Hello from the Consilience Project Team,
Today, we published "Social Media Enables Undue Influence", the fourth and final paper in our Propaganda series.
The Propaganda Series makes clear just how urgent our situation is. Our minds and our communities are becoming radically destabilized due to a constant barrage of limbic hijacking, attention capture, and profit-seeking algorithmic curation. In this final paper, we argue that the implications are far-reaching, threatening the sovereignty of individual choice and agency.
All four papers suggest that there are clear opportunities and solutions in the domains of education and culture, especially innovations in digital civic technologies. There is a way forward for open societies in the digital age.
The same technologies that “brainwash” us now could provide for a kind of education more powerful than any modern school system. The tools used to capture our attention and deliver advertisements could be used to promote deep learning and to protect our attention from being degraded. Schools, communities, governments, and markets can be improved through the use of digital technologies, but this requires rethinking many of the basic assumptions currently driving technology innovations in these areas.
It is our hope that this series of papers can help readers become more aware of the dynamics impacting their own information sources and, ultimately, their own minds. When the dangers and mechanism of propaganda are made clear, it then becomes possible to reflect, “disengage,” and reorient towards the informational environment in a new way.
Read our final feature for this Propaganda series.
Our previous Propaganda features in the series.
For additional context and discussion, we recommend listening to a recent episode of Jim Rutt’s podcast in which our co-founder, Zak Stein, sat down for a wide-ranging conversation on the information war and propaganda, including topics around “indicators of propaganda, distinguishing education from propaganda, leaders’ failure to educate rather than propagandize… and redirecting technological innovation toward new goals of educational development.”
The Consilience Project Team