On the 23rd of March, 2016,
Microsoft released a new chatbot named “Tay” on Twitter.
Described by Microsoft as an experiment in “conversational understanding,”
Tay was built to have conversations with people
through tweets and DMs with the slang of the Internet.
In the words of its creators, Tay was meant to be,
and I quote, “Microsoft’s AI fam from the internet that’s got zero chill.”
Tay was designed to learn more about human language
as she interacted with people through their tweets.
She was to learn the patterns of our communication
and then emulate it when trying to create her own speech.
Tay’s first few tweets were fun and harmless.
一开始 Tay的推文很有意思 而且没有恶意
However, in just a few hours,
everyone was in horror as Tay started tweeting the most offensive things imaginable.
Things along the lines of, and again, I quote,
“Bush did 9/11 and Hitler would have done a better job.”
In just 16 hours, Tay tweeted 95,000 times,
with a majority of her tweets being extremely abusive and offensive.
In less than a day, Microsoft had to suspend the account and the entire experiment.
A complete social failure if you ask me,
but it did do its job the way it was programmed to do.
Tay was not designed to think for herself.
She was built to learn from the language that was spoken to her.
And so when people recognized that she was nothing more than a parrot-bot,
因此 当人们意识到 她只不过是鹦鹉学舌型的聊天机器人时
they intentionally started tweeting the most insensitive and offensive things at her,
tweets she echoed right back into the world.
Sadly, many people today are like Tay.
We constantly feed ourselves with the same type of information,
and without pausing for a minute to verify what is “fact” and form an unbiased opinion.
却不曾停下核实 什么是“事实” 并形成不带偏见的观点
Many of us simply echo everything we think we know right back into the world.
Although we like to think that every opinion we have and every decision we make is down
to our best judgment and independent assessment,
our opinions, beliefs, views, and thoughts about the world
我们的主张 信念 观点 以及对世界的看法
are influenced by a larger group of people.
Research has shown that when presented with multiple options,
we often mimic the choice of the people around us.
Rather than spending time researching, asking questions,
or learning about the different options to find out the best one for us,
we often defer to the “social norm.”
We are social animals, after all.
it’s becoming more and more important to think for yourself.
A few decades ago, we only had a handful of different thoughts that we were exposed to.
So, it was easy to filter all of them and figure out what was right for us.
所以 对所有观点进行筛选 以确定我们所认可的并不难
But thanks to the internet and social media, there are billions of people
with completely different worldviews, ideologies, and beliefs,
and the societal norm is changing so rapidly that there’s no time
If you’re not subscribed to my channel,
there’s a high chance that the YouTube algorithm brought you here,
and if that’s the case, hi. You see, algorithms are great. They bring
如果是这样的话 嗨 你瞧 这个算法太伟大了
everything we want right to our doorsteps,
but there’s one big problem.
Slowly, they’re beginning to dictate our lives.
They’re starting to think for us.
First, it’s content-based platforms like YouTube and Netflix suggesting things for you to watch.
首先 这是以内容为基础的平台 如YouTube和Netflix 它们会向你推荐值得观看内容
Soon, you’re watching everything not because you searched for it,
but because the algorithm suggested it.
this looks harmless.
It exposes you to content you otherwise might not have seen,
and gives smaller creators the chance to blow up without having an established pedigree.
It’s literally the reason Aperture has grown to the size it’s at today.
But then you have Amazon’s algorithm that tells you
all the products you should add to your cart alongside the one purchase you made.
Then Gmail Smart Reply telling you how to reply to emails,
and Tinder telling you who to spend the rest of your life with.
Before you know it, we give the algorithm the driver’s seat
and we become passengers in our own lives,
merely coasting through the roads we are suggested.
This in and of itself is a problem.
But the fact that the algorithm is not perfect makes it an even bigger problem.
但事实上 这个算法并不完美 且引向了另一更严重的问题
For one, the algorithms that are now thinking for us don’t actually think.
They simply find patterns and parrot them.
Once they realize we like or agree with a certain thing,
we are constantly fed with that one thing.
And in a short while, we find ourselves in an echo chamber,
where everything we see and hear are only things we’ve agreed with in the past.
It doesn’t give much room for change, for growth,
for the opportunity to listen to opposing arguments and learn.
Think about it,
how many times have you randomly found a video on YouTube
that you completely disagreed with?
Compare that to how many times you’ve found a video
that you enjoyed and you completely agreed with.
The difference is probably incredible.
And the better the algorithms become,
the better they would be at serving you information that you already agree with.
This leads to confirmation bias.
The tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information
这是一种倾向 它让搜索 诠释 回忆信息的方式
in a way that confirms or supports your prior beliefs or values.
Because these algorithms constantly surround us with ideas that we already agree with,
we quickly block our minds to every shred of evidence that contradicts this bias.
There’s a subtle difference between the desire to have been right and the desire to be right.
The desire to have been right prevents us from seeing the real truth,
causing us to hold on to ideas that might be logically and factually flawed.
We fail to see how we’re wrong, and so we fail to learn and to grow.
我们看不见自己的错误 就无法学习 无法成长
We hold on to beliefs that we have been surrounded by, so much so,
that we start to seek out evidence to back up our bias and not to find out the truth.
The truth is that humans find it very difficult to process information
in an unbiased and rational manner
once they’ve developed strong feelings or sentiments about the issue.
So people interpret everything they see in a way
that already agrees with everything they know and believe about the world.
Some people believe in something called extrasensory perception.
