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In conversation: Penn Jillette • Vulture
David Marchese with a fantastic interview with the conjuror/juggler/magician, who has a fascinating sweep of insights:
<p><strong>Q: You’ve talked in the past about how the antidote to bad ideas is more ideas. But doesn’t the way things are shaking out online suggest that actually what we need are better ideas and not just more of them?</strong>

PJ: I believe in the marketplace of ideas but you’re right, we now have algorithms that push people crazy. YouTube is set up to push you crazy. If I search for vegan recipes, I’ll end up with 9/11 truthers. But it’s like the first time people saw movies, and the train on the screen was coming toward themThe 1895 film The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station is a 50-second silent film showing a train pulling into a Paris station, and is an early document of cinematic technique: forced perspective, long shots, close-ups. There’s a myth about the film that in its premiere, audiences were terrified by the train coming at them, and ran from their seats. …

<strong>Q: And everyone jumped out of the way.</strong>

PJ: That’s right. They were screaming and yelling, but then it only took a millisecond for people to realize what was going on from that point forward. So even with all this bad stuff happening, yes, I still think people are overwhelmingly good, ideas are overwhelmingly good, and if you have Nazis being able to reach 10 million people, those same 10 million people will also be reached by Martin Luther King.

<strong>Q: Why do you think that? Isn’t the marketplace of ideas as it now exists online intentionally designed to send people further down a given rabbit hole rather than towards contrary ideas?</strong>

PJ: Yes, algorithms are weighted in favor of that, but that’s not the problem. If you’re worried about craziness in the next ten years, I don’t have any hope for you. Fifty years? No problem. It’s like when we first saw advertisements: they worked entirely. But now I can show you a TV ad and you don’t even reach for the phone. The words didn’t change, but you learned to tell that it was bullshit. We’re going to see that happening with the internet. People will learn to separate the good from the bad. But that whole idea that everybody else is going crazy on the internet sickens me. I can tell when something is garbage. You can tell. Who are all these mysterious people that can’t?</p>

Stay too for the bit where he discusses his experience on US Celebrity Apprentice with Donald Trump, and why he won't talk about what he heard. (He does, in passing, dispel any doubts about whether a tape of Trump being racist exists.)
Magic  trump  algorithm  socialwarming 
yesterday by charlesarthur

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