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The Social Dilemma - Sounds to me like a medical problem.

 If you're not familiar with the plot of docudrama "The Social Dilemma", go watch it now. If you haven't seen it, the short summary is the following: Social network sites get paid for you to watch their ads. The more ads they get you to see, the more they get paid. Their entire capitalistic inc3entive is to make you watch more of their ads. They work very, very, very hard to make this come true. They're really good at it. They suck you in and keep you doom-scrolling as long as they can. They don't care if it's bad for  your health, they want those ad dollars. They want to increase their feed's 'stickiness.' They want your attention and they'll get it any way they can. 

And how do they get it? The don't create their own content... they entice you to scroll for content you've 'signed up' for. Content that your friends publish. Content that your favorite authors publish. Content that other famous people publish. That seems reasonable. Show me my subscribed content and show me some ads... seems just like TV. But no! The Social Networks are much more insidious. You don't actually get what you signed up for. They attempt to charge famous people money to show their published posts to their followers. In other words, wringing the audience for money from both ends... charging to show published musing, and charging for and showing ads to the audience. 

This is only a bad side effect that penalizes famous people, and people who want to hear what they are saying. The Social Networks actually hide the feeds you've subscribed to from you and try to raise money from the publishers to show it to you. But wait, it's even worse. Not only are they screwing you by hiding what you've subscribed to, they're also inserting random pseudo-ads to see if you want to subscribe, to keep you interested in scrolling and to steal your attention from anything but watching their ads. They purposefully manipulate your feed to keep you glued to the screen.

There's serious, refereed, peer-reviewed scientific papers published that show that this maniplulation of your stream is injurious to your health.

I'll say that again: Social Network feeds have been proven to be injurious to your health.

It's time they were regulated [1] , way past time.

But wait, you ask, how can  you regulate feed algorithms? On what basis? There's some very obvious ones. First, these ideas are applicable to all Artificial Intelligence algorithms that interact with humans. It's way past time to control these amoral capitalistic killer robots that rob you of your attention, your money and your health. 

  1. It's not okay for an AI algorithm to be biased by race, religion or any other category protected by law. The AI algorithm must prove it is unbiased before it's predictions are used. It's the law. We need to enforce it.
  2. You should not be allowed to practice medicine without a license. These AI algorithms have more affect on your life than prescription drugs. They should be regulated as prescriptions drugs. You should not be allowed to apply these recommendations unless your physician agrees that they are beneficial to you. No more letting the Social Networks prescribe dangerous medicine.
  3. If not as a drug, at least these AI algorithms should be regulated as Medical Devices. They are software systems meant to affect your mental health. They need to prove they are safe.
  4. Finally, as a medical treatment, only a physician can prescribe a medical treatment. 
  5. Another option is to regulate them as an addictive drug. A drug that is more harmful to the population than alcohol, nicotine, cocaine or other highly addictive drugs. If you deal in one of these drugs without guaranteeing it's purity, under a doctor's care, you go to jail.
  6. The last resort is that we should treat these feeds as intellectual food that must be regulated and have proven safety like we do for GMO foods. They must be regulated, transparent (what did you filter? what did you add? why did you do it?), registered and reviewed.
It's way past time we regulate Social Networks; before they regulate us into oblivion.

Thanks for reading

[1] There was another article I tweeted about that wanted to regulate big tech and gave some of the same reasons. Here's a similar series in Time: that agree the best way to regulate Big Tech is to use the Section 230 protection as a trade for public health concerns. Otherwise, Section 230 might just disappear? This is the use of power for the good of the people. Progressivism. 


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