156: Jaron Lanier | Why You Should Unplug from Social Media for Good


Welcome to the show. I'm Jordan harbinger. As always I'm here with my producer Jason to Filipo using social media is like living in a behaviorist cage, you're constantly being watched analyzed and manipulated rather than any particular technology, the business model of the social media companies that are watching you will that is the underlying problem, this business model relies on selling your data to advertisers that want to change the way that you act and convince you to buy it also encourages some serious aide whole behavior deprives, you of your economic dignity hampers, the democratic process and even undermines your experience of humanity. What's worse, the filter bubble makes us all see things that confirm our own world views, and surround us with people who think the same way as we do. This is so dangerous today Gerin linear one of the architects of the early and not so early internet dissect how these media companies curate, and essentially control what we see think and feel if you wanna know how I manage to book guests like. Aaron and manage my relationships with hundreds even thousands of people I used systems, and I use tiny habits, and I'm teaching you these for free over in our level. One course over at Jordan, harbinger dot com slash level one. All right. Here's Jaron Lanier. I'll tell you when I was prepping the show I saw that your childhood sounded pretty wild, my wife, and I were like, wait a minute. Then what happened hold on? What like there's it was kind of like a lifetime movie gypsy upbringing in a way. Again. I mean, it wasn't intentionally. So what had happened was? Might parents were both through Veivers of deadly antisemitism in Europe, my mom's after concentration camp in Austria. She's from Vienna. My dad's family was mostly wiped out by pogroms in Ukraine. Okay. And they met as survivors in this very bohemian kinda cool kids world of the fifties near city, and when they had a kid which could be me they had this impulse to run. Because what happened is my mother's family didn't leave Vienna soon. Enough, many others did they didn't they waited too long. And of course, it haunts me these days I have a daughter now. And you know, you wonder what's happening in the US, and you know, try to make these Beth's, but none of us really know for sure anyway, they were going through that. And I think it can with this calculation. We need to get as far from civilization as possible. But. We've got these American citizens ships now that has to be in the US, and we have to be in a college town, for God's sakes. And so the most remote place, they could find that had a decent university was in southern New Mexico, and the place they landed was actually very close to record McCarthy lives, very close to the blood Meridian territory, I recognize every Little Rock and branch in that novel. And I initially didn't have a gypsy childhood. At all initially, my mom raised me like a kind of a high pressure. European mom would had me take a bus across the border every day to Mexico because in those days, Mexico is more advanced it had schools that were couple years ahead of the Texas schools and everybody who cared what their kids sent their kids over the border in little buses Riley. Yeah. So that Mexico was where the intellectuals the artists were and where you went to get your kids educated. It'd be like sending kids to Switzerland or something that's and cried DAT know that back then. Oh, yeah. And Mexico was this place that was. Not develop. There was still developing. But it had a sweetness about it. It was it was like Italy or something it was like this place. People love to love to you know. And but then the gypsy part starts when my mom dies in a car accident. When when I'm about nine, and then things really do gift strange. It's true. Yeah. I I'm reading about this. And it's like, you your debt you became the midwife you delivered a baby for this frontal. I didn't I didn't exaggerate. So you shouldn't either. I was a midwife assistant, dear friend. Yeah. I are quick mom dies. It turns out. My mother was the breadwinner. So we were suddenly super poor in our house burned down, probably antisemitic arson algebra. Yeah. It was this part of the country that time was pretty rough. There was a lot of violence. We weren't at the bottom of the social wrongs that would be reserved for what we're called she Konno's or Hispanics of Mexican ancestry. They were they were really put upon pretty badly. One of the kids in my school was murdered by their kids in the school. And they got away with it. Yeah. Now, that's I mean America in that period. Is specially like rural and remote America was rather violent. And and awful and scary. It's it's one of the reasons why these days win some some of the internet. Idealist would say oh the internet Sydney wild west and we're gonna we're the Packers of the Cowboys. I'm thinking, oh, God that was horrible the the wild west was terrible. I was there like we don't want that. But anyway, what happened was we didn't have any money. So we moved to this piece of super cheap desert land with all our stuff under tarps, and we lived in tents and gradually built this crazy house that my dad, let me design, and as I so it's a very long and crazy story. But yes, indeed, it's true. When I needed to start making money, I did become an assistant midwife, and it was for a service that helped indigent farm worker. So we'd run around into fields and help women who were giving birth in fields. I mean, it was just in the field. Yeah. Because they couldn't they weren't documented. So they couldn't go anywhere L. Wow. Yeah. So you deliver this baby. And I guess the guy who with prison at the time the the father. When he gets out. He gives you this car. That's got bullet holes in it. Well, yeah. Yeah. I mean, what happened was the mother had some sort of mental difficulty and was institutionalized shortly after the birth babies and documented devs and jail. He had been caught up smuggling drugs across who your grand river and grand river. Moore's just sort of a muddy thing with a bit of water, and it it's you can drive across it sort of. But the cargo stock bullet holes and car it was just sitting there he gets out, and he says would you like a car and in those days, I must have been. I'd have to reconstruct it, but it was probably about fifteen or sixteen years old or something. I was hell. Yeah. You want a car Boyd? Did I want to know it made because there's no other option in those days. Like you walked you hitchhiked or you had a car? There's no other option because the conditions weren't good for cycling. I mean, it was just that was it, you know. And so I got this car and he said oh bullet holes. We'll we'll put bumper stickers over the bullet holes that worked actually pretty well it had rotted out in the rivers. He could see the the street going by under your feet. Can yet really careful not to burn yourself on the exhaust because it was hot and Novak seats. But I turned it the other thing I did for money aside from being an assistant midwife is a had a goatherd, and I sold milk and cheese, and this paid for my undergraduate education. I was reading college at started college early. So in these years, I had to pay for tuition and stuff. So I used to make good milk and sell it. And this is a car. It was a dodge slant six which and those were indestructible and. I drove it to Silicon Valley eventually, and it served me through my first years here. And I cried when I finally decided I have to give it up it. I'm surprised it didn't just sort of disintegrate while parked. You know, it almost did I used to I was thrown to the ground by cops a few times round Paolo Alto. When I finally made it to Silicon Valley because they see me starting it. But with wires United him have a key. Oh, thinking stealing it who would steal this. It's it's really mine. But yeah, I missed it. I missed it a lot when I have to give it up. What brought you? This is all decidedly low tech. Right. So what brings you to Silicon Valley at that point? I mean, kid kidding New Mexico by now, I've been to New York and back. That's a whole story. I'm probably about seventeen and have my first serious girlfriend. Okay. She turns out to be visiting her these strange mom from her family. Her dad is back in L A. And he happened to be the head of the Caltech physics department, which I didn't know she goes back after the summer bacteria. Pasadena. I chase her as you might expect someone to do. And I suddenly landed in Pasadena, and I'm like the weird boyfriend of the charming daughter of the head of the physics department, which is some sort of weird role in the community. And it turned out to be a really important moment for me. Because even though it was informal, it meant I was spending time with people like Richard Feynman and learning things, and I already had a math background by. It's a my I haven't even gone into it. But I had a crazy other story going on. So I was it was an amazing time and eventually are really kids. So she met somebody else we're still friends now. And she can remember this other guy's name Lee win long game. I yeah. I mean. Yeah, you know, the I. I guess and so I had to do something. And I just ended up actually potted ride on the back of her brother's motorcycle up to Santa Cruz, and then I lived in Santa Cruz Rosza bus guy play music to played on a sidewalk and lived in this absolutely preposterously, unsafe and unhealthy and revolting. Compressed group household, by the beach with all these like surfer kids. Oh, my got 'em. Everybody was thinking. No, you do math. You should go over the hill to Silicon Valley, you know. And I it hadn't even I was kind of an country kid. I didn't even think that way. But I finally went over one day in my jalopy in that same car and discovered that my skills were valuable in this funny place, and the yeah, that's how I ended up and you named and founded virtual reality, which when I was reading your story. I was thinking, okay. Your non virtual reality is kind of chaotic. So maybe there was some a lure to like, hey, there's this whole world I can construct where I'm not getting chased by anti-semites and lose my girlfriend, and you know, endanger of having my foot stripped off by the street is I drive. Yeah. I guess there's something to that. If your life is strange enough than maybe reality can be where you find normalcy. I there might be something to it. When we get to a few years later in stories, what Timothy Leary we can cover that angle. If you want. But I started out doing music for videogames because I really like so many young people I was into music, I was into tech, and I really wanted to decrease the music, and I really wanted to text I did music for super early