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‘Our minds can be hijacked’: the tech insiders who fear a smartphone dystopia’

One conflicting, nagging thought is that as a Computer Technology Essentials teacher this year I’m doing actual harm. This current notion about how coding saving students from poverty, and the egalitarianism in technology makes us all equals.

Tech companies can exploit such vulnerabilities to keep people hooked; manipulating, for example, when people receive “likes” for their posts, ensuring they arrive when an individual is likely to feel vulnerable, or in need of approval, or maybe just bored. And the very same techniques can be sold to the highest bidder. “There’s no ethics,” he says. A company paying Facebook to use its levers of persuasion could be a car business targeting tailored advertisements to different types of users who want a new vehicle. Or it could be a Moscow-based troll farm seeking to turn voters in a swing county in Wisconsin.

When students ask me about how many YouTube followers I have, they’re asking if I matter based on algorithms.

“The techniques these companies use are not always generic: they can be algorithmically tailored to each person. An internal Facebook report leaked this year, for example, revealed that the company can identify when teens feel “insecure”, “worthless” and “need a confidence boost”. Such granular information, Harris adds, is “a perfect model of what buttons you can push in a particular person”.

The thing is, I rarely get comments, re-blogs, or shared discussion from these posts. I send them into a deep, dark well, hear a splash, gurgle, and never anything more.

Come on, guys! It’s not about the clicks and likes: it’s about do we connect with one another.

Oh well.

Maybe Mila has the right idea:

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