The rules of the game in the digital world

I write this article sitting in front of my computer, while I search for information on the web, I check it through Whatsapp. I interrupt to order a pizza through a delivery application that ensures that the delivery is in a few minutes. I interrupt again to answer a video call from my cell phone. She is a friend who lives thousands of kilometers away, the call will be long and the cost will be ridiculous. In her town the temperature is freezing, -20 ° C, in my city it exceeds 30 ° C. Fifty degrees separate us, but we seem to be in the same environment. We inhabit protected territories.

The tools that give us access to digital world occupy more and more spaces of our lives, from leisure, study, work, information, travel, music, to love and human ties, cause expressions of astonishment, disbelief, and sometimes anger from the post-50s when referring to this environment, not so new anymore and certainly very different from the one we lived in 25 years ago. Rarely do conversations on the subject go beyond the difficulties or virtues that arise and, if they do, it is to reflect on how the technological revolution changes our lives.

Alessandro Baricco, author of The Barbarians and The gameNotice that we are thinking wrongly, that the revolution is first mental and then technological. He claims that “the new man is not produced by the Smartphone, but it is the Smartphone that invented it, the one who needs it, the one who designs it for its use and consumption. The one who built it to escape from a prison, responds to a question or to silence a fear”.

We are protagonists of a revolution that did not come to us, did not burst into our lives, but is built from the imagination, experimentation, needs and interests of human beings, mostly computer scientists, engineers, with an eye on technology, passionate about data, zeros and ones.

The Internet, social networks, platformization and AI stress social, educational, cultural, journalistic, political and economic systems.

The Generative Artificial Intelligence, such as ChatGPT who in seconds writes the text on the subject that we consulted, confronts us with ethical challenges that are difficult to address while our magnetite is confused by uncertainty, ignorance and fear of the new territory. How do we know if what she writes is true, what biases does she reply to even if we don’t identify them at first sight?

the author of artificial intelligence atlas (FCE, 2022) Kate Crawford argues that AI is neither artificial nor intelligent. It may seem like a spectral force, a kind of embedded computing, but these systems are not abstract at all.” And he states “rather it exists in a corporeal form, as something material, made of natural resources, fuel, labor, infrastructure, logistics , stories and rankings. AI systems are not autonomous, rational, or capable of discerning anything without extensive and intensive training.” These are, she asserts, systems designed to serve existing dominant interests: they are, ultimately, a certificate of power.”

Technology is advancing by leaps and bounds towards greater global financial inclusion

The researcher notes that we must create artificial intelligence systems that take into account the social and cultural context since “Time and time again we see these systems make mistakes (algorithms that offer less credit to women, mislabeled black faces) and the response has been: “We need more data” But the training data sets used for the software machine learning they classify people into one of two genders; or according to the color of your skin into one of five racial categories, and try, harden people’s appearance, assign a moral or ethical character.

The idea that you can make these extreme determinations on appearance has a dark past, and unfortunately, grading politics has found its way into the AI ​​substrata.” concludes.

The rules of the game in the digital world

The digital environment is a space whose rules are not written but we need to know to navigate. Rosa María Palacios, a dear Peruvian colleague, with more than three and a half million followers on her TW account, told me: They love me, they hate me, but I know the rules, that’s why I can participate.

A new threshold in the social use of knowledge

The question is then, where to find those rules to make the digital environment a safe place? Where is the instruction manual for this exciting, risky and, at the same time, full of opportunities game? There is an answer, perhaps not unique, but essential: the education.

Because if today the information is just a click away, what is educating if not teach to read, ask and question information to make the right decisions with the right information.

It is necessary to understand that, as always must happen, education goes far beyond traditional classrooms and has to reach, as social networks or traditional media do, new audiences, new followers of education. Social, political, religious, business leaders, communicators, mothers, fathers, grandparents, need to understand the density of this transformation. No one can be left out, not even those who consider the Internet to be a setback, nor those who use it without being aware of the footprint they leave behind with each click, and even less so by childhood and adolescence.

Education, public policies, families

Recognizing that we need new ways of thinking about education to meet new environments is an important step. And in this what UNESCO calls Media and Information Literacy has a lot to contribute. What is it about? Of an education that exceeds a certain institution to reach the responsibility of public policies, media, platformscities, schools, families, girls, boys and young people.

An education in which states guarantee access to the network and devices, not per se, but so that they are ways to exercise the rights of full citizenship, which puts people at the center of the scene and not exclusively to technology. An education that teaches think critically from childhood.

We cross a threshold. There is no normality to return to, warns the Italian cultural agitator Bifo Berardi. As I said, we are builders of the new routes that can lead us towards hope, empathy, inclusion, but also exacerbate despair and every man for himself. The key question is, towards which of these territories are we heading as humanity?

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