videogames eight bit era ones. And then eventually started making my own games ahead one that was pretty successful. But it's very very strange. It would still seem strange today. I think and it was called moon dust, and it was this is like pren- intendo or what what what would have been. Yeah. This was way pren- intendo at this. This was eight bit time. So we already had things like the Commodore and the apple two was out. And of course, the Atari the first console and that was kind of it. It was before there was such a thing as a P C. Yeah. Okay. And then I I had this one hit game called moon. Does that actually generated a lot of royalty? And so some friends, and I we moved into this little collection of old sort of bungalows or shack. Along a creek on a dirt road in Palo Alto, kind of place that just doesn't exist there anymore, and we all live there, and we started what are you know, the dream was to build retrea Audi. That was what we wanted to do. So people were thinking about virtual reality in the eighties. Well, sure, I mean when you get into retreat, one of the ways, you can stay up all night and have conversations is to talk about exactly when it started in which had count, and what's the prehistory and all that? But the first headset that track so that as you move your head. There's a compensated three d virtual world that appears to be stationary outside you which is one threshold for when you can start talking about it. I have in Sutherland the inventor of computer graphics proposed that in the mid sixties and built one in sixty nine. So that would be the first headset. I made the first commercial one and I made their enough one wants to click. I I could come up with other. I semi the first mass produced one or production line one and made the first color one. And the first the first one that was. Fully self supported in every sense. And and the firsthand interactions with clubs the first multi person one, and we did a lot of the first applications like surgical, sim and designing interiors and vehicle prototyping in a kind of stuff like that. So and indeed the term virtual reality was meant initially to be a contrast to the original term. So when I've in Sutherland who still with us in his currently in Oregon and working on an amazing idea for a different approach to making chips where instead of a central clock all the different parts of the chip are coordinating in an emergent way. And it's it's very cool and interesting philosophically, but anyway, Ivan's original term was virtual world, which he got from art theorist name Susanne Langer from the forties and fifties. And I thought if that's virtual world than if you do a multi person when we should call that virtual reality because reality is shared world. So that's where virtual reality came from. And also back then we had mixed reality. Which is for when you have a combining display. Which we did some prototypes of his well, but never sold commercially in those days, but let me let me assure you, you can find people who will want to talk about this all night and argue about little minute show, which term is this to the I mean on my God, his snow end. Yeah. Well, one of the reasons that I wanted to talk to you. I'm of course, I'm curious about all the tech. But you've not this book that my producer. Jason is a big fan of yours, by the way, basically made me read which is ten arguments for deleting your social media gins. And when I read it, I it struck some fear into me, and I wanna dive into this because this is something even my parents are on social media at this point. And so first of all you have no social media accounts. At all, correct. Though this Kirk there many fake versions of me. Yes. There's periodically fake Jaren linear on Twitter and whatnot. I think Mr Putin maintains a whole base went to fake turn laniers. Whereas I can tell you maybe. Yeah. You're listening to the Jordan harbinger show with our guest. Jaron lanier? We'll be right back. This episode is sponsored in part by athletic greens. What is the most important meal of your day? Traditionalist swear by breakfast, while the rest of us argue about the merits of lunch over dinner vice versa. And if you're already toughest nails like recent guest general Stanley, crystal maybe only have one meal a day. You can call it. Whatever the hell you want. But I know whatever the most important meal of my day as it's probably gonna involve athletic greens. Especially if I'm traveling around the road athletic greens is a supplement source from seventy five whole food ingredients feels energy immunity digestion helps manage stress I got plenty of that. So I need all the management. I can get. It's also got essential vitamins and minerals. 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They think I'm being a I when I talked Krista. Look, the first thing I want to say is I don't think social media in some broad sense is necessarily bad. I don't think it passed to be bad forever. I think that there's this business model that makes it bad. And so people can connect together in things like social media, very, positively. And if you want me to give you an example of one that I think is positive now, I can actually come up with a future a get hub for programmers is like that. It's kind of like social media. It's not about third parties. Manipulating you. It's about direct clev- ration- contact between the people who are doing things, and it seems mostly really positive to me really productive. It seems to be doing the good work of civilised. Nation, and it seems to be improving the lives of people who are on it. There's nothing compulsory about being on it. People. Don't feel like they have no choice. But I think it's good for them. So that's that's an example, and that's kind of specialized, but what's happened with kind of mainstream social media's has been taken over by this advertising paradigm. And with that means is anytime to people connect it's financed by some third person who wants to manipulate those people and the whole system because that's the only way anybody makes money the whole system becomes optimized for that or addiction manipulation sneaky means trickiness. And once it's optimized for that. Then it's really easy for bad actors to create millions of fake people to create fake social perception to create just fake perception fake news, fake paranoia. Sneered abilities to get people distracted or shutdown very common strategy. And so the whole thing is kind of turned into garbage. And if you. Look at at examples where you don't have everything optimized for these third parties who believe they can manipulate you. It doesn't have to be that way. And I mentioned it hub is when example, I there's some others. But I I've been liking that one lately because there you have a really positive online community. Like, why can't we do that for other aspects of life? Yeah. And you explain why that that doesn't work and later in the book, and one thing that really struck me was that people have different views of reality entirely, speaking of virtual reality because we're actually seeing totally different things on social media. So it's not like I'm sitting in the same room with my mom and dad over the holidays watching Fox News or MSNBC, right? It's it's everyone, you know, online every video YouTube feeds you every personality your presented that you then follow. They're all curated to reinforce a specific view. And we're all kind of getting grouped into these different groups based on what we are what we're doing online. And that way, we all kind of seem crazy to each other. Because. Of the algorithm. Yeah. So the thing is if each person has a personalized feed, and this is very important. That's calculated to manipulate the person that's calculated to change behavior patterns that person and make no mistake if that wasn't going on Facebook would be bankrupt. Because that's the only product they have to sell. That's what they do when you put money into it. That's what you're by. So. If everybody seeing the slightly different world that's optimized manipulate them. Then when they talk to each other. They don't have as much of a basis of shared experience as they need to have to fully empathize. And so when you talk to somebody who's been using social media. It's kind of weird. It's like you haven't been they've been away and their social media world, but everybody has been and then it's almost like we all become slightly strangers or every single day we've returned from some weird vacation that nobody else can relate to him. And you start have this strange way in which things on feel real anymore because things feel real through social perception when when you have people evolved to pay attention to it, the people around them are paying attention to we worked together as a group like mere cats if you like kind of looking out and in the book, I describe an experiment, my friends ice city when we were little kids where you go out into a crowd on a street and just like certain looking at something, and pointing everybody will be looking even if there's nothing, and that's that's. Kind of persuasion and social media. And if if there's no agreement on what all that stuff is you're in this, the the real world becomes less real it becomes less shared, and it doesn't have to be that way sharing online shouldn't decrease the reality of offline real world stuff. But if you do it this way, it does to Rapin into how this actually works. Right. So the algorithm. Ick customization everyone's personal feed among other things looks different. And so because people who are listening to this who aren't really technically inclined might be like, wait. I'm seeing the same thing that my husband is saying that my girlfriend is saying that my kids are seeing on social media, and that's not that's not the case the feed is different that YouTube curation, so everything we're being fed has essentially been tailored just for us, especially on the big platforms like Google Facebook. And Instagram what happens in practice is the story that the programmers tell themselves is that. That we're measuring data from people and using it to optimize experience of people. But in practice that becomes a manipulating people in guiding them because there's no way to tell which is happening. Like, if you if you say, well, I'm going to have this algorithm. Do more of whatever seems to be predictive for the person that might be that you're taking data and optimizing something. So it's perfect for the person or might be that you're changing the person to match your data. You have no way of telling which is more true as the what I mean. Yeah. A bit of a subtle point. And so so within ends up happening is they tend to sort of cluster people together to corral them into groups of. But the problem is when you're