Let’s Ban The Internet

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. 

22 comments

  1. I watch YouTube far too much to quit the Internet but I often think about it. Some optimistic part of me thinks that most people may just realize how stupid it makes us [when used without proper discrimination] and we will go back to “in real life” relationships and hobbies. I am pessimistic, though, about people using the internet for positive things because quality search engine research and query has become incredibly difficult. It’s 200 pages of stinky opinions before you can find one solid piece of research. IDK I WISH I WASN’T part of the problem, haha, oops.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “It’s 200 pages of stinky opinions before you can find one solid piece of research.”

      No kidding! See, google became king of the search engines because it used to provide the best results. Now it’s more interested in radical activism.

      And I think we’re ALL too entrenched in Internet use to quit fully. We can at least use it smarter. It would help if the tech companies weren’t hell bent on making their stuff so addictive (and deceptive!) all to sell advertising.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I’m starting to realize that my online patterns will shape those of my daughter. And then on and on. I was going to say that we should use it less for entertainment but part of that also means not looking for entertainment every hour or in every moment of ‘downtime.’ Maybe if we start using it methodically, enough people would follow and big tech would have to change (I can only dream).

        Liked by 1 person

      • “but part of that also means not looking for entertainment every hour or in every moment of ‘downtime.’”

        You are so right, and I’m so guilty of this myself. I consciously tell myself throughout the day, “Don’t look at it, don’t look at it…” or I just leave it behind. Like at the gym, for instance.

        Like

    • The forthcoming Google revelations will add a new dimension to the Mandela Effect, which though named for an event that supposedly happened in the 1980’s, wasn’t described until 2010 — well into Google’s reign. It’s not unreasonable to believe that Google has manipulated search results for decades, starting with “trivial” pop culture to tune the algorithms and perfect the process, before moving on to bigger things.

      In short, what if the Mandela Effect is actually the Google-1984 Effect?

      Liked by 2 people

      • It would not surprise me in the least!

        I can’t wait for these revelations, though I think Yon made a common tactical error by announcing his forthcoming revelation before doing it. Don’t tip your hand—reveal when you’re ready, I say.

        Like

    • I’m so old I remember the thrill of randomly using AOL Instant Messenger to message someone whose profile had similar interests to yours, or getting a random IM from someone else.

      How naive we were.

      Facebook wasn’t a thing until my senior year of college, when it JUST went public.

      I agree though—online friends are cool, but I miss having more real-world friends.

      Like

      • To be fair I have met some real world friends via the internet, e.g. a local beer geek blog/forum – though it’s mostly gone inactive since most of the users moved to Twitter.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Same here! I’ve actually met twitter people! And ones I haven’t yet met, I speak with via phone.

        But I do miss real word gatherings. They’re tough because my real world friends all live far away, and I haven’t made any new ones around here.

        Like

  2. —Think about how many people procrastinate using the internet? How many novels, screenplays, music, art not being written, played, sung and created because of the amount of information and distraction. It’s crazy. I guess it’s down to self-discipline, how much we all choose to use it when we’re not obliged to because of work or school. And then determining how much time to spend on it for fun or for information, research, expressing opinions, etc. But it’s tempting to go back to youtube and watch something. I guess in some ways, humans are much the same as we’ve always been, and the fundamental lessons, regarding time and temptation still apply.

    cheers (I guess)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think about this myself. I’ve wasted so much goddamn time on the Internet I could’ve invested into other pursuits.

      At least writing and publishing is creative.

      I’m depressed just thinking about all this though. The internet was a mistake. Maybe modernity in general was as well.

      Like

      • “Maybe modernity in general was as well.”

        Saying stuff like that really triggers the bug-people and Boomer-cons who live for Amazon Prime and cruises. Also try, “The so-called Enlightenment was mankind’s biggest mistake since The Fall.”

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, people get very defensive about the enlightenment without really thinking through its logical consequences.

        In general, human beings accept the status quo as the best way things could possibly be. We’re all frightened of change because if the new thing is worse, we’re going to feel like suckers. Forget that the status quo might be actively wrong and unsustainable.

        Like

  3. Alexander

    Not so much ban but maybe if we in the west were still Christian’s we’d’ve had more nihilism obstat and imprimatur whever someone broached theology/ moral questions and we’d use the Internet for God’s greater glory. Imagine the equivalent of illuminated manuscripts and iconography.

    I know wishful thinking but we can do the equivalent by building models, mowing the lawn riding a bike. Doing things offline is salutary and helps put the net in perspective it’s a great tool but not the only one.

    xavier

    Liked by 1 person

    • “Doing things offline is salutary and helps put the net in perspective it’s a great tool but not the only one.”

      Yeah! Right on. It definitely puts the net into perspective. It’s a powerful tool but like all things needs some sort of boundary. And absent a law or whatever—which most understandably do not want—we have individual discipline and societal/culture norms of moderation and perspective.

      Or, at least, we used to.

      I’d argue that much of this erosion of restraint is due to consumerism.

      Like

  4. “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.”

    Brilliantly stated.

    Like you said, there’s plenty of positives — I love having Wikipedia and YouTube, for example. They’re goldmines of insights and knowledge. I would have loved to take an MIT course on physics or hear radio interviews with Stanley Kubrick or Aldous Huxley when I was a teenager.

    But I’m realizing more and more that (like everything else) moderation/balance is absolutely essential. We tend to overlook addictions that aren’t blatantly harmful to us, and in fact usually reserve the words for particularly bad habits like drinking or drug use.

    But we’re all addicted to our screens. It was the television screen for years, then the computer screen started to rival it in the late 90s, and we’re now walking around with cell phone screens in our pockets — and what’s worse is that almost all of this “screen time” is usually completely useless and is re-wiring our brains in many harmful ways, psychologically and socially. (Psychologically in terms of attention deficit disorder, which is ubiquitous; socially in terms of atomization and communication.)

    All of these things I read about how pornography is changing adolescents’ minds about sex is disturbing as well.

    I’m considering going Luddite as well for this reason. Great post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • “But I’m realizing more and more that (like everything else) moderation/balance is absolutely essential.”

      Yes! I think the nature of screen-tech makes moderation so incredibly difficult though.

      “All of these things I read about how pornography is changing adolescents’ minds about sex is disturbing as well.”

      It’s shocking. So much entertainment, not just the pornographic variety, is about retiring brains and modifying behavior. There’s a reason we call it “programming.”

      Like

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