Posts Tagged ‘internet’

From Wealth of Nations to Wealth of Data

September 2, 2019

Our Declaration of Independence is not the only hallmark document of the year 1776.

There was another one: Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, which Wikipedia refers to as a magnum opus.

Magnum opus means pretty doggone important idea, as the multilectic development of our dialectical ideas shape  history.

Smith’s groundbreaking insights propelled our modernizing world into the age of Economics, a new time when the effects of money and industrial productivity began to channel human culture in ways that outweighed traditional institutions.

The Church, the Royals, such ancient paths of power were, in the long run of history, outmoded by the power of the buck.

Freedom to gather wealth was being distributed widely among new, rising enterprisers in society, instead of being controlled by the purse of the Popes or the money of the Monarchs.

Now the tide is turning again, in a major way.

But it’s turning back the other way.

Oh, not back to the Church or the King, but back to another select group—the data mining Social Media.

Now Wealth of Nations morphs to Wealth of Data.

And it seems it happened in the blinking of an eye, so to speak.

All our data that we generate through ubiquitous universal social media gets scooped up and recycled as fodder to generate future wealth, for somebody.

For Whom? Who is gathering the new Wealth of Nations through our electronic and wifi conduits of the Wealth of Data?

Robber barons, monopolists, capitalists, opportunists, daytraders, speculators, hedgefunders, algorithmists, hackers, gamblers, midnight ramblers?

Future wealth, for somebody. . . for whomever is using the data as a field for harvest —to skim new wealth, through  their privileged knowledge of out trendy, predictable human habits. . . our fashions, fetishes, foibles and infamous freedoms.

Freedom to spend, mostly. Especially with all the cardswiping that you see in every spending venue these days.

It’s so easy to spend money nowadays.

Even if you don’t have any!

Using the data streams to  anticipate where the “markets” are headed, where the money’s going . . .those watchful, AI-wielding movers and shakers behind the scenes can know exactly when and where to lower their clickbait nets, and scoop up a big mess of digital debits or financial fish.

“Markets” being the main concentrations of consumer and business wealth that are being spent every day as we live and breathe and spend.

A lot of people are starting to figure this out, about now.

Some have been noticing the profit potentialities for awhile. Others have known from the beginning. They are the ones who have been establishing data-mining as the latest phase of capitalism.

I learned something about this, this morning, when I read Karin Petersson’s report about it on the Social Europe site.

   https://www.socialeurope.eu/politics-in-the-age-of-data

Karin’s opening statement got my attention in a big way.

“It’s impossible to change the world if you don’t understand the forces shaping it.”

That is so true, Karin.

I went on to read her concise treatise, which consisted of an insightful cautionary statement about the three main problems of this data-mining development. I will list those three here, while recommending that you read her article in order to get her thoughts from her article—not mine.

Karin’s list of the three problems:

~~Rage machine

~~Winner takes all

~~Survival of Democracy?

She is calling into question the survivability of democracy in these new social media conditions that have overtaken our way of life.

You should read it.  https://www.socialeurope.eu/politics-in-the-age-of-data

Now I do have something to say about her opening statement:

“It’s impossible to change the world if you don’t understand the forces shaping it.”

So true.

But I confess that my free-thinking mind dropped the KM bomb on me. That is. . . Karl Marx.

. . . not that Karin is a Marxist or anything like that.

My point is that even if you DO understand the forces shaping the world . . . odds are you still can’t change it!

Oh yes, maybe you can make some beneficial contributions, maybe some helpful new ideas, but convincing yourself that you can change the world based on what you know or understand about it . . . that is a dream that will never come true.

Take the Karl himself, and his idea: The factories and businesses of industrial production are owned by a few rich people.  If the regular working people—the proletariat— could take over that means of production and do a fairer job of running it— then society could distribute the wealth in an equitable way. Everybody would have a piece of the pie and we could all live then in an egalitarian commune.

Happily ever after, as they say.

Certainly I am oversimplifying this scenario, but I do it for the sake of simply making this point: You can’t change the world, even if youdo  understand the forces that are shaping it.

My layman’s reading, for instance, of Marx/Engels Communist Manifesto led me to the conclusion that their analysis of capitalism as it was developing in the mid-19th century was, for the most part, accurate!

They predicted, for instance, the alienation that would indeed later take hold of many workers as a result of having to perfoem repetitive production tasks.

So Marx, Engels and others later went on to prescribe a fix for the problem: dictatorship of the proletariat.

When Lenin, Trotsky and others got a hold of this concept they acted on it.

But look what happened. Things got bloody. By the time Stalin got hold of the new development, the formerly fresh thrust of worldwide communism turned into prison gulag.

And it did not recover until the time of Gorbachev, Yeltsin, etc.

That’s one small idea for a man . . . and one giant, very hard lesson learned for mankind.

You can’t change the world, even if you do understand the forces that are changing it.

In the present context of data mining, this principle would perhaps translate to: find a way to regulate the data-miners, but don’t try to take the whole damned machine away from them. This is merely capitalism in its emerging 21st-century form.

