Hailey Taylor Taylor
Professor Cicelyn English
26 September 2017
In “The Influencing Machines” by Brooke Gladstone, she expresses we, as viewers, get the information we expect as technology has advanced over time. Modern technology at any given time in history influences thoughts and skews perspective. She explains the idea that like-minded people who share the same beliefs or opinions tend to congregate, which often leads to group-think and the spread of biased information. Gladstone explains how with constant advancements in technology it is easy to form opinions that have been shaped through incorrect information. The ability to so readily access the internet gives people the opportunity to voice their opinions and share their views with other users even if there is no supporting evidence. She then goes on to say that she agrees with Author Nicholas Carr, who wrote “Is Google Making Us Stupid?” when he states that because all information anyone could need is just a search engine away we as a society have not only developed shorter attention spans but do not tend to study anything in-depth, thus changing the actual chemical make-up of our brains. Gladstone agrees with this but also believes things have always been this way. She explains that throughout history there has always been skepticism with regard to new forms of technology. Gladstone gives examples of the effects of radio, television and even early printed works and how society believed they would cause negative effects through their use.
It is my personal experience the media does in fact play a huge role in skewing the perspective of the American viewer. As Gladstone stated, “The echo chambers give rise to cyber cascades when a “fact” sent by one person spreads in a geometric progression to others until millions of people around the world potentially believe it” (Gladstone 332). Based on faulty information spread by news outlets or internet websites, a viewer could easily be persuaded to believe the lies being provided by these sources. The spread of these views and ideas brought by these outlets are some of the principal reasons we have such division in our country right now. Be it race, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, or a person’s political standing, the media is definitely to blame for fueling prejudice and a sense of “us against them.” With biased opinion being everywhere you look, it amplifies these issues and feeds the enthusiasm of hate groups. When you have groups like these, they are already looking for a reason to lash out and voice their beliefs even if it is misdirected or unfounded. If these groups or individuals are listening, watching, or reading only a handful of sources, and those sources are prejudiced, it is only going to reiterate their ideals and fuel the fire. This quickly spirals in to a black hole of delusion.
Someone that believes rhetoric obtained by a random site with no basis of factual information, allowing...