Our Feelings Are Being Hacked

If you think you’re immune from being hacked (and, yes, I mean you, not your computer), then you’re probably not aware. And perhaps there is nothing as dangerous as lack of awareness.

Yuval Noah Harari outlines 21st-century hacking dangers in this Ted Talk and offers suggestions for resistance. It’s well worth watching. And, more importantly, it’s worth considering the risks and challenges to individuality. To independent thought. The risks to you. To me.

It’s also worth questioning whether we should be participating in certain internet platforms such as Facebook. Some time back I decided to drop out of FB and am convinced it was the right thing to do.

Last week I watched the Steelers-Panthers football game on Fox. It came with Amazon Prime. It’s the first I had watched commercial television in a while. OMG, the commercials. And the product placement in the announcer booth. The entire experience was commercialized and manipulative. It was a good reminder of the constant attacks on our independence. On independent thought.

Awareness. I’ve been thinking about it a lot lately. And realizing how unaware I still am.

Have Privacy and Freedom Collapsed?

Do you think privacy and freedom aren’t under attack? Then perhaps you should spend a few minutes and watch this.

In the short term, my hope lies with the E.U. and the market. And the hope that the threat of revenue loss will constrain those who know our every move and thought. With whom we entrust with more than we’ve ever entrusted anyone before.

In the meantime, I’m off the parasitic Facebook. It’s a small but important step for me. Mark Zuckerberg is simply not to be trusted to protect and respect my privacy. And the addiction he peddles should have no place in my life. I have too many other addictions to battle; I don’t need another one.

Google isn’t to be trusted either. But I have yet to find an acceptable substitute. I hope one appears soon.

Now my focus is Amazon and Jeff Bezos. It seems clear to me that Mr. Bezos isn’t to be trusted. Not with my information. Not with Americans’ freedom. My goal is to thin out the tether that connects me to his empire and database.

Before it’s all said and done, I suspect there will be more intense battles for the sake of privacy and freedom. At least I hope so. Otherwise, democracy will surely be lost. Forever.

How Will the Lack of Privacy Affect Your Life?

Your world, Vera, will be very different from mine. And I wonder what it will be like. Sometimes, I’m excited by the possibilities; sometimes, I fear the possibilities. One thing that concerns me the most if the utter lack of privacy you’ll encounter. And the power that puts in the hands of others, particularly, those who are intent on using power only for their own self interests. The glimpses we are already afforded into that world are disturbing. Continue reading

Should You Delete Your Social Media?

Jaron Lanier, regarded by some as the father of virtual reality, was interviewed about the hazards of social media. The interview is well worth your time, particularly if you’re a parent. It can be found here.

An interesting comment is Lanier’s contention that President Trump’s addiction to Twitter has not served him well. I can believe it.

As much as I enjoy following some experts and others on Twitter, I am not at all sure the positives outweigh the negatives. I’m off Facebook and LinkedIn and frequently consider pulling the plug on Twitter, too.

In any case, listen to what Lanier has to say. And if you really want to treat yourself, read Lanier’s book Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality. It’s a gem.

Is Your Connectivity Making Your Life Better?

A memo written by Facebook VP Andrew “Boz” Bosworth in the summer of 2016 contained the following controversial passage:

“[Connecting people] can be bad if they make it negative. Maybe it costs a life by exposing someone to bullies. Maybe someone dies in a terrorist attack coordinated on our tools.

And still we connect people.

The ugly truth is that we believe in connecting people so deeply that anything that allows us to connect more people more often is *de facto* good.”

Continue reading