already socially defined, resulting in newer mice being rejected from already established social circles. Violence emerged. This could be like social media trolling, it seems on Facebook, jokingly attacking each other personally, has become a norm. Especially as conflict among society grows bigger. Echo-chambers on social media are established social circles that might be very similar to the mice.
The outcast mice represent the increasing isolation that is emerging on social media. Notice, outcasts are the ones who desire sociability but are rejected from it, whereas asocials are the ones who seem to accept isolation. The outcasts compete for attention with clickbait-like posts, essentially troll posts, because of the inflated value of social attention. Everyone is competing for love, attention, or popularity in a sea of , growing overpopulation and narcissism. Humans are growing defensive and socially corrupt. Bullying is increasingly popular with adults now. This is similar to the outbreaks of violence that was seen in Universe 25.
There is a beautiful contrast between the hive-minding of the established echo-chambers, and the extreme individualization of the outcasts and asocials. The narcissists are like the beautiful ones because they groom their self-image and improve on themselves with their time, but do not get validated for doing this, and the result is lack of social interaction to satisfy the need for validation. It is an addiction. The beautiful ones remained distant and non-sexually interactive which indicates at least some degree of distancing.
The mice in the study began to tribalize, much like how today, the internet allows for echo-chambers and massive subcultures of social media political arenas. Neo-Nazis, SJWs, Anti-SJWs, are all examples of the tribes that are emerging due to social media support. More worrisome, is that the tribes that developed were based on sex, which reflects our current social issues regarding extreme feminism, especially the subcategory of man-haters that supposedly exist. I have not personally encountered such people. As the mouse society had increasingly tribalistic and violent conditions, sexual reproduction faded out, due to the lack of safety. This is much like the political turmoil we are currently experiencing in America.
As a warning, a concept that was explored was the behavioral sink. This occurs, and then there is no going back to previous society. The social climate causes permanent changes to mice that were exposed to it. They removed the beautiful ones from Universe 25 and hoped that in a fresh environment lacking the chaos, they would breed and restore normal functioning. This did not happen. Once the population decreased, the mice continued to do poorly, showing it isn’t just sheer overpopulation, but the sociological effects that occurred from excess social interaction.
No one is allowed to offend another. So, label controversial social problems as offensive and it becomes a meme. Memetic-offense censorship. It means one can control the rate at which sociological movements grow, by censoring the discussion surrounding those movements, by making the society very sensitive to offense in those discussions, and abuse people’s sensitivity to censor progressive ideas. We begin to dismiss the opposition. This is a form of censorship.
Content tailored to our interests is isolating and reinforces validation and invalidation loops.
It is possible that social engineers could manipulate people’s psychology, on a mass scale, especially using Facebook as a platform, to create cultural memetic changes that increase people’s sensitivity, and causes non-communication among large portions of the population (divide and conquer). It is even possible that the flow of these memetic changes could be controlled and designed. For example, Big Data, allows us to have access to a large amount of personal data in individuals using Facebook, and the newsfeeds of Facebook users could be subtly censored based on demographic information to promote the rise of new memes in the individual’s demographic-based culture.
It’s the systematic non-consumption of opposing positions or criticism that is the core issue. Video shows a Victorian painting that was removed due to its ‘insensitive’ nature towards gender politics.
This may not be too far off from the cultural cleansing in Nazi Germany, involving heavy censorship. What is worse, is the previous predictions that the 2016 election could the beginning of our descent into something frighteningly similar to Nazi Germany. It would be shocking if the SJW movement was the real culprit here, where SJW culture is slowly normalizing censorship of oppositional ideas, mainly by claiming a security bubble of emotional sensitivity.
Is a 1984-esque thought-censoring society emerging? Censorship and sensitivity prevents progress. First, advertisements and content are censored to ‘your preferences’, which are assumed to be non-growing, non-evolving, and static preferences; a bad assumption to make because this censored content might also be capable of reinforcing your interests, or in the case of YouTube, trapping you within echo chambers of your interests. This creates a feedback loop, promoting your interests and pushing more exposure to your interests, or more disturbingly, censoring any possible new interests. Exploration is harder due to an internet that is tailored to our interests. Now, echo chambers have created new cultural bubbles that can’t easily communicate, namely SJW culture is maturing and gaining true sociological power, both in politics, art, and language.
