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  • Writer's pictureFrederick L Shelton

Social Media & AI: Let's All Trust Facebook (aka Meta) With Our Young People!

Updated: Sep 26

The Age of AI Chatbots: Meta's New Play and the Slippery Slope of Cyber Consequences

As the sage philosopher Stan Lee once penned, With great power comes great responsibility. In the luminous land of tech, Meta (formerly known as Facebook) is reportedly gearing up to roll out its new toy, the Gen AI Personas. And while we're no strangers to the pulsating promises of technological advancements, sometimes, the allure of the glitter might just blind us to the lurking shadows behind it.

Thus it is with Meta’s new toys.

Drawing inspiration from the lovably irreverent Bender of Futurama, one can expect banter with a "sassy robot." But before you dive headfirst into these delightful digital conversations, be wary! An alien, aptly named "Alvin," seems to have more than just interstellar gossip on its mind, raising eyebrows with its probing questions.

Star Struck. Meta also intends to allow celebrities and influencers to create chatbots in their image and with their personality (Of course, we all know they won’t personally do that but instead will have Branding & Marketing experts do so). Imagine chatting with a celeb-designed bot that looked and spoke like Dwayne Johnson or Dua Lipa? Oh, the thrill of it!

But while I consider myself an Optimist, When it comes to trusting Meta, I am anything but. As the horizon of AI broadens, casting its vast, overarching shadow, we must address the potential pitfalls.

1. Misinformation and Propaganda: The haunting specter of 2016 looms large, with memories of election manipulations and a man armed with an AR-15 walking into PizzaGate because the invisible Q Anon told him there were pedophiles in a non-existent basement of a D.C. Pizza Parlor. Think about this: What if an AI chatbot that was mimicking Donald Trump or Michelle Obama called for violence or other actions that would harm the USA, would the masses be able to discern fact from fiction? What if a real celebrity or politician called for violence and blamed it on a fictitious cloned account? How could they be prosecuted?

2. The Ghost of Identity Theft: An inquisitive alien bot may seem endearing until it gathers enough about you to mimic or, worse, misuse your identity. An exact replica, be it of a celebrity or John Doe, wielding your personal information? The stuff of cyber nightmares.

3. Uncharted Inappropriate Waters: The murky depths of digital interactions house threats. Sexual innuendo. A seemingly innocent question, a subtly worded hint toward self-harm or worse and before you know it, we're knee-deep in already troubled waters, especially when young souls are at stake.

4. The Silent Echo Chamber of Isolation: Amidst the din of AI interactions, will the reassuring hum of human voices fade away? In seeking solace in silicon, might we drift away from the comforting embrace of human warmth? What if the humans in our lives are a dysfunctional family? Will cyber-relationships be the only ones sought and seen as secure?

It's Time for Our Government to Stop Being So Bad at Governing We need regulation and we need it now! The American Government is always a day late and a dollar short. It wasn’t until after Enron, that the watered-down Sarbanes-Oxley was passed. It wasn’t until after the 2008 financial crisis that the toothless Dodd-Frank was passed.

The pattern is clear. Our government does nothing until a Black Swan event occurs. Then it engages in political showmanship until it finally passes something - that accomplishes nearly nothing. This time, we need to be ahead or companies like Meta, will create the next tragedy with their clearly defined priorities of placing profits ahead of people.

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