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Breaking Bad Data : Living in the Age of Machines

- May 21, 2018

“Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Martin Luther King Jr

Digital micro moments define human values and truth or the Human – Machine Value Chain 

The removal of intimate connections and experiences with each other and the natural world takes its place along with the obliteration of mind, our social contract and sacred trust with the earth. They are mere footnotes to the digital abolition of our well-being and our world. It’s clear that digitization continues to be value-destroying with AI now leading the charge to reinvention, dissemination of labor and growth. The hyper-determination of ‘digital’ with virtual worlds that we find – disruption, manipulation, disordering, fake and innovation – all ambiguous terms for technological progress. The need is for further deep analysis into each of its core elements starting with its replacement for value. It calls out for new systems and processes beyond the encapsulated material subject and transactional meanings of everyday life. There are deep data-driven behavioral changes taking place every second of every day. It is indisputable that we need to be aware of them.  We require an account of individual digital experiences and its correlation to human behaviors. The effective impact of all the digital behavioral changes is a logarithmic function. This change is arguably the most significant of all for the human species. Thus, the importance of information (data points) and data quality to unify tiers of collaborative networks, engaging thinking and design, to effect cultural, social and global change. 

Technology, now defined increasingly by titan supranational corporations, is the foundation and control of our democracy, economy and information landscape. These technologies are at the core of human behavior with both socio-political and evolutionary adaptation. Until we understand the testing, deployment and social-ecological imperatives of our existing and new automated, augmented and virtual systems further (including AI, Machine Learning, Biotechnology, Robotics, Nanotechnology, Social Media, Voice Activation and other fast evolving technologies), we need to take our time and work through the evolution of these relationships to technologies first. We can start with Facebook. While it’s clear and necessary to distinguish fiction (fake X) from fact, our overarching economic and technology optimism needs to be tempered with deep learning, knowledge and human goals. The methodology encompasses a healthy dose of skepticism (questioning everything), disruptive idealism (diversity of thinking) and a fundamental transition to sustainable values (equality). 

Digital Violence, Hostages and Trauma Changing Humans

Systemic, institutionalized, promoted, addictive, obsessive, unique, proprietary, all-inclusive – all descriptions of the monopolies, corruption and abuse of responsibility. Their mantra: “Breaking All Rules”. Ironically, this seems to re-enforced by the current political climate of blithering, stupidities of tweeting leaders. Dr. B.J. Fogg (founder of the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab) is a psychologist and the father of persuasive technology, a discipline in which digital machines and apps — including smartphones, social media, and video games — are configured to alter human thoughts and behaviors. As the lab’s website boldly proclaims: “Machines designed to change humans.” 1  Digital violence harms the oppressor; not just the oppressed. It is a system, not just an action. Furthermore, it gives up our fundamental ability to feel, to empathize, to be moved, and thus achieve heathy relations. Genuine connections are lost.

Several hidden and sophisticated influence techniques [cf. Fogg Behavioral Model] are being used by the tech industry (and others) to hook and exploit users for profit and gain, young children, teens and adults. Digital human brain hacking and behavioral hijacking are weakening the wellbeing and social fabric of our communities. Furthermore, these design techniques provide tech companies a window into our hearts and minds. “Dark Design” (so called by programmers, is a manipulative design to fulfill a profit motive) has hijacked the internet and devices to gain market share and make large profits. The tobacco industry has taught its lesson well that addiction is good for business. Our virtual worlds are the new smoking. It is the destruction of our kids’ and (future) world together. Apple, Google, Facebook (to name a few titans) represent the silent assassins controlling both the quality of life and our social values. They are the very foundation of inequality, socially, culturally and globally. We need to advocate new ways to effectively communicate between humans and remove the virtual controls of what we think and do, manipulating behaviors and breaking bad data.

Collective Social Imperative: achieve real, healthy, living connections to everything (others, family, community, earth)

We are driving a false sense of deep singularity, rather than unifying human connections and our relation with natural forces. ‘Digital singularity’ continues to define deeply embedded human constraints of broken social, economic and global structures. This core process and development is one of human status with natural laws and genuine connections to everything. Instead the lack of genuine connections is the root cause of unhappiness, addictions, poor health, over-consumption, waste with the digital status driven by technological rules to control and define power over everything, mass hypnosis and digital trauma. This clinical distinction is both critical (defining medical aetiology) and vital for human survival. We need to recover the human face, the human status and connections with natural laws as differentiated from a deep digital status of artificial, virtual, automated machine laws. Machines won’t only converse with us (as some already do), but also read facial expressions, learn how to react, contributing to and controlling our emotions and actions. It’s time to genuinely exploit constraints to rapidly increase human well-being, a new medical biopsychosocial-ecological paradigm, deep community connections, enterprise collaboration necessary for the pace of change required for global socio-ecological sustainability.

“We human beings are biopsychosocial creatures whose health or illness reflects our relationship with the world we inhabit—including all the variables of family, class, gender, race, political status, and the physical ecology of which we are a part.” Dr. Gabor Maté

We can start to bring into focus and understanding certain subtle and critical patterns of digital interpersonal and transpersonal experience. We are concerned here with the facts of experience, the ties and web of manipulation, additive and obsessive behaviors. These patterns are rarely stable, often aggressive, and are changing quickly in the course of our lifetimes. The dependent polarities and modalities of healthy, breathing connections arise out of our common vortex, common needs and in relation to nature. The social walls and islands being built coalesce with abstractions, distortions, fears and nightmares. We are witnessing the growth of digitization along with the growth of dysfunctional relationships and the politics of division and fear.


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