corralled into a group of shared perception, it doesn't help that problem. I was just talking about people living in different realities because those aren't even necessarily people, you know, so the algorithm might corral you into shared perception about the latest music and a politician in the latest. Fees and the latest nose picking trends on YouTube, regardless what I shouldn't make fun of the silly stuff. Okay. With whatever people like, it's great. But you know, it might corral you into group of similar people, and it has to do statistics on large populations to learn. But there's no guarantee that, you know, those people there's no guarantee that you're interacting with them. So on the one hand at Corrales you into type on the other hand, it does it in such a way that it. It doesn't reduce at problem of you and other people not quite living in the same world. You should getting the worst of both both approaches and that not living in the same world. Erodes? Our empathy for one another right is is kind of what I understood from the book. Right. So since we can't understand every each other. So well, we kind of don't have the same ability of feel for them either. Yeah. So empathy is a really interesting idea. The term empathy was actually invented by psychologists in in Germany along time ago who were trying to imagine. Something like virtuality. So the very idea of empathy as part of the history of virtual reality. It was originally a part of this idea that if you could imagine yourself positioned as any part of the universe. And some of the original examples where if you could imagine yourself being a leaf blowing in the wind or a mountain re could feel forests growing on your body that sort of thing that extreme exercise in changing who you are would then help you able to experience life in some of the person's shoes in comparison is so different from you. And then you might become kinder and less likely to be, you know, racist or biased or dismissive that was the original idea, and that was part of the early idealism virtual reality when we got around to it the in the eighties. But unfortunately, when I it's not working that way at all. Because instead you're being optimized for the for the purpose of whoever's paying for the advertising or whoever is nippy letting the system with a bunch of. Aac people and it and therefore it's kind of the metaphor use. Sometimes it's like their kin be therapeutic hypnotists, but if you hypnotize, but somebody who's working for another person, you don't even know who that is then there's incredible potential for abuse. And probably everything gets a little weird and crazy, and that's kind of what's happened to the internet. So this isn't just harmless ecommerce because look my counter argument here would be I like seeing relevant ads. I want ads for stuff I might want. What's wrong with that? Yeah. You know, the whole Anthony was really cute at first because we wanted the we wanted to pretend we're in the socialistic environment. Like that was very intensely desired by the kind of leftist early internet culture to want to pretend were giving freely in receiving things for free. But at the same time, we worshiped people like Steve Jobs, the big entre preneurs, so we wanted to have some way to do business, but still feel socialists and the advertising idea seems to solve that. And so Google was kind of forced into corner. The internet culture would have accepted. No other. Solution. Because it's the only solution that gives you both passions at once, and it I it really was cute you'd see relevant ads to didn't know there was that dentist in my neighborhood. That's cool. And the problem with it is at in its crudest form, it's fine. But over the years, the computers, get faster and faster the internet gets higher band with the algorithms become more sophisticated all the players and the system learn and get more clever, and so the the incentive to manipulate that's inherent in that just gets optimize optimize optimize and to certain point. We get so good at it. Screwing with each other. If that's what the internet's optimized for that. It's no longer advertising. It's no longer. Just like, oh, I'm seeing relevant ads. It turns into the stark thing that no person can even be conscious of it becomes this really creepy new world of massive behavior modification and and that is different from advertising. It's different from what we've ever meant by advertising in the past. Let's talk a little bit about why. Let's see advertising plane plane in a away and these sort of covert ads or covert behavior. Modification look I run ads on the show. I don't put them in the middle of the conversation because I don't need to I can put them in imposing. But Howard those ads different from the things that were that you're talking about online than our insidious. Well, there are a few important differences. One thing is that the ad is not creating your show. Whereas if you're looking at a news feed that's made of a lot of little a lot of short pieces that are put together in order to enhance the effect of the ad then the ad is creating experience. And in fact, in the book, I stayed the podcasts or one example of of of something happening in the internet that hasn't yet been corrupted. So I don't have any objection to advertising per se I have objection to advertising that's targeted and creates the content. That's the tail wagging the dog in that's where and you can draw red line of where we're about when that starts to happen. Advertising per se. I actually have a pretty positive assessment of I feel I feel that even though I often find advertising annoying overall it's helped humanity. Learn about modern ity and moves technologies moved and overall. I think that that's been to the good. I think it's helped people adjust in mass to the new possibilities of new products and services, it's been good for us. So I I'm not anti advertising. My ads are probably the least annoying part of the show. And I'm gonna help you keep them that way. By the way, before I forget, I know we're going to dive into a bunch of stuff here but behavioral manipulation and sort of speaking of like, the AI bought sucking up you won't have seen this. But there's this. I don't know what you would even call it. Now, hashtag kind of going around that's called the ten year challenge. And what you do is you take. Oh, you do follow that stuff? Okay. So you take that old photo that's ten years ago. You take place them side by side. And I did that because I thought oh, that's fun. And then somebody was like don't do that. You're the social media companies probably invented this. So that they can improve their aging detection algorithm. And I was like damn that might be true or it's could just be VS conspiracy theory origins, actually, be kind of both, you know, invented by normal person. And now being used for that. So one thing to say is that all it takes a few students here on social media and just listening to them and talking a little bit over coffee once a week. And you're totally up on all the means and everything like, it's really like I feel like I'm as up as hard core user, and it takes me like three minutes week. It's really not hard to keep all you should spend because it doesn't merit more than that. As to whether somebody at Facebook deliberately set this up. I have no idea might they find some use in it after the fact anyway for this. This creepy purpose. Maybe I mean, a a lot of times people doing machine vision research will try to come up with some kind of a social game to get people to say tag Catherine's dogs in order to improve algorithms for cats and dogs. Let me bring up one angle on this certain thing that perhaps your listeners haven't thought about which I think about a lot which is the kinetics of it. Because you've probably heard this trope. Oh, hey, this time it's different than you technology. This time's going to throw you out of work. Even though in the past every time, there is new technology just created new jobs, a is different. Because a I really replace as a person at whatever the job isn't. So then there is no new job. And there aren't convenient jobs running the AI because those are very specialised Matthey. You know, you need a degree from Caltech to doom kind of jobs. Okay. So. Not you in my view. What happens is? In fact, we need data from people to run a I and we currently steel that data through social media. And then tell the people that obsolete like, for instance, with language translation, this is my favorite example. Because I think it's clear the people do language translation half to steal tens of millions of new example phrase translations from bilingual people every single day just to keep up with pop culture. Memes and politics news and all that stuff, and those people are seeing their careers just go away because if the automated translation systems, and they're being told, oh, you'll be obsolete, except we still need them. So all this little data like the tenure challenge when we give a programs data, we're being stolen from and then we're being told RAV sleet, I mean, it's it's a lie at if there's something terribly creepy, and this is sort of a spiritual crime there to tell people. You're worthless. When you're actually needed, I definitely agree. And I look I I don't wanna read a novel translated by Google translate from German to English. It's going to be a little rough right? Google algorithm points want you to read a novel at once you to watch when video and then another another recommends until it turns into some really horrible. You know, creepy paranoid irritability enhancing stupid video from somewhere. That's what that's what YouTube appears to want taste. Yes. Some sort of lock work orange scenario. Yeah. So all right argument. Number one social media community late your behavior in it puts your free will under threat. And what you said in the book is we're in a cage, we're being watched manipulated and analysed while inside this cage. Now, a lot of people are gonna go. Okay. You sort of explained why? But I I get it fee. The we're feeding the algorithm and Kaifu Lee came in here before when it was talking about how China's gonna win because they have more data. Because of course, they have more people in there really in there up in their business. So to speak, but how're algorithms actually predicting behavior? What how is this? How is how is this algorithm? Taking like seemingly a relevant data and in. How is this making something that that can hurt us? It's it's just a boatload of statistics laid on top of a structure that sometimes called neural nets where you have a whole bunch of little place keepers for intermediate results of those statistics that are related to one another, and it's not that hard to understand. But it's very rarely