I feel bad about doing this but I’m probably going to really ruin your day because there are things you should be very worried about and you may not realize it. We all already know about the massive disaster of climate change as even the oblivious can now watch the growing sequence of unprecedented hurricanes destroying Caribbean islands, Texas, and Florida on TV. The growing frequency and intensity of tropical storms is clearly understood and long predicted as a result of human generated global warming. The only thing that was fudged was the speed of the growing disaster and that was openly done to keep people from going into denial. We also know how well that worked.
We know about Trump and the decades of misinformation on racism, bigotry and economics used for political gain by the Republican Party in the US that created the opportunity to succumb to someone like Trump. Since the Russian supported coup of November 2016 that contributed to the surprise win of an incompetent white supremacist, we have an increasingly clear picture as to how the voters in key states and districts were manipulated. We know what happened and the result although the effect of the massive Russian social media attack will probably never be known exactly primarily because it was designed to be missed and the death of the US political system has already muddled things so badly. But more on this very shortly because it is part of a far larger problem. And we know that the economy has been in an increasing state of collapse for at least thirty years as that is the period of the flat line for the US middle class and the rise of incredible wealth among a growing kleptocracy. There is also, lastly, a growing awareness that technology and the definitions of value are changing rapidly and in a way that will mean the elimination of most of the basic income sources for the bulk of the population. We know all of those things.
But that is not all. All of the problems presented above are very real and points of divisive discussion. We could add that the most of the divisiveness is the result of a percentage of the population desperately trying to deny the problems. The extreme efforts to deny the problems are, themselves, proof of the size of those problems. As famously pointed out by one of the kleptocrats a number of years ago, it is not the things we know that we don’t know that are the real issue but the things that we don’t know that we don’t know that will kill us.
Unfortunately not knowing what we don’t know cannot be suddenly replaced by simply knowing that we don’t know. We have a scalar issue here. There is then a quantity, in a way, but no direction. And it is the direction that we desperately need.
AI is both the threat and the salvation
Put more simply a large aspect of what we are dealing with is the power of AI in full operation. We have both the answer to the problem and the amplification of the problem all around us. But most people refuse to even attempt to think about it let alone work to understand how to distinguish solving from amplification. They start by doubting their ability to even think about this and then use that to refuse all further information. This is replication of doubt as a feedback loop that creates mental paralysis by shutting down all future opportunities. If you refuse to think you have only memes of ignorance to fall back on and that effectively shuts down communication. Sound familiar?
The Russian cyber war system was used to target nearly all voters in designated precincts in all swing states in order to feed misinformation on Hilary Clinton. It worked. By all indications the vast majority of people in this country either do not know this or refuse to believe it. We do not know exactly how well it worked but the upset was stunning. There is an increasing commitment by a range of countries to implement the AI tools to control the their population based on the success of these systems. Yet I suspect that many of you reading this are surprised or certain that this cannot be true. Sorry.
The Chinese have just shutdown virtual private networks and made them illegal in China. Do you use a VPN? The majority of IT people in the US and Europe use a VPN for all internet activity. I do. This protects the data you distribute and collect online from being monitored and collected. That is the information that is gathered on all of use we allow it. And China is making it illegal to hide your information. India is working to created a biometric ID for all citizens that would allow them to be completely tracked online. The India court system has just blocked that by ruling information security as an inherent right. Here is a very good article by Enrique Dans that outlines what is happening or has already happened.
How self replicating doubt work?
How does this self replicating doubt actually work? A very good example is the US higher education system that I have provided technology for over the last thirty years. This has been done with minimal success making education an area over due for total disruption. A short example: Convincing instructors in a community college system to move their course content and lectures online to improve convenience and learning outcomes for students. This should be obvious as many of those students work and are faced with financial and conflicting time demands. While there are a growing number beginning to do this the most common response is, “my students don’t know about that technology stuff and don’t have access . . .”. If you happen to know the head of IT for any community college ask that person how many student owned “intelligent” devices are normally present on campus for each student. The average is now between three and four internet devices carried by each student. What does this tell us? Who has problems with internet based information access? That is self replicating doubt and it is becoming deadly.
What’s the solution?
Here is the real shocker. The answer is AI and identity management for each person. The only way we can regain control of our identify and our data is to regain control of our governments so our identify and our data is protected. We need to control what information is available and useable by any organization including our government administrations. If we don’t build new governmental systems designed to both use and protect the data that is increasingly our primary asset we will be what we are rapidly becoming and that is a minimal tool of hyper-capitalist entities.
This is what is meant by post capitalist and post socialist governments. Both are a threat to our data assets. Material possessions are losing value because we live in a virtual world. The ten largest corporations are based on capturing and commodifying our data. The old materialist world of capitalism is now deformed in the same way that the communist systems were deformed. The only difference is that the USSR collapsed first and turned into a new-fascist state struggling to make the change to AI based authoritarian empire. AI will rule the world unless we take it away from the old governments and make it ours.
How do we do that? By reducing government to administrative units providing the services we need and ensuring out ownership of our data assets. That is the new city state or metropoles as they are sometimes called.
But how can we do that if you are caught in the old world and denying your self the knowledge of the new because of self replicating doubt? The old governments want you to remain in denial. They need just a little more time to gain control of everything you have.