It’s 2018 and most of us know that the average person’s social media is a carefully constructed lie. Unlike real life, the virtual world gives us complete control over our image and lifestyle. And this typically translates into everyone being on their best behavior. So we see people speaking up about burning issues, supporting socio-political causes, and basically pretending to be a version of themselves that they want to be IRL or one that others will look up to. Whatever makes us look good, we do it.
The worst part is that this trick works very well for those who are hungry for fame and power. Today, literally anyone can become famous and respected simply by carefully curating what they share about their lives on the Internet. I am sure you know someone who is amazing and friendly online but meh and snooty in real life. Why even the #MeToo movement in India’s media world has exposed a good number of predators who were known for being woke on social media.
But you know, why should we even wait for a revelation? Or dig for clues that give away a person is lying or exaggerating?
With all the strides Artificial Intelligence (AI) is making, why can’t there be a platform that cuts through the bullshit and shows us what someone is really made of?
Going by recent events (yes, I am talking about the many data breaches we saw just this year), online privacy is pretty much dead anyway. Big brother might as well serve netizens by generating public character reports on the basis of the data it has on us. This way, we can all know someone’s true nature instead of rudely discovering it one day.
And imagine the wonders it can do for raising mental health awareness! So many of us are not even aware that we are suffering from some condition. Even if we think we need help, stigma stops us from seeking it. An intuitive, intelligent system could do away with this problem by detecting symptoms and warning signs. The prevalence of mental illnesses detected this way would eventually get rid of the stigma as well.
Lastly, it would give us the insight to choose our idols wisely, thus preventing the creation of false, unworthy heroes. And current networks like Instagram and Facebook are minting the latter at a dizzying speed.
Of course, the system will have its kinks and flaws
I can picture a couple of downsides like the government making it compulsory for everyone to make an account on this AI-powered platform. Then there’s the tricky case of ensuring people cannot lie to make themselves look good. Plus, since we have a long way to go in this field, there’s the risk of stuff like false positives. In spite of its glitches, I think this system would be a lot more useful than those available today.
PS If you think I am talking out of my head, check out how AI is being used to stop school shootings, detect fake news, and prevent crime. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the day it will be used as a virtual asshole meter.
What kind of changes do you want to see on social media in the future? Would you willingly use a platform that gave away your real personality? Share your take in the comments below.