explained. And I don't think I can do it with audio alone share. But let me give you an example of how it works. Let's mentioning over thermostat in the thermostat crumbs off and on his temperature moves, and then you say wait, I want to turn the thermostat to be different. If a person's in the room. So suddenly like, there's this other thing that's measuring it for persons in the room or not in its related. So you can think of that as being like two neurons, then you add an ad and add to that. And if you build systems like that, they can start to discriminate more and more and more different situations and act accordingly and eventually you can get them to recognize whether pictures a cat or dog. But it's really just an accumulation of that same principle of compounding, a whole lot of little things and they build up in layers of little accumulators minute. Perspective keepers, you might say. And so the thing about this is that they're sort of stupid. If you look at what any one of them knows it has nothing to do with what the whole achieves collectively. So in the in a social case, there might be one of them. That's looking at everybody who likes the flavor cherry and do they core? Does that correlate with them having blonde hair, and it might be only so in certain regions, and it might be just this weird thing? It means nothing. But then if it turns out that all those blonde haired cherry liking, people responded to a certain Adna certain way, then the q. Emulators will find the correlation than somehow by magic that similar ad will go to other people who share those qualities see you end up with this sort of quality, bingo for humans, you end up with this statistical way of classifying people according to random stuff, and there's no real science at the bottom of it. We don't know why these correlations exist, but statistics is real. And so you tend to start to be able to manipulate people just through being able to experiments on hundreds of millions or billions of people at once you'll find these correlations that actually work on people. And they're few cases were social scientists get to work at Facebook and try to untangle what's really going on. But for the most part it just happens in this way. That's completely blind. And yet it works. You're listening to the Jordan harbinger show with our guest. Jaron lanier? We'll be right back after this. 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And then they don't like green when they see green in an ad it, they click on it very few. They haven't aversion road. And then we then we surround a political candidate in green when we show it to those people, and then they don't like that person anymore. Is that over simplification or not really I mean, in a way the ridiculousness that comes out in. That example, is is good because it is kind of ridiculous. It's just these little things and through a multitude of tests, blindly, the algorithms just discover what works a lot of it. It might be to do with colour. It might be to do with timing. It might be to do with. How many other messages you mix in before you get to the when you care about it might be just the whole world of things. I mean, they're the. There's a a nobody's ever cataloged all this. And and the thing is it's not transparent, and it's impossible to really know. What's being done t I think the most important result? That's come out of the research in this area. Particularly the research published by the companies themselves like Facebook zone papers is that when faced with proves it can make people sad. Or when Facebook proves it can repressive vote, or you know, these are things it's published as scientific papers, the people couldn't have pulled that they that. It was happening to them nobody ever detected it, and I think that's the main thing to get out of this is that when you use this weird indirect statistical technique. There's a certain creepy nece to it because you can't know about it in the old days when people used to get paranoid about advertising are there subliminal messages. At least you knew you were looking at an ad at least, you know, you could just like not look at the ad or something, but in these systems because you don't even know where the lines of attack. Are you don't know where the lines are drawn like right now as we're talking we know this is not an ad, right? And that is something. This isn't. Calculated. This is actual reality. This is just me talking with you agree with me or not. But online, you know, in this it once you're dealing with these manipulation algorithms, particularly from Google and Facebook, you're in this world where you don't know. What's being done to you? Yeah. It's a little scary. I mean, and they sell our information where the product not the client, which I think is a little scary people, always go. I someone telling the other day. I don't understand why I can't get my Instagram back. It got blocked, and you know, their customer services terrible. And I was like, oh, I think their customer services great. You're just not one of their customers. Yeah. That's exactly right. Yeah. You're not when people think their customer these companies, if you're not paying them, you're not a customer, right? Yeah. You know what? I mean. It's really simple. If you want them to pay attention to you by two million dollars a year with advertising, and I'm sure that someone will call you back and figure out how to solve your problem. Yeah. I don't know what that threshold is. I don't know if it's two million. I have no idea. Yeah. It'd be less, and it's actually. Yeah. It really it really probably depends on the medium. And I don't know if that's a whole different kind. Question, but we're not being tracked by name supposedly. But it doesn't really matter. Right because we're being lumped into these little boxes it kind of center. That's really strange thing. That's one of the reasons why I'm not sure that privacy is threat way to think about this. Because if you say like in the the European new laws that GDP are well, your particular like your name your address, we're going to cover that stuff. But the thing is this whole world of correlations just routes around that like if it can just figure out that your the person with dreadlocks who has a blue phone case in it for whatever it is. You know, lives in Berkeley. Like, it ima sense. Once you do enough of that stuff. That's actually better than having this specific name, and you can always drive the name. Anyway, I mean that's been shown again, and again, and again, so privacy per se is probably not really even a useful way to slice this. Yeah. Kind of doesn't matter. If someone knows you're addressing your name. If they know you're I caller how often you get your haircut. What time you wake up in the morning, the type of coffee and clothing that you buy in the area where you live. Yeah. Ultimately, identity is a collection of quantities even more deeply than it is a particular address or name. And if they have that it's even better. So yeah, I that's why the approach I've owes take into this is that we need to change the business model completely if we want to fix this, otherwise it'll just be switching slightly between flavors of hell until we finally realized we just cannot afford to do this anymore. If we want to survive, and of course, the simple answer is stop using it. But the problem is social media's designed to be addictive. And we know was it, Sean. Parker who said something like, yeah. We're actually messing with your dopamine response with like we're doing that on purpose. Yeah. Sean, Sean said that in the last few years now, here's the weird thing. I knew Sean back in the day when he was the first president of Facebook. And I really don't think he was thinking that way at that time. I think they were still kind of idealistic and thought they were doing this great thing for the world. There was a lot of ego. They were there was a lot of mania. But I don't feel that they were like trying to be evil. And I sometimes wonder if maybe he's misery membrane in thinking that they have this whole evil plan in order to cast himself as like this evil bond villain because that'd be really glamorous. I don't know. I mean, he should have seen as like type of guy who'd be like, you know, let me lean into this. I already got played by Justin Timberlake in that movie. So I said it's an order to go. But like, yeah. Like, maybe being the bad guys and so bad. I I don't know. I haven't talked to him in years. I I don't know where he's coming from right now. But at any rate at this time, he saying they didn't know what they were doing and that it was deliberate. Can you explain how it and you call these systems bummer in the book? Yeah. Explain how it focuses us on being addicted to likes views, followers, and things behavior of users made into an empire for rent. But I missing when m and there I just need to come up with some name for it the business model happened as I said because we wanted to have the feeling of socialism, but also have the romance of capitalism, and this added paradigm was the way to get both things at once. And then that was when it was just low tech and just barely beginning. And it was cute, but it's morphed into this horrible thing. I don't think the idea of connecting with people online is inherently bad, otherwise, what would I be doing with my life? I've devoted myself to making that work. Right. And as I say, I think there are. Samples podcast. I've mentioned to hear podcasts get up, and I could mention any other where I think people connect over networks in a way that's positive and doesn't have this kind of weird darkness in manipulation in this this kind of negativity, right? And even within Facebook and Twitter and so forth. You there are very substantial numbers of people have positive experiences. Right. It's it's it's a statistical distribution here. This is a your milk, Irv. I making. And so so I'm not denying the positivity that a lot of people experience on fortunately, we know for many measures at their experiences, a typical and there's more negatively, but in theory, you could have a really positive thing similar to Facebook. In fact, there were some early ones that were more positive in theory should have something similar to YouTube. That's much more positive. And in fact, I think we do net. Netflix is not perfect. But it's better. It's it's a different sort of thing. But the net flicks is addictive just asked my wife, but I I love net flex, but the differences I'm paying for it. So they don't have really have their Evan incentive to keep me there by making great stuff. They don't need to like trick me into giving out. All this details. I suppose there's a little bit of stupid paranoid neared ability to inducing stuff on Netflix or some weird conspiracy