Sean Parker, who as a student collaborated with Mark Zuckerberg to found Facebook and was its first corporate president has been in confessional mood about the lack of ethical awareness the tech billionaires shared. Parker, 38, was uncharacteristically honest about the privacy stealing social media site the pair created. In an interview with Axios he confessed the site was designed to hook people in ways that can have a detrimental effect on cognitive skills. So much so in fact he predicted, jokingly, that Mark Zuckerberg will probably block his account.
Here’s a sample of what Parker was talking about:
Confirming every ‘big brother’ conspiracy there is about the social media giant, Parker explained how social networks purposely hook users and potentially hurt our brains…
“When Facebook was getting going, I had these people who would come up to me and they would say, ‘I’m not on social media.’ And I would say, ‘OK. You know, you will be.’ And then they would say, ‘No, no, no. I value my real-life interactions. I value the moment. I value presence. I value intimacy.’ And I would say, … ‘We’ll get you eventually.'”
“I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because [of] the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or 2 billion people and … it literally changes your relationship with society, with each other … It probably interferes with productivity in weird ways. God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
“The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?'”
“And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments.”
“It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”
“The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.”
In this ‘confessional’, it appears Parker has become “something of a conscientious objector” on social media.
Howeever , as Axios notes, Parker ends with just enough crazy to make you wonder…
“Because I’m a billionaire, I’m going to have access to better health care so … I’m going to be like 160 and I’m going to be part of this, like, class of immortal overlords. [Laughter]
Because, you know the [Warren Buffett] expression about compound interest. … [G]ive us billionaires an extra hundred years and you’ll know what … wealth disparity looks like.”
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