In the current crisis, information is becoming essential. Political movements and the ways people interact are being changed by what information is pushed. While a certain level of adverse reaction to uncomfortable truth can exist, there is growing concern that intentions are less than noble. How much influence this has and also how much the intention is driving it remains uncertain. Yet the consequences can be seen in our society. History shaping events are being heavily influenced by forces that hard questions need to put to.
Development Of Tools
Social media and other technologies are not causing an effect on our society that is new. It is, however, on a new scale and from one point. The power of the press and who controlled information was evident for most of history. The ability to print information quickly and distribute it using the printing press has been cited as the reason for the enlightenment and other historically significant events. For the Western world, the press has become an essential part of the societies that developed after it.
Yet modern technologies and the business environment have seen the press change and no longer be the primary way people received information. Newsfeeds and other forms of social communication have become the way an increasing number of people are learning about items. The old gatekeepers may look destroyed but have been replaced with a smaller number of tech algorithms which now have incredible control of the message.
Using These Tools
Already there have been studies that have proven that usage of social media and other online services can make mental illness worse. Tech companies have announced a series of programs to deal with these criticisms and also other ones that have been raised. Radicalisation has been a growing problem with it being used by extremist groups to grow. The largest companies have tried to work out how to end this with changes to the terms of service and also more ways for reporting to be seen. Many have said that these efforts have not been enough or have affected legitimate discussions along with the shocking content.
Concerns have been raised that certain types of thought have been pushed by the algorithms. The mainstream media reported that Youtube had become home to the Far Right and Twitter has often been regarded as being Far Left. The role that the tech giants have had in elections has also become a topic that has been discussed more. Alleged Russian interference was reported in both the US election and the UK votes. Chinese influence has also been raised as another concerning element. Many of these can exist with the sites having the best of intentions and merely are having perhaps naive systems be exploited.
Intention Behind The Tools
When news broke in the latest Facebook scandal around privacy people where shocked. Yet experts and those who had done a bit of research were not surprised. The business model that powers almost all of the tech companies is peoples data. This unusual relationship with the user’s privacy often runs against the goals of the users. At its best this sees it being used for marketing yet often the data is being provided to influence the policies of groups or to pander to certain userbases. The ads and the business model encourage groups to be created and then enforced to be sold on.
Concerning allegations of political bias and intention have also been levelled against major tech companies. Recordings of individuals making claims of the political nature in regards to censorship exist. Yet also the way that tech companies have functioned outside of the western world has drawn some concerns. What is being sold and to what regime has drawn up ethical concerns that have mainly been kept from general discussion. The extent to which the American tech sector has aided the deprivation of liberty and also the building of strength is concerning to most.
Influence Of These Tools
The increasing polarisation in our societies has many different causes. However, modern technology is increasingly being cited as a reason behind its increase. The shortened attention span is being seen in young children and at all levels of studies. In business, this is seen in the new recruits but also in the customers they sell to. What is deemed as entertainment or a service is being asked to increase its impact and decrease the time.
The impact in geopolitics has not been focused on. Increasingly nations are accusing other ones of using the new environment that technology has provided to hurt it. China has taken extreme steps to control its internet and Russia is also moving to be able to exert power.
Owner Of These Tools
The fact that Silicon Valley is known for the amount of tech power demonstrates that the owners of this new environment are not spread across the world. This means that only a specific type of American culture are in control of most of the internet assets used across the rest of the country and the rest of the world. Norms and expectations of that culture can be seen in what is banned and also what values are encouraged.
Over time the people who have started tech companies have become the new ultra rich and ultra powerful. They have an increasing amount of power, directly and indirectly, it is well known that they have shaped the world. If you think they are ethical or not many would find the amount of power concerning.