movies earned stuff, but it's not dominant. It doesn't you don't automats go there in the way, you do if you fall. Oh, the advice that YouTube algorithms give you, and I think Netflix is instructive because there used to be a time when nobody felt they've ever pay for video because we could get video for free on torrents and everything was going to be volunteer from there on out there. We would kill capitalism from media that was like a dearly held universal passionate mainstream belief in the internet world at a certain point. And Netflix proves hey, you know, what we can't pay for this stuff. If we if they give us something that's worth paying for. It's not that bad. It can. And I think this idea of peak TV that's happened since we started paying directly for TV instead of waiting for advertisers to to support something we want to see this this this connections the audience. It's perfect. I don't love everything I met flicked, sir. Amazon prime whatever. But it's better. Right. And I keep when imagining what would peak social media be like what would peak? Search be like. Can I I imagine these things as taking the parts of the services that are currently positive, but just amplifying them and getting rid of all the creepy crap. I think a lot of people do exhibit some addict behavior on social media, though to your point. I mean, in fact, I think you gave a couple examples of social media kinda becoming the new cigarettes where it's a looked at as a little bit as a vice, and I would agree with that too. It into an extent. Well, the comparison to cigarettes is interesting to me in a way that I wanna spend positively okay because we have some examples in our past of massive dictionaries with commercial connections that we nonetheless were able to address in a reasonable way. So with cigarettes for generations through the twentieth century. The secret was the cool thing and being anti cigarette. Made us some kind of unsexy fuddy duddy and everybody smoked whether it was a businessman or the punk. Everybody was smoking because that was the cool sexy thing and then somehow enough. People that out of that addiction mold just to be able to look at it and say man, this has got to be the stupidest thing ever. Why should we condemn a bunch of kids to get lung cancer over the stupid thing? Like, and we didn't make it illegal. We're not throwing people in jail. We ended up doing with marijuana. We just said, hey, you know, we'll keep you out of public places. We'll do things like that made a huge difference. So I think we need our another one is whether it's against drunk drivers addiction system tighter commercial interest. None the less there enough people who are able to dress it. And so the fact that those movements happened a gambling another one which is technically gambling addiction technically much more similar than chemical addictions to social media diction. And so in all of those cases, we record we recognized that this industry is leading us to ruination, and we need to find some way to steer doesn't. We don't have to go to extremes. We just need to steer. And in this case. I don't think we need to ban social media. I don't wanna kill Facebook. I just want to reform it by changing its business model, and I think that could be positive everybody will be positive for shareholders and fort Caesar's, or at least we got try it. If you see something that's just getting worse and worse, and nothing you try helps it why not try something different. Yeah. I I can understand that. And I think one of your other arguments, which is that social media contributes to this mass production of misinformation that was something not necessarily new for me. Because of course, we've seen journalism and turn into click bait articles, right? We've seen a lot of people make headlines that are just completely ridiculous to the point where when you open the article, you're actually annoyed at the journalists and the outlet for having tricked you into reading something that is clearly just complete malarkey, right and mislabeled, but it goes beyond that. Now, there's fake people literally fake people that contribute to even fellow smart or intelligent people. Making worse decisions. Can you take us through that sort of process because I think you realize that we think click bait whatever I ignore it. It's not that anymore. Now, you're getting opinions from people that don't exist. Right. Right. So this is what I was talking earlier about social perception. And so I write books, and can you just say something? Yes. I write books. I do pretty well on it. I've had bestsellers I've had SOLER some countries. I have a public life. I have no social media like your life doesn't end. If you don't have social media, you can still be public thinker, whatever it works. You know? But the thing is because I write books and then pretty visible. I get contacted by these people are trying to sell me fake people all the time. And so what happens somebody will call you. And it's it or they'll they'll right, Hugh. They'll say, I have a business proposition, you know, and I have created hordes of fake people for so. And so, and so, and so, and so, and so all these all these people, and it it it doesn't cost that much, and you could buy tons of fake people on Twitter, you can buy tons of people. Facebook and it takes a while to figure it out. So they will try to get rid of them. But only gradually and you can keep on adding more fakes and then with those fake people. Do they don't necessarily communicate directly with any real human? All they do is they top ratings and views and so forth to buy the algorithm to push a particular thing, that's what they're for. And then they create fake social perception. So that what you see seems to reflect other people around you being interested in something which on a very deep level speaks tune. It's like to be connected to my world. I will respond to what the people around me responding to. But they're Faye. You know? Right. And so I I am one of the reasons I want to see things more monetize more like Netflix is that you can make a million people on Facebook, pretty cheaply. It's not that hard. They cobbled together bits of real information from various real people and just we combine them to make fake people. But you can't make a million credit card accounts. You know, you just can't do it. So there aren't millions of fake. Users of Netflix. You know, there just aren't there? There aren't millions of fake people on the apple store. There aren't I it just can't be done. And so as soon as people have skin in the game, all of a sudden, they get more real. And I know there's some people are going to be listening to but what about the poor? And yes, we must address that. But I have to point out that the current system is destroying the poor. When you look at things like the Rohingya crisis in which the most vulnerable people are being attacked and destroyed by this very system of manipulation. And this is happening all over the world in an iky, give many examples of this. We can't say that this system is good for people who were vulnerable or poor horrifying for them. Can you tell us what's going on with it because I'm familiar with the Rohingya crisis? But I don't think everyone is can you tell us how what what that is in what role social media played in this one of the easiest things to do in social media is to inject fit contact through fake Kibo that creates a sense of paranoia and irritability directed at some grew. Okay. Now, why is easy? The reason why is that the algorithms that you're trying to influence with all your fake people a half to pick up on some kind of arise from those who are targeted right and the emotions that people display reactions to the are the easiest to test for and a rise was quickly are the startling motions. Fighter flight, emotions and so- fighter. Flight can translate into a fear and rage. But in the more diffuse world of social media. It's paranoia, endured ability. Right. So these are the highest value emotional targets that you can go for you can put fake people into Facebook too. Make population more racist less likely to vote perhaps more upset more angry. But you can't do the reverse. He can't as easily make them kinder. You can't make them more ready to support minorities or vulnerable people. You can do it a little bit and bubbles but not overall. And in fact, the people who do temporarily get a positive effect are ultimately feeding the evil here in a way, they don't realize as an example in the US. Let's say you're the black lives matter movement. So black lives matter starts as a sort of a social media thing. Right hashtag. And and so on on the different platforms and feels good feels like it's getting somewhere. It's it's one that I felt very good about and supported. But the thing is that's just data fuel going into the system. The algorithms don't care. They don't care at all. So the algorithms take any information that was uploaded by black lives matter and their feeding it all over the place rand. And people to see who they get an effect from because what they want is a rise that they can then use to further addiction and behavior mod because that's all they do an emotional rise outta people an emotional or behavior pattern change. Okay. So it's not like there's a when I say emotion, we don't even know what emotion is in the brain. Exactly. But with they're looking for is a measurable change in behavior pattern, which we can do and then that's correlated with emotions. So what happens is the people who are the these horrible people hate who are racist and stuff get more immediately detective moved by black lives matter than the original people. So the negative people get detective they get introduced to each other. They get reinforced. And so all of a sudden, you have this this resurgent KKK and Neo Nazi movement in the US at had been really dormant in isolated and fragmented before Furthermore bad actors can detect that that's happening through the. System. And then they can start feeding it because it's in their interest as well. If somebody's trying to destabilize the society. So then what starts out his black lives matter as a positive thing. At least in my judgment turns into a bigger negative result. And I think you see this. Whenever somebody tries to do positive social change with social media gets flipped around. Eventually the most dramatic one was initially effective use of social media platforms for the spring training into the even more devastating use by groups like ISIS interesting. Right. So air ABS spring getting people together in these countries be getting them able to communicate them realizing they're not this insular group that hates get off or whatever they can all kind of coagulate into a revolution. And then on the flip side, you've