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The Monsters of Social Media, Fr. Grunow’s Talk

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All right, another inside-ball post. My apologies, but I listened to this absolutely FASCINATING podcast episode from the Word on Fire Institute about what we are really dealing with in using social media. With everything going on now, it seems timely.

It’s a priest talking to a bunch of Jesuits, so that gives you the flavor of the talk. The video is definitely slanted toward the question, “What do people who want to share Jesus with the world need to be aware of when dealing with social media?”

Still, there is a lot in here that’s food for thought for anybody. Fr. Grunow says we need to stop thinking of social media platforms as tools that are neutral but rather think of them like the monster in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

If you have not read or don’t know about that story, this scientist tries to create a “super human”, but ends up rejecting his creation. This new creature then goes around trying to figure out what it means to be human and discovers a cold, mean, and heartless world. So the creature learns from this world that to be human is to be cold, mean and heartless.

He connects that with what platforms like Facebook and Google do, emphasizing that we need to see these platform as artificial intelligence. They are learning from us and, in many ways, learning the worst aspects of us.

He makes the point that these technologies are emerging and growing at fast rate, and Catholics leaders need to be thinking hard about what the spiritual implications are for the faithful.

The Monsters of Social Media – Fr. Steve Grunow

I’m writing my own little Catholic Sci-Fi book delving into these themes of artificial intelligence. If you want, you can check it out at catholicstories.blog.

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