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Social Media: The Battleground For Our Minds
David Icke sees social media as control system and propaganda tool, but new technologies are out there that offer freedom... the question is, will governments turn nasty in their bid to keep control?
You might love social media or you might hate it. But we all know it has a darkside, one aptly summed up by conspiracy expert (not "theorist"!) David Icke:
"Social media is a weapon of mass mind control. It's designed to shape our thoughts, beliefs, and behavior. It's a form of propaganda, a way to control what we think and do."
Icke says social media companies have always worked with governments and intelligence agencies to monitor and manipulate us. "They're collecting vast amounts of personal data," he contends, "which they use to influence our opinions and actions."
As to the algorithms, he says "[they] are designed to reinforce our existing beliefs and biases, creating echo chambers where alternative views are suppressed, and dissent is silenced."
He's right. Even on a less sinister level, it's clear social media affects people, particularly children, on very deep levels. Neuroscientist Dr. Susan Greenfield, for example, expresses strong concerns about the impact of social media on the developing brains of children. She says:
"Social media can rewire the brain, altering the way we think, feel, and behave. It can reduce attention span, impair memory, and inhibit creativity. It can also encourage impulsivity and addiction."
Not good. But there is hope on the horizon in the form of "decentralized systems." These run on blockchain technology (which formed the basis of Bitcoin), and bring security, privacy, and transparency. Most importantly they stand to take break the thralldom of the mega-corps, which increasingly rule our lives and stand to control our every move - and that's leaving aside the insidious machinations of governments.
Computer scientist and author Jaron Lanier contends that decentralized systems offer a better future for social media, one that is ethical, democratic, and above all, human-centered. He told Wired Magazine:
"Decentralized systems can offer us an entirely new paradigm for social media, one that is based on cooperation, mutual respect, and consent. With blockchain technology, we can create systems that give users control over their data and their communication, rather than handing that control to a handful of corporations."
In short, he sees this new technology as a way to empower people, rather than manipulate them.
The problem is, the powers-that-be and governments have a track record of trying to suppress disruptive technologies...
As security technology and author Bruce Schneier puts it:
"Decentralized systems are inherently more difficult to control, which is why governments often view them as a threat. Governments have a vested interest in maintaining control over information and communication, and decentralized systems threaten that control."
In China, for example, the government has cracked down on cryptocurrency trading and mining, which are based on decentralized systems, in an effort to maintain control over the country's financial system.
And in the United States, some lawmakers have proposed regulations that would limit the development and use of decentralized systems. The proposed Infrastructure Bill, for example, includes provisions that would require cryptocurrency brokers and developers to report transactions to the government, which could undermine the privacy and security of decentralized systems.
In the end, it all amounts to a battle for our minds...
On one side you have governments seeking to maintain control over information and communication, and on the other, developers and even hackers, looking to bring freedom to what has always been an unfree world, ruled by elite classes who maintain their wealth and assets via oppression and manipulation - sometimes outright tyranny.
In modern times, this control has taken more subtle forms by utlizing dark PR and using social media to control narratives - and literally people's minds in many cases. Nevertheless it amounts to the same thing: offering freedom has never been the remit of the ruling classes.
Yet if enough people wake up to the new technologies out there and start using them, the hegemony of control would be broken. The very real risk is that the elites might take drastic measures to control the populace of the world, such as unleashing manufactured viruses... oh wait, that's already happened... or possibly nuclear war, which we are perilously close to with the conflict in Ukraine.
I’m going to pin my bets on new tech…
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