inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #0 of 463: Jon Lebkowsky (https://plutopia.io) (jonl) Wed 29 Dec 21 16:45
    
Welcome to the State of the World 2022, a survey of confusion,
political chaos, societal disruption, climate instability. And the
hopeful stuff: innovation, humor, transcendance, ice cream... we
have two weeks for asynchronous conversation, and a lot of ground to
cover.

Thinking back to Viridian Design - and acknowledging that there's
something often referred to as the "intellectual dark web" - let's
say this conversation could be the genesis of an "intellectual shiny
web." Some people want to go down fighting, we want to go down
thinking - and joking.

Four of us are formally comitted to this two-week verbal jam, and
others will chime in, including members of the WELL, aka Whole Earth
'Lectronic Link, probably the oldest sustained online community
still functioning. If you're not a member of the WELL, you can't
post a question or comment directly, but you can email to inkwell at
well.com, and we'll post it for you.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #1 of 463: Jon Lebkowsky (https://plutopia.io) (jonl) Wed 29 Dec 21 16:45
    
Introductions of the principal players:

Bruce Sterling is a science/speculative fiction author, journalist,
thinker, speaker, and heyoka born in America, raised globally,
currently residing in Europe.

Jon Lebkowsky (yours truly) is a sometimes writer, pod emcee,
instigator, enzyme, and attempted Buddhist living somewhere in his
mind.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #2 of 463: Jon Lebkowsky (https://plutopia.io) (jonl) Wed 29 Dec 21 16:47
    
Our very special guests deserve longer introductions:

Vinay Gupta is a Scottish-Indian technology entrepreneur. Vinay was
the release coordinator for the 2015 launch of the Ethereum
blockchain and wrote
<https://medium.com/humanizing-the-singularity/by-the-end-of-this-article-youre
-going-to-understand-blockchains-in-general-and-ethereum-a-next-e11df6a1d7cf and lectured https://vimeo.com/161183966> extensively on the technology in the early years. As CEO of Mattereum, he is putting the blockchain to work nailing down uncertainties about physical goods, both provenance questions (like "is this painting genuine?") but also social and environmental concerns https://mattereum.com/circular-economy/ (such as "can you prove to me this electric bike does not contain cobalt from slave labour mining?"). His book, The Future of Stuff, <https://www.amazon.com/Future-Stuff-Vinay-Gupta-ebook/dp/B08B4F5QK3/ref=sr_1_1
?keywords=the+future+of+stuff&link_code=qs&qid=1640174742&sr=8-1> makes a moral case for object transparency as a critical platform for global change.

Prior to this Vinay did 12 years in the defense, security and
resilience arena working on critical infrastructure, failed states,
and long range planning for rehousing hundreds of millions of
climate refugees. His Open Hardware refugee shelter design, the
hexayurt <http://myhopeforthe.world>, has become a standard fixture
at Burning Man with thousands of people building their own home.

---     

Emily J Gertz is a contributing editor at The Conversation
<https://theconversation.com/us> and DeSmog
<https://www.desmog.com/>.  In 2020 she was the senior editor of
Drilled News <https://drillednews.com/>, a spinoff of the Drilled
podcast. Emily has reported on diverse climate and environment
topics for publications including HuffPost, Sierra, Popular Science,
Scientific American, Reveal and The Revelator.  She is co-author
with Patrick Di Justo of two DIY tech books for Make  Books:
"Environmental Monitoring with Arduino" and "Atmospheric Monitoring
with Arduino." She also contributed to "The Science Writers'
Handbook," "Worldchanging: A User's Guide for the 21st Century," and
"Wake Up and Smell the Planet."
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #3 of 463: Jon Lebkowsky (https://plutopia.io) (jonl) Wed 29 Dec 21 16:47
    
I'm starting this year's State of the World with a kind of "top ten"
list of things that have been happening...

