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    The New York Times Company | Dan Brooks | 1/29/20 | 6 min
    26 reads13 comments
    The New York Times Company
    26 reads
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    • jbuchana
      Top reader this weekReading streakScoutScribe
      10 hours ago

      the struggles of a person trying to go viral again

      That seems to sum it up...

    • Pegeen
      Reading streakScout
      5 days ago

      Sometimes I force myself to read something I think I won’t like just to see if I can surprise myself. This article accomplished that - fascinating! But also depressing!

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        3 days ago

        Love this. I often do the same thing.

    • vunderkind4 days ago

      "We shape our tools, then our tools shape us" - Marshall MacLuhan.

      I am reminded of the Turing Test thesis: we constantly assume we'll eventually create artificial intelligence that becomes smart enough to pass the Turing test, and that may be so - but it's also possible that while that is happening as a background process, AI will train us to become machines (in our behavior and expression, every human output systemically reduced into countable, binary outcomes) so that when you look, you won't be able to tell man from machine, or machine from man.

      How do you get AI to make soul-stirring music as good as the best composer who ever lived? First, you train man to like machine music.

    • deephdave
      Top reader this week
      4 days ago

      Fooled by randomness!

      "Maybe that’s why millions of internet users keep watching, sometimes, and other times do not. Or maybe none of that is right. Maybe there is some other arbitrary system governing us all. "

    • thorgalle1 week ago

      To watch several in succession is to watch increasingly familiar characters endure a kind of psychological experiment, in which they get rewarded, or don’t, according to a system they cannot understand.

      Good read! It concisely brings up some kind of helplessness towards understanding the AI-driven scoring of content.

      This makes me think of the latest Your Undivided Attention episode, wherein Tristan Harris describes a newspaper as a machine producing human attention (from readers). In this machine, there are humans (journalists, editors) deciding what is published and what is not. Their decisions may be influenced by what article will generate most ad-revenue, but they will also have some kind of moral radar.

      Automated attention-generators like TikTok described in the article don't have this type of control. The case of the article is innocuous, but this exact mechanic can also exacerbate fake news/flaming/clickbait rubbish/... Let's be wary, and thanks Readup ;)

      • jeff
        Reading streakScoutScribe
        1 week ago

        So many a great quotes from this article!

        I’ll have to listen to that podcast. I think there are important distinctions to be made between both attention and distraction and production and cultivation.

        Different mediums and technologies are certainly designed for varying levels of engagement, ranging from mindless distraction to deep focus and attention but in the end individuals have the power to choose how they want to engage.

        I think the real mission for the humane tech movement should be to educate people on this power that everyone possesses instead of attacking or regulating certain platforms. From what I’ve read of Tristan’s writing it appears we would disagree quite a bit.

        • thorgalle1 week ago

          Good points!

          but in the end individuals have the power to choose how they want to engage.

          Here you could have a sizeable debate about free choice, addiction, whether we can actually decide what we want and, in Tristan's words, how "gameable" our "paleolithic emotions" are by the platforms that capitalize on distraction. I just don't think it's a black/white story :)

          I think the real mission for the humane tech movement should be to educate people on this power that everyone possesses instead of attacking or regulating certain platforms.

          Agreed, educating is very important work they're doing. But not all are able exercise that power equally, and companies do have a part in the societal problems addressed. Having conversations with platform builders & regulators to inspire more consideration of these problems, and brainstorming solutions, are important goals as well IMO. But having conversations is not the same as attacking, and I agree, their work has been quite picky & aggressive at times.

          • jeff
            Reading streakScoutScribe
            4 days ago

            I just don't think it's a black/white story :)


            The debate about free will and addiction reminds me of this great article from a few weeks ago: The Patriarchy of Alcoholics Anonymous

            As much as it doesn't appeal to me, it is clear that submitting to a higher power is a strategy that works for plenty of people when dealing with addiction. In the end it's certainly best to have as many options available as possible for those who are struggling.

    • tgallen1 week ago

      Liking this article and this sentence in particular...

      Maybe the story of Angelmamii7 is not one woman and her family trying to hit the jackpot by doing what even they do not understand but a whole culture responding to incentives we can’t articulate but are being trained to follow, moment to moment, by a dopamine-drip system we carry in our pockets

      • bill
        Top reader of all timeScoutScribe
        1 week ago

        Wow, yeah. Great find. That quote is incredible.

    • jeff
      Reading streakScoutScribe
      1 week ago

      Loved this article!

      The forced acting and desperate re-creation of previously successful formulas make Angelmamii7’s videos into a profound modern drama of people flailing against absurdity — or perhaps a classic drama of people struggling against fate.

    • Shemp
      2 weeks ago

      AI in a nutshell