Society has never been so polarized before, each half of the room is absolutely certain that they’re point of view (say, Democrat and Republican) is right and they have a wealth of information to back it up. The middle is getting more and more sparse and there’s a very clear reason for it: confirmation bias at a systemic level.
- Youtube’s AI routines are designed to show you what it knows you’re interested in.
- Advertisers bid wars – real time bidding to show you an advertisement – is based on their knowing full well what kind of ad you’re receptive to seeing
- Google’s job is to show you content it thinks you’re looking for and is relevant to your query
- Facebook surrounds you with those who agree with you; how many individual lines of argument with a friend do you type versus lines you read that you like and agree with your worldview?
- ergo, everything you see and read is designed to agree with you, otherwise you won’t “like” it, and being “liked” makes money.
It used to be that in order to do research you had to go to a library and look. Books agreeing with you were lumped together with those that didn’t in the same section, and if you found a couple books that agree with your worldview and the rest of the section was opposing, you had to seriously consider the odds that either the library executives are radical and preventing you from seeing all the information… or maybe you’re out on a limb and have to reconsider your perceptions.
This doesn’t happen anymore. The more you research your own worldview, the more certain it is that all the future results you search for will agree with that worldview, locking people into their own perceptions and feeding them supporting information by the truckload.
If your worldview is very rare and well outside of acceptable norm, you’re going to find thousands of videos, articles and related material that will confirm you’re right on every single count you can imagine. This is the new “normal”, and it’s job isn’t to produce well educated, well informed voters: its job is to make money and spoon feed people what they like and provide a means of persuasion and control the likes of which society has never seen before.
- You did know that Google adjusts its results based on how much they’re paid to return that result, right?
- If someone wants to swing a vote and they Google “This candidate is the best person in the world because X, Y and Z” a billion times / day with the server farm they purchased, that’s going to be the most popular result returned about that candidate.
- Did you Google “this candidate sucks” or “this other candidate is great”? Did you know what people look for is public information and can be counted to measure interest in anything whatsoever? Here you go: https://trends.google.com . Big Brother never had it so good.
Here is an example: An FN 5×7 is a pistol that uses a rifle round and primer in a very small cartridge. It is used by the SWAT teams, Secret Service and federal marshals all across the United States, and it was used by Nidal Hasan at Fort Hood Army base to murder 13 people and wound 30 more in less than 10 minutes. Thing is, the .223 rifle bullet fired is the same diameter as a .22 long so people mistakenly compare it to a .22 all the time. It is a demonstrably dangerous weapon and no idiot would say otherwise unless that idiot Googles “FN 5×7 sucks”, and then they’ll get a hundred results confirming that it’s useless, overpriced and the worst handgun to use to defend house and home. These people will firmly hold to this obviously flawed opinion because of what their “research” has provided.
To combat this, you first have to accept that the Internet For The People, By The People is gone, it’s now a corporate and government marketing engine for “acceptable” information and commerce. The Internet will show you anything you want to see as long as you “like” it or buy it.
Next, do your best to counter corporate surveillance over the Internet. Read the EFF’s fantastic article Behind the One Way Mirror (https://www.eff.org/wp/behind-the-one-way-mirror) – it’s horrible what we’ve allowed to happen to our Internet.
Once you’ve followed the EFF’s (extensive) recommendations, advertisement trackers and AI’s will have a harder time pegging what you like or don’t like. You can then use other search engines like DuckDuckGo (https://www.duckduckgo.com) and search for both what you are looking for (“Did Trump really get $46 billion more in donations since impeachment”) and also search for its opposite (“how many times has Trump and the republican party lied since he was president”) and then do the math yourself. It’s a lot of reading, but at least it saves you a trip to the local library…
For better or worse.