This is the time, already, when I starting saying versions of “Remember when I was saying . . . and no one paid any attention?”. Trump is a disaster but in this world now he is only a symptom of things that people like him cannot understand. He will facilitate disaster because he is a puppet who does not even need to be faked. Sadly taking him out will not solve the problem and, probably, won’t even have much of an effect. There are just too many layers to this problem and they are in truly complex feedback loops.
This is a situation that the solution is also the problem. We have no choice. We must figure out how to use the full range of virtual technologies that we have or we will destroy ourselves with them. We must work to determine truth and that requires trust. In the end it will require faith but that is the original predisposition that allows us to be suckered. That one has been abused for so many centuries that we can no longer allow religion to function as anything other than fiction. Most people in postindustrial countries understand that already but the authoritarians in charge are never going to give up religion because it is their only absolutely reliable club. That is why it is maintained among their core followers as essential and an essential threat to everyone else. But we need to replace it with scientific knowledge that is understood to be provisionally valid.
And I think that is the first stage of protection. All claims to truth are only provisional. And that takes a sophisticated view of the world that requires understanding of critical knowledge. In the US the manipulation of the 2016 election was the result of crude manipulation of fake information playing on a large enough percentage of the US population that is unable to be logically critical. We have a national political system that has made it acceptable to lie and destroy truth for political gain. We don’t even notice it anymore. When one party goes completely beyond any policy other than power at any cost with no lie too ugly to be denied, there was no place left to stand. And most people have yet to realize what they have done.
I don’t think, and have for a long time now, that we can do this without coming to rely on the very systems of machine learning that make these horrors possible. We must build our own saviors and they must be very different and very much more intelligent than we are. It is coming to that.
We need to work this out quickly and it will not work itself out . . .