Editorial—What’s the Opposite of a Bubble?

This week, we’ve got an interview with a current student as well as a recent graduate, so you can see both sides of the coin.  We also take a quick look at the various bursaries available from AUSU.  If life has thrown you a curveball recently (as it has with so many of us because of COVID-19) these bursaries might be what you need to get you through.  After all, with cases rising, we may be in a situation again where it’s back to homeschooling for your kids, and it can be hard enough getting your studies done on time while trying to help a child do theirs.

That’s where things like the emergency bursary can help you by covering a needed course extension or exam re-scheduling fee.  Or maybe if little Jack is on the computer for his school, you’re having trouble finding your own time on the computer for your courses.  That’s where the AUSU computer bursary might be able to help.

What many students don’t know about these bursaries is that some of them are available year-round, not just during the regular awards period.

Meanwhile, news in Canada continues to be dominated by two disasters, COVID-19 and American Politics.  One is virulent and overwhelming everybody from world leaders to the average citizen looking forward to Thanksgiving, and the other, of course, is the coronavirus.

It would be nice to be able to claim that at least after November 3rd, a little less than a month, things might settle back down to normal, but I don’t think anybody really believes that now.  Even in the case of a landslide victory, the “bubble-divide”, as I like to call it, will remain strong, with many people driven by social media further and further into their own personal bubbles of opinion.

If you are in favor of the Democrats and progressive ideals, it becomes very easy to adjust the feeds to never see the foolishness and lies of the other side, and the algorithms help you, because they don’t want you to leave the site while they have more advertising to serve.  If you’re in favor of the Republicans and conservative ideals, it’s just as easy to adjust the feeds so you never have to see the foolishness and lies of the other side, and, again, the algorithms help you, because, again, they don’t want you to leave while there is still more advertising to serve.

And none of us in any of the bubbles realize that the true enemy is the bubble itself, it is the algorithms that work to keep us reading, clicking, and absorbed.  What we should be shutting off is nothing less than our ability to shut off the things we don’t like.  I’ve started to wonder what would happen if technology was introduced that would prevent us from seeing those views we already agree with, more importantly, from seeing the views of people who agree with us.  Would it lead to all of us simply shutting off social media, or would it lead to a softening of views.  After all, if you can’t see that other people are agreeing with you, it’s much harder to decide that you’re in the majority, that you’re absolutely correct, so don’t need to seriously consider other opinions.

But that’s just my opinion.   Enjoy the read!

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