WeeklyTech #123

Content moderation can’t stop another January 6th​

Just over a year ago, a rogue group of protestors launched a violent assault on the United States Capitol, stoked by misinformation and a lie of a stolen election from those entrusted to lead us. That underlying problem of confusion and deception was already recognized when the riot happened, as the controversial congressional Jan. 6 commission has clearly illustrated, but recognition alone didn’t prevent the attack.

And in the year since, misinformation has only become more mainstream. It is an increasingly dangerous threat to our common public square. Truth is being redefined to fit partisan politics, and many struggle to know if what they read online is trustworthy. We need a solution to misinformation — but what?

Democrats argue social media companies must moderate or suppress more content online to protect people from mis/disinformation, while Republicans tend to say content moderation is ideologically fraught, an affront to free speech, and a contributor to much of the cultural polarization of the day.

Image credit:  illustration – The Week | Getty Images, iStock

The Rundown

John Deere’s Self-Driving Tractor Stirs Debate on AI in Farming – Will Knight | WIRED

DEERE & CO. helped mechanize agriculture in 1837 with the first commercially successful steel plow. On Tuesday, the company unveiled a machine that could prove just as transformative: a fully autonomous tractor.

Instagram is launching three home feeds, and one is chronological – Sarah Roach | Protocol

Instagram and Facebook have been criticized in recent months for prioritizing harmful content, and on Instagram specifically, that issue has reportedly had a negative impact on young users’ mental health. Lawmakers and Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen have called for time-ordered feeds like the one Instagram is bringing back as a way to address the issue.

There’s an internet debate raging over Web3 – Dan Primack | Axios

Web3 is many things, including the subject of a Twitter food fight over whether it’s the next Internet or just a niche financial technology.

With Transhumanism, What happens to human rights? – J.R. Miller | Mind Matters

Transhumanism (Humanity+ or hereafter H+) is a 20th– century endeavor grounded in rational humanism that trusts technological advances to answer two key questions of human existence: “What does it mean to be human?” and “What is the future of humanity?”

The perils of being in the know – Daniel Darling | WORLD

We can’t know what 2022 will bring, but we can control the way we approach the inevitable onslaught of information that is a feature of living in this digital age. We can make wise decisions about who we trust and whose worldview shapes the way we understand the times. This is an age of disinformation, biased news, and agenda-based media, and Christians need discernment to avoid being catechized by half-truths.

The complexities of online content moderation: Highlights from my conversation with Julie Owono – Shane Tews | AEI

The debate around online content moderation is not slowing down. People remain bitterly divided over whether social media platforms should take down more content, or not moderate at all. Meanwhile, outside the US, authoritarian regimes are censoring online dissenters and retaliating against citizens who share certain content. How are content moderation experts working to solve these ever-complex issues?