Ch 08: The Attention Economy as Dystopia

They are Watching & Listening

In the TED talk entitled We’re Building a Dystopia Just to Make People Click on Ads, Zeynep Tufekci uses her expertise as a techno-sociologist to elaborate how the use of Artificial Intelligence by different social media platforms has changed drastically over time. Tufekci demonstrates how this change in personalized A.I also implies greater risks and more serious consequences for the users. Tufekci provides a clear and informative discussion about A.I and how our simple, regular actions on the internet can affect our real lives.

She begins her discussion by first establishing a somewhat relatable story about the threats of A.I on human lives which allows her to capture the interest of the audience. Her introduction also serves as a foundation of her main argument that the people in power use A.I to create a modern dystopia where they can control and manipulate the rest of the population (1:00-1:05). The impressive aspect of this discussion is that Tufekci flawlessly connects with her audience simply by citing different relatable stories about technology and digital surveillance.

However, it is also observable that it takes quite a lot of time before Tufekci offers statistical evidence and facts to support her arguments. For example, Tufekci claims that persuasion architectures in the digital world can intentionally target individuals, identify their weaknesses, and privately spread the obtained information to other people (3:45-3:55). However, she does not follow this with any piece of credible evidence that can support her argument. She only follows this claim with another possible scenario about the difference between real-life and digital advertisements. She only provides evidence that supports her claims towards the end of discussion about the intervention of social media platforms with the election.

Overall, Tufekci provides a relevant and interesting discussion about A.I but she fails to provide adequate evidences to support her arguments.

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