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The Gamification of Public Discourse

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The Gamification of Public Discourse

An interesting talk.

Some "notes:"

Interesting distinction between echo chambers and filter bubbles.

How echo chambers maximize intelligibility.

How we tend to "trust" numbers more than qualitative results.

Even touches a little on our usual "hot button" education topic.

Is there any interest in my posting videos like this?  Will anyone watch them?  Maybe if I take some better notes and do better write ups?

OK, let me try again with some better notes:

A sort of initial thesis presented that we might be using, as a society, simplified morals as "pleasure."  That is, complex or nuanced morality is uncomfortable, so simplified, or clear morality has the pleasure of making us feel more secure and confident.  The speaker's concern though is that if this is the case, it does allow for the "gaming" of this system, where agents could present simplified moral stances to essentially manipulate people.  And, (maybe, possibly) since people enjoy the clarity, they are more than willing to accept the manipulation, even were it exposed as manipulation [my editorialized stance here].

A distinction, credited to the book Echo Chambers, by Jamieson and Campbell, between filter bubbles and echo chambers.  Filter bubbles as the case where you do not hear the "other side" and an echo chamber where you are informed to essentially not trust the "other side."  The speaker wants to note that we seem to be, as a society, much more in the latter than the former.  This is an interesting distinction and I would tend to agree, it is less of a non-hearing, and far more of a blanket mistrust of the "other side."

Clarity appeals to us because we need to sort of ration out our time and attention.  So we develop heuristic methods to give us a sense of when to begin and end investigations.  The sort of aesthetic quality is maybe one those those sort of heuristic method, so when things are clear we "feel" like an investigation has been sufficiently done.  Appeals to quantitative results, i.e. numbers, often give us this feeling of clarity because they eschew all the contextual details and relate, essentially, extremely well to themselves (i.e. makes comparison easy).

A notion of what the sort of social proliferation of "porn," in the sense of "food porn" and so on.  Pleasure without the attending costs and consequences of actually engaging with the thing.  So, food enjoyed without having to bother cooking it, paying for it, and the consequence of actually eating it.  So, the speaker draws the comparison that the echo chamber, the moral simplification is of the same sort, moral simplification for pleasure without having to engage in the more uncomfortable engagement with the complexity of the moral issues.

That means all this can be "gamed" by agents, looking to promote the moral simplification.

Of course the video lays all this out better than I can summarize though.

Yes, I love this stuff. I don't always have the time to read if life sweeps me away, but I have been able to check out most of what's posted here.

Definitely post. Some kind of summary or writeup would be interesting - with full knowledge that I'm likely not going to watch the video. A with sci's posts, I almost never read the full article but I do usually read his quoted bit and at least some of the commentary from you and others.

I tried to do a better summary.  The video is still better though, haha.


--- Quote from: H on February 28, 2020, 03:30:10 pm ---I tried to do a better summary.  The video is still better though, haha.

--- End quote ---

Summary was good, thanks for that, will try to watch the video though I am really bad at watching this sort of content even with the new speed up features on Youtube.

I think the challenge here is moral quales often do suggest a "purity" regarding particular issues. Sadly they are not the same issues for everyone [nor the same quales for the same issues].

Perhaps what's needed is a way to get people to reflect on morality itself, and how it is worth considering the quales you feel are not necessarily the ones others feel. OTOH, as the author Matthew Stover once noted, morality is precisely those rules that you think need to be enforced as otherwise we're talking about mere preferences.

I mean I do think people are gaming the "system" - see all the political pundits whoring themselves out to whatever mob will have them on Patreon - but I am not sure the issue is complexity. For example is the complexity of fetal biology really what makes someone pro-choice or pro-life? For the former the complexity is all the varied examples where delivering a baby would likely result in adverse outcomes whereas for the latter any argument for complexity is equivalent to trying to justify killing babies.


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