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“(…) perhaps the crash will look like a string of blockbuster movies pandering to right-wing conspiracies and survivalist fantasies, from quasi-fascist superheroes (Captain America and the Batman series) to justifications of torture and assassination (Zero Dark Thirty, American Sniper). In Hollywood, studios run their scripts through the neural networks of a company called Epagogix, a system trained on the unstated preferences of millions of moviegoers developed over decades in order to predict which lines will push the right – meaning the most lucrative – emotional buttons.  Their algorithmic engines are enhanced with data from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and others, whose access to the minute-by-minute preferences of millions of video watchers, combined with an obsessive focus on the acquisition and segmentation of data, provides them with a level of cognitive insight undreamed of by previous regimes. Feeding directly upon the frazzled, binge-watching desires of news-saturated consumers, the network turns upon itself, reflecting, reinforcing and heightening the paranoia inherent in the system.
Game developers enter endless cycles of updates and in-app purchases directed by A/B testing interfaces and real-time monitoring of players’ behaviours until they have such a finegrained grasp on dopamine-producing neural pathways that teenagers die of exhaustion in front of their computers, unable to tear themselves away.  Entire cultural industries become feedback loops for an increasingly dominant narrative of fear and violence.”

New Dark Age: Technology and the End of the Future

James Bridle (https://jamesbridle.com/)

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