Monday, May 18, 2020

Douglas Rushkoff on "Persuasion Engineers"

What follows is from Douglas Rushkoff's 5-7-20 Medium post entitled "Our Lives Are Now Run by Persuasion Engineers" (an excerpt from Rushkoff's 2019 nonfiction book TEAM HUMAN):

Instead of designing technologies that promote autonomy and help us make informed decisions, the persuasion engineers in charge of our biggest digital companies are hard at work creating interfaces that thwart our cognition and push us into an impulsive state where thoughtful choices — or thought itself — are nearly impossible.

We now know, beyond any doubt, that we are dumber when we are using smartphones and social media. We understand and retain less information, comprehend with less depth, and make decisions more impulsively than we do otherwise. This untethered mental state, in turn, makes us less capable of distinguishing the real from the fake, the compassionate from the cruel, and even the human from the nonhuman. Team Human’s real enemies, if we can call them that, are not just the people who are trying to program us into submission but the algorithms they’ve unleashed to help them do it.

Algorithms don’t engage with us humans directly. They engage with the data we leave in our wake to make assumptions about who we are and how we will behave. Then they push us to behave more consistently with what they have determined to be our statistically most probable selves. They want us to be true to our profiles.

To read the rest of Rushkoff's entire post, click HERE.

(A previous Cryptoscatology post dealing with Douglas Rushkoff can be found HERE.)

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