Internet Protocols & Social Networks

The Algorithms you use, and the online services you use, Minds, Youtube, Facebook, these can affect the entire arrangement of our social interactions without us even knowing. This is so much the case, that all sorts of complex things, things which you would always imagine are far too abstract to affect everyday life, these things have effects that you would never imagine.

Small changes in an algorithm, may affect how we choose to arrange ourselves into groups. If the network rewards us for making more friends, we may form larger groups, and in larger groups there may be lower levels of trust or depth of conversations. Additionally, if users with the most social connections are rewarded disproportionately to those with less, we may see heirarchical interactions and "gateways" start to evolve. 

For this reason one can talk about "The Ethics of TCP/IP", "The Ethics of the Client/Server Model", "The Ethics of Distributed Ledger Technology". Mathematics, algorithms, protocols. The choices of algorithm we make have profound effects on our everyday lives.

Imagine that every person had two good friends who they talk with everyday, but they talk with nobody else. Imagine how fast news would spread under this arrangement. It turns out, this can be calculated Mathematically. Now imagine if everybody had three good friends who they talk with everyday. It turns out, the speed of news spreading in this network can also be calculated Mathematically. And the speed of news in moving through a network can affect the pace of our lives, including the effectiveness of propaganda, and the spread of technology and ideas. 

Thus small changes in an algorithm to make communications with peers easier, may change how ideas are spread in profound ways.

Love & Social Networks

In addition to the effect that internet protocols have on our interactions, there is another kind of "protocol" that is never forced upon us, that is, the way we choose to deal with individuals in our lives. 

The little things we do every day may be considered the "protocols" by which we operate: a kind word, a careful analysis, a good deed. These things will always have effects you will never see, also, if every act you performed became a universal law, as Kant suggested it should, and as "a smile is contagious", and as religions tend to proselytize, and as children copy their own parents, the entire network would change so much as to be completely different from the first, with only a very minor alterations in behavior across the network.


The important points in this post are as follows:

    Little things, done at large scale, make a huge difference.

    Your choice of social network(s) will almost surely affect who is/are your friend(s).

⏺    Small distinctions in algorithms are important, and have the power to completely change your network of friends, while you never even know why this happened.

⏺     No matter how much algorithms or protocols change, the protocols by which you act, that is, your code of ethics, or how you act toward other people, can never be ultimately controlled by your environment.

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