The pervasiveness of social media and technology in our lives creates a greater risk to our knowledge. As we rely more and more on our computer based algorithms to determine what interests us, we lose our creative ability and becomes slaves to logic and nothing more.
In the 1980s, I used the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, or Darpanet, to collaborate with colleagues worldwide. Web browsers did not yet exist, but a text-based program called Lynx allowed us to use the Web programming language HTML to share and format our work in progress.
One of my old musings was on software agents — the forerunners of the algorithmic approaches Amazon.com, Netflix and others use to offer advice on what you may want to buy, rent or know next. Then, as now, I had a low opinion of computer suggestions.
While the connection with this column’s theme of “technology and society” is obvious, what is the connection with “risk”? Simple. Allowing software to direct our interests increases, by orders of magnitude, the risk of becoming stupid.