Updated: Chatbots — propaganda is being taught how to speak

Bots–“simple computer scripts–were originally designed to automate repetitive tasks … sparing humans hours of tedium.”  But, bots “can also be used to operate large numbers of fake [social media] accounts, which makes them ideal for manipulating people.” As became evident after the 2016 election in the United States and from many other examples, not only do bot-operated fake social media accounts “broadcast extremist viewpoints,” but…

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Corruption and power: the connection

Was Lord Acton right? “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Or, is it more as John Steinbeck described “Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts… perhaps the fear of a loss of power”? Is there a connection between having power (in politics, government, business, etc.) and becoming or being corrupt? There seem to be examples all around us and, yet, we also see…

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Voter suppression and nonvoting is a social norm in the United States

Read this — it’s important! The United States prides itself on being a model for democracy. And, yet, widespread (and increasing) voter suppression and high rates of nonvoting have occurred for so long in the US that they have become accepted and a social norm. As a representative democracy, the US compares unfavorably with many places in the world. If you are a minority or…

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Updated: A new world disorder?

It may seem like absolutely everyone today is glued to their phones and uses social media incessantly. Facebook, the largest social media network globally, claims “over 2.7 billion monthly active users as of the second quarter of 2020.” Billions do use social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.), but billions also do not. Further, there are many people counted as “active users” who simply are…

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Updated: Narcissism and social media–the connection

Since the early days of social media, researchers have looked at the relationship between narcissism and social media use.  Narcissism is a personality type “marked by a grandiose sense of self-importance, low communion with others, and feelings of entitlement.”  People with extreme forms of narcissism may be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) which is “characterized by a pervasive pattern of grandiose behaviors, excessive need…

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Electric vehicles: benefits, technology, obstacles

Vehicles (cars and trucks) can be powered partially or wholly by electricity. “All-electric vehicles (EVs) have an electric motor instead of an internal combustion engine. The vehicle uses a large traction battery pack to power the electric motor and must be plugged in to a charging station or wall outlet to charge. Because it runs on electricity, the vehicle emits no exhaust from a tailpipe and does…

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