Niel Basu

Big Data, Robo-Nanny, and The Battle for The Buttons

The Social Contract is broken.
The state can no longer uphold its side of the bargain.
For deep state to maintain power,
for the good of all,
it must act.
And it must choose.
And the choice it faces
is between coercion
or the control of opinion.
The latter power,
to control mass behaviour and opinion
comes with the ability to harvest and digest big data,
with control of social media.
And a battle is being fought.
We experience it in the developing narrative
that surrounds us,
that portrays social media as the agent
of our social problems;
responsible for extremism, social dislocation etc
and in the growing calls for a fix –
that will hold the access gateways responsible for their content,
a thinly veiled attempt to retain power
through censorship.
And more dangerously
as the power extends into social engineering.
the problem is that we may not produce the results that we expect
or even desire.
Whilst social media
may function efficiently as a mirror,
we might be unwise to think that it will do well as a nanny!

There is a solution and it’s easy!
We just need to grow up, and take responsibility for our own opinions,
our own emotional roller coaster,
and to cast aside rhetoric and manipulation.
That way we can hold the kind of adult conversations we need to,
to suitably scale to the global problems we face today.
But the work starts at home, and it starts now…

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