( A three-minute read for all Americans and all of us who value the freedom of a Vote)
This week, Americans elected a new president who had essentially no support from mainstream politicians or media, SENDING THE CAPITALIST WORLD INTO A FRENZY OF VERBAL DIARRHEA.
How on earth did this happen?
Something else (aside from the design of the Electoral College) was needed to put Trump in the White House.
You don’t get people to see things your way by calling them idiots and racists, or sorting them into baskets of deplorables and pitiables, but with the help of Twitter and Facebook you can sow the seeds of discontent whether true or not. Its called virtual community manipulation of what they do rather than where they are.
To speak the truth is no longer needed to gain power.
If you bend your values in challenging, strained times they’re not worth much at all when the going gets better.
In that sense, this posting may seem futile, but to any Americans reading this who are presently frustrated by a political system that does not necessarily reward the candidate with the most votes I would pass on this observation.
It is very interesting that the great symbol that is situated in the harbor of New York City, the Statue of Liberty, is a woman, carrying a torch, with her book of wisdom in hand, the crown of light atop of head, and a torch of light held high with her right hand.
She is the keeper of lost wisdom and the guide for lost souls.
She is also a painful reminder that the liberty she promises is now becoming enslaved to a world of algorithm systems.
Trump was much better than Hillary Clinton at social media use.
Trump’s Twitter — full of ranting tweet storms and things he regretted — looks in broad outline like the account of a human who likes Twitter. Clinton’s looks like a brand.
Plainly, Trump’s election and the Brexit vote are rebellions against elite opinion — that is, against political orthodoxy and its defenders.
In both cases, the question is, how does one account for the uprising?
There’s no single reason.
What they have in common is anger at the existing economic order, and the use of social media.
You might think that after a price tag of $6.8 billion in vested interests (That’s more than what consumers spend on cereal ($6 billion), pet grooming ($5.4 billion) and legal marijuana ($5.4 billion), would produce a leader better than a man who has spouted misogynistic, racist, xenophobic and climate change-denying views.
As we’ve learned in this election, bullshit is highly engaging, with Mr President Trump not giving a flying toss whether he Tweeted the truth or otherwise, but it means that Twitter is harmful — it provides an echo chamber that confirms and intensifies dangerous false views — then there’s not as much it can do about it.
Tweaks to the algorithm won’t help.
As a result we can all look forward to having the biggest megaphone in the world in Jan of next year.
We are entering dangerous times not because of Trump’s Election but because Facebook and Twitter algorithms, of a shapes and sizes are now deciding the government of the United States not the vote.
Both Facebook and twitter news feeds were responsible for fueling “highly partisan, fact-light media outlets” that propelled Donald Trump’s ascension to the presidency.
But Facebook is just a clicks-and-shares company.
Its mission, its ethos, is that people should tell their friends and family what they’re up to. If what they are up to is making videos of cats doing funny things, Facebook doesn’t care if the videos were staged. And if what they’re up to is sharing anti-Semitic memes and fake news, then … I mean … what?
Facebook’s DNA is in the sharing business, not the truth business, and its thinking about how to deal with the truth and harm of what it shares is inchoate and muddled.
It is not far off the truth that both of these companies optimize their content for popularity and profit rather than truth. Behind the scenes, Facebook has been studying and analyzing its effect on news consumption.
They are as old as for-profit media. In general these companies start with an ethic of truth-seeking and fairness that then may or may not be compromised by the quest for clicks and shares.
Where does all of this leave modern-day democracy.
With the unwinding of economic linkages the planet’s wealthiest and most powerful countries face a slow-moving but potentially devastating political and economic crisis.
If we all stay silent when men brag about sexually assaulting women. If we accept lies and hate speech about women, or migrant, refugee and Muslim communities.
If we stop pushing to prevent catastrophic climate change.
“All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.” It’s easy to lose something you don’t even know you had.
Mr Obama would do well during the transition of power to bring the President elect to see the Statue of Liberty “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”
The liberty she promises is not slavery to world’s system of Facebook, Twitter or the Internet of everything.
It is so that humanity as a whole can muster the courage to seek the truth.
This can only be achieved by the simply use paper ballots not The Electoral College. Not computerized voting machines.
The problem with algorithm systems is that one can’t guarantee that the software is doing what it is supposed to do. (see previous posts)
It is time we pulled aside the cloak, and take a good look at the real facts, and what they mean for us, today.
The United States electoral system remains a work in progress, as it has for more than 230 years. Surely it time to remove the power of the $ and save the rest of us from eighteen months of bickering.
All comments welcome. Or if you like join the silent brigade and press the like button.