What is the shitification of the internet and how can we reverse it? · Maldita.es

Shitification or…what? enshittification of the internet is a technological neologism (and the word of the year 2023 para la American Dialect Society) which describes “how digital platforms can become increasingly worse.” A deterioration that this society defines in three phases: first, the platforms want the best for their users, then for their commercial customers, and finally, for themselvesThat is, according to this concept, the Internet would cease to be at the service of Internet users and your user experience, for focus on economic benefits and the decisions that best suit large technology companies.

If the internet has become full of rubbish, can we de-scum it? The boom in artificial intelligence makes it difficult, but the experts consulted by Maldita.es and Cory Doctorow, the creator of the term, have hope: the education, the software free and regulation would be the keys to creating a new digital environment.

What is the enshittification or digital ‘shitification’?

“That’s how it is How platforms die:First, they are good to their users; then they abuse them to make things better for their business customers; finally, they abuse those customers to get all the value back for themselves. Then, they die. I call this “shitification,” he defines on his blog. Pluralistic Cory Doctorow. The Canadian writer coined the term enshittification the ‘mierdification’ to explain these Three stages of the decline of platforms digital.

What does all this mean? According to Doctorow, users are increasingly harder to find what they are looking for on the Internet. The writer attributes this to the worsening of the services offered by the platforms for their own benefit, resulting in Internet users surfing between results that do not help y low value content. Now, when we enter the web we find “Five giant websites full of screenshots of the other four,” he summarizes. Tom Eastman“In a decade, platforms have gone from satisfying users in searches to content platforms prioritizing what they want to show us,” says Silvia Cruz Lapeña in the episode ‘What is digital shitification?’ from the podcast Hoy en ELPAIS.

Doctorow explains this process with the case of GoogleFor the Canadian, the platform started out offering the best search results but, once it secured a user base and encountered little significant competition, it changed its search algorithms to Prioritize the results that will generate the most advertising revenue. The final stage of his ‘shit-making’, according to the writer, came with the redirection of the benefits obtained for shareholdersreducing the quality of service for users and customers.

Is AI becoming a ‘shit-maker’ for the Internet?

For Doctorow, all the Digital businesses have the ability to ‘shitify’ themselves (as Amazon, TikTok y Netflix) y artificial intelligence is playing a role in this process. The writer exemplifies this with the Google AI case, Overviewwhich has gone viral for the crazy results it yields, worsening the user experience for Internet users. The ‘Summary created with AI‘ consists of a small text that is displayed before the search results generated with Geminiits language model. The idea is to give a direct response to the user’s query but it has been recommended to put it payment for the pizza to make cheese stick or eat a rock to improve our health.

“The Artificial intelligence allows us to shit more, faster and better”, explains Mar Carpena, a journalist specializing in technology Maldita.es. AI simplifies and streamlines tasks that allow Filling the internet with content of little valueLike the cheapfakes (deepfakes low quality), fake images and the content farmswhich are portals that generate millions of articles with tools such as ChatGPT (which They are not reliable sources of information).

Is there a way back? The challenge of ‘de-shitifying’ the web

“The Internet has been like a cheap drug that we were given when it was good, and now it is very difficult to get out of it,” laments psychologist Aurora Gómez Delgado. Maldita.es. The expert in digital behaviors says that the ‘shitification’ has accentuated polarization on the webSince the digital bubbles They do not allow users to confront opposing opinions.

Then we can detox internet? “Yes, but not entirely because it would imply de-shitifying society and that is more than complicated,” Carmena explains. For the journalist, the key is in to train and educate citizens to have critical thinking about the Internet and, in this way, “swim through the poop and reach a safe harbor.”

Gomez shares this position and emphasizes the importance of alternatives such as software librewhere anyone can see, study and modify the code with which it has been made (we explain it to you here). A thought shared by the creator of the term ‘shitification’, Doctorow, who proposes decentralizing control of the internet through this type of software and open protocols that allow users to have more control over their data and the way they interact with the platforms. “The conversation should not be about how to bring back the old internet, but about what It could be a new and good internet“, says the writer.

Doctorow emphasizes the importance of regulation to protect users and promote fairer competition in the digital sphere. “Citizens need to reclaim the Internet as their a public square where the rules are setnot the companies,” concludes Gómez.

The damn Mar Carpena, a journalist specializing in technology, has collaborated in this article with her superpowers.

Mar Carpena is part of Powerpuff Girlsa Proyect of Maldita.es which seeks to increase the presence of female scientists and experts in public discourse through collaboration in the fight against disinformation.

Thanks to your superpowers, knowledge and experience we can fight more and better against lies. The community of Maldita.es You are essential to stop disinformation. Help us in this battle: Send us any hoaxes you receive to our WhatsApp service, Lend us your superpowersspread our denials and Become an Ambassador.

 
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