“The Artificial Intelligence (AI) of today is invisible to most of us, yet ubiquitous. One example we interact with frequently is recommendation engines on the internet -- the code recommending your next video on YouTube or a post on Facebook. These algorithms pull together vast amounts of our personal data to learn about us and curate our experience online. In this case, AI is simply your personal data mixed with the data of people with similar interests -- and then pointed back at you.
The result can be serendipitous and delightful. It can also be dangerous. Last year, Silicon Valley moguls opened up to New York Magazine about how today's social media is designed to addict users. Using our data to manipulate us to stay on a site may or may not be pernicious in its own right.
But even if you don't worry about it for yourself, there is growing evidence that these systems tend to radicalize and polarize. Last year, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researcher Zeynep Tufekci dubbed YouTube "the Great Radicalizer": view one anti-vaccination video, and YouTube will suggest a second; watch one factually incorrect political video, and YouTube will recommend a sequel.
Further, these algorithms can be gamed by humans to sow even more discord. Data for Democracy researcher and Mozilla fellow Renee DiResta uncovered how anti-vaccine activists exploit Google's algorithm to spread dangerous disinformation. How? By publishing reams of misleading articles peppered with popular keywords and search terms. She also recently testified before Congress about how Russian operatives manipulated Facebook's AI to influence American voters by posing as American news outlets and American voters...”
The Internet Apologizes
YouTube, The Great Radicalizer
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Comment: As a daily YouTube user, I daily curate my account. I block channels that are ‘squirrelly’. I give a ‘thumbs up’ to videos that are well done and subscribe to those that catch my interest. I give comments that are thoughtful, and I give thumbs up to others comments that are meaningful. Occasionally, I log out from YouTube to see what I’d get without the algorithms working for me; and when I do, I’m shocked at the drivel being generally posted. And even worse is the huge number of hits being given to such videos and channels. Sheesh!