Grades 6-8, High School

Search Engines & Anti-terrorism

heart-showing-x-curric-integration-by-10binary-openclipart.pngHoly search engine optimized terms, Batman! Has Google developed a new super power?

Technically, Google’s mission is ‘to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.’ According to Levy’s definitive book, In the Plex:  How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives (my review also at the given link), the company insiders follow the more direct mission, ‘Don’t be evil.

And now Google is taking specific action to stop a particular evil: ISIS recruitment. According to the 9/9/16 post on Wired by Andy Greenberg:

Jigsaw, the Google-owned tech incubator and think tank—until recently known as Google Ideas—has been working over the past year to develop a new program it hopes can use a combination of Google’s search advertising algorithms and YouTube’s video platform to target aspiring ISIS recruits and ultimately dissuade them from joining the group’s cult of apocalyptic violence. [Full post here]

They haven’t quite worked out the best way to dissuade potential recruits, but certainly finding them is a solid start. What might work? Here are some prompts for considering this concept with students:

  • Read Greenberg’s complete article. What are the top 3 pros and 3 cons of Google’s method?
  • Select a MAJOR positive goal you’ve set (or dream you have). List 1-3 things that motivate you to achieve it and 1-3 practical ways to make it happen. List 1-3 obstacles that could derail you and 1-3 practical coping skills to deal with obstacles.
  • List one action each of these entities could do to support a newly-dissuaded recruit:  friend, neighbor, teacher/school, member of religious order, local government agency (e.g. library), state program (e.g. education), federal support (e.g. citizenry experiences). Make sure each action is measurable.
  • Recommend a book (picture book, YA, fiction, etc.) for a dissuaded recruit to read/hear that
    • supports the decision to choose peace/not work for violence
    • underscores the importance of community & his/her role in it
    • highlights positive aspects of US citizenship or legal participation in US society
    • BONUS: Consider registering any picture book selections at A Picture Book 4 My President
Note:  I do not have nor have I ever had any association with Google (other than a regular user).

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