DataMining

Neither the technocrats in Brussels, nor the bureaucrats in Washington can stem the tides of history. You just have to regulate those who control the Wealth of Data, insofar as it is Constitutionally  possible, and leave the rest to each individual citizen’s free will and judgement.

The same principle applies, btw, for Climate Change.

Education, for whosoever is willing to learn, is the remedy. Not control. We all need to be convinced to to the right thing.

Life, liberty and pursuit of happiness must be assured for all, in spite of all the data-miners  who lurk behind our keypads, sucking the hot air out of our collective social media balloon.

Glass half-Full

Advertisements

From Enlightenment to Onlinenment

July 13, 2019

Well gollee y’all, we have collectively moved from the Age of Enlightenment to the Age of Onlinenment.

Liberty! Equality! Universal Brotherhood!

Revolutions (1)

Two or three centuries ago, us civilized Euro-heritage types began figuring out that we no longer needed  the ole Roman church to tell us how to be good and not be bad. We used our enlightened minds to think our way past their ancient religiosity and priestly hoodoo shenanigans; we began to view life in a more Romantic way. We began to  understand that each one of us—each individual—could determine his/her own destiny. We determined that we didn’t need those old priestly neutered fuddy-duds any more to tell us what was right or wrong.

After a while we took our rejection of ancient institutions to the next level. By the time the 20th century rolled in, we had figured out we really didn’t need them uppity kings and queens no more; we ran most of them out of town; we even chopped a few of their royal heads. We were having a grand time making mincemeat of millenia-old royal houses, kings, queens, dukes, duchesses, earls and heiresses. Who needs counts and countesses, marquises and marquesses?

Ferdshot

By mid-20th-century, we had honed in in on the regular politicos and company men, identifying them as superfluous self-serving dead weight dragging the system down. Useless people, the whole lot of ‘em. Throw the bums out, somebody said. Who needs fat cat prime ministers, prejudicial presidents, robber barons, pompous politicians,  corrupt corporate lackeys, or fatcat hackeys? Kick ‘em in the ass on the way out the door. By the 21st-century, each one of us had so much control over our personal domains and our very own sope box social media we didn’t even need the old networks any more to tell us what’s important or not important, what’s real cool and what’s the latest hot fake news, who to vote for, who do idolize, imitate or ingratiate or be infatuated with. Not even needed any more was the advice columnist with personal hoodoo howto and who to mock of fock or hook up wit or who to lock up for fibbing to an inquisitional committee.

Our way-cool Enlightenment about the power and wonder of each one of us to be his/her/its own self through the power of the Faceblook ’n the big Tweet and instahoohoogramaton bet-ya-cant-ketchme electrons had brightened the formerly dull dark of obsequious obesity and ancient animosity, rendering it now unto us a wide wide world wild web of such unprecedented intensity that it was lighting up the whole frickin wide web with digital splendor and electronic genius unparalleled and therefore netting such beautiful neutered people heretofore not known in the anals of time!

And so our three-century long trek out of medieval darkness, having morphed us through the illuminati grandiosity of Enlightenment, past obese obsequiosity, into the very ebullient Age of Romanticism, far beyond classical Hour of the Angels Come, so that now we found ourselves busting forth into this new age of electronic awareness necessity and beyond that being hooked up by hook or by crook, turned on, tuned out, dropped out of proprietary propriety and into absolutely cool quasi-obligatory new world neutering Onlinenment.

The Age of Onlinement!

Aren’t you glad you made it here!

I bet you feel smarter already!

Dingding! See Cashier for receipt. Hook up with one of ojr 64oz shugger shug shug while you’re in.

GasGirl

Glass Chimera

To Do or Not to Do

May 19, 2018

 That is the question, and so here spurts forth the contemporary quandary, purloine’d from the great classic tragic drama,  Hambiskit, by Mr. William Shakyerbootilere:

Herein we heareth the soliloquy of yonder young prince Hambiskit, being uttered in the midst of his worst internetual crisis:

To do or not to do: Is that the question?

Whether ’tis nober in this world to suffer

the slings and arrows of superfluous wwweb buffoonery,

or to sling comments against a viral flood of manipulators

and by opposing outsmart them.

To o’ercome, or to consume more and more?

and by consuming then regurgitate

the spewings of those faceless data-freaks

that the Web is heir to: ’tis a comment

boldly to be keyed.

Just sayin’.

To excel, or to consume?

to consume—perchance to daydream: aye, there’s the flub!

For in that slumber of couch-potato’d mess, what dreams may come?

when we have sluffed off the ancient laborious toil

that flesh was heir to!

Just sayin’.

Yeah, such pathoggery will surely add us pounds; there’s the rub:

there’s the lethergy

that makes such heavy weight of this long life.

For who, tell me who? will now bear the quips and scorns of time—

the hackers’ throng, the elites’ manipul’ry,

the publicized pangs of transgended sex, the laws’ demise,

the insolence of leftists and the the lumps of alt-right grumps.

 Our attention to such useless compost daily piles up

while we ourselves with regularity do our deposits drop

from every bare bottom?