1. Joe Biden became President of the USA despite an attempted coup. 

By election day 2020, the US was already considered a "backsliding
democracy," according to a 2017 report by the European think tank
International IDEA.
<https://www.idea.int/publications/catalogue/global-state-democracy-exploring-d
emocracys-resilience> 

Here's their explanation:

"In our analysis of the United States (one of seven backsliding
countries in 2020: Brazil, Hungary, India, the Philippines, Poland,
and Slovenia), we show that while the country performs very well
across many indicators of democracy, there are significant and
serious declines in these vital parts of the democratic system, and
there is reason to be worried about the trajectory of the country.
By analogy, it’s a bit like someone who appears to be very
physically fit, but has very high cholesterol. An individual is
healthy in many ways, but s(he) is at high risk of a serious medical
incident. 

"One of the most notable trends in the United States in the last
five years has been a decline in what we call Effective Parliament.
The inability of the US Congress to check the executive or
investigate the actions of former-President Trump – even after the
change in the majority party after the 2018 midterms – is reflected
in a sharp decline in this indicator in 2017 and following. At the
same time, police brutality in response to protests (particularly
those organized by the Black Lives Matter movement) led to a rapid
decline in the Freedom of Association and Assembly."
<https://www.idea.int/blog/democratic-backsliding-different-causes-divergent-tr
ajectories>

Since 2017, things only got worse for democracy in the USA. Then 
Biden was elected - and his opponent tried his best to undo the
election and install himself as President. And part of that
attempted undoing was a violent insurrection. No need to belabor the
point - if you're reading this, you already know the story.
Democracy in the USA at that point was gasping for air, and
breathing only a CO2/methane mix from GOP emissions.

2. It's not just the USA - globally, democracies have started to
bite the proverbial dust. India changed from "free" to "partly
free," based on a report from Freedom House
<https://freedomhouse.org/report/freedom-world/2021/democracy-under-siege>.  Bolsonaro attacked the legitimacy of his country’s elections, prompting talk that “democracy is dying in Brazil.” Democracies in Myanmar, Chad, Mali, Guinea, and Sudan all were ousted in coups. Alexei Navalny was imprisoned in Russia. The USA hosted a Democracy summit, but it hasn't seemed to have much effect. A global trend. The USA tried to respond with a "Summit for Democracy" https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/12/23/summit
-for-democracy-summary-of-proceedings/ - but maybe a summit isn't what's needed. Maybe we need a war room.

3. In Afghanistan, the Taliban returned to power as the US removed
its troops. The US withdrawal was messy and disturbing, worse than
expected because the Afghanistan government collapsed more quickly
than expected, and many of the US-trained Afghan troops quickly
defected. Generals testified that they had recommended leaving 2,500
troops in the country, and General Mark Milley described Biden's
withdrawal plan as a "strategic failure."

4. Climate change: “A code red for humanity.” That’s how UN
Secretary General António Guterres’ described the UN report released
in August that concluded that humanity is pretty much screwed if we
don't find a way to constrain emission of heat-trapping gases, which
continue increasing in the atmosphere. 

Meanwhile climate instability manifests everywhere. Here in Texas,
we had an anomalous freeze that nearly took down the power grid and
water systems. A weakening polar vortex blasted vicious cold into an
unprepared Texas, collapsing the state's power grid, which for
economic and political reasons stands alone, not connected to the
two major US grids. We were without electricity for hours, without
water for days - though the sky opened briefly and a light shone on
a local liquor store that was helpfully open, so we made like St.
Bernards, carting booze to our chilly family.

5. The Covid pandemic continues; Covid mutations continue spreading
and surging. Ready for the plague to end, people are dropping their
masks and getting back to business as usual - while a new mutation
brings another surge of infections. Evil politicians meanwhile
politicized public health, mounting unprecedented, aggressive,
sometimes even violent challenges to standard public health
practices like masking and vaccination. Anti-vaxxers seized the day,
campaigning to demonize the very concept of vaccination, which has
saved so many lives over the last century. It's like the average
global IQ dropped a few dozen points. On the other hand, a lot of
people have been vaccinated, and the virus seems to be adopting a
new, milder attitude. Perhaps the next mutation will be an STD, and
people will take it much more seriously...

