Echoes of the tendencies of the world, intro to Jaron Lanier’s book and manipulative nature of a human champion that everyone admires except for aliens

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I think that it is useful sometimes to look at the world from a distance, some new or old perspective, a character from a sci-fi scenario, an alien creature with similar cognitive abilities to the human but without the blind spots that humankind built over the years through cultural conditioning. This is a story of just such a creature that is observing the phenomenon of technology use while the human species is developing to live peacefully and prosper both materially and immaterially. Here the alien from a different planet observing the society of humankind arrives at a stalemate because to be able to live peacefully humans have to unlearn the skills that the survival depended on, and furthermore, they have to unlearn the skills that the social climbing defined — the great and never ending manipulation manipulating the manipulator until it becomes manipulated itself. Karma is real and this is one of the conclusions at which the alien arrives.

I have just read the book by the VR founder Jaron Lanier, Dawn of the New Everything, Encounters with Reality and Virtual Reality. It is a great book, warmly recommended and even for those who might not be particularly interested in VR or even technology itself, there are many autobiographical elements that are incredibly interesting from Jaron Lanier’s life, and most importantly, incredibly humane. It is very rare to find authors with such an erudition, intellectual brilliance with critical thinking and at the same time a humane approach to reality, with an emphasis on kindness and empathy, the most valuable features we as humans can have and nurture. Jaron doesn’t use social media, because he strongly opposes the manipulative nature in which all of them are operating and it makes me wonder did we really stray so far away from our true selves?

The answer to this, as in so many things, is in the future, the survival of the fittest so to speak, except the concerning part in the current affairs is that it is the survival of the most manipulative who are able to even out-manoeuvre the current presidency of the social network affairs called manipulative algorithms. Word algorithm goes back to the 9th century Persian mathematician Al-Khwarizmi referring to the “list of steps”, in a way a kind of instruction and so we went from ancient past, through the blood thirst of the Dark Ages into the Age of Enlightenment and finally our Technological age, probably the best of all, but like any age, it has space for improvement and the only steps towards the improvement is in removing the blind spots and identifying what could be improved.

Let’s go back to the story of the alien as the deep observation and psychological profiling of the human species is under way and not even one human being is exempt from this observation. Alien does not recognize a status, influence-rs, lobbyists, it is just measuring the human as a whole against the features that have been prominent and for this is using advanced technology called All inclusive Big Data, and is analyzing the behaviour of a species as a whole. Not surprisingly the all inclusive Big Data show that even though technology has effectively shifted, or has the potential to shift everyone into the comfort zone in relation to the basic needs, there are unbelievable concentration of power centered around big machines, Google, Facebook, Apple……. These machines comprising of humans, computers and more machines are a mix of a totally unaware consciousness, individually they even think that they mean well, because a company is also a machine or soon to be totally devoid of workers, and as such in a way ambivalent in it’s potential. However, what this alien is also observing is that these machines are changing lives of so many, nations are becoming tiny administrative aggregates for distributing free jobs through political lines, while machines are dictating what majority of population will think about. This is done in a very simple way, all one has to do is understand the principles of the behavioural psychology, there are various steps that are involved: 1. break the ability to long term attention through migrating the medium from long term text, to photos, to video to super short video (tiktok) (done) 2. reward engagement of the most simple kind through comments/likes that proves spending enormous time in front of the machine (done) 3. punish absence from the network or even not installing the app by hiding the posts from the audience (done) 4. make it commercially even more rewarding by introducing a promote button so that the users not only share their content, time and effort for free, but they even pay additionally to be exposed to the calculated audience that machine decides is the best (done),….. the list goes on and goes on.

Alien comes to the conclusion that humankind has reached the stage of such a ridiculous situation that it is best to reverse the time and give the humans another chance to build a more logical reality. Humans are assembled and given this choice however they don’t want to do it, 1. they are afraid of novelty and 2. so many have become set in their ways. Alien obliges and proceeds analyzing without reversing the time, this was also a bogus offer by the alien to solicit reaction because the time can’t be reversed however the “damage” has been done and humans are now aware, or at least much more aware about what can be changed in order to improve. The question is who really wants to improve?

To be continued,…

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