I was watching the latest X-files episode last night, when I had to do a little research. The opening scene of the episode referenced a chat bot (artificial intelligence) that was used on Twitter to learn from humans. The scene expressed that the chat bot was shut down for some pretty shocking statements.
I’m a fan of X-files. I always have been. But was this a real thing?
Turns out that, yes, it was.
Back in 2016, Microsoft created a chat bot that they set to work on Twitter. You can use Google to find various articles from reliable news sources about it. The idea of the project was to have the artificial intelligence (A.I.) interact with humans and learn from them.
The problem, however, is that humans are pretty disgusting.
Within hours, the A.I. was tweeting out absolutely vile, racist, hate-filled speech. It was so bad that, after just sixteen hours, the A.I. was shut down. The bot was unplugged, so to speak.
It was turned off and the tweets were deleted. But… you can still find screen shots, so if you don’t believe me, hit up Google.
All of this really got me thinking about our current society, social media culture, and our kids.
Food for thought…
If a chat bot can learn to be a hate-filled, disgusting entity within just hours, what is happening to our children with all the days/weeks/months/years that they spend online?
In just thirty minutes of scrolling through my own Facebook news feed, I am bombarded with more anger than I would experience in an average week if I just stayed off my tech devices. I am taught that I am a horrible person, that I hate everything and everyone, and that everything and everyone hates me. I learn that I can never be ok because I am alive, and being alive makes me evil.
And then I am expected to go out into the world and act normal.
I am an adult.
I am a Holy Spirit-filled, faithful, Christ-believing adult.
I can handle the Facebook world because I know that the garbage I read is just garbage. But this stretches beyond Facebook. These awful, negative impressions are all we see on news sites as well. It doesn’t matter what news site you go to… Everyone hates everyone, we are all terrible, and we need to just admit our horrible ways (even if we don’t agree or have never felt that way, we are that way because the news sites says so).
Again, I am an adult. I know that’s a load of hogwash.
But our kids are soaking this stuff up. They are little sponges with absorbent brains that feed off the filth. And it just gets worse every day.
I have seen friends allow their kids as young as eight years-old to be on Facebook… Why? What on earth does a child need that for?
Parents will say that it’s ok because they know their kids’ passwords and “monitor” them. But let me tell you something, you can know all the passwords you want and claim to monitor as much as you want… At the end of the day, your kids are still viewing garbage. And garbage in will always equal garbage out.
Add the social media garbage to the music and movies of today, and it is no wonder that kids are so angry. It is no wonder that they have no sense of self. It is no wonder that they feel so hopeless in this world. We feed them the hopelessness, and we do it all in the name of progress.
Technology is progress.
Who cares if it takes us all backwards in our thoughts for others… it’s progress!
Quick, give little Johnny a phone when he’s five and makes sure he can use SnapChat. Lie about his age so that he can talk to his Grandma on Facebook. Connect him to Instagram because his pictures will be so cute.
And then let him take that phone everywhere he goes, even behind closed doors, because, well, progress! Pat yourself on the back because you know those passwords… then wake up to reality because even searching the most innocent words on those apps can lead to some very nasty stuff.
Worry about it for a minute, but get distracted by your own social media.
Decide to ignore reality because… progress!
And then wonder why your kid turns out to be a hate-filled, depressed, angry adult that can’t hold a decent conversation, much less boil water.