6. Various global immigration crises, with Haiti driving the surge.
Migration from troubled third world countries to wealthier first
world countries is not new, but the number of immigrants continues
to grow - lately a large number of Haitian immigrants in particular
have been trying to cross border, driven by political instability
and natural disasters, including a cat 4 hurricane in 2020 and
magnitude 7.2 earthquake in August 2021. Quite a few immigrants have
been stacking up at the US border. Biden has been accused variously
of opening borders (which is incorrect) vs. being too strict and
sustaining Trump border policies (closer to the truth). How to
resolve? We can always build more walls and fences - at least the
immigrants will be fit from the exercise.

7. Intellectual Dark Web or Liminal Web. The latter phrase was
coined by Joe Lightfoot, the former coined by Eric Weinstein, and
more widely used. It's a pretty diverse group - not necessarily in
agreement about everything. Initially opposed to what some call
"cancel culture," they seem to have other concerns with progressives
... but they're not tyical right to far right ideologues. Some talk
about "sensemaking." Some talk about blue or red tribes or churches.
They talk about culture war. They tend to be have origins in white
middle class America. Because there's diversity of belief and focus
within this space, I hate to try to talk about it. It seems like
anything I say would be wrong from some perspective. That's a
postmodern dilemma, right there.

8. Idiots on parade: the aggressively stupid are amplified by both
social and traditional media. Rejections of public health wisdom,
science, various forms of expertise. Core argument: "You can't make
me think. You can't make me do the right thing." It feels like a
prolonged adolescent tantrum, "you're not the boss of me." Media
amplification creates a weird sense of validity. Those of us who
argued that the Internet would make people smarter, and lead to
better choices, are pretty embarrassed right now.

9. Blockchains and NFTs - Not my territory, Vinay is the expert
here. I feel skeptical, but The Guardian is bullish about
blockchain-realted movements: 
<https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/dec/26/blockchain-cryptocurrency-nft
-biggest-small-business-story-2021?CMP=oth_b-aplnews_d-1>

10. Privatization of space travel. "Earth is disposable, we can move
to outer space!" Maybe we'll go to Mars (where NASA made oxygen in
2021.)  This feels like a big deal, but it's hard to see exactly
where it's going. We've seen some PR-driven flights into near space,
like William Shatner's.  We're hearing that there will be more
visits to the moon, and perhaps development of other parts of the
solar system - the "The Expanse," with Mars colonized and the
asteroid belts mined for various minerals, forms of wealth. But
we're still not sure how well people can survive in space, how long
and how far. Those of us who've been reading science fiction for
decades are only surprised that we weren't privatizing space sooner,
that it took so long to get where we are. 

That's a good profile of 2021, though there's a shitload of stuff
that didn't make the list. And the question we're considering for
the next two weeks is where are we now, what's the state of the
world, and what can we expect in 2022? 

As I type these final words, I'm hearing this:
https://youtu.be/ZrnrpPuBC8I
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #4 of 463: Vinay Gupta (hexayurt) Thu 30 Dec 21 20:11
    
That's a hell of a list to be starting with, Jon.

I'd like to pick up on the supply chain grind, the chip shortages,
and the fact that solar panels and batteries started to get more
expensive after a very long and seemingly unstoppable downwards
price trend.

That's all stuff which has been theorized as being very important
for many years. But it's the first time we are really seeing it as
an event of global impact and it is hair raising.

Hi, everybody! I'm glad to be here.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #5 of 463: ejgertz (emilyg) Fri 31 Dec 21 14:47
    
Hello, all.

Quite a list, Jon. Thinking on what I could add...

The state of the collective global human psyche seems to be one of
trauma, depression, anxiety or fear. Millions of people worldwide
have lost someone they loved to the pandemic, directly or
indirectly.

