Trusting ourselves

A couple of recent stories raised again my concerns about control and the internet. One was about a father seeking medical support for his son who triggered Google’s AI controls put in place to protect children from paedophiles, and the other was the right wing conspiracy theorist who has been banned from several of the main platforms.

Both are well intentioned, both protect people from harm, but both raise questions about what is wrong, what is right, and who gets to decide. An algorithm? An algorithm based on the values of a commercial company? Or worse, based on the cultural norms of America which is veering all over the place in terms of moral judgements at the moment?

As I said in my book we all have a volume control on mob rule. We get to decide what we pay attention to, what we share, and what the collective impact of our online actions is. We need to be ever more aware of this as we have more power than we know and our actions, or inactions, have consequences increasingly amplified by algorothmic systems.

We need to trust ourselves to make the right decisions or they will be made for us.

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