Book review of The Loop: How Technology Is Creating a World Without Choices and How to Fight Back by Jacob Ward – The Washington Post

The titular “loop” that Ward warns his readers about is rooted in the power, predictability and stupidity of our unconscious minds. When humans make decisions, our brains are quick to take shortcuts. In doing so, we make predictable, systematic errors such as miscalculating risk and overtrusting authority. Technology companies, Ward argues, use algorithms to hijack these unconscious patterns for profit. The “loop” is Ward’s speculation that our ever-increasing dependence on AI products — Spotify for music recommendations, social media algorithms for news, automated weapons for waging war — drives our thoughtlessness, which in turn makes us more dependent on AI, and so on. “In a generation or two,” Ward posits, “we’ll be an entirely different species — distracted, obedient, helpless to resist the technologies we use to make our choices for us, even when they’re the wrong choices.”


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