Even the richest countries led by reasonably competent politicians
keep making terrible public health decisions – it's like there's a
transcendent global collapse of leadership and forward thinking.

The obscene concentration of wealth continues, along with the lack
of political will to break it up.

The fossil fuel industry keeps squeaking past accountability for
doing what it did, while knowing what it knew, while also continuing
to block climate action on even a fraction of the needed scale.
(See: Sen. Joe Manchin).

Yet, here in the US belly of the capitalist beast, the mutual aid
movement continues to blossom, and millions are fed up enough with
crap pay or insane work demands to walk away from their jobs. 

Children and teens and young adults continue to turn out on streets
and in courts around the world, refusing to accept the usual climate
blah blah blah. 

The auto industry seems to be committing to the transition to
electrification within about 15 years – which seems like a firm
harbinger of carbon-fueled transportation's demise. 
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #6 of 463: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 1 Jan 22 08:05
    
*I'm liking the idea that I might not have to say much about the
State of the World this year, because we have stellar guests.

However, I always imagine that, and this is year twenty-one of us
doing this together.  So, let's have at it!  Year of the Tiger!

I'm currently in Ibiza with the Less Tiny Spaniard, who was born
during the pandemic.  She can walk now.  She's gonna be talking
pretty soon.  Nobody knows what potpourri of global languages  she
will speak, however.  Our multinational household has no language in
common.

So I'm again "isolated" on this island, but I'm not sensing much
worldly commitment and urgency as the calendar changes.  This year,
MMXXII, already looks and feels much like the past two years. The
year  2022 is just as wicked as 2020 and 2021, and objectively,
people ought to be just as upset about that, and maybe they are --
but they're no longer surprised.  It's not news.

The twenty-twenties are a young decade, but they've got a tenor all
their own.  
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #7 of 463: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 1 Jan 22 08:09
    

The state of the world is diseased.  If you've got a disease and you
don't get over it, then you've got a different routine: you're an
invalid.  You thought you could vault over turnstiles and run
upstairs three at a time, but that was then.  Now, it turns out
there's a lot you just can't do.  

You've got constraints.  Thankfully, you're not dead yet; there's
rather a lot you can do to beguile the empty hours, Robert Louis
Stevenson style, on your bedridden Land of Counterpane.  But you're
not a heroic Olympic athlete with high-tech superpowers.

Even if you're the most powerful and competent man in the world --
who in MMXXII would be Xi Jinping, awaiting coronation as
Emperor-for-Life of Neo-Imperial China -- you're gonna be hard put
even to throw a proper Olympics.

This situation much resembles that in 2020 and 2021, but it's more
settled-in.  Unlike in the heyday of the Washington Consensus, you
can't jump onto a jet in Flat World and zip wherever you want in 24
hours.

  People get it about the trade wars, the ethnonationalism and the
wall-building -- a lot of them even voted for that, and they want
more of it -- but the new development is that you yourself can't
move.   You've become a chrome-walker type; you've got crimps and
pangs; you ail.  
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #8 of 463: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 1 Jan 22 08:09
    

Also, the stuff you pushed a button about, and you ordered, and you
expected it delivered promptly -- it can't move, either.  The supply
chains are no longer "chains," they've become supply clouds, and
like most clouds, they're not attached to any real-life situation on
the ground.  That which should arrive, that which should happen --
it doesn't.

Packages stall.  Events are "indefinitely postponed."  Corporate
plans have "poor visibility."  The departure of ships and planes are
commonly cancelled.  Documentation is confused, legality sputters,
bureaucracies are working-from-home.   National borders require 
much finagling with QR codes, while the websites fail and there's no
one on the phone.  Also, there's no phone.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #9 of 463: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sat 1 Jan 22 08:12
    

I was idly drifting around Ibiza during New Years morning MMXXII;
Ibiza is a tourist island that likes to claim, "You can find a
beautiful beach and there's nobody there!"  They're kidding; what
they really mean is, you can find some tolerant beach where you can
be German, get naked and neck with your Swedish Significant Other,
and there aren't any witnesses who will fuss about that.  It's a
cultural service; there's a red-lit zone of understanding, it's
great, Europeans love that.

