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We can break the computer algorithms destroying critical thinking

8 10 49

In the past twenty years and, with accelerating speed in the past ten years, computer algorithms determine what information Americans receive and even dictate how they should respond to that information. There is an ancient method of analyzing information that allows people to see and understand all sides of an issue. It’s practiced in Yeshivas (traditional Jewish education schools that focus on Biblical and religious texts) but can be applied anywhere. American cultural and political discourse would improve greatly if it were added to American education.

I recommend a Netflix special production, The Social Dilemma, to everyone I meet—friends, relatives, shopkeepers, and even strangers. Although understated in tone, the movie is hard-hitting as it exposes the business model companies such as Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Instagram use to affect our thinking. The documentary’s conclusion is that computer algorithms have learned—on their own—how to reward humans to increase the amount of attention they pay to their devices. Then, the information technology companies sell the accumulated increased attention to advertisers in an auction-like process. Each person’s attention-increase is worth a few cents. These cents add up, making these giants the richest companies that have ever existed.

What the algorithms have learned is to feed back to people the same ideas with which they have already felt comfortable. Anything contradicting their present belief systems is blocked because it would reduce or end their attention and, thus, lower their monetary worth both to those who control the search engines and the advertisers who buy that “attention.” Truth has no bearing on the information that the systems provide to each person. Each person gets exactly what he feels at home with. Ideas are only of value if they increase........

© American Thinker

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