Covidian Philosophy Hour – Can Truth Survive Big Tech-Rebel Wisdom Interview with TrIstan Harris

This would be the goal, right? Can this happen? That remains to be seen. It’s going to take me some time to unpack all the information in this discussion and all my thoughts on it, but it’s an important conversation. The language in framing it alone is important. I’d never thought of the internet in terms of it clearly being an Attention Economy, where attention is the goal and the most highly valued currency to amass attention is outrage. The fastest way to feed the attention mining process is to drill down and personalize a news/info feed for each person so it provides affirmation and not information. What can be worth more than affirmation at a time where everyone is struggling to make sense of the world now that the traditional sense-making institutions are collapsing, or have at least been delegitimized by a flood of conflicting information (some of which is probably not true). It’s a hot fucking mess.

I had personally commented, not about the internet but about the news in general, that we had moved into an atmosphere of tabloid sensationalism, where outrage had usurped the nightly feelgood stories that used to balance the evening broadcast. I have fully come to believe now that a large amount of the news has changed from things that have happened, events that actually occurred (and of course spin has always been there) to things that are about to happen because of this or that… and is now spinning into really disastrous predictions of what is about to happen. 

i.e. if you vote for this person it will lead to a complete moral collapse, blah blah blah… Moral imperatives have been put on every single widely discussed political issue, whether or not it’s even a political issue.

Anyway, it’s better to drop this video in here now and let anyone who reads this come to their own conclusions. I can only add, at this point, that it’s hard to make sense of anything in an atmosphere of outrage and fear. It’s impossible to even prioritize what to address first when attention is assaulted every minute with more information.

I’ll add a question, paraphrasing of course. What if technology was competing to help all of us rather than just competing for our attention, ostensibly to resell our attention and also sell us things we don’t really need?

That’s it for now.

I’ll add one note for moving forward with these thoughts and that’s the term “surveillance capitalism” and that’s connected to the growth in GDP connected specifically to just the growth in advertising and marketing. Our economic growth is largely founded on a non-material resource exploited to sell material things.

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