Is this the future we had hoped for?

Is this the future we had hoped for?

Like many people, I have become increasingly suspicious of Facebook. Since I read with horror this great article in the Atlantic last November I had stopped posting anything there, my hands died on the keyboard. I logged out from the site and deleted the Facebook application from all my mobile devices. So, I was not too surprised when the Cambridge Analytica story broke about how user profile data had been shared with unscrupulous people for nefarious ends. That, after all, has been the way they work since the start.

Think of all the monitors we’ll save if there’s no need for facebook

No, what has been most damning I think is Facebook’s inability to admit that their business model itself is the problem. Facebook cannot reform. I really think it should be split up, treated like a utility, and their market value capped. That is the only way that their growth will be halted and they will stop polluting and distorting public discourse.

The most disturbing characterisation of Facebook I’ve read is that it is essentially a large scale experiment in behaviour modification using artificial intelligence techniques. So, if it was not bad enough that they take all your personal data and then make themselves a ton of money with it, they change your behaviour too.

But what you really need is a kind of computer which puts people at the centre of things (from the Noah Purifoy museum, Joshua tree)

It seems that the likelihood that any particular future will come to pass is inversely proportional to our ability to predict it. This is not the future we had hoped for, or predicted. Let’s hope we can get ourselves out of it.

3 thoughts on “Is this the future we had hoped for?

  1. I used to work in direct marketing, forewarned is forearmed… I never started an account with any of the social networkers, and I have stopped using Google as much as possible, never did use their browser.

    What I find surprising is that it took a win by someone that you clearly disapprove of for you to notice the nasty side of social networking.

    When Barack Obama was given 200,000,000 million names and their data by Zuckerberg and his mates in order to win in 2008 a number that trumps (geddit) anything that Cambridge Analytica managed, you said nothing.

    Perhaps your real enemy is not Facebook etc… just democracy.

    BTW: Even though I consider him to be fairly odious like most politicians, I always knew that he had the makings of a very good POTUS, he knows how to play the game and he can read people, and knows what they are going to do next, before they themselves do.

    His main advantage is that he is not imbued with party machine sleaze or grift, like that woman that he was opposing.

    1. Dear Stephen,

      Thank you for your insightful comment. It certainly shows us what the problem is!


  2. Thank you for recognising my insightfulness Henry… 🙂

    I recognise that you have taken the name of a revolutionary as your nom de plume, but fail to see one when it is under your nose.

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