When people stigmatize people who disagree with their cultural bubble, defensive feedback loops occur on both sides of the bubble, causing serious communication problems. The issues that each cultural bubble has concerns for, becomes so emotional from defensiveness, as well as the validation from within the bubble, causes people to avoid discussing the issues of concern. This sensitivity leads to bubbles progressing separately, making communication increasingly difficult as each bubble develops validation feedback loops. These loops are possible because of social media, and probably Facebook the most. These sites allow similar ideas to collect into groups and aides in censoring disagreement and promoting desirable content to be promoted.
We must consider solutions to this problem. Will it result in cultural war?
Facebook must redesign its algorithms with an ethics team, and consider the sociological effects of the newsfeed mechanics, because we did not evolve to socialize under Facebook’s model of social interaction. This goes far beyond a lack of body language in social media, something which emojis may functionally repair.
We know that Facebook can detect mental illness before the ill person realizes any issues. Now imagine that Facebook could predict suicide with Big Data, and imagine that they tweak people’s newsfeed to convince the suicidal person is being shunned by others, and promoting the event of suicide. Facebook should not be allowed to have such private algorithms. That favors their business over ethics. Most people are probably safe from being persuaded into suicide by social media, but imagine the immense amount of possibilities that are useful to Facebook’s agendas, especially political agendas.
To see a case I have personally encountered with corrupted SJWs, look here.
The password is: easy
The abstract core of this problem has to do with our response to validation and invalidation. Facebook or other sociologically based corporations have the power to take advantage of our responses and also reinforcing validation addictions and our anxieties, both pleasure and pain. This Pavlovian hacking should not be permissible as a business model. Sociological corporations have abused the psychology of addiction, much like how junk food extracts the most addictive elements of food, essentially reducing your willpower to make other choices. Social media extracts social interaction and allows access to vast amounts of people on a global scale, for a very low cost, only the cost of the internet and device used for accessing Facebook.
To begin, watch this video that reveals the highly social nature of addiction, and consider whether the combination of social media and financially-incentivized corporate abuse of designed addictive technology is ethical.
From my post, Waking Nightmares:
Addiction is associated with coping. Coping with pain, coping with social and material loss, coping with isolation, and with anything. It is almost inherent to the concept of medication or treatment. A drug that allows for easier coping, such as heroin, would theoretically allow for users to decrease their life quality, with no, or less, emotional costs. The problem is that when the drug wears off, you do not retain the same ability to cope, and you will eventually find yourself in situations that require the drug to cope, if you use the drug long enough.
On the other hand, stimulant and mania-inducing drugs, such as amphetamine, present a separate, but very similar problem. With amphetamine, users gain working-memory enhancements that allow a user to solve problems that they normally couldn’t. They also gain a level of motivation that they normally do not have. You can use the drug to improve your life, but you will eventually take on projects that require high-level working-memory and motivation. This incentivizes the continued use of the drug. It may even threaten the stability of your situation. Both the amphetamine case, and the heroin case, both show a more grounded perspective than the typical chemical dependence model that is very common. This is not to dismiss the value of the chemical dependence model. It just ignores a big part of the equation, namely the environmental and behavioral aspects, and how these could be impacted by the drug’s effects, and result in environment’s that are previously inaccessible without the drug. And imagine you follow the inaccessible rabbit-hole and find that you are many layers deep within an irreversible life path.
Did you know, in the rat studies on addiction, that they found that addiction is more problematic when the rat is isolated in a cage? Addiction did not lead to over-dose deaths as much, when in a healthy social environment. Keep in mind, you can be sent to the cages, if you are caught with heroin or meth.
Addiction has become ubiquitous, like social media, and Netflix binging, even food binging, because of the problems we face on a daily basis. These provide some sort of opioid activity, or perhaps a form of dissociation in the case of Netflix.
Now corporations use this as a business model. Big Pharma tells us that our perpetual fight-or-flight response is a residual evolutionary response, when, really, it is the corruption in our society. It is the fact that our jobs suck, it is the fact that we are not in Utopia, it is the fact that we are helpless to life’s situations. Many try to actively deny this reality.