Pshaw!

Who, I ask you, who would such far-fetched feces bear?

—to groan and complain in this our cushy couchist pod

until the dread of whatever the hell’s after death—

that unsolicited’d app from whose click no traveller returns—

it wipes our will

and makes us  bear those charmin’ ills we have,

rather than fly to other charms we know not of.

Thus, consciousness makes cowards of us all, y’all,

and so the human hue of resolution

is slicked o’er with the clown’ed cast of infotainment.

Hambiskit

Then enterprises of great pith and content,

by mere wasting of time, our  essential issues get sucked away,

and so we so thoughtlessly delete

the path of action.

To do or not to do, I tell ya, Ophelia Bodelia,

That is the question!

Just sayin’.

King of Soul

Derelictic Dialectics

March 26, 2018

While surfing the web today in the usual way

I stumbled upon a dispute in some political fray;

seems it was a matter of some current politics,

rendered hot and bothered by fringish  dialectics.

The dispute’s gravity has been magnified beyond repair

due to polarizing factions that foment both fair and unfair.

Populists spurt rants irresponsibly in fact-check neglect;

indignant apparatchiks would impose politically correct.

Who’s to say what’s a fact and what is not

in the midst of this politico-cultural polyglot?

Fact-checking technocrats want censoring rules

assuming the populist rabble to be unschooled fools.

If I had to choose between political correctness

and uninformed opinion  that’s incorrect  and reckless,

I’d opt for the unrestrained, the free and eclectic

instead of the censured, the tamed and restrained derelictic.

Some say democracy will end in chaos and confusion

with too many fringies spurting fake news and delusion,

but really, the slide toward our enslavement will commence

with self-appointed fake-checkers who in fact are quite dense.

Because freedom to think, to speak and to act, is the stuff of liberty,

more essential than cubicles of fact-checking drones who decree

that this or that fact is not fact but in fact it is fake

and thereby impose conformity that the people can’t take.

Derelictic

While surfing the web today in the usual way,

oh, let me stumble into some free folk at play,

where the ass and the elephant freely roam

to make fools of themselves ’til the cows come home.

King of Soul

From Gutenberg and Luther to Zuckerberg, Gates and Jobs

April 3, 2016

TimesChange

About 500 years ago, the new technology of the printing press enabled a religious revolution in the Christian church. The Catholic power structure was subsequently torn apart by the spreading of new Scriptural doctrines that were brought forth by Protestant leaders such as Luther and Calvin.

About 250 years ago, as that printing press technology was maturing, the political world was similarly torn apart by the rapid spreading of new political ideas.  The old monarchic empires of Europe–most notably the British and the French–lost control of their institutions. Emerging democratic and republican movements rendered the old power structures irrelevant and replaced them with new, fledgeling governments. The American Revolution and the French Revolution changed the world forever.

Now those revolutionary movements of the 1700s have themselves produced worn-out overdeveloped institutions which have become cumbersome and must therefore be replaced or radically downsized

I’m talking about our old political parties and our old media institutions. And who knows– even the government itself?

Like the 16th-century revolutionary advent of the printing press, we are witnessing an emerging 21st-century revolution in communications technology: the Internet. This changes everything about how we organize ourselves as different interest groups and cultural movements.

We will also endure a revolution in government institutions.

The powers-that-be, now morphing as powers-that-used-to-be, include not only the government itself but also the media behemoths and two political parties of the old order.

ABC, CBS, NBC appear to be going the way of the buffalo. Like IBM in the 1990s, morphing under assaults at the Gates of Redmond and the Jobs of Cupertino, the fates of these media giants will be determined by whether their leadership can change with the times.

And the old behemoth newspaper dailies–same thing. They gotta roll with the punches. Jeff Bezos bought the WashPo. What does that tell you?

But where this stuff is really hitting the fan now is in the political parties.

Bernie and Donald are tearing the old political landscape apart.

The old tags of Democrat and Republican are becoming irrelevant.

Our new identities slice right through both of those bloated institutions. Bernie and Donald are beneficiaries of this creeping political anarchy.

How can I identify these changes in a way that is descriptive without being simplistic?

Like it or not, the Democrats are now all basically socialists. But they are split between:

Occupiers and Mandarins.

Republicans are now all basically reactionaries (against Democrats). They are split between:

Trumpians and Conservatives.

Although this writer is a registered Republican, that association may be coming to an end. If the Trumpians take the booty in Cleveland, I’ll be looking to find a new American party. It’s dangerous, but I’ve read about some old guys from two centuries ago who took awfully risky chances when they signed a Declaration against King George III and then wrote a Constitution to boot.

Here’s the beginning of my declaration, and the old Constitution will do just fine with maybe just a few updates. And this radical centrist is looking for some way to extend the American Experiment, without it falling apart.

People doing their thing on the Internet cast a plethora of disparate forces that are fragmenting our nation. The new political arrangements will have to reflect these changes or we’re toast when the jihadis figure out how to penetrate whatever remains of our moral fortitude.

Glass half-Full