Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming vastly popular, as its use has become more practical by the day. There is intense manipulation through AI tools on large networks and renowned social media platforms that most people are unaware of. The level of AI and tech-related influence in the market is almost scary, having an extensive effect on users.
They have proceeded to implement smarter machines that capture and connect their audience with pictures, videos, and other types of posts to maintain them. From notifications that alert your phone of some form of new news to pop-ups, companies track engagement and do their best to maximize it. It is interesting to consider what exactly upholds the perplexing nature of AI and its role in media consumption, be it positive or negative.
AI and Machine Learning
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If you were to seriously tell someone in the 19th century about the idea of computational algorithms and systems, you'd seem ludicrous. This technology was something unimaginable, and its functionality is wondrously interesting. Its history dates back to the 1950s when Arthur Samuel successfully created the first neural network machine with an essential understanding of how to respond to moves a player makes in the game of checkers.
Samuel developed a learning program that distinguished moves that were good and bad with high accuracy. This was the first form of the essence of machine learning, which is essentially some algorithm that allows a virtual system to recognize patterns to perform some task (in this case, winning checkers).
Like checkers, the AI behind social media tries to win you over by reeling in content that you've demonstrated related interest in some way. This is done by categorizing the content type, time spent interacting with the post(s), and engagement (likes, comments, subscriptions, or even a simple view). Keep in mind that this data is stored in what is called a digital footprint.
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If you are reading this, you have a digital footprint, which is essentially data you leave when using the internet. Think of this footprint as the path you've taken on the web. Social media organizations have various predictors based on machine learning tools that allow them to forecast potential paths you may take to capture and envelop your online activities.
Some immensely contributing factors as to the "why" behind this include money motives, hierarchy, and relationships between advertisers and social media companies. There is actually a show on Netflix I saw in my Theory of Knowledge class recently named "The Social Dilemma," and it covers this in decent depth, so check that out if you can to learn more.
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Social media have grown exponentially; over half of the world's population uses social media, up from 2.07 billion in 2015. This stat alone demonstrates the influence social media have today; it is where many people learn from, gain information from, and virtually interact. Computers can now process tens of thousands of photos with a program that allows them to think by analyzing large amounts of data in a matter of seconds.
The human psyche is extremely complex, and a computer cannot entirely match the interpretations we humans make, but the speed at which computers process a large amount of data is very advantageous. The advances in technology have resulted in a series of tools that make it convenient for moderation and experimentation in social media.
The Effects of AI
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Interestingly, humans are developing robots to think relatively closer to humans, which in turn makes humans think relatively closer to robots. Think about it—social media organizations are formulating programs that track user activity to gauge an active user base. Pop-ups that prompt one to click and find out more about it, whether it is just a notification that recommends some user or a post that captures attention, drive various motivations and behavioral shifts.
Programmers are in the process of developing progressively advanced recognition for these machines with complex interactions. This stems from people who develop algorithms with large amounts of training data that allow data automation for social media platforms to target a certain audience, pose content to users, and be used to assess user engagement. In many cases, this type of programmed machine learning causes enticement, which can be unhealthy. However, it can also provide opportunities to connect with people who have similar backgrounds, portfolios, and interests.
AI's effect and role in social media are interesting to think about. The next time you scroll through TikTok or any other social media platform, remember to go "hmmm".