So for example, they remember all the times when they were thinking about their mom
and picked up their phone, only to see she was calling. It seems like “fate” in a way,
but yet they forget all the times when mom called when they weren’t thinking about her,
但是他们忘记了 在他们没这么想的时候 母亲也打过不少次电话
and the other times when they were thinking about mom but she never called.
而且有时候 他们想着母亲时 她却并未来电
Because they believe so strongly in extrasensory perception,
they are far more likely to remember instances that back up their claims,
even when the instances that don’t agree with those claims occur far more frequently.
To make our confirmation bias even worse, social media has created the influencer culture.
People like me, apparently.
Now, not only do we look to each other for guidance,
we look to influencers, gurus, and thought leaders.
而且还指望着网红 大咖 思维领袖
Because we consider these people part of our packs, more so than traditional celebrities,
因为我们认为 与那些传统意义上的名人相比 这些人更是我们的同类
we often place them on incredibly high pedestals,
giving them the opportunity to, well, influence us.
People buy a product because an influencer said so,
even when the product might not be the best option for them.
They employ unsafe dieting practices and workout routines,
just because an influencer said it’ll work
without doing the research for what works for their own body.
People listen to fake gurus and influencers,
and without taking the time out to think for themselves,
they do exactly what these people tell them to do,
even if it’s unhealthy and potentially dangerous.
One of the biggest reasons people no longer seem to think for themselves
is because they are scared of the repercussions.
How can you think for yourself when sharing ideas
that are not in accordance with the societal norm
gets you exiled from society?
When you could lose your job, your education, everything you’ve ever worked for,
就是因为想法与众不同 表达了不同的观点 你可能会失去工作
simply for thinking differently and expressing those different opinions.
Yes, I’m talking about Cancel Culture.
The real victims of Cancel Culture are the ideas that will be left unsaid.
The thoughts left in the mind for fear of extreme backlash.
It’s the beliefs that are only expressed in the dark,
where the big bright eyes of Big Brother cannot see.
To prevent the rats from coming out, Big Brother urges you to doublethink.
To prevent yourself from getting “canceled,” a relatively new phenomenon,
society urges you to groupthink.
Coined by Irving Janis in 1972,
1972年Irving Janis 创造的术语“群体性思维”
“groupthink” simply means avoiding conflict by swiftly reaching an agreement
without evaluating other options or alternative ideas.
It means to bend your back to the social norm without giving other ideas a second thought.
The danger of this is that our individuality and uniqueness dies
and the world moves to a point where we all collectively agree on the same ideas.
世界会发展至某个阶段 届时我们会达成共识 赞同一样的想法
No difference in thought, no individual ideas, just…
思想上没有差异 没有个人观点 只有……
But it doesn’t have to be this way.
To think for yourself is a skill that you must learn,
else you become a puppet of someone else’s programming.
To think for yourself is to challenge your existing ideas, beliefs, and decisions.
Ask yourself, are my thoughts mine?
Or are they simply influenced by everyone around me?
My friends, my parents, society, influencers, and so on?
是我的朋友 父母 社会网红 还是其他人？
To think for yourself is to look at the evidence,
to investigate and to use thoughtful analysis.
Understand that all of us battle with confirmation bias,
we all want to seem to “fit in,”
and so remember to not shy away from ideas that might negate your existing bias.
To think for yourself is to battle with your mind.
Go out there and find the root of the ideas you support,
and then find opposing arguments.
Look at your new found beliefs as diamonds encased in a rock.
Before you get to the fine jewel, you must break through the rock with a lot of force,
but carefully and diligently.
Before you fully accept a new way of thinking,
make sure that you’ve broken through the rock
by wrestling with these new ideas in a way that might take you out of your comfort zone.
To think for yourself is to go out there in search of information.
Don’t wait for the algorithm to keep echoing the things you already know.
Acquire new knowledge.
Feed your mind continuously by reading, listening,
and discussing these big new ideas with a view from both sides.
Break your pattern of thought and view everything the world has to say through your own lenses.
To think for yourself is to be humble in your knowledge.
One of the reasons people fall into the trap of confirmation bias
is that they don’t want to be wrong.
We’ve built this idea for some reason that we have to protect ourselves from being wrong.
People seem to pride themselves as intellectuals and knowledgeable,
and disconfirming evidence goes against that notion.
So they shy away from it, keeping themselves in the dark about the truth,
simply because they want to keep up the façade of being right.
Don’t be scared of being wrong. There’s literally nothing wrong with it.
Remember, we used to think the Earth was the center of the universe
and that everything revolved around us.
We enjoy feeling important, and being right gives us that sense of superiority.
But, in my mind, I feel as if you should be more concerned about finding out what’s right
但是 于我而言 你应该更在乎发现什么是真理
and not craving the state of “being right.”
To think for yourself is to be courageous.
To not buckle under fear, pressure, or guilt.
不屈服于恐惧 压力 或内疚
To stand up for what you believe in, as long as you have come to see it as the truth for yourself.
To think for yourself is standing out and not going along with the crowd
simply for the sake of keeping the so-called “peace” and avoiding confrontation.
Because the truth is, we would have no new scientific discovery
if the old ideas were never challenged.
Everything we believe about the world today
is a product of someone thinking out of the box, challenging the status quo.
We must do the same.
Being a free-thinker opens the avenues to ideas that some of us may never truly experience,
and new ideas are something we can all benefit from as individuals.
There is no progress without change,
and there is no change without admitting there’s a problem in the first place.
On the 23rd of March, 2016,