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comment by am_Unition
am_Unition  ·  482 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: From Bing to Sydney

It's relatively trivial to write a web crawler that can unleash these chatbots onto unwitting humans on social media. Script it to input peoples' postings into the chatbot, and copy+paste the result back to the human. It's been/being done already, I've no doubt, and I'm struggling to think of any non-nefarious uses that don't involve beginning every procedurally-generated reply with "THIS IS A PROCEDURALLY-GENERATED REPLY".

Sometimes it feels like we're in a race to destroy the web, or at least radically alter how we use it. Maybe it's for the best. And I'm officially done with technocrats; disruptions rooted in new tech are generally used to exacerbate wealth inequality and other hot garbage.

Also idk, maybe it's just me, but I cannot even begin to humanize these things. Like I can read the convos and think "wow, that's a pretty clever and interesting robot", but there never will be an emotional engagement that I will feel with a chatbot. Even with a physical form, like M3GAN or whatever. Maybe people are so lonely that they're open to it? I genuinely do not understand.

Oh, and people should always be informed that they are interacting with a non-human, with the full backing of a legal penalty otherwise. So yeah, scripting chatbots, like I mentioned in paragraph 1? Should be illegal.

b_b  ·  482 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I’m actually coming around to thinking that maybe section 230 really should just be repealed entirely. Somehow we’ve come to believe that everyone being able to post anything anywhere anytime is an unfettered good and is entirely simpatico with the 1st amendment. I’m not so sure. Any idiot can yell anything on a street corner, and repealing 230 isn’t going to change that. But if you’re giving that idiot a platform to reach millions, because that’s your business model? Well maybe your business model sucks and destroying society isn’t exactly worth the shareholder value you’ve created. I get the irony of having this conversation in a forum where any idiot can post anything and reach…tens of people?, but it’s long past time that Congress considers the issue more fully (to the extent they consider literally anything these days).

ecib  ·  482 days ago  ·  link  ·  

It's tough because in the transition from web 1 to web 2 our public spaces shifted from protocols to companies.

Email is a protocol, but so is a sidewalk. I have sympathy for your view (shared it to some degree) but I'm becoming increasingly reticent to gatekeep our company-owned digital sidewalks until we figure out how to build them as protocols first.

b_b  ·  482 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That's pretty wise perspective. It's very possible that what we're experiencing is, as you term it, a lack of protocol. Our protocols dictate that companies can't dump chemical waste into the environment, but the Cuhayoga river had to be set ablaze several times in order for that to take place. I thought that the election of Trump would be our digital Cuyahoga moment, but 2016 seems quaint by comparison to today.

am_Unition  ·  482 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I think the problem is that if you legally mandated moderation to a relatively strict standard, social media companies could never afford to meet the standard and still turn a profit.

Nor will people ever agree to publicly fund the state to attempt the fair enforcement of popular consensus moderation. It'll always be "unfair" to conservatives, for example.

Ho boy are the next 15 years gonna be fun!

kleinbl00  ·  481 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    I think the problem is that if you legally mandated moderation to a relatively strict standard, social media companies could never afford to meet the standard and still turn a profit.

capitalism has a solution for this

b_b  ·  481 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    ...social media companies could never afford to meet the standard and still turn a profit.

But isn't that their problem, not ours? Chemical and other industrial companies made the same basic argument about the Clean Water and Clean Air acts. If your business model is predicated on polluting, then you have a bad business model and it's you, not the public, who need to adapt.

am_Unition  ·  481 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Whether or not we might be living through the latter part of a finite age of online social media is an interesting question. Surely not, is my guess, but if we knew for sure the next form it'd assume, we'd probably be busy working on it already, right? (not you and I, necessarily, the proverbial "we")

kleinbl00  ·  481 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The profit motive simply needs to be rebalanced. Right now, "engagement" wins everything because online advertising is preposterously mispriced. Like, it is more cost-effective for me to put a $70k jumbotron on a busy street corner than it is for me to pay for online advertising within the same demographic reach. Engagement from the Jumbotron? 3x as effective as online advertising. I got eight years of data like this and so does every single advertiser out there but just like the early days of television and the early days of radio, the networks are blowing smoke up everyone's asses.

As soon as advertisers accept that Google ads are worth about a tenth what they're paid for, the costs-benefits analysis of provocative online forums go waaaay the fuck down. Frankly, Apple reefing down on their adblocker would probably go a long way towards making things more civil. They basically slaughtered Facebook with a few lines of code.

am_Unition  ·  482 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yeah, I'm not sure it'd be a bad thing either. It would certainly radically alter the landscape, but it might end up settling into some hellscape of open-source, anonymous, encrypted posting boards where moderation is impossible, and only criminals can stomach using the most powerful communication tool we've ever invented.

I'll also point out that I haven't seen a single "free speech absolutist" online who didn't fall somewhere on the spectrum of "I'm an idiot!" to "Let me do hate speech!". They must all be some level of stupid, because those are the same people overwhelmingly pushing for repealing 230, which would eventually strip them of the very platforms boosting their hate speech via rage-farming algos.

I also thought it was pretty savvy the way that Trump wielded the threat of repealing Section 230, because if he managed to coax the legislature into doing it or somehow wrangled up an executive order effectively repealing it, one of big tech's biggest issues would be... content posted by Donald Trump. It's hard to imagine the world's most litigious man ever wasn't aware of that.

mk  ·  482 days ago  ·  link  ·  

If 230 was repealed, I think it might be wise for me to shut down Hubski.

b_b  ·  482 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I know, and that's shitty. I don't know how to not throw out the baby with the bathwater. There's so much good on the internet, but the gravity of all the shit is making it collapse in on itself. Obviously it would be pretty easy to write exemptions for inherently private services like email, but I suppose it could be done too for places with, say, fewer than 100,000 daily active users. The status quo just doesn't work as it's written.