Bill MacKenty

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The volume of the fringe…more science fiction

Posted in Blogging Writing on 04 - March 2024 at 08:52 PM (4 months ago). 573 views.

Regular technology users are easier to sequester, easier to understand. Control? Maybe not. But if you are a heavy technology user, you can be nudged...

More thinking about the future, and science fiction.

The United States has about 330 million people and about 231 million social media users (about 311 million people are connected to the internet). To the extent people use social media and the internet, they can be known. They can be observed in an intimate, private, and near-total manner. They can be tracked, followed, and influenced. There is probably a relationship between amount of screen time and amount of potential influence

Much of this nudging, influencing, sequestering, and controlling is in service for the free market. But there is enough political and social nudging to raise a wondering.

100 years from now, if the free market is still free marketing, what might the visibility into our lives look like? Might there be a backlash where people disconnect and delete everything? Might social engineering divorce us so much from our nature that we decide not to be socially engineered?

Or perhaps, might the consequence of control be so high that a shadow war is fought for attention. That activists, social workers, and radicals do everything they can to subvert a message of "more and buy". Might monk-like religious / spiritual pull us away from devices and into actual communion and connection with each other.

Science fiction shouldn't ignore trajectory. And in our current world, the trajectory of personal, technological, and privacy is profoundly impactful.

I end with a quote from which I mostly agree with:

The real problem of humanity is the following: We have Paleolithic emotions, medieval institutions and godlike technology. And it is terrifically dangerous, and it is now approaching a point of crisis overall.

Edward Wilson