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In Frederick Foer’s “Mark Zuckerberg’s War on Free Will,” Foer confidently establishes the concise motives and deliberate experimentations behind Facebook’s “hackers” to understand the mask of a “robust public square of unity and connectedness (56) as an ultimate cover for an exceptionally programmed military system driven to sterilize the human lens and , essentially, learn to manipulate the public. Due to an unleashed beast, the algorithm, complete manipulation is becoming a reality at uncontrollable rates. By testing human behaviors through likes and shared posts, big corporations are able to limit choices, limit what is viewed, while still selling a knock-off idea of “free will.” Facebook’s over developing algorithm serves as a fiery catalyst in the reaction to produce “a perfect social world” (77) where the idea of “free will” is twisted, regurgitated and spoon fed to us. The ancient, but personal definition of free will was described as a divine gift from God to all humans to be able to use their human qualities and consciousness to create their own decisions, between right and wrong to manipulate their own lives and destinies without any influence. Foer implies Zuckerberg’s personal acceptation as a holy entity and incorporative mimicking of God’s divine free will in his own generic version to ultimately create a smoothly-run utopia. Through the discussion of technocracy and the inevitable effects of the scheming algorithm, Foer questions the transformation of the term “free will” from something he believed to be a sense of democracy to a more deeper rooted issue revolving around the ancient principles of God and the Bible.
Technocracy is a well thought out system traditionally used during the French Revolution aftermath, Industrial Revolution, and America’s economic hardships to establish an “anti-parasitic power” (61) where engineers and mathematicians govern with rationality and order. Facebook, a technocracy-induced system, uses their secret weapon, the algorithm, to successfully manipulate and mimic the old ancient definition of Free will. The engineers behind these algorithms strongly believe that by securing a twisted idea of “free will,” similar to what God ordered for his people, they are able to gain ultimate control of the population and manipulate views and thoughts in any direction deemed as the best outcome for creating a “man-made utopia.” In technocracy, it is viewed that humans are not capable to solve difficult issues, expand fields in technology, or incorporate new reason and concepts into modern society because of humans’ natural and unavoidable “God-given gifts:” the gifts that separate them from man and robot. Using Leibniz’s ideas of deriving and mathematics, engineers are able to derive new algorithms from old algorithms and bring new thoughts and influences in society that humans would never be able to bring. In some parts, algorithms seems to contain a developed mind oft heir own. Through Facebook’s algorithm, Mark Zuckerberg’s mastermind, Zuckerberg promotes a biblical allusion to a “top-down system” and his role similar to God. Foer fears of the alteration of his own idea of free will, and believes the algorithm to be more than a mathematical derivation in Zuckerberg’s eyes. By “watching over” likes and posts, Zuckerberg’s “free will,” has been transformed into an illusion whose main purpose is to alter the human consciousness and use outside influences to maneuver human decision-making. Foer believes influence, the ability to alter the human consciousness, the human identity and train of thought, is the key ingredient in Facebook’s successful algorithm. He believes that big corporations like Facebook are not trying to take away free will, but slowly decrease the workings of the human mind and ruin any progression of an out-spoken democratic state in society.
Foer’s discomfort in the liquidation of a “democratic” free will is showcased in the discussion of Zuckerberg’s influence of political lifestyles in America. Allowing the algorithm to surface through certain political articles, pin-pointing certain diction tested to have specific effects on human behavior, allows for manipulation during a human’s decision-making. Every article posted on Twitter,Facebook, News apps, Instagram, and many other “top down system corporations” (58) is specifically dropped into society’s daily feed to be read, stored in the brain, and effectively slow down the minds’s ability to create opinions and decisions. Mark Zuckerberg’s idea of free will uses the influence of articles, images, videos, and sensitive materials that trigger the human brain as clear targets to expand technocracy and the mastermind idea of a robot-based utopia. By using the simple example of voting, manipulating peoples’ thought and ideas by spicing up their daily reads leads to the best candidate being chosen to benefit the expansion of technocracy and Zuckerberg’s goal of a new free will. The algorithm “tortures the data” (70) until it speaks of how the human consciousness works and how to mimic it. Foer fears of the alteration of his own idea of free will, and believes the algorithm to be more than a mathematical derivation in Zuckerberg’s eyes. Just like Zuckerberg mimics Gods’ free will and holy entity, the algorithm mimics the outstanding human consciousness. Facebook’s empire believes that by giving people what they want, what makes them happy, enables trust and easier manipulation in more deeper aspects of society. Foer further acknowledges the rapid metastasis of the algorithm’s infection in not only politics but also social aspects of society.
With the algorithm’s power to influence thoughts and impact political aspects, the further deriving allows it to expand into social and personal lives to correctly fit the standards of the utopia. By analyzing the sensitivities of the human consciousness on specific topics like police brutality or “organ donation” (75), engineers behind the algorithm can accurately alter views on these issues in any desired direction. The performance of behavioral experimentations helps Zuckerberg answer the question of how to gain complete manipulation of the human consciousness and create a successful “Godly” utopia, This “utopia,” advertises an ideal term that Foer states to be “radical transparency.” By breaking the code to the hidden secrets of the human consciousness, and soon the human identity, as well as, individual soul, the strict boundary dividing human and robot created by God is ruined through Zuckerberg’s algorithm. Radical transparency offers a religious viewpoint, an example of the biblical reference “to see all, to know all.” Zuckerberg uses his “God-like persona” to use radical transparency as a brilliant way to oversee and read the minds of the population. Radical transparency, through Foer’s point of you, is what makes Zuckerberg’s free will so easily accepted in society. By creating a platform where personal emotions and events are shared, the removal of individuality and psychological diversity promotes a clear and simple vision to market to the public. Facebook offers a secure environment, similar to a holy sanctuary, where people can dwell in their “moral messes” (60) together in a sphere of unity and connectedness. Just like God offers a feeling of hope and ability to create destinies based on human consciousness, Zuckerberg mimics the role of God, forgiving people for those “moral messes,” and provides a second chance at life in a utopia where there are no wrong decisions just the correct decisions computed by the algorithm’s consciousness. Foer argues that Zuckerberg’s usage of the algorithm as an equalizing consciousness for the public, nullifies Foer’s idea of free will as the ability for different views and consciousness to conjure in a society. For Zuckerberg, using the algorithm as an universal consciousness helps establish his holy circle of unity and connectedness; and ensures the best and correct outcome for the society.
The battle of Free will’s identity is being engulfed by “ a long political tradition (61)” of technocracy and mathematical derivations to alter the entire human vision of life. Foer shows that by ruining the flow of diverse human conversation and opinion, Zuckerberg is able to easily market his powerful stance over the people. Creating complete transparency of the individual, creates transparency of the consciousness and soul, making the task of influencing free will and decision-making very simple. Molding the qualities of man that makes up man gives Zuckerberg’s empire the potential to infect future generations, future minds. Molding human thoughts and decision-making makes it easier to disfigure the heavenly idea of free will and sell some knock off idea of heavenly free will tot he public.
The expansion of Zuckerberg’s free will is shown in altering career paths of future generations to technology and mathematics, a future of technocracy. Foer implies that the interwoven mimicry of Gods’ free will in Zuckerberg’s new idea of free will asks the major question about the future direction of man-kind and the direction of the overall human consciousness. Foer implies the slow death of his idea of free will with “ Zuckerberg’s boasting of having the ability to restructure democracy in society” (75) and growing skills in mimicking the exceptional mechanics of the human mind and soul.
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