got ISIS going great. We can reach out to these isolated feeling kids in the UK the US who feel like they're getting picked on and turn them into holy warriors. If they just blow themselves up, but the thing is the the system finds the. The people who were annoyed in the first place like it's an ear to -bility detector and enhancer getting to the hinge Rohingyas, this is a Muslim minority in Myanmar. And whenever you have something like that. If you have interests that you think you want to do the classic fascist move of saying I'm going to get the population to support me by turning on one part of itself. And and and oppressing a minority. And we'll there's this thing that happens where unsocial media nothing means anything anymore. Everything just turns into Mason hashtags. Like, what does it mean to be a conservative in the Trump era? The actual ideas or policies are all over the place. They're nothing related to the traditional bundle of conservative ideas. Trade is now the opposite of what it was immigrations opposite of what it was. Everything's different personal behavior standards. The opposite of what they went swear everything's different. But the thing is when everything turns into this sort of context list hashtag competition for. Who can be the most irritable. All that's left is some kind of very rotten simplistic idea of density, like this artificial idea we have of race or maybe of blood and soil, you know, and so the traditional fascism that used to be thoughtless has found a new ground in this new kind of thoughtlessness so people now have this new high tech way of getting powerful and getting promoting their own personality cults in their own new centralized authority by by promoting this weird xenofobia, phobia racism, and that's why we see this all over the world at once in countries where it hadn't been present in countries with nothing else in common at all. It's the only explanation for why both Sweden and Brazil would have this happening at the same time. This makes sense. Yeah. And of course, the Rohingya in Burma or Mehan mar- they were living essentially on the border of is it Bangladesh or yeah. Yeah. And now, there's they're essentially fake news on Facebook. I believe was being pushed to the. Locals around. They're saying these people are causing trouble. They're trying to do. I don't even remember what the accusation was, you know, since I'm Jewish. I can tell you that there have been things like this for a long time. We we call it the blood libel where you come up with these crazy stories, oh, they're making they're taking the blood of Christian kids to make their food or something. And this kind of thing has existed for a long time. But it just hasn't been technologically optimized it hasn't been this thing that could happen so quickly. And there wasn't a direct commercial motivation behind it. And it wasn't being run by the biggest US companies out of Silicon Valley right here where we live in this beautiful area. Like, this development is a a spiritual disaster. It's a profound embarrassment and a in like this tragedy in the tech world. Yeah. So these these were hanging out population is essentially been forced to flee because people are coming in. That's right. It was the blood libel. It with something. Like, they're killing a bunch of local babies are. Yeah. It's a it's a it's a sort of. 'cause to to spread these things the stupider and weirder. The better, you know, and it's not just through hangings others similar scenarios in rural parts of India in parts of Africa. And of course, the rise of of this weird Neo Nazi a cave phenomena in the US and in Europe, the rise of his neo-nazi parties, and you can say, well, it's because of the immigration crisis there. But once again, it even happens in parts of Europe where there isn't really an immigration crisis. There might be a a sensor fear of one it correlates to the rival Facebook more than two other events in the way that the reason this works so well as because negative emotions are essentially, the lifeblood of of social media in a lotta ways it, well, they're just the more negative emotions are kind of like the high octane ones. Like, if you go to the guest, you know, you can get this more powerful gas and the negative emotions they rise faster. They're easier to detect in the overall scheme of human life. If you look at the study. The of what kinds of feedback influence behavior? There's a parody between what you call negative and positive emotions. If you can accept that grouping which requires a bit of a leap of faith, admittedly. But I it's not so much negativity drives humanity. It's just that in this particular. It's a little bit like speed trading. When you have these automated systems that are just trying to pick up quickly on how people respond in that context. Negativities more powerful. So making us feel bad contributes to our use of the platform because essentially we get triggered by something. Well, this is a weird thing about behavioral addiction. I don't know if you've ever had a friend who had a gambling addiction. I'm sure that. I have I'm trying to think of one that actually told me about it might be a different story. But yeah, it's not great. It's and I mean, we've all had friends with addictions and most of us, if we're honest have had addictions ourselves this as part of the human experience. People have gambling addictions are sure that they're different. They have the special system. They have luck. They have real luck. They're sure that there. The exception. But the interesting thing to me about it is that what they're dicta to isn't that moment when they win but to this whole cycle when they're usually losing. This is something I've noticed in people have heroin addiction of of whom I've known more than a few being a musician and the through the seventy eighties nineties and people who have a heroin problem are hooked on this whole experience where most of the time, it's horrible. And then there's these moments of ecstasy. And so things you become hooked on this whole experience and social media addicts become hooked on this whole cycle where most of the time they're getting punished and every once in a while they get this reward. And I believe this is why some of the most prominent social media addicts deliberately seemed to say stupid things that will humiliate them online because they want that punishment is part of the cycle. That's interesting. So all this controversy that them getting beat up in the media people thinking, they're an idiot. You feel like that's part of their addicted behavior. Yeah. Well, I think about Nealon musk calling dive repetitive. Faial out of the blue. What's he doing? He's got a terrible addiction problem. And it's to the point where, you know, people in his company investors of said get off, you know. And why would he do that? While he's doing it because he's addicted to that whole cycle most, and he needs he needs to be punished for part of it. Our current president. I see the same pattern in. I see it in Konya. A lot of the people who sort of degrade themselves in public who would seem to be skillful intelligent people who've built successful careers, and yet do this ridiculous thing that's their addiction. And Furthermore here this there's something else. Interesting about this in the past the powerful male persona in the world. Had mystique and mystique is this mystery where you don't let your vulnerability show, but they don't have that. Yeah. I don't particularly. But the thing is they traditionally did, you know, if you think about, oh, I don't know Marlon Brando. And I e what would ever a Ronald Reagan? There's this persona, and it's it might be very nice in some cases. But there's always like, you don't really know. What would what would take them off? They're they're not announcing it these new ones who acting like crybabies what's going on. How does it work? Why do people like seeing somebody who's humiliating himself all the time like Trump? And I think the reason why the all the social media addicts out there see themselves in it. So they relate he had. Maybe there might be something to that. And I think also is there an element of in. This is just the sort of like a harebrained thing on my end. But I sort of picked us up over Christmas a lot of advertising just seems you know, what? Now that I think about I've noticed a lot of advertising to me seems designed to make me feel like kind of like, yeah foam. Oh, I need this. I feel bad have it. I'm. Positioned as such I am less then for not having been a part of this. And it's not just items that I need to buy. It's now it's everything it's like experiences whether or not it's even for sale it's like part of the platform is to just make he'll less than well. Like, I say, I think traditional advertising was often annoying and often went over some sort of a line for me being too manipulative. But overall, I think it served the purpose of civilization and betterment just because it helped maternity move along and things actually have gotten better with maternity. So when you have these individualized feeds at a calculated to manipulate you I really do think it's something entirely different. I think you when you're being made to feel bad just as part of the diction process, and it's not it's not even about getting that new car anymore. And in fact, there's a sort of an arms race where if everybody's trying to manipulate you you, you know, everybody feels that they're blackmailed into paying an existential tax to Facebook. Because otherwise the other people manipulate you there's a kind of parody that arises. And so I think it really takes off on its own and just becomes part of this other weird religion of feeling that the central server must be the new God. Or the new the new king that runs everything. And there's another part of it. We haven't talked about which is a lot of the people who run these things think they're building the new AI that'll take over and replace humans. And so there's there's that religion as well. But it takes on this very strange well-meant Amman its own back to the social media making all of us triggered and emotional. I feel this to whenever I'm online. I I often have to check myself because someone will say, hey, I didn't like this one minute thing. And if they had told me that in person I'd been like, oh, thanks for the feedback. I've been like whatever. But if it's done on Twitter. Or in the wrong way in an Email man at n-, not as much or face. I will catch myself being a horrible person. Yeah. That's accurate. And so this is interesting. I haven't talked about this that way that people turn into assholes online that predates this advertising model and talking about. And in fact, if somebody wanted to argue against me, they say, hey, there was this thing