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Wisdom and Technology: The Ethics and Use of Artificial Intelligence in Our Social Networks – May 2024

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Over 5 billion people are connected to the Internet (Statista, 2024). The time spent online is increasing, and digital life is taking up more and more of our time.
The social, economic, geopolitical, security and health impacts are significant. Mobile apps for entertainment, information, and communication are constantly active in our pockets and homes. They shape our routines from waking up to going to bed, distracting and exhausting our hyper-connected brains. These apps operate with increasingly powerful and complex algorithms and technologies that are difficult to understand.

The impact of artificial intelligence (AI) in our daily lives?

According to Bill Gates, artificial intelligence (AI) is the most important technological revolution since the 1980s. We’re only at the beginning, as demonstrated by the meteoric rise of OpenAI and its conversational AI, ChatGPT. Entire sectors will rapidly reorient and transform because new programs like ChatGPT have the potential to “change the world”: work, education, health, creation, information, and more.

The challenges of increased and continuous connectivity

Social networks have created powerful emotional digital experiences through various formats. They are programmed to capture maximum attention (the attention economy) by creating a dependence on screens. Problems related to digital addiction are increasingly widespread: uncontrolled internet use, negative repercussions on school or work performance, behavioural and mood disorders, deterioration of social life, and hindered knowledge development. Algorithms can sometimes trap and push the human brain to its limits, causing psychological and physical harm. All cultures and generations are affected by this phenomenon of digital pollution.
The documentary “Generation Screens, Generation Sick?” directed by Raphaël Hitier in 2020 warns of the health risks of social networks and excessive exposure to short, fast-paced, and choppy audiovisual content.

Regulating AI for ethical technology and social networks?

The use of AI inventions must be for beneficial purposes. Social networks should be tools that focus on human well-being and our capacity to create and learn for personal growth and fulfilment. The use of algorithms and AI should be measured and serve humanity and nature, respecting our time without wasting it and respecting our emotional energies without unnecessarily confronting them. AI should also protect universal diversity and create bridges between cultures and languages, liberating creative forces without exploiting the brain’s capacity to respond only to suggestions for multiple consumptions. New AI solutions available to the public should enlighten, help us grow, and serve humanity consciously.

The opportunities for developing AI solutions are immense, especially in the audiovisual, cultural, and creative sectors. However, these new technologies also pose significant risks. Europe plays a crucial role in this landscape; we must establish a robust regulatory framework to guide the new technology market. This will ensure AI remains trustworthy and is based on high-quality data, as outlined in the AI Act.

In response to this profound digital transformation, we created Panodyssey, the only European creative social network dedicated to text. We collaborate with 41 European public broadcasters within the European consortia Trusted European Media Data Space (TEMS) and CREA Trust AI, dedicated to promoting trustworthy artificial intelligence in the fields of media and culture.

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