Apps designed to exploit our cravings for sentiment and attachment are addiction slavery. Especially when money is being farmed from the slave. Apps like these are forcing the slave to pay to maintain their mental-health state. For example, animal crossing is notorious for being designed to create a strong sense of bonding and sentiment towards the characters in the game. The app creators are essentially medicating loneliness. Free trials, and free-to-start games are even more unethical, where the idea is to get you addicted before you actively choose to buy the game.
This video shows the true nature of our social media addicted society. A solution might be to change the roles of social media in society, rather than abolish it.
If knowledge is power, then Mark Zuckerberg is omnipotent.
Facebook is allowed to run studies on unsuspecting users simply because those user’s signed Facebook’s EULA. It has even been scientifically demonstrated that Facebook’s EULA is confusing. One such study involves manipulating the newsfeed algorithm so that half the users in the experiment are shown posts that are more positive, while the other half are shown posts that are more negative. The study was successful, showing that the mood of others on social media can change your mood to align closer to theirs.
The critical problem with this kind of study is that it involves manipulating a large population of people by using exposure to other real people’s emotions. This is problematic because even after the newsfeed algorithms return to normal, people have already spread their emotions to many others, likely creating a new social norm, or perhaps even a new culture. This means that the mood alterations will spread far beyond the reach of the sample group that was initially affected.
It was recently found that Facebook users become more depressed by using Facebook. This could be occurring via a very similar mechanism as the mood alteration experiment. It could even be direct residual effects of this experiment that we are observing. This means that the experiment never really ends, and since the feedback loop of mood alteration has exposure to the whole Facebook population, it would likely spread far beyond the initial sample group.
This is not the only experiment Facebook has done involving sociological manipulation of large amounts of people. The effects of contagious social behavior extends to ‘likes’ and also voting. Now, it isn’t hard to see that a combination of algorithmic censorship of newsfeeds and the voting effects could be combined for potentially very unethical results. The voting experiment also used a sample size of 61 million people. That could definitely have altered our elections.
They could simply predict who voters will vote for and then select those people to be a part of an experiment that increases the tendency to vote. This plot could even be concealed, where an equal sample from liberals and conservatives is chosen, but then other external factors might modulate only liberals to decrease voting, such as extreme confidence that Hillary will win because Trump is too absurd to win. We don’t even know that much about Facebook’s newsfeed algorithms in general.
What degree has Facebook engaged in conspiracy?
It is clear that Mark Zuckerberg is getting increasingly anxious and nervous about the alterations to society that may have resulted from his platform, and is starting his campaign to ‘save Facebook’. Previous executives of the platform have even publicly announced that Facebook manipulates its users.
If you haven’t checked out my original Utopia post, it is worth checking out. It goes into this topic in much more depth, providing evidence of the notion that Mark Zuckerberg may be attempting to alter society and promote revolution, and possibly even conspiracy involving the 2016 election, using Trump as a scapegoat for oppositional ideologies, hoping to stigmatize anti-socialist mentality.
In reality, Mark may not become our leader, but it also may not matter. Clearly, his company has more power than any president could, aside from the nuclear button. His company is also global, and has access to what is basically cultural omniscience, being masked as a way to farm corporations via advertisements.
Jordan Peterson fear mongers about the potential for SJW culture to result in Marxist revolution.
On the other hand,
Mark Zuckerberg makes a speech that appeals to the ideologies of socialism.
The features of Facebook seem to promote the very thing that Peterson fears. It promotes auto-censorship and it promotes labeling of gender identities. I am personally in favor of gender diversity, and I find it hard to understand Peterson’s fears entirely, but I also don’t fully believe that socialism would result the same if we globalize and also have enough resources to pull it off effectively. I wouldn’t say that I desire all the kinds of rules that Marxist ideology results in though. I think a new system could be developed in relevance to our current world, with social media in mind.
What can we do about these current issues in society? Politicians and government seems to be too slow to catch up with the power and influence that social media can have. Should we also fear government intervention of social media? Should we accept the new Utopia that Zuckerberg may hope for? Are we ready for this society, even though robots have barely started taking our jobs?
Most importantly, can we stop pointing out that there are problems with social media, and actually begin to address them in creative ways?
Thanks to reddit, I found this link to humanetech.com. So at least some people are concerned enough to take action.