However, when you really ARE on a huge, beautiful beach, and it's a
tourist beach fully kitted out to provide beer and beds to
hedonistic foreigners, and there really is nobody there -- like, not
one human soul, it's Crusoe-like, it's devoid of cultural
intercourse and economic transaction -- that feels historically
impressive.  It's like strolling through the Roman Colosseum without
even one Christian devoured by a lion. 

 You know, objectively, that the Christians still exist and it's the
lion of plague that is devouring 'em, yet the Colosseum's banners
and trumpets are gone.  There's no vast popular roar of thumbs-down
from the bread-and-circuses contingent.  It's an era devoid of
pageantry.  It's busy forgetting what pageantry is.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #10 of 463: Jon Lebkowsky (https://plutopia.io) (jonl) Sat 1 Jan 22 08:58
    
I'm also at the beach, on the Texas Gulf Coast, and the experience
here is quite different. The beaches are packed, RVs and tents for
miles in either direction, people sitting in the sun, body surfing,
parasailing. The small beach town we're in is overrun with tourists
from all over the U.S., including a flock of winter Texans from as
far away as Canada. Stores and restaurants are packed with mostly
unmasked folks of every age and description. Odd to see such
cavalier behavior as another pandemic surge is started; odder still
that that beaches are full and so many in the water, as though it
was midsummer - but it's New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Crazy
weather, unseasonably warm, and warmer every year.  
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #11 of 463: Vinay Gupta (hexayurt) Sat 1 Jan 22 13:50
    
I am not on a beach. Or anywhere near one. Goddamnit. :)

I guess the thing with *pan*demics is that society or the species
itself is sick. Even if you don't have the disease the entire system
we are embedded in does. Supply chains, cancelled gatherings, absent
friends (particularly the dead) - the entire fabric we are embedded
in is (relatively mildly) diseased.

This pandemic was not The Big One. It's sort of a minimum viable
pandemic, the least bad thing worthy of the name. Not over yet but
(for once) I'm seeing light at the end of the tunnel. Not generally
my style, but Omicron is spreading so fast that everybody who's
gonna get it will have gotten it by the time spring rolls around.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #12 of 463: Jon Lebkowsky (https://plutopia.io) (jonl) Sat 1 Jan 22 16:35
    
Meanwhile we have a whole culture of opposition to the kind of
public health measures that could save us, when The Big One does
indeed come.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #13 of 463: Vinay Gupta (hexayurt) Sat 1 Jan 22 18:35
    
It's very odd to see a virus that singles out a single demographic
and attacks them based on their political beliefs.

But that's what we have here: a virus that preys most on the people
who resist common sense public health measures.

It's a vicious, brutal, ironic situation. 
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #14 of 463: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sun 2 Jan 22 11:04
    
I've been combing the databanks for some early indicators --
commonly we do that here in State of World, "well, here's this new
cool thing which might differentiate this year from the last one" --
yet I'm coming up pretty dry.

If you search for the usual blue-sky brags from the customary
innovators, there's a lot of "Despite Covid We."  They trot out
their few and paltry advances, and they half-apologize about having
so little novelty to offer.  

  It's like when you're watching Napoleon's army frozen in mud, and
they're singing "Despite the Freezing Mud We."  Okay, Soldiers of
France: you're marching, but you're not marching out with that
footloose ease with which you marched in.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #15 of 463: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sun 2 Jan 22 11:07
    
Why does MMXXII feel like this?  Some of it's clearly grief, or
shell-shock, or people  being sick, but I'm thinking that I
underestimated the creative fertility of big, messy, public events. 
Just, going out to rub elbows at close quarters with a crowd of big
five or ten thousand.  Because that's not around.

