[ExI] Are Social Media to blame for USA political hatreds?

Samantha Atkins sjatkins at gmail.com
Thu Dec 3 18:44:01 UTC 2020

On 10/11/20 4:42 PM, BillK via extropy-chat wrote:
> Our social dilemma
> By Bill Hansmann  October 10, 2020
> <https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2020/10/our_social_dilemma.html>
> Quotes:
> I watched an extremely troubling movie the other night on the
> recommendation of my friend Rich.  It was on Netflix but is also
> available on YouTube and is called The Social Dilemma.
> We wonder why partisan rancor and political division are at an
> unprecedented level in our country.  This film suggests a likely
> answer.
> We spend a lot of time on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter,
> Instagram, and others, but not nearly as much time as they spend on
> us.  It seems that these platforms are populated and are indeed driven
> by algorithms that are individually calibrated to give each user what
> the platform decides that person wants to see, demonstrated by his
> pushing the "LIKE" buttons.  Liberals get items with a liberal slant.
> Conservatives receive stories and items that match their previous
> likes.  Those individuals who exhibit a liking of conspiracies get
> more of the same, as well as ads designed to sell black helicopters.
> ----

I fail to see how curation itself is a problem.  If I had a wonderful
assistant that understood my interests really well in order to filter
way way too much information and opinion to maximize my effectiveness
and enjoyment I would be delighted. 

I totally disagree that this is the problem.  The real problem is that
we have chucked reason and discussions starting from well examined base
premises and values out the door in favor of shouting slogans and
attacks on persons rather than on ideas and implementations.   This used
to be considered extremely bad form in public discourse.

That said I can agree that the actual mechanics and limits of some
social media are not at all fit for deep discussion and understanding of

> More and more when considering the opinions of people I know, I ask
> myself, How can they think that way?  How can they believe that?  They
> are, in fact, being programmed to feel that way by their interactions
> with their social media.  And unfortunately, I am receiving the same
> treatment, with different modalities resulting in a different mindset.

I don't buy into programming as such.  I believe in radical
self-responsibility.  Of course it is true most people do not seem to
take to it or have the set of skills needed.    But I don't buy
victimization by forces outside one's control that determine one's very
thoughts  generally speak.   Today's propaganda machines and social
pressure technology truly is horrendous and powerful.  But at the end of
the day the responsibility is individual.

- samantha

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