The Laramee Filter: pseudorandom thoughts, subsequently put on the Internet.
Tom Laramee
Date Published:
January 1st, 2020
Word Count:
392 (3:00 read time)
Filed Under:

Who Would Have Thought That Sacha Baron Cohen Could Be So Insightful?

Who would've thought that a comedian could deliver such a thought-provoking and accurate analysis of what's wrong with social media. Sacha Baron Cohen just delivered a speech in which he cuts to the core of many of the issues on why social media is broken and the severe consequences that follow.

Here's the full speech but I'm going to excerpt a handful of quotes for those who don't have ~25 minutes to watch.

3:10: "It's as if the age of reason, the era of evidential argument, is ending, and now knowledge is increasingly delegitimized, and scientific consensus is dismissed. Democracy, which depends on on shared truths, is in retreat, and autocracy, which depends on shared lies, is on the march".
4:15: "The algorithms these platforms depend on deliberately amplify the type of content that keeps users engaged. Stories that appeal to our baser instincts and that trigger outrage, and fear. It's why youtube recommended videos by the conspiracist Alex Jones, billions of times."
4:40: "Its why fake news outperforms real news, because studies show that lies spread faster than truths".
5:20: "We have lost it seems, a shared sense of basic facts, upon which democracy depends"
8:00: He discusses a time on his last show when he convinced someone to put three [allegedly] explosive devices on people and then later click a button to remote detonate them .. and the person really did it, thinking he killed three people: "Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities."
9:35: "I believe that it is time for a fundamental rethink of social media and how it how it spreads hate, conspiracies, and lies".
16:38: "The truth is, these companies won't fundamentally change, because their entire business model relies on generating more engagement, and nothing generates more engagement than lies, fear, and outrage."
19:10: Great quote: "We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessity." (Oscar Wilde)
23:15 "So allow me to leave you with a suggestion for a different aim for society: the ultimate aim for society should be to make sure that people are not targeted, not harassed, and not murdered because of who they are, where they come from, who hey love, or how they pray."

Highly relevant: Sacha Baron Cohen: Facebook would have let Hitler buy ads for 'final solution'