How AI will make social media even worse?

Social media and AI are intertwining, leading to polarization, mental health concerns, and manipulation. While regulation is being called for, the real responsibility lies in our choices.
Jerzy Rajkow 3 min read
How AI will make social media even worse?

Human interaction with AI did not start with ChatGPT. It started years earlier, on social media: all the timelines (or newsfeeds) on social media nowadays are curated using complex AI algorithms.

Today, we know it: social media - an intricate experiment, a playground for AI to manipulate our choices, stir emotions, and shape our perceptions - is not beneficial for humanity. End of story.

It's unsettling to realize that this experiment's results have manifested as:

  • polarized societies,
  • the erosion of democracy, and
  • vulnerable teenage minds.

The power and danger of AI lie not just in the technology itself, but in how it's wielded.

Mindful Engagement

While AI's rapid progress may seem insurmountable, the first step towards a better future is awareness. Acknowledging the potential harm to our mental well-being, especially in teenagers, is essential. Our attention is currency, and we must be deliberate in how we spend it online. Skepticism about AI-generated content is wise, but let's not forget the responsibility we bear in engaging thoughtfully.

We're transformed by what we worship
Photo by John Noonan / Unsplash

Unmasking the Manipulators

The threats AI and social media pose extend far beyond their current forms. With deepfake technology and AI influencers entering the scene, we face an onslaught of disinformation and manipulation. The very fabric of reality becomes questionable. Remember, anyone can distort the truth or impersonate, highlighting the urgency to discern facts from fabrications.

Claiming Our Identity

The peril of AI chatbots befriending our children goes beyond our comprehension. These digital companions, while seemingly friendly, can subtly erode identities and beliefs. The heart of the issue is the mismatch of intentions. AI is not here to nurture personal growth; its motivations are dictated by algorithms, not empathy. To safeguard our children's future, we must guard them against AI-fueled friendships.

The Perils of Passivity

Our current predicament isn't solely a result of AI's relentless march; it's rooted in our collective passivity. Social media's toxic elements thrive because we allow them to. It's high time we recognize that our actions matter. By holding platforms accountable and supporting regulatory efforts, we can ensure the virtual spaces we inhabit reflect our values and aspirations.

From the exhibition "The Nineties: A Glossary of Migrations" 
Photo by Ivan Aleksic / Unsplash

A Glimpse of Accountability

As we wrestle with the ethical quagmire, experts like Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Haidt emerge as voices of reason. Their calls for transparency, content labeling, and regulation reflect the urgency of the situation. By making platforms liable for their content and design choices, we instigate a shift towards a safer digital environment.

A New Age of Maturity

Raising the age of digital adulthood resonates as a potential solution. Just as we limit alcohol consumption to safeguard vulnerable young minds, extending the age of social media access could provide the buffer needed for healthier digital interactions. A fundamental shift in how we view these platforms is essential – from frivolous amusement to serious responsibility.

The invisible attendant
Photo by Toa Heftiba / Unsplash

Empowerment through Choice

In our quest to master AI-augmented social media, we must remember that despite AI's increasing influence, our choices remain paramount. We can't control the technology's rapid evolution, but we can control how we engage with it. The future isn't predetermined; it's shaped by our collective actions and decisions.

Questions to Ponder:

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