People know what they oughta do and want to do, and they can
conspire about it on Discord or Zoom, but some element of
intellectual contagion has gone missing along with the quarantines. 


Even if you atttend the banal Conference of Bowling Ball
Manufacturers, you come out of it with a human herd-instinct 
conviction of, "Man, we're gonna scatter some pins!"  But the
situation as it stands is more like "bowling alone."  Plague society
suffers a famine of civic engagement.  

Even if you daringly plunge into a crowd, it's like attending some
Afghan wedding where everyone's heavily armed and loves to fire into
the air at random.   Yes, they want to celebrate, but there's gonna
be a body-count.  So I can imagine travel restrictions easing up
this year (because they're not worth much -- there's no safe place
to run to or from). But during this year, all big indoor events will
still  be spreader events.  The broader and more cosmopolitan the
crowd -- South By SouthWest Interactive, for instance -- the riskier
that gathering will be.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #16 of 463: Bruce Sterling (bruces) Sun 2 Jan 22 11:10
    

I spent a lot of time with non-fungible tokens in 2021.  I found it
richly entertaining, it consistently cheered me up, even.  People
underestimate its appeal as a massive, raucous, semi-legal rave
scene where the participants don't have to breathe on each other. 
Even hardened crypto chisellers were crying alone in their beer
about their beloved "NFT Community," and it's pretty clear that
commiseration and solidarity were what they wanted, much more than
their beloved jpegs of bored apes.

 I don't believe that 2022 will be a stellar year for NFTs.  They
won't evaporate like a mere fad, but it'll be a consolidation year. 
NFT community promises, such as "Web3" and "metaverses," they're
consolation talk, sermons, rather than near-term technologies with
any real likelihood of being delivered. 

 "Metaverse" in particular is embarrassing; it 's like watching
Zuckerberg pulling his hoodie over his head so the mean kids won't
spit on him.  It's not any way forward; it's hype as disguise.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #17 of 463: Vinay Gupta (hexayurt) Sun 2 Jan 22 15:53
    
I feel that for me what's missing is *buzz*. Here we are, building
the future, but nobody is excited about it because online excitement
doesn't feel real to me. Maybe I'm too analogue, didn't get internet
until I was maybe 19, but I just don't get emotional about Twitter.
Zoom calls leave me cold.

There's a sort of emotional damper on everything because I guess
humans vary in their ability to emotionally respond to online
socialization. And that has huge network effects: if 20% of the
emotional oomph is lost at every link as something ripples across a
graph, it's not going far.

Maybe the big conspiracy theory cultures are signal amplifying until
you can actually feel something.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #18 of 463: Jon Lebkowsky (https://plutopia.io) (jonl) Mon 3 Jan 22 07:36
    
Zuckerberg promoting "the Metaverse" is like Jim Cameron promoting
3D films - which are immersive, wonderful to some, headache-inducing
to most others. Hordes of people showed up to watch Avatar in 3D,
and the Real3D process caught on for a while... but over time there
were fewer screenings. Today films are still converted to 3D, but
some theaters won't screen 'em, and others drop them into once-daily
slots at best. 3D television imploded.

A 2D metaverse might get some traction, in the way that Second Life
was immensely popular to a small group who loved the shallow visual
representation of reality, enjoyed building blocky worlds and
islands and figure out how to have virtual sex in digital bathrooms.

The Metaverse could distract us, perhaps, from climate instability
and an authoritarian political drift. Burying our heads in the
digital sand, wishing the difficulties of the world away as we
navigate a pixelated alternate reality, eating our virtual pizzas
and blowing virtual kisses to the digital wind.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #19 of 463: Vinay Gupta (hexayurt) Mon 3 Jan 22 08:08
    
Ah, but since then we've had Minecraft and Roblox. An entire
generation of kids have sunk their childhoods into virtual worlds
that they interacted with via tablets and laptops and gaming pcs.
They're they people buying NFTs - they've been buying, selling and
trading virtual property since they could walk if not before.
They're ready to go.

