The deluge of data is astounding. We get bombarded and attacked by data every single waking minute of our day. And it will get even worse. Our senses will be numbed into submission. In the end, I ask in the sense of it all. Do we need this much information force fed to us at every second of our lives?
We have heard about the societies a decade ago living in the Information Age and now, we have touted the Social Age. TikTok, Youtube, Twitter, Spotify, Facebook, Metaverse(s) and so many more are creating societies that are defined by data, controlled by data and governed by data. Data can be gathered so easily now that it is hard to make sense of what is relevant or what is useful. Even worse, private data, information about the individual is out there either roaming without any security guarding it, or sold like a gutted fish in the market. The bigger “whales” are peddled to the highest bidder. So, to the prudent human being, what will it be?
Whatever the ages we are in, Information or Social, does not matter anymore. Data is used to feed the masses; Data is used to influence the population; Data is the universal tool to shape the societies, droning into submission and ruling them to oblivion.
GIGO the TikTok edition
GIGO is Garbage In Garbage Out. It is an age old adage to folks who have worked with data and storage for a long time. You put in garbage data, you get garbage output results. And if you repeat the garbage in enough times, you would have created a long lasting garbage world. So, imagine now that the data is the garbage that is fed into the targeted society. What will happen next is very obvious. A garbage society.
While having a conversation on Twitter with Chris M. Evans, storage subject matter expert and technology blogger extraordinaire, I chanced upon a recent 60 Minutes video of how data is used to shape a generational society.
Gen-Z. The snowflake generation?
I know I will get brickbats of putting up this paragraph title. Is the Gen-Z generation dumb or are they misunderstood? How did they develop this attitude, this demeanour, this ingrained mentality and psyche? What shaped them to be the way they are?
I studied my father’s generational attitudes, mine and my son’s. My father went through very hard times and I believe my grandfather had even harder times when he migrated from China to Malaysia. Data and information were less intrusive. Societies then were less inundated with data but nevertheless, impactful in their own ways. How else did Mao Zedong mobilized the Cultural Revolution that has led to tens of millions persecuted and death? Why were so many of them willing to send their fellow human beings to their death? Comrades they say.
It was the available information at the time that shaped China when this human disaster happened. It was used, misused and abused to deliver an agenda, a mission, and consequently, a massive human massacre.
And we are seeing history repeating itself with China’s Social Credit System. It is doing it again to mobilize its mass population to comply and submit. This time the data is so easily accessible. Personal and private information of the individual belong to the state.
Truthful information under attack
This is not agenda against China. The same thing is happening in the USA as well. QAnon and other ultra conservatives right wingers are using the same strategies to shape the political discourse and landscape in the so-called Land of the Free. Data, misinformation, disinformation, half truths, fake news, conspiracy theories are mould the present societies, cultures and subcultures and even basic humanity and human rights. In the end, what is to become the societies of the next generation?
I wrote about the seriousness of this attack on Truth a few months ago. It was a call for Data Preservation but the underneath the message is something far more sinister and devastating if we continue to allow the permeation of toxic use of data to design the societies to the whims and fancies of the “government” of the day.
Who is the fox in the hen house?
I often ask myself this question. Who polices the police? Who decides that the fox should be the ruler of the roost in the hen house?
Societies of yesteryears might be more structured. We know who are at the head and who are at the tail end. The Indian Caste System has existed for thousands of years. Here in Malaysia, we have the affirmative action policies for the betterment of a particular ethnic group. For 6 decades and more, we ask. Have these policies bettered the target majority group? Based on the data and “information” given, we are fed and fed and fed with the misinformation that these policies have not achieve their goals yet. Let these policies continue and persist till oblivion, they say.
The fat cats get fatter, and the rest of the society thins to the shape of stick insects. Who decides on the policies? Who dictates how a society to be governed, developed and controlled?
In this present paradox, data and “information” have obfuscated the head of societies. The leaders, the kings, the loudest fella in the crowd are no longer clear. Data and “information” are being used massively to build Artificial Intelligence systems so that the societies are easier to be controlled, to be governed. All with Data. Looks and sounds so much like the dystopian society depicted in George Orwell’s 1984.
In the present fluid and super ambiguous state, we don’t even know who the fox is in the hen house anymore.
Clear and present danger
This is an existential crisis. Some of us may not see it, yet. And it will get worse. Make no mistake about it. Data is being manipulated to decide if humanity grows or shrinks, live or die. Minds have been molded and controlled to do the biddings of the Omni-Lords of power.
In the end, we are all cattle ready to be slaughtered, chickens to be culled. Welcome to the Information Age and the Social Age everybody!