It has become clear in the past few years that many people have lost the ability to determine truth from lies, propaganda from fact. And even good from evil.
And now it appears many of us may soon lose our ability to recognize reality. Or live in it.
recently told tech podcaster Lex Friedman, "A lot of people think that the
metaverse is about a place, but one definition of this is it’s about a
time when basically immersive digital worlds become the primary way that we
live our lives and spend our
time." He added, "I think that’s a reasonable
construct." Really? Who among us will want to “spend our time” and “live
our lives” as legless avatars? Maybe those who have graduated from our
factories colleges and universities.
Some have postulated that if we spend our time in the metaverse, we will lose our identity in favor of group homogeneity, be that ideological, cultural, or demographic. This is so, they say, because we will then likely separate into monocultural strata in which every subculture and sexual fetish can find mutual affirmation, causing individuality to give way to any given monoculture’s unified mindset. This is the irony of identity politics, multiculturalism, and intersectionality. The more each individual’s group identity is called out and deemed crucial to one’s existence, the less the individual matters and the less leeway for independent thought, personal integrity, and personal identity the individual has.
Modern technology strips us of personal privacy, as well. Governments such as China’s use facial recognition to control their own people. The C.C.P. allegedly uses A.I. to track Uighur Muslims and place them in “reeducation camps,” as it deems necessary. Russia, too, tracks its citizens via A.I. and facial recognition. There are 125,000 cameras in Moscow alone. And we have all been witness to the concurrent dramatic increase in camera usage in the U.S. over the past decade.
Moreover, Dartmouth researchers have built an artificial intelligence model for detecting mental disorders by analyzing web posts. And their endeavor is only a small part of a coming wave of screening tools that use computers and A.I. to analyze social media posts to ascertain people's “mental states.” The researchers designed their model to label the emotions expressed in users' posts and map any “emotional transitions.” The map would be a matrix, illustrating when a user went from any one state to another, such as from anger to a state of no emotion, thereby creating an emotional “fingerprint.”
And different emotional disorders, they say, have their own signature patterns of emotional transitions. So, by creating an emotional fingerprint for a given user and comparing it to established signatures of emotional disorders, the model can detect them. They claim that the model accurately predicts which users may have a particular disorder. The researchers say they hope to use the model for “prevention.” Quite.