A Practical Guide to Minimizing Big Tech Manipulation and Fostering Intellectual Development

Photo by manu schwendener on Unsplash

Click click boom, down the rabbit hole
Here we go, a whole generation living the Truman Show
No control over the feed you see, feeding humanity to the machinery

what is the attention economy?

Not only selling ads, they’re selling you and me
And slowly hacking our psychology
Tracking what we wanna see, who we wanna be
Preying on our fragile vanity

“We’re pointing these engines of AI back at ourselves to reverse engineer what elicits responses from us. Almost like you’re stimulating nerve cells on a spider to see what causes its legs to respond.”
- Tristan Harris

the attention economy is downgrading your intelligence and deteriorating our social fabric

“I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works. That is truly where we are and I would encourage all of you, as the future leaders of the world, to really internalize how important this is.”
- Chamath Palihapitiya, Former VP for User Growth at Facebook

75% of screen content is viewed for less than 1 minute, according to a study that tracked computer multitasking across the course of 1 day. Results indicate that most people switched between different content every 19 seconds. Biological analysis demonstrated that participants experienced a neurological “high” whenever they switched — explaining why we feel driven to keep switching and underscoring how human biology makes us vulnerable to being [manipulated] by attention-extractive economies.
(Source: Yeykelis, L., Cummings, J. J., & Reeves, B., 2014. J. Communication, 4(64), 167–192 Via: Ledger of Harms)

A meta-analysis of several dozen research studies indicates that higher levels of switching between different media channels is significantly linked to lower levels of both working memory and long-term memory. Given the current Extractive Attention Economy, and the increasing number of social media platforms and apps competing to capture our attention, basic human capacities — such as our memories — are increasingly under attack.
(Source: Uncapher and Wagner, 2018. Arthur M. Sackler Colloquium of the National Academy of Sciences Via: Ledger of Harms)

The greater your level of Facebook addiction, the lower your brain volume. MRI brain scans of Facebook users demonstrated a significant reduction in gray matter in the amygdala correlated with their level of addiction to Facebook. This pruning away of brain matter is similar to the type of cell death seen in cocaine addicts.
(Source: He, Q, Turel, O., & Bechara, A., 2017. Nature: Science Reports Via: Ledger of Harms)

“If you want to control the population of your country, there has never been a tool as effective as Facebook.”
- Roger McNamee

“If technology creates mass chaos, loneliness, more polarization, more election hacking, more inability to focus on the real issues, we’re toast.”
- Tristan Harris

individual solutions to a systemic problem

“[these tools are] eroding the core foundations of how people behave by and between each other, and I don’t have a good solution. […] my solution is: I just don’t use these tools anymore. […] I am telling you, I’m not on these f***ing apps.”
- Chamath Palihapitiya

“How do you wake up from the matrix when you don’t know you’re in the matrix?”
- Tristan Harris

“You’re living inside of hardware, a brain, that [is] millions of years old. […] Then there’s this screen, and then, on the opposite side of the screen, there’s these thousands of engineers and supercomputers that have goals that are different than your goals. […] who’s gonna win that game?”
- Tristan Harris

this is what my phone home screen looks like
this is how I open apps on my phone, by typing them into the top search bar

The mere presence of your smartphone, even when it is turned off and face down, drains your attention. An experimental study of several hundred adults showed that both working memory and the ability to solve new problems were drastically reduced when their phones were turned off but present on their desks, as opposed to being in another room. Ironically, participants who said they were highly dependent on their phones showed the greatest increase in memory and fluid intelligence scores when their phones were moved to the other room. Researchers noted that smartphones act as “high-priority stimuli,” unconsciously draining significant attentional resources even when we consciously ignore them.
(Source: Ward, A. F., Duke, K., Gneezy, A., & Bos, M. W., 2017. Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, 2(2) Via: Ledger of Harms)

my YouTube home page thanks to DF YouTube
DF YouTube can remove the recommended video sidebar

intellectual development: cultivating the mind

“We curate our lives around this perceived sense of perfection because we get rewarded in these short-term signals: hearts, likes, thumbs up, and we conflate that with value and we conflate it with truth. […] Instead, what it really is, is fake, brittle popularity that’s short term. […] You are being programmed. It was unintentional, but now you’ve got to decide how much you’re willing to give up, how much of your intellectual independence.”
- Chamath Palihapitiya

“It’s not about the technology being the threat. It’s the technology’s ability to bring out the worst in society, and the worst in society being the existential threat.”
- Tristan Harris

what happens next?

The symptoms of oppressive algorithms seen as schisms in society
When we’re giving into hidden rhythms written with the heartbeat of conspiracy
They say to hell with us, they put a spell on us
The greatest trick played on humanity
Is the true price of free
Our shared reality?
- I Put a Spell on You (Single from The Social Dilemma), Brandi Carlile, Renee Elise Goldsberry



Interested in novel patterns of social organization, biomimetic computing architectures (like Ceptr & holochain) and many other mind-warping paradigms.

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Wesley Finck

Interested in novel patterns of social organization, biomimetic computing architectures (like Ceptr & holochain) and many other mind-warping paradigms.