If I could get rid of any invention of the past hundred or so years, it would absolutely be the Internet.
Look at this from respected journalist Michael Yon:
Achtung! Pay attention: tonight I talked for about an hour with a “Google Snowden” who will soon go public. A deep insider.
Fascinating stuff. I cannot say much now other than pay attention to what is coming out starting in a week or so from now.
Source said many interesting things about how Chinese are flooding into tech companies like Google, and some of the incredible techniques they can use to brainwash or at least mislead millions of people.
Take this as an example that I am making up based on our conversation. Again, I am making this up but it is based on our conversation:
A politician tweets saying we must protect our national interests.
Google, or whoever, immediately promotes all stories that translates, “must protect our national interests,” to “nationalism,” and then in almost real time rewrites the meaning of “nationalism” to include traits such as xenophobic, racist, and references Nazis as nationalists.
This happens so quickly and so comprehensively that most people never will notice that in the 30 seconds the curtain was closed, Google (or whoever) rewrote part of the dictionary, and history.
To state this more clearly: they can basically rewrite what you say, write, sing, wear, or hand gesture — name it — and they can rewrite that faster than we can make popcorn.
They can do this anonymously saying the algorithm is doing it when in reality they write the rules that make the rules.
Anyway, the insider told me much more. I do not know how much already is public but I do think that if the source is correct, President Trump and a lot of others in powerful positions will be extremely angry with some of the internet players who already have hired half of China.
Imagine what this can do to an election.
Not only that, but the Internet makes people friendless:
No new friends. No old friends. No friends… period?
More than 20% of millennials surveyed in a YouGov poll released this week claimed that they don’t have a single friend. And less than a third of millennials said they have double-digit friends, according to the data, culled online in early July.
Curiously, in addition to 22% of millennials saying they’re friendless, 25% in the age group said they also had zero acquaintances — possibly reflecting a misunderstanding of the question. (Unless they don’t work or go outside…)
Despite the “social” in social media, a 2018 study out of the University of Pennsylvania linked usage of apps like Facebook and Instagram to social isolation. “Using less social media than you normally would leads to significant decreases in both depression and loneliness,” the study’s author, psychologist Melissa Hunt, said at the time.
This is why I’m becoming a Luddite, even though I’m addicted to the Internet. Just like you are. Just like we all are.
I’ve heard the argument that the Internet is no different than the printing press, or radio, or television, or any number of communication technologies. The difference between all of those and the Internet is precisely what Yon says he’s going to blow the lid on, and what all of us science fiction writers and fans knew from the start: the big tech companies are the proverbial Ministry of Truth.
Once again, 1984 has proven not to be a warning but an instruction manual.
Add to that the deleterious mental health effects at the individual and societal level the Internet has wrought, combined with the social and cultural atomization, and you end up with the Internet being little more than a vector for mind control.
Sure, people like me write on the Internet, ply our wares, connect with like-minded, interesting, and downright good people. But there are other ways to do that, aren’t there?
The “world getting smaller” might have been a bad thing after all, because you will find the grass is always greener, and that you want the exact same things everybody else wants until everybody is all the same with the same tastes, wants, and desires. Not to mention that of the top 10 most popular Internet sites, three are “adult,” which is a nice way of saying porn.
The Internet! Bringing you a superior wanking experience since 1990!
So despite all the positives, the Internet on the whole has been bad for society. It wasn’t what was promised. It’s made us friendless and ignorant, and has become a way to control populations via free pornography, easy consumerism, and a way to propagandize and literally rewrite and redefine history in real time that would make Josef Stalin envious.
Obviously, bad ideas have spread rapidly since the days of the movable type printing press, but Mr. Gutenberg’s humble invention does not work nearly as rapidly as Mr. Berners-Lee’s. Sure, good ideas can counter the bad, but like a sickness, the bad idea comes first, and the good idea–the antibody or whatever in our analogy–is reactive, and will always be outpaced. Remember, it’s 2019 and we’re no closer to a cure for cancer, or even understanding what really causes it, than they were in Gutenberg’s day.
In conclusion, if I could wave a magic wand, I’d rid the world of the Internet. TV is bad enough, for crying out loud–the people in charge of that monstrosity have proven they should never be trusted to control much of anything. And we’re comfortable with giving them an even more powerful tool of propaganda and persuasion.
I’m being facetious, of course. The Internet has remarkable potential to do good. In some ways, it already has. You have, quite literally, all of human knowledge at your fingertips, and can access it in seconds. But something needs to change to ensure that the Internet isn’t used to warp reality, control minds, and put more power than several world governments combined in the hands of rapacious, greedy, and evil meddlers, nobody voted for and have no legitimate claim to the power they wield.
My solution may or may not involve flaming swords . . .
For a fictional look at what happens when tech giants gain way too much power, check out my debut novel A Traitor to Dreams, still on special $0.99 sale for the next few weeks.