On Fragile Progress ...

As I read all the news stories about the US government and TikTok I am struck by 2 things: first, how similar we all are everywhere; and, how the world runs on the assumption of bad intentions from others and we stress and scramble to protect ourselves from a threat that really isn't there. I say assumption because we are pre-emptively attempting to stop an action from happening - and given that we are creatures with free-will there is no definitive proof, ever, that bad-thing will ever come to pass.

The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local systems in line. - Governor Tarkin, Star Wars

So first, TikTok.  The argument here is that another government could decide to steal your personal information at any moment.  Think about what that means.  How personal is your personal information really?  We all offer personal information to relative strangers all the time.  Sharing personal information is how we develop trust and closeness and empathy for the people around us.  To see that we are not alone.  To understand that our struggles aren't particularly unique.  The internet, and our society really, is based on the exchange of information.  

Now, what if some big bad government got your information.  What could they do?  Show up at your house, on foreign soil, and snatch you an your children from your bed in the night?  Steal the title to your house and take your land and set up a forward base of operation for a nefarious purpose?  Steal your credit card number and order a bunch of stuff from Amazon and ruin your credit?  No to all of those.  Government has no interest in you the individual unless you are causing injury to a fellow citizen or refusing to pay your taxes.  Governments, with the control of massive amounts of land have no interest in your 50x50 suburban plot.  Governments, with control of billions in natural resources and access to unlimited funds through the taxation of its own people, have no interest in your credit card.  The biggest threats to your personal safety come from the people around you, individuals with bad intent and your own government.   It is your own government that taxes you, sets the rules and regulations that govern your life and is the most likely entity to remove your personal freedoms if you act against it or another one of its citizens.  The inverse of this is that you pay the government, through taxes, to protect you from others - mainly your own neighbours and family as, statistically, they are the biggest threat.

Also, think of the threat - the US government is threatening to remove a source of entertainment from it's citizens unless someone within their area of control spends their own money to purchase the system and then pays a significant amount of additional money into the Treasury for the privilege.  Isn't this exactly the kind of behaviour we are accusing others of? Do you know why we accuse people of things without proof? Because we are doing them, so we just assume everyone else is acting with the same bad intent.

This got me thinking about how different the world would be today if the US government had stepped in like this in the 60s and had decided that the military ARPNET project would evolve and eventually the interconnected network of mechanical devices that held all the worlds information would expose lies and exaggerations through access to raw data, it would expose military and defence secrets and other so-called valuable information.  What if the internet never evolved, but all other technology evolved at the same pace.  What would the world look like if we had phones that could take pictures and send messages - BUT only to people that shared their personal contact information (example: phone number) with you?  What if the only content we could consume was content that was created locally and shared locally?  We would never get to experience or communicate with people from other cultures, climates and continents.  We would never get to see how we are really all the same at our core - we want safety, food, shelter, and companionship.  

Really, we are all the same - the only thing that changes is the "normal" we are exposed to - a normal that is shaped by your language, climate and geography.  The more you are exposed to the other shades of "normal" the more you see that most people aren't filled with bad intent - they are filled with misinformation and more shared information, not less, is the better path to security and peace - not ill-informed lashing out at others.  And you see that everyone is really chasing the same thing as you - companionship and a sense of security.

Be nice to each other.

#tiktok #fakenews #technology #alternatefuture