Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Printing pressed

"If you had asked me, when I got started with Facebook, if one of the central things I’d need to work on now is preventing governments from interfering in each other’s elections, there’s no way I thought that’s what I’d be doing if we talked in 2004 in my dorm room."

Gutenberg has no clue. And we are all fucked for it.

Yuval Noah Harari got it back in 2015 when he wrote in his book Homo Deus:

"On a more sinister note, the same study implies that in future US presidential elections Facebook could know not only the political opinions of tens of millions of Americans, but also who among them are the critical swing voters, and how these voters might be swung. Facebook could tell that in Oklahoma the race between Republicans and Democrats is particularly close, identify the 32,417 voters who still haven’t made up their minds, and determine what each candidate needs to say in order to tip the balance. How could Facebook obtain this priceless political data? We provide it for free.

In the heyday of European imperialism, conquistadors and merchants bought entire islands and countries in exchange for coloured beads. In the twenty-first century our personal data is probably the most valuable resource most humans still have to offer, and we are giving it to the tech giants in exchange for email services and funny cat videos."

Others understood the weight of their responsibilities:
THIS IS A PRINTING OFFICE
    CROSS-ROADS OF ALL CIVILIZATION
  REFUGE OF ALL ARTS
         AGAINST THE RAVAGES OF TIME
ARMOURY OF FEARLESS TRUTH
         AGAINST THE WHISPERING RUMOUR
    INCESSANT TRUMPET OF TRADE
FROM THIS PLACE WORDS MAY FLY ABROAD
  NOT TO PERISH AS WAVES OF SOUND
                  BUT FIXED IN TIME
NOT CORRUPTED BY THE HURRYING HAND
          BUT VERIFIED IN PROOF
FRIEND, YOU STAND ON SACRED GROUND
   THIS IS A PRINTING OFFICE
-University of California Press,
found in the house of one Jocelyn Berger in San Francisco many moons ago.

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