even before this stuff, and they'd be correct about that. And in my view, what happened is the advertising model kind of merged with this other thing that was going on where people were making themselves into assholes and that weird asshole making things started early. I mean that was we already knew that that could happen back even in the late seventies certainly in the eighties with a really really early. Prototypes of social networking that was happening. And in fact, I decided to to to cut out of that world back then because I did like what it was doing to me. So there is something very powerful there. And it's been studied law. There's been a whole lot of people working on exa-. Exactly why it is. What's this asshole? Making thing. I present some wild theories in the book. I don't think we totally understand it on a sleigh. But it's it it. It's definitely something. That's intrinsically there. Even in something like two straight Email. It was always there. It's pack behavior at some level. I'm sure yeah. That's my theory that it's it's turning you from lone wolf into a pack will yet from a lone wolf into a pack wolf. So you change from being primarily, a scientists into be being primarily political, and that's maybe sending cryptic. But that that's my theory about it in the buck. You do you say if triggering emotions is the highest prize and negative emotions are easier to trigger. How could social media not make you sad? If your consumption of content is tailored by near limitless observations harvested about people like you, how could your universe not collapse into the partial depiction of reality that people like you also enjoy and that's a little kind of a bummer right because. Well, I mean. Wow. Like, it's optimizing for making us feel bad. So that we engage more into further addition. It's like, ugh. Oh my gosh. I need a shower. We'll look quitting that hard people. Do it. There have been studies of people who've quit that follow them after they've quit. And by the quitting means really quitting like deleting there from your phone doesn't actually delete the surveillance, and it doesn't it doesn't change the effect on you because there's so many tendrils by which these manipulation machines affect things that you see it might still affect what you see on your on the new site you like, for instance, shoot. So we don't even think about that. You have to unplug and tally Renate in there. Yeah. Yeah. You have to delete. And it's it's not that hard. And you can I don't want to promote anybody's particular thing. But you can get privacy oriented, browsing extensions or whole browsers. You can you can turn off out of feed on YouTube, and you can use YouTube without a Google account at all anywhere. So that it doesn't. Who you are. You can do these things and suddenly the the manipulation machine is at least subdued and everyone does that reports that their lives get better. They get better informed more quickly. They feel happier. They have better relationships. I mean, and I just don't think this is even ambiguous. It really seems to help people with the exception of those who really have a special need that suggests by the technology. The example, I use in the book is people with unusual medical conditions who have found each other through a particular platform by all means like if it's doing something special for you don't change on my account, you know, like use it if it's really working for you. But for the average person who thinks that their immune to all this stuff. And just I I mean, I run into journal all the types. Yo you just don't get it Twitter's just funny. And it's like, yes. Like my gambling friends saying, oh, you just don't get it. I'm lucky like, you know, like year, it's hard to cut through diction. All we need is a tiny minority of people to break the stuff in order to have a community that can talk about it. So that we can talk about it from outside of its own addiction system. That's what we need is a society. Yeah. We'll talk about how bad Twitter, Google and Facebook are on we chat. Xiaoping can take a look at it. But I I love your rule of thumb about which platforms are bad for you. And why would you take us through that? Because you'll probably state it better than I can. Well. What makes it platform bad? Is that it's optimized for third parties who are paying out of a belief that they can change your behavior the way to test. If it's really bad is if bad actors have made a practice of using it so was Putin. They're it putting use it to influence some poor countries election or our country's elections. Right. Still debating that. Right. So if you use that criteria, the really bad ones are the various Facebook platforms, including Instagram what's up, Facebook messenger and normal Facebook Twitter, which and it hurts me to include Twitter, because I I know the Twitter people, and I like them, and I to me Twitter is a great tragedy. It's like ruining the world and not even a solid business. You know, like, I mean, it's it's like it's awful not all of Google, but certainly the YouTube part of Google and a lot of the search experience, although you can adjust the search experience through enough very careful blocking of cookies and not having an. Count and all that to make it cleaner. It's possible. Then there's others that are sort of integrase on Oso. Also, very very, sadly, a lot of the sort of online forum world and things for people connect in lesser known forms is is very compromised, and you see this especially in any of the places where gamers congregate because there should've young men a lot of the bad actors really focused on them. So you have a lot of this happening to read it, for instance. So that's another those, unfortunately bad once again, it hurts me to say that kiss. I think I'm old enough to know when those were started they were started with tremendous e idealism and optimism, and it's it's a horrible thing to have to say they've become this bad. And there's some that are kind of like teetering on this heads like snap. Some things have happened on it. But not as bad since I have a connection to Microsoft. I don't want to toot the Microsoft thing because they don't feel that can be credible. I have to I think whenever you have a social network where people have some kind of skin in the game something at stake other than mind games. All of a sudden, they're bitter angels come out, and you see that in kit hub at maybe a little in Lincoln. I was gonna say linked in because. Yeah, you go there, and you kind of think this is sort of for my job. Maybe I shouldn't jump down people's throats or like post something completely asinine here. If you're going to be kind compassionate responsible in any environment. Part of the reason you are is because it's based on enlightened self interest that when you make a better world. That's also your better world. And if you have no skin at all in a game. If you're just like this anonymous ghost from your point of view, of course, from the manipulation machines when if you they know all about you, and they're manipulating you. But if you're pretending you're just this anonymous ghost, and nobody knows who you are. You don't have skin in the game. And you lose the opportunity for that enlightened self interest. And so when you do have something you care about like your career and linked in or your code on get hub. And I can't give you some other examples. It doesn't make things perfect. They'll still be annoyances people will still sometimes. Jerks. People will not be perfect. But it doesn't become this dark pit of endless. You know, degradation. It's not that bad anymore. I read that you're an optimist, but our conversation here might not signal that to everyone tell us why. And how you see the bright side of all this the solution in all of this. Well, there are a few things one thing is that if you look at history you see our deer species making through tight squeezes in difficult times. And so that leads to optimism that it's something we can do. Now. What's different now? We're facing a bunch of them at once. We're making ourselves insane. With the stupid communications technology at the same time we have to face climate change. And when you have combined challenges, maybe that increases the odds that this time, we won't make it, and they're they're coming on fast and furious, and that's bad. But still we have an incredible track record of survival through all kinds of things, you know, many of them brought on by. Logical chains that gives me a sort of a imperial baseline for optimism. Then another thing is I really like some of the young communities and tech like I'll give you an example in the blockchain world. So I used to be so cynical about blockchain if he'd interviewed me a couple years ago. It would have been like, oh, it's a bunch of get rich quick scammers. They want to make the largest possible carbon footprint for their security. So they're willing to destroy the earth just to feel more secure, and plus it's fake security 'cause you're making this mathematically perfect security than at the edges of it. That's where people will scam which happened a lot with with bitcoin exchanges and stuff. So I just thought the whole thing was stupid. But now that it's gotten shaking out a bit by by coins, losing value. The people who are left after that, it are this really large substantial technically dept and really optimistic and interesting new generation of techies who wanted to good for the world. And I think they're learning lessons from how earlier generations like ours screwed it up, and they give me often ISM. I look at them. And I'm thinking. Yeah. There is a future here. I obviously it's going to be featured generations, it's going to be unpeopled who fix this. And I think I'm seeing signs of great intelligence and warmth in good intent there, I see engineers and managers at the big tech companies organizing protesting taking risks for their own careers because they want a better world that wasn't true few years ago. That's something new, and I think in radidly valuable, incredibly heartening. So I'm actually kind of mystic right now. Karen, thank you so much. It's been really interesting, by the way, I heard you have like fifteen hundred rare instruments or maybe they're not all rare. But well, I all right. So we were talking before about how everybody has a diction, right? Addicted to youths. I heard this weird thing, my mom taught me music, and then she died when I was little, and I somehow this connection to her playing music, but I the form it took us does need to be learning a new instrument because it was learning from her that was really my connection. And so I've just ended up learning one instrument after another and at this stage in my life. That means I really do have a lot of instruments, and