March 14, 2023 – 06:00
Every time a story is told, someone borrows something else from it. It’s just that when it spreads, it’s because it’s fulfilling its purpose. Each travels to a different place, each version is unique, after all, no one tells the same story twice.
It has changed its path so much that many times it is not even known for sure where it comes from. Word of mouth that became a tweet, that became a retweet, that became a meme, that became a sticker.
Even if the story isn’t good enough to be told more than once, it still doesn’t just belong to the person telling it. This is because its existence depends on the agreement of at least two people: who speaks and who listens. Yes, the listener owns the story as much as the teller. After all, history lives, happens, is born only in conversation.
And there is talk everywhere. There is small talk, small talk, small mouth, fishing talk. There is even talk of throwing.
Conversation conveys good stories. It is transmission, sharing, duplication.
Ideas are the result of this interaction. Fragments of many stories that come together in different ways and/or contexts.
An idea can have an owner, but not a story. At least not one owner.
Unfortunately, they are not the only ones who are transported with such ease. Just like good stories, fake news also has exponential potential. They live according to this logic, but with a fundamental difference. The spread of “fake news” depends on another means of transportation. They rely on ignorance, prejudice, confirmation bias, but never conversation.
Conversation is listening, talking, exchanging, building something new together. Fake news is more like a collective monologue. They circulate precisely in bubbles where there is no exchange, only mimicry.
Therefore, when it is said that “democracy is in danger” it should be read “conversation is on the verge of extinction”. We do this in exchange for a momentary, fleeting and dangerous benefit. A carrot that connects us more and more with the banal and less and less with the essential. This is how the algorithm works. It’s function is to keep us engaged in what is most attractive, but not necessarily what makes us better.
It is technology that is increasingly learning from us, not the other way around.
We are increasingly guinea pigs in an experiment that, even if unintentionally, puts us in a passive position.
Advances in artificial intelligence bring a new layer of complexity. Can an interaction with a chatbot be a conversation?
I don’t know that, but that’s another story. And the end of the conversation.