It's easy to miss Roblox: a billion a year in revenue, sixty billion
market cap, from a programmable 3D world system that kids make games
in.

Quite some concerns around it in terms of "do these children
actually have *jobs*?" like Uber drivers.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #20 of 463: Emily Gertz (emilyg) Mon 3 Jan 22 15:29
    
I don't think that we should underestimate the potential impact of
whatever moves Dear Leaders Zuckerberg and Sandberg decide will
maximize shareholder value. Sure, it's laughable to us longtime
internet intellectuals and chatterati to hear this word from early
1990s science fiction resurrected so ignorantly of its origins – but
actually they've gotten it all too right. 

Remember that a plot point of Snow Crash was that the bad guys were
spreading a virus via the Metaverse that would allow a psychopathic
Murdoch/Redstone type to reprogram and control the mass public.

Well, every day, more than 2.8 billion people worldwide use
Facebook* – which is one of most addictive, destabilizing and deadly
global forces of contemporary times. 
In Snow Crash .... (SPOILER) .... the bad guys lost, but Zuckerberg
and Sandberg have so far faced even less accountability for their
bad acts than the average Republican lawmaker. 




*https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2021/06/01/facts-about-americans-and-fac
ebook/
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #21 of 463: Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Mon 3 Jan 22 15:38
    <scribbled by bslesins Mon 3 Jan 22 15:40>
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #22 of 463: Brian Slesinsky (bslesins) Mon 3 Jan 22 15:41
    
The ability of Facebook (the company) to control the masses seems
exaggerated? The masses are unruly and don't take orders very well.

Sure, they're easy to provoke, if that's what you want to do. But
they're receptive only to certain kinds of messages. There are only
so many things you can do with a mob, and they are mostly about
tearing things down.

You would think, of all the messages Facebook might want to promote,
their own popularity would be number one, but now everyone hates
them, and the politicians go along with the crowd. This doesn't seem
like a company that's all that good at public relations?
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #23 of 463: Administrivia (jonl) Mon 3 Jan 22 21:30
    
This conversation is world-readable at
<https://people.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue/topics/516/State-of-the-World-2022-pa
ge01.html>. If you're reading, and you're not a member of the WELL, you won't be able to post directly. However if you have a comment or question, send to inkwell at well.com, and we'll make every effort to get it posted here.

And, of course, you can join the WELL: <https://www.well.com/join/> 
It's a conferencing system and a virtual community with ongoing
intelligent conversation on many subjects - a great alternative to
drive-by posting on social media.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #24 of 463: Emily Gertz (emilyg) Tue 4 Jan 22 15:58
    
Hi Brian. Thanks for joining us.

I don't think the opinions of some American politicians, public
intellectuals, tech news junkies and mainstream journalists are
indicative of how Facebook is seen and used across the globe. 

Facebook is the third most popular web site on the planet.
(Wikipedia is the fourth, while Google's search and YouTube take the
top two.) 

As the MIT Technology Review recently put it, accurately: "For huge
parts of the world, Facebook is synonymous with the internet."

The point of Facebook isn't to control the masses. The point is to
make money. The main way Facebook does that is by putting ads in
front of eyeballs. Feeding the masses dis-, mis-, and malinformation
turns out to be a great way to keep people logged into and looking
at their Facebook accounts.
  
inkwell.vue.516 : State of the World 2022
permalink #25 of 463: I was oilers1972, now going by (mct67) Tue 4 Jan 22 16:52
    
#12--and that's what worries me.
  

More...



Members: Enter the conference to participate. All posts made in this conference are world-readable.

Subscribe to an RSS 2.0 feed of new responses in this topic RSS feed of new responses

 
   Join Us
 
Home | Learn About | Conferences | Member Pages | Mail | Store | Services & Help | Password | Join Us

Twitter G+ Facebook