November 21, 2016

The Disruption of Truth

Technology has finally broken the Media's choke-hold of Society's Collective Conscience and I don't know if that is a good thing or not. Truth and fact have been disrupted, making way for the rule of emotion and intuition over rationality and knowledge. I don't think The Zuck ever stopped to think about the true consequences of making people more connected all over the world. But the reality is now in the open, and we can all attest to it now: Interconnectedness drives instability.

What started with the seemingly innocuous (and commendable) goal allowing people to share baby pictures among family members morphed into allowing activists to organize political demonstrations. And then giving Alt-Right trolls a megaphone. Goading is so much fun! Until the reaction is border militias with elite-training itching to kill imaginary ISIS invaders at the SW border with very non-imaginary AR15s.

Actual bloody revolutions still rage, efficiently kindled by the smartphone's interconnectedness magic. Massive refugee migrations burden nations that are ill-equipped to host them. Maybe the Arab Spring and the role of social media in overthrowing decades-old, stable regimes should have been a warning for this new regime ruled by emotions. I'm pretty sure that positioning Facebook as the airwaves for broadcasting nonvetted, fake, and slanted stories was the last thing preoccupying The Zuck. Who cared if they "polluted the air" for everyone else? What matters is engagement, and that Macedonian teenagers seize it. Everybody makes money out of those gullible eyeballs. Besides, he is too busy thinking about the long game.

But hey, "the truly bad guys are just a couple thousand people. You're just magnifying the problem." Right. I'm sure they are just passionate supporters who mean well and that they don't have an influence of the national conversation.

As days go by, we go through the pains of the disruption of truth. There's now an old world, inhabited by people stuck in a (now) defunct place where TV still shapes society's mindset and the New York Times is still respected as a news source, and a new one where facts don't matter precisely because they are delivered by the New York Times.

Trust just broke down between the Media and the population. The Media's erstwhile power to build --some would say concoct-- consensus has evaporated, and a tweet linking to a Nobel Prize-winning PhD claiming the Arctic is melting faster than expected looks exactly the same (and most likely gets less engagement than) a tweet linking to a Milo post calling women lardasses.

Truth, in this new regime, is now completely malleable. Psy-ops and social media hoax blitzes of propaganda are more powerful than what we acknowledge (or even understand). All of this is, like it or not, just the latest iteration of a failing economic model that has left a huge swath of people hopeless.

We might as well just adapt to it, just like coal miners will have to adapt to the disappearance of their jobs for good.