Not all idea sex is good


In his most recent book, Ten Arguments for Deleting Your Social Media Accounts Right Now, Jaron Lanier presents his case as a Silicon Valley veteran with a dream for a better technologically connected future.

I think it's easy to make the leap that if the exchange of ideas, the idea sex, is the vehicle for human progress than social media might be the best thing yet. But Lanier would argue that the incentives are not in the right place. Remember, social media companies are some of the largest corporations in the world. When there are stakeholders in a boardroom somewhere, time has told us that people are going to get fucked.

The magnitude of social media corporations means no one knows who is driving this thing.

Not Zuckerberg. Not Larry Page. Not even Trump. 

Lanier writes:

The algorithms are rarely interrogated, least of all by external or independent scientists, in part because it’s hard to understand why they work. They improve automatically, through feedback.

But if no one is driving, the least we can understand is the road we're on. The algorithms are "improving" to sell us ads and our attention. It might be time to find something new, and just maybe delete our social media accounts.