“The more moral outrageous language you use, the more inflammatory language, contemptuous language, the more indignation you use, the more it will get shared. So we are being rewarded for being division entrepreneurs. The better you are at innovating a new way to be divisive, we will pay you in more likes, followers and retweets.”
Uno studio citato da Harris mostrerebbe come l’algoritmo di Twitter incentivi attivamente i comportamenti divisivi.
“Each individual term referring to your political out-group increased the odds of that post being retweeted or reshared by 67%,” Harris told Whitaker. “Out-group being the other side.”
“These platforms,” Whitaker asked, “are they not just reflecting who we are and what we think and the divisions that are already there?”
“They’re super-charging 100 or 1,000 times to one the worst parts of ourselves,” Harris said.
Viene infine fatto riferimento alla enorme popolarità di Tik Tok e confrontati i contenuti proposti dall’algoritmo in occidente con quelli proposti in Cina.
TikTok has done that by serving up an addictive mix of short videos. Some are silly, others overtly political. It’s owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance and Harris says the version that’s served to Chinese consumers, called Douyin, is very different from the one available in the West.
“In their version of TikTok, if you’re under 14 years old, they show you science experiments you can do at home, museum exhibits, patriotism videos and educational videos,” Harris said. “And they also limit it to only 40 minutes per day. Now they don’t ship that version of TikTok to the rest of the world. So it’s almost like they recognize that technology’s influencing kids’ development, and they make their domestic version a spinach version of TikTok, while they ship the opium version to the rest of the world.”
Gli effetti di lungo termine, secondo Harris, sono prevedibili.
“There’s a survey of preteens in the U.S. and China asking, ‘What is the most aspirational career that you want to have?’ And the U.S. the number one was, ‘ [social media] influencer,'” Harris said. “And in China the number one was, ‘astronaut.’ Again, you allow those two societies to play out for a few generations, I can tell you what your world is going to look like.”