Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Are we becoming like the rats pulling levers?

That’s what came to mind when I read How Facebook Programmed Our Relatives by Brett Frischmann & Katherine Haenschen on the Scientific American website.

Social media platforms encode a range of social behaviors: Facebook notifies us when it is time to wish our friends a happy birthday; LinkedIn prompts us to congratulate contacts on their work anniversaries; Twitter breaks its own chronology to show us tweets that many of our friends have liked. As a result, social interactions are often reduced to the click of a button.

Now more than ever, society needs ethical social science at the intersection of technology and humanity. Digital platforms are shaping what it means to be human, and we can't rely on the platforms to police or research themselves. In the meantime, when your birthday rolls around, enjoy the warm feelings from friends sending their regards— but remember that they don't know when your birthday really is any more than you do theirs.

Always keep in mind that we are the products social media corporations are selling, not serving. Think of those “prompts” that keep popping up on your screen as “levers” that are being used to encode a range of social behaviors in your brain. The more you pull them, the more valuable you become to whoever is selling your information. Empower yourself by learning how to explore your reality at the TOV Center’s Lives 1st Realities Transformations.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

You Are Not Generation Z (Pat Sajak, Host, Wheel of Fortune)

The following excerpt is adapted from an address given by Pat Sajak (Host, Wheel of Fortune) to the first graduating class of Founders Classical Academy in Leander, Texas, on May 27, 2017; one of 16 classical K-12 charter schools currently operating under the auspices of Hillsdale College’s Barney Charter School Initiative. Pat Sajak gives unique insights about a special class of what we call a specific class of “weaponized memes” at the TOV Center Realities Transformations Initiative -- identity politics.

“So let me instead suggest a pitfall to avoid going forward, a pitfall not only for this year’s graduates, but for everyone in every corner of American society today. It has altered the way we talk to one another and perceive one another. It has perverted the notion of free speech and poisoned the academic environment. It has turned the American political system on its head, creating a situation where opposing views are not only unwelcome, they are deemed to be signs of evil intent. It has pitted friend against friend and has caused rifts within families.

I’m talking about identity politics, the attempt to divide Americans and set us against each other. The attempt to classify and categorize us by all sorts of measurements and standards. To a great degree, those who are making these attempts are succeeding. And their efforts are changing our country in fundamental ways. . .

The problem with identity politics is that it reduces us. We are no longer human beings with individual hopes and dreams. We are commodities. We are groups to be labeled and courted and pandered to. We have no shared values as Americans, because we are a series of interest groups. We’re told what it’s thought we want to hear, and we divide ourselves into pockets of groupthink. We begin to speak only with others in our group, and we begin to believe that the only valid and true way to think is the way we think. . . .”

Thank you Hillsdale College for sharing this with the world. Read the entire excerpt at --

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