The Algorithm Lies

The algorithm is the false god of the internet age, it’s the golden calf that everyone’s bowing down to, but algorithms lie. Even with the simple stuff, algorithms are getting it wrong all the time! The scary thing is, the world is being built right now on the foundation of algorithms.

Facebook has been under scrutiny for it’s newsfeed algorithm. Since a ton of people are primarily getting their news from Facebook now this is kind of important. We’ve been led to believe that since the feed is based on an algorithm it’s impartial. Why anyone would buy into that is beyond me. People write algorithms and people are biased.

From Fox News to the New York Times is anyone really impartial? Does anyone really believe Facebook is?

 

The Algorithm Lies!

So algorithms lie because people are biased. Another reason the algorithm lies is because many algorithms recommend things just because they’re popular.

Popularity has always been a false god. Since when does something being popular make it good, or moral, or right? Popularity does not necessarily equate with truth and popularity is a poor measure of quality. There’s some incredibly popular stuff that should have been left in the garbage can it came out of, but the algorithm pushes popular. My smart TV’s YouTube app is constantly recommending popular stuff to me. The algorithm thinks that just because lots of people like something I will too. Wrong!

The algorithm also sends me tons of stuff I am interested in- but way too much of it! Someone in programming believes that a couple clicks on something translates into deep interest and in turn sends me an overload of the same material to choose from. Yes, I clicked on Jimmy Fallon one night and watched a bunch of animal videos. That does not mean I am forever wanting a feed of Fallon or animals?

 

Are Pop Music Producers Writing These Algorithms?

Pop music has always been predictable and faddish. Pop music starts with someone who has an original idea and very soon everyone is copying it. It’s been that way ever since the first pop song was recorded and released. Something becomes a hit and the market is just inundated with identical sounding songs.

An interesting article on PBS titled, “How the music industry uses big data to create the next big hit” removes the veil to reveal how algorithms are being used in the music industry to determine what gets promoted. The result? We are being fed an ever narrowing stream of music from an ever smaller pool of artists. At it’s advent, the internet, we were told, would level the playing field for those creating music. The little guy would have the same chance as the big guys. But as PBS reports, the reality turned out to be different than the dream- “The top 1 percent of artists now command 77 percent of all recorded revenue.”

Algorithms are certainly not the reason that we’re being fed a diet of musical sameness, but they are making the marketing of popularity more efficient.

Algorithms are not just affecting music consumption they are also affecting music creation by automating the process. This isn’t all bad, by any means, as it has opened up creative possibilities to many more people, but it has also resulted in a certain blandness and uniformity for those who let the algorithm take the drivers seat in music production.

 

It’s All About AI Now

I’ve barely touched on how algorithms are impacting our lives. The driving force now is for the algorithm to breathe- to take decisions out of our hands and make them for us. Everything is about AI now- It’s all about artificial intelligence and virtual reality and making the algorithm god. Rather than me pushing the brake pedal, my car will decide when I’m too close to another car. And while we’re at it, why not just let the car do the driving while we sit back and converse? Again, a very small tip of a very large iceberg in the world of AI, but a revealing example of where AI is taking us. We are facing a world where decisions will be taken out of our hands, a world where those who create the AI will decide for us. The individual will be subservient.

A definition would be appropriate here:

 
adjective: subservient
  1. prepared to obey others unquestioningly.
    “she was subservient to her parents”
    synonyms: submissive, deferential, compliant, obedient, dutiful, biddable, docile, passive, unassertive, subdued, downtrodden;

    informal under someone’s thumb

 

AI intimacy?

As the world becomes ever more impersonal is it any surprise that there are people who envision a world where people are intimate with AI? Sadly, that’s where we’re going. Virtual porn, virtual bodies- all disconnected from having to deal with real people.

So, let me get this straight- The more advanced we get, the more artificial we become?

“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold.” -Matthew 24:12

Why this push to the artificial and impersonal?

 

This World

AI is so big, and will impact us in so many ways, that we can’t even imagine it all now. The secular mind will recoil at what I’m about to say, but the world system is being driven by unseen spiritual realities. Yes, I’m talking about demons, and yes, Satan. It may not be immediately apparent, but ask yourself, “What is this force that is relentlessly driving us to be more and more impersonal, artificial and disconnected?” We are being stripped of our humanity in favor of robotics. We are being directed to “sameness” where divergent points of view are not tolerated. The spiritual is being replaced by secular humanism, and secular humanism by dehumanized AI robotics. Our minds are being directed by thought algorithms that enforce conformity. The bible makes it very clear that the world system is being controlled and directed by unseen forces.

“The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” -2 Corinthians 4:4

Satan has constructed the world system in such a way that it may obscure a clear vision of God and His order. We should not be surprised when God’s will, order and rule are presented as flawed, outdated and openly challenged. In a world without God people will not matter as they once did. The individual is swallowed up by the machine of the world system.

Algorithms and AI will undoubtedly bring progress and open up wonderfully possibilities but will also come with dangers and be used to remove choice and individual decision. I have no doubt that AI with all it’s purported promises will eventually rule the world with an iron fist.