The internet is giving us 'information diabetes' - expert

Empty data might be as harmful as empty calories, according to a Kiwi tech entrepreneur now based in Silicon Valley. 

Sean Gourley, CEO of machine intelligence company Primer, spoke with Newshub Nation about the dangers of our ever-increasing access to information.

"It's like an analogy to hunger. It used to be getting calories was important and then at some point, we figured out you could make calories cheaply and then suddenly diabetes and obesity became an issue.

"I think we're in the same place with information. It has become so easily accessible that we're just saturated in it and what we're getting now is the equivalent of information diabetes and information obesity."

Gourley says while sites like Facebook and Youtube often act as a filter between internet users and the information ocean, they rely too heavily on algorithms which promote radical content or disinformation.

"If you've spent time on YouTube and accidentally clicked on a chemtrails video you're very quickly going to find yourself in the world of alt-right conspiracy theories and they'll keep serving you up those videos.

He says 70 percent of YouTube's viewed content is driven by the algorithm running its 'recommended' function.

"One of the things that algorithm has 'learned' - if you want to call it that - is that extremist or more extreme content is a great way of keeping people engaged."

Facebook announced today that it will ban 'white nationalist and separatist' posts but Gourley says the problem runs deeper than content moderation.

"We've replaced human editors with very cheap algorithms and I think we're seeing the consequences of that."

Pointing to the upcoming US Presidential Election, Gourley warns that weaponised fake news and misinformation have come a long way since 2016.

"The technology that we saw in 2016 was extremely primitive. It was effectively people with English as a second language sitting in a troll factory in Russia typing out divisive comments,

"What we're seeing now is the capability of machines to generate images that are indiscernible from reality…so I think we can assume that now they exist they will be turned against us or against democracy in the 2020 elections."

Watch the video. 

Newshub Nation.

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