John Hopkins on Tue, 6 Jan 2015 03:24:28 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Hackers can't solve Surveillance

Good points Dmytri & Morlockelloi--

The nature of "political challenges" has changed *due* to the technology, and
there is no way to enroll the unwashed into the action without understanding the
said technology.

It is clear that the feedback loops between what people do in life and what comes back to them get longer and longer in terms of how technology taps off their life-energies. And a 'big picture' that allows a sussing-out of the connections is very much not available to the general population. But I'm not so sure that a detailed understanding of a particular technological concept is any solution -- I think more principled understandings that are not so difficult to grasp, when presented in the right way, can address this problem. Given that the tech is predicated on systems theory -- perhaps some critical systems thinking could go a long way in allowing people to understand many of the power relationships that are operational in the present situation.

Today, to get political traction on this issue, one needs to explain (a) long
term consequences of the loss of privacy by (b) complex technical means. It's
not going to happen unless you essentially teach the population to do crypto
themselves, without benevolent or malevolent elites. You will not get real
political traction on blind faith ("something elite hackers tell us to do".) You
cannot substitute real political engagement by religion, which this "trust us,
we're the good guys" approach boils down to.

Yet this is exactly the kind of traction that operates for those who get all sorts of uneducated folks to follow them -- it is occurring 'where the rubber hits the road' around the world -- the blindest of all faith -- from religious imbecility to techno-utopianism that continues (remarkably) to fluorish. This substitution is absolutely augmented by the technological. And it spawns 'real' political engagement -- especially at the level of bodies being spent to control territories.

So it is back to the technology, and deep understanding by pretty much everyone.
There are no shortcuts, and no amount of 20th century politics will solve this.
That's the real challenge - education, and it looks like a lost cause. The
unwashed are dumb, and the smart ones are well paid.

I do agree with this -- 19th&20th century political theory (or action) will not solve these issues. I know of no such ideology yet that is predicated on the concept "get rid of 90% of the species and we'll be fine." Maybe in the near term such ideologies will arise with more force than anyone expects. Although I rather guess that the 'ideology' of viral contagion, or lack of water and food will trump any organized (and possibly altruistic) human response to what we face in the moment. An ideology that skips altruistic blandishment and intellectual pretension for "I've got the biggest gun" will be very attractive to many. Oh, wait that's what's happening, never mind...

I don't see a good correlation between intelligence and pay. Maybe you are talking about a certain kind of intelligence? Like, how to manipulate people or something? I find that intelligence above a certain level is almost a handicap in average socialization.

Dr. John Hopkins, BSc, MFA, PhD
grounded on a granite batholith
twitter: @neoscenes

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