Throughout the entire GameStop saga, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the idea of a hive mind. I’ve dedicated an entire chapter in my forthcoming book to this idea and I wanted to get Tim’s perspective. I first came across his work on hive minds when I saw his Ted Talk, “Changing the hive mind — How social media manipulation affects everything”. In it, he explores how even a single like can influence huge amounts of people if done at the right time! We talked through social media manipulation, the idea of hive minds on the internet, the separation between the online and offline world, and much more.
Tim Weninger is the Frank M. Freimann Collegiate Associate Professor of Engineering in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the University of Notre Dame. His research is in machine learning, network science and social media. He’s interested in uncovering how humans consume and curate information. Tim has done work on the Center for Network and Data Science, the Pulte Institute for Global Development, and the Technology Ethics Center.
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0:00 – Intro
2:50 – What is a hive mind?
8:24 – Are the Facebook, Twitter, YouTube algorithms the most powerful piece of technology?
16:33 – Are different social media networks their own hive mind?
22:35 – GameStop/Superstonk hive mind
28:55 – The online world and offline world colliding
34:22 – The size of the GameStop community
39:00 – Extremism online
44:07 – The Dead Internet theory
48:43 – The YouTube algorithm
56:25 – Teething problems for new technology
59:15 – Deep Fakes/Emojis/Internet language