With an internet controlled by Facebook, Twitter, and Google who prioritize ads and money over quality of information, Aviv Ovadya chief technologist for the University of Michigan’s Center for Social Media Responsibility among other things worries about a Big Tech–enabled information crisis in this constant war for our attention.
But it’s what he sees coming next that will really scare the shit out of you.
“Alarmism can be good — you should be alarmist about this stuff,” Ovadya said one January afternoon before calmly outlining a deeply unsettling projection about the next two decades of fake news, artificial intelligence–assisted misinformation campaigns, and propaganda. “We are so screwed it's beyond what most of us can imagine,” he said. “We were utterly screwed a year and a half ago and we're even more screwed now. And depending how far you look into the future it just gets worse.”
That future, according to Ovadya, will arrive with a slew of slick, easy-to-use, and eventually seamless technological tools for manipulating perception and falsifying reality, for which terms have already been coined — “reality apathy,” “automated laser phishing,” and "human puppets."
|The Smartphone of the Future May Use Sapphire Glass|
|The Self-Driving Pods Are Here|
|"You only need about 100 miles by 100 miles of solar panels to power the entire United States."|
|“How different technologies may reshape the retail world.”|
|In the Future of 'Her,' Technology Has Progressed to the Point That it Doesn't Need to Look Like Technology|
|“Wouldn't it be nice if you were rewarded for all of the little good things you do.”|
|“That's how different these results are becoming.”|
|Japanese Robot Serves Ice Cream From Inside a Vending Machine|
|A Really Fast Electric Skateboard|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|“Never let a good crisis go to waste.”|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|“Instead of consuming fossil fuels, it would then feed surplus electricity into the grid.”|
|When the Wrong Hastag Can Get You Killed by an Assassination Drone|
|Amateur-Built Electric Car Going After Record Set by Tesla|
|“For the first time in the world, AI will run in an election.”|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|