It’s funny because I started writing this post before I watched the new Netflix documentary “the social dilemma” last night and I was writing in this opener about how I feel like I am getting way too hooked to my technology, especially as this semester is rolling on and I am forced to sit in front of my computer for like 6 hours a day. I feel like I’m staring aimlessly at a screen and it’s mentally draining.
“the social dilemma” is really interesting, although not entirely new information that we are unaware of. The issue of our data and privacy has been brought up often on this forum and many others. The issue that these devices are highly addicting and lead to mental health problems are also clearly obvious. And of course, the issue with misinformation and increased polarization has been talked about a lot as well on every platform.
I did find it interesting that all these engineers were admitting that the psychology that these companies use to addict us to our technology is so powerful that even those of us who are completely aware of what’s going on still become completely susceptible to it. This is an explicit attempt by these tech companies to manipulate their user base. Changing the profit structure of the industry does seem to be the only way to truly fix this problem that is harmful to basically everyone except those at the very top. It’s just like a slot machine at a casino and even when we want to get away from it we are always yearning for that serotonin boost. I liked the layout of this documentary with the back and forth between the science/interviews and then the realistic fictional story of those kids. I recommend the watch.
The problem I had with this doc, similar to “The Great Hack” documentary also on Netflix, is that it tries to basically justify and blame just social media for not just the polarization we have today, but also the outcomes of democratic elections that the writers seem to disagree with. Whether it’s Brexit, Trump, or Bolsonaro, these docs skew their victories as straight up manipulation and the spreading of fake news. This issue stems from both sides and just because there has been campaigns that have been more successful using the internet in persuading voters doesn’t mean that these victories are illegitimate. There is never an explanation of what exactly the “fake news” is that fueled these wins, and not everything is fake news either. Democracy is fragile, of course, but trying to suppress voices and ideas doesn’t help the problem. When more people have the ability to have their voices heard, that is generally a good thing.
A quote that I remember reading, forgive me I forget from who, goes something like “populism is often just another word for politics someone doesn’t agree with”. At least I think it went something like that. And the fact that information has been much more widely available in the last 10 years allows people who haven’t had a voice to speak up. For me, someone who strongly believes in the first amendment, I think this is a good thing. Sure, it’s leading to problems now and even this documentary has grim predictions of what could happen in the future, but I think overall technology leads to more good than bad. It’s important that we realize exactly how these problems are arising, however, and figure out the best way to have free, open platforms online.
But back to my original point, it still is vital that we get off of our phones. Just because the idea of the world’s information at our finger tips is possible, doesn’t mean that we need to be entrenched in it 24/7. This is hard. I think most of us find this issue to be very real and get that feeling of darting our eyes to check for new notifications. It’s something I feel constantly aware of how I need to do it less. Getting outside and experiencing nature is vital to keep our minds in check.
Also, it’s wild that I think the only way to actually fix this total issue of advertisers and big tech manipulating the population is literally the plot of Silicon Valley and Richard Hendrick’s new, decentralized internet. Someone needs to build that and then it will be up to all of us to move forward from there.
With that, I’ll get into some other thoughts that I wasn’t able to write about this week. Some of these things I wanted to write about yesterday, when I didn’t put up a post, but I just couldn’t get to it as I am becoming much more busy with school. I hate when I can’t get at least 1 post up a day but just know I am always trying my best. Some days are harder than others and of course I am a student first and foremost. Anyways:
Kanye Pisses On His Grammy
This was incredible by Kanye the past few days. His twitter has been electric. Sure, everyone knows that the music and entertainment industry is up there for the most corrupt in exploiting artists and taking advantage of their work, but Kanye went in on his record label. He literally posted over 100 tweets of his contracts with Sony Universal.
The icing on the cake was him pissing on his Grammy award. That was such a statement to me and I think seriously shows how much Kanye, and I’m sure other artists, feel when they realize that this trophy means nothing and has actually robbed them out of generational royalties for their songs.
I’m not sure where Kanye goes from here, but I would love if he and some other legendary artists build a completely new structure to help new artists both monetize and expand their work. It has never been easier to distribute information and really the only thing these record labels currently provide is a marketing machine to the artists. I wish Kanye luck in his journey to give the work back to the people.
The Compound Effect
I believe in the compound effect. It’s real. Compounding is one of the wonders of the world and this comes in a multitude of ways. After continuing this magazine for over 4 months now, I am hoping that I can keep pushing forward and see these compounds continue to rise. If you get 1% better every day then it won’t be long before you start seeing results.
This is why I try to put out content every single day. It’s just continuous reps. I believe I can be a voice for those of us who are young, hungry, and looking to find the truth in a way that can bring us together, not tear us apart. That’s my goal. I want to clarify how the 21st century can lead to prosperity for all of us and bring forward and modernize the American Dream. Maybe it’s bold but nothing comes about to those who don’t take risks.
See the featured photo for what I mean. ThoughtLess Magazine, 21st century clarity.
Yesterday Donald Trump signed an executive order on the anniversary of the signing of our constitution to combat what he has called the “indoctrinating of our children” in schools across the country. This has been widely discussed with the spreading of the 1619 project and the belief that America was founded on the belief of purely racist ideals.
I don’t know the particulars of either of these curriculums but clearly there needs to be a better way we teach kids in public schools. The idea that kids are being indoctrinated has been going on for a while and even I fell victim to it when I was going through the public school system. It’s just flat wrong to have partisan opinions in the classroom from ideologue teachers. There needs to be a better system that gives students the full picture of our history, yet doesn’t create dangerous and faulty adverse affects.
There is a market for new, better schooling and it’s up to us to find this outlet. We owe it to ourselves to clearly lay out things like history for individual students to come up with conclusions of their own.
Just another thing of note, I did find it sad when this announcement was made and then immediately “Hitler’s Youth” was trending on twitter comparing Trump, again, to Hitler. This of course happened the week that a historic peace agreement was signed and an article from The Hill came out saying that 2 in 3 people don’t know the full horrors of the Holocaust. It’s almost like constantly comparing someone to one of the most evil dictators in the history of the world has serious negative outcomes and leads to us forgetting what our actual history is. People need to spread more love, not hate.
Regardless we need to be careful in what we teach our children, from both sides of the spectrum.
Vaccine Is Politicized (shocker)
I can’t even write a full block about this. It’s just so obvious that the virus that has been basically politicized since the start will be politicized until the end. Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, and Bill Gates have all said they don’t trust the FDA in how the virus will get approved. This is while simultaneously trying to say that they trust the doctors, but not Donald Trump. It’s so backwards.
In this case, we have no option other than to believe those in charge like Dr. Fauci. It’s apparently the only way to get back to normal so let’s do it. Bill Gates called the FDA the “gold standard” less than 2 months ago. What changed, Mr. Gates?
Overall, let’s just let scientists do this and not worry about what those who are financially and politically responsible for it have to say. I think that’s something we all can agree on.
Hopefully it gets approved and is safe. We can only trust the information made available to us and believe in science and humanity.
Scenes From The Western Wall
I mentioned the peace agreement above and I just would be remiss if I didn’t show this scene from the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Awesome!
Have a great weekend everybody. Do your best to get offline for a little bit and take a breath. I know I need it.
Also, can’t wait for a full slate of college football and I will be waiting for the B1G Conference to come back in October.