The dystopian tomorrow will require us to teach our children to lie better.
After a decade or so of the general sentiment being in favor of the internet and social media as a way to enable more speech and improve the marketplace of ideas, in the last few years the view has shifted dramatically—now it seems that almost no one is happy. Some feel that these platforms have become cesspools of trolling, bigotry, and hatred. Meanwhile, others feel that these platforms have become too aggressive in policing language and are systematically silencing or censoring certain viewpoints. And that’s not even touching on the question of privacy and what these platforms are doing (or not doing) with all of the data they collect.
We are in a generalized crisis in relation to all the environments of enclosure—prison, hospital, factory, school, family. The family is an “interior,” in crisis like all other interiors—scholarly, professional, etc. The administrations in charge never cease announcing supposedly necessary reforms: to reform schools, to reform industries, hospitals, the armed forces, prisons. But everyone knows that these institutions are finished, whatever the length of their expiration periods. It’s only a matter of administering their last rites and of keeping people employed until the installation of the new forces knocking at the door.
These are the societies of control, which are in the process of replacing the disciplinary societies. “Control” is the name Burroughs proposes as a term for the new monster, one that Foucault recognizes as our immediate future. Paul Virilio also is continually analyzing the ultra-rapid forms of free-floating control that replaced the old disciplines operating in the time frame of a closed system. There is no need here to invoke the extraordinary pharmaceutical productions, the molecular engineering, the genetic manipulations, although these are slated to enter into the new process. There is no need to ask which is the toughest or most tolerable regime, for it’s within each of them that liberating and enslaving forces confront one another. For example, in the crisis of the hospital as environment of enclosure, neighborhood clinics, hospices, and day care could at first express new freedom, but they could participate as well in mechanisms of control that are equal to the harshest of confinements. There is no need to fear or hope, but only to look for new weapons.
Pretty rich, coming from a garbage company like GoDaddy.
Even despotism does not produce its worst effects, so long as Individuality exists under it; and whatever crushes individuality is despotism, by whatever name it may be called, and whether it professes to be enforcing the will of God or the injunctions of men.
John Stuart Mill
Apart from the peculiar tenets of individual thinkers, there is also in the world at large an increasing inclination to stretch unduly the powers of society over the individual, both by the force of opinion and even by that of legislation: and as the tendency of all the changes taking place in the world is to strengthen society, and diminish the power of the individual, this encroachment is not one of the evils which tend spontaneously to disappear, but, on the contrary, to grow more and more formidable. The disposition of mankind, whether as rulers or as fellow-citizens to impose their own opinions and inclinations as a rule of conduct on others, is so energetically supported by some of the best and by some of the worst feelings incident to human nature, that it is hardly ever kept under restraint by anything but want of power; and as the power is not declining, but growing, unless a strong barrier of moral conviction can be raised against the mischief, we must expect, in the present circumstances of the world, to see it increase.
John Stuart Mill
Scientific advances from deep brain stimulation to wearable scanners are making manipulation of the human mind increasingly possible, creating a need for laws and protections to regulate use of the new tools, top neurologists said on Thursday.
A set of “neuro-rights” should be added to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations, said Rafael Yuste, a neuroscience professor at New York’s Columbia University and organizer of the Morningside Group of scientists and ethicists proposing such standards.
Five rights would guard the brain against abuse from new technologies - rights to identity, free will and mental privacy along with the right of equal access to brain augmentation advances and protection from algorithmic bias, the group says.
We just don’t know what’s next, but we know it’s likely to be consequential, and that a big part will be played by the world’s biggest social network. On the evidence of Facebook’s actions so far, it’s impossible to face this prospect without unease.
Another significant group of these experts made the case that people will adopt products and services tied to the Internet of Things because it is their best life choice and at times their only choice. They believe that opting out will not be an option in many situations, for example, in daily work and health care settings. A share of these respondents noted that as businesses, governments and other organizations begin to reap benefits from the IoT, people will be rewarded for their use and suffer consequences for nonparticipation. Even if there were no such carrot-stick motivations, network effects would leave the unconnected at a disadvantage. An anonymous respondent commented, “Disconnection and remaining in society are mutually incompatible.”
Almost no one wants to consider epistemology; to do so as a hobby is rare. One person’s disinformation is another person’s teambuilding. If you think the preceding sentence is in favor of disinformation, by the way, it’s not.
The battle for the right to read is already being fought. Although it may take 50 years for our past freedoms to fade into obscurity, most of the specific repressive laws and practices described above have already been proposed; some have been enacted into law in the US and elsewhere. In the US, the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) gave explicit government backing to the computer-enforced restrictions known as DRM, by making the distribution of programs that can break DRM a crime. The European Union imposed similar restrictions in a 2001 copyright directive, in a form not quite as strong.
This is leading down a dangerous path.