I've a lot are from different periods in history in different parts of the world. And I've studied music all parts of the world. Oh is learning new? And it's just this weird obsession, and yeah, we we live in a forest of unusual instruments. Can you play each one? Or are there? Some where you're just like, hey, this is kind of out there. I can play the vast majority of them there some that I got up to speed on. And then just lost completely because it would have required too, much ongoing work to stay. But I I seem to have an ability to at least played decently instruments. I haven't touched in a while. If I got to a certain point before it doesn't mean, I'm. Tros on everything. But I'm if I may say, so I'm actually pretty good on a lot of them. What's the strangest instrument that people would just say how is that an instrument like, you know, we've heard of like glass shapes being played or like, a friend of mine made a documentary about people playing roots in like the jungle will the glass harmonica, which was invented by one of our founders Benjamin Franklin this the spinning wonderful little glass bowls. He can move your fingers on this theory all sound. So the these bowls spin and you just put your fingers on the edge of the bowl. Yeah. And you play like a keyboard, very carefully Benjamin Franklin invented it. When he was doing what was in those days kind of for in, you know, manipulation and stuff on behalf of the Americans are revolution in France. And he here's somebody playing a bunch of wine glasses up the way, you know, you can play one glasses by renting your finger along the edge any. CD of training them on end. So they could all spin at the same time. And then playing it like keyboard, and there's so much to say about this. And you have that at home. I could play that. That's not that rare. But yeah, sure, no, everybody has to play Glasser Monica. You kidding? The initial sound. It's very haunting beautiful sound. There was unlike anything people had heard at that time. And it was there was a psychologist who is interested in hypnotism, and and in subconscious effects, and how people could enter different states of mind is the same as MS Moore. And he used to put. Messmer that can't be a coincidence. No, that's where MS Moore hasn't comes from GAC and his technique to MS Moore is was the glass harmonica. And then Franklin met a young woman who is blind who became a virtuoso on it. And then she traveled she toured Europe playing them and that inspired Mozart and Beethoven to write for them. But the problem is at the early glass was leaded in. So it made people crazy. So the glass are Monica players got this reputation for being really nut. So in wild way to the lead would seep through the glass, here's your fingers. Yeah. Played and you'd go rained. So he brought one back to Philadelphia over the ocean. And he played it to wake up his wife. And she thought she died because it was so unlike anything inexperience he initially thought it must be something from the afterlife. And I'll tell you one other story about it. I have an early manual for players. And when it focuses on is which water from which wells throughout the United States is adequate because the water composition is really important. Oh, there's water in the glass. Oh, yeah. You have to dip your there's little you dip, your your fingers on both to keep them with to make it easier to hug, that's so. And it depends. They say it's depends on the water. Yeah. It does it does you have to really think about that. So these days we can add stuff to the water. But in those days it was about which will. Wow. That is totally unusual. So that's not that. No, that's mainstream. You don't even know. Oh my God. It's the kookiest thing in the house. Thank you. Oh my God. I wish we were doing it up there. And I could play these for you on my guy for sure the pin. PS pretty good. This is what does that played by people who live in the hills in between Thailand and Myanmar. And it's imagine if he will a sort of a long, stick and across piece on it. And then there's strings strung across it in such a way that the strings hook against each other. And when you pull in a string, it implements this weird interaction between all of these things. That are connected, which is similar to what anybody who's into synthesizers would knows a ring modulator? This thing is connected to half coconut or carved out piece of hardware that you hold against your heart. And then you start playing it, and it's a courting instrument. And so what it is your chest cavity amplifies it. So the so the this was a very serious hetero kind of culture is so far as I know anyway. So then as was holding me, then the woman can hear your. Heart would in the literal sense. Well, and so you play this thing. And so the they're these little bronze tips where all the strings connect. And it turns out that for hundreds of years. Nobody has been able to make bronze tips that sound good as the really old ones that survive. It's kind of like our problem with stratovarius if you believe that's a real profile. And so when I was there, I, you know, you compare the old tips to the tips, and there's something different. It's something about the brass or something about the casting or something. So I made a deal with some of them that I brought them and gave them a digital recording studio in exchange for brass tips. I have a have an old one, and I was so excited and I flew back to New York, whereas living very very close to the to the bottom tip of New York City in a beautiful loft at that time. And I got up in the morning having gotten in very late last night ready to put my pin Pia together. And it was September eleventh. Oh, wow. And my loft collapsed in a lot of broken and. Yeah, but the pin Pia, and that particular when given its history and still I've never gotten into work as well as I heard in the jungle, but that's a pretty amazing wonderful astonishing instrument this one of the nicest traditions that secure. I guess that's all I got man. Ken wants to come in. And I know wherever I was just curious because I was like fifteen hundred instruments, you gotta have something crazy more than you'd believe. Yeah. I can only imagine. Jason this is your recommendation. I think this is a really good show. Good recommendation. Thanks, man. Oh, no problem. And I've been following Jaren for years. I mean, he's one of the founders of VR. So you know, he's been around for a long long time. But now that he's taking on social media in the effects, it has on people in society and our mental wellbeing. I thought we just had to have him on because it's in the zeitgeist right now everybody's talking about this because they keep screwing up they keep screwing up bed. So I'm glad that we could share this with our audience this time. This is fantastic. Yeah. He's really interesting, really smart and interesting guy. And of course, he's got a bunch of books. We'll linked to a few of them in the show notes. You know, he offered next time to let us come over to his house and see his instruments and mess with some of them because he's got fifteen hundred. I know we cover this little in the show fifteen hundred plus instruments, and I think once you get past like five six seven, I just run instruments that I know exist. Yeah. So that's pretty neat. He's he has. House must look like something out of horrors music music addition. But like there's gotta be some cool stuff in there. Yeah. It sounds like it sounds more. Like the the warehouse at the end of raiders of the lost. Ark fifteen. You know that many? Yeah. Yeah. Were they sort of slide it in there? And it's like, yeah. This is a this is here's the didgeridoo from you know, twenty four hundred BC, right? Like that. I'll definitely be flying up. If we get to do another show from his house that sounds awesome. I love old instruments and in rare stuff like that. Just sounds Superfund. Yeah. Definitely I think it'll be like a museum trip. If you wanna know how managed to book all these great people manage my relationships using systems in tiny habits, check out our level. One course which is free over at Jordan, harbinger dot com slash level one. And look, I know you're going to do it later. Sure. You are the problem with kicking the can down the road. You cannot make up for lost time when it comes to relationships networking. This is a mistake. I see very often when people are talking about this stuff with me dig the well before you get thirsty. You can't leverage relationships. Once you need them. It's too late the drills take a few minutes per day. Quick crime, go to Jordan, harbinger dot com slash level. One and get after it. Speaking of building relationships, tell me your number one takeaway here from Jaron Lanier, I'm at Jordan harbinger on both Twitter and Instagram. This show is produced in association with podcast one. And this episode was co produced by Jason un-filed to Philip oh and Chen, harbinger, the show notes and worksheets are by Robert Fogerty. I'm your host Jordan, harbinger the fee for the show is that you share it with friends when he finds something useful, which should be in every episode. So please share the show with those you love, and even those you don't lots more in the pipeline. Lot of great stuff coming up in the next few months. In the meantime, do your best to apply what you hear on the show. So you can live. What you listen. And we'll see you next time. A lot of people ask me which shows I recommend which shows I listened to. And you know, it's funny. The one you feed with a two headed wolf here is one that I find myself recommending often, and you just interviewed. I've got Eric Zimmer. The host of the one you feed, and he recently interviewed Tim pitcher actually interviewed him a long time ago procrastination is a topic that I should look into. But maybe I'll do it tomorrow err. Tell me about this episode yet Tim pitcher was one of the world's leading researchers on procrastination. That's what he does. He's a he's a professor at a university. And he knows more about it than perhaps anybody on earth. And most of us are pretty familiar with procrastination ourselves as a problem that we wrestle with pretty regularly. And so he in this episode gives us lots of great strategies for how we can stop procrastinating and how we can really get on with life. One of the things that he says, that's so important is that procrastination? Is a really we delay our lives by procrastinating. And and when we start to really think about the cost of it we recognize it's big and lots of great tips in this episode to overcome it. If you're looking for the one you feed search for the one you feed in a podcast app. And of course, we'll link to this episode in the show notes as well.

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