There was a time when I would have said I believe the development of technology should not be harnessed by bureaucracy. I would have said developers of technologies should not be restrained by unfounded fears about its misuse. I would have bristled at the idea of imposing limits on the application of technologies.
If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.
~ C. S. Lewis ~
But I now realize just how powerful technology has become. Or, rather, how clever some unscrupulous users of technology have become. My change of heart came as a result of several abuses of technology. First, the ways in which social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, have been used to drive public opinion to either the political/social right or left. Second, the manipulation of audio and video files to mislead listeners/viewers into believing they are seeing/hearing a person make statements the speaker never made. I now am very much in favor of well-conceived regulations that attempt to control such abuses. And I have grown skeptical of users of technology. By extension, I have grown suspicious of technology, not just its application; its development merits monitoring and management to protect society from itself. Technology is innocent, but often people who apply it are not. Technology is simply a tool that can be misused to do great harm. A hammer can drive nails into wood; and it can break windshields and crack skulls.
Hmm. As I think about the comparison between technology and hammers, it occurs to me that regulations do not prevent broken windshields and cracked skulls. Will bureaucratic restraints, then, limit that harm done by technology? Perhaps it’s not regulation of the tool that’s needed. Perhaps it’s a complete revamping of the environment in which it’s used. That is a task whose implementation will take far longer than the time available to it.
My presence on Twitter over the years has been minimal, at most. Learning the news that Elon Musk has completed his acquisition of the company and fired its CEO, CFO, and others, my immediate reaction was to think the company’s ownership is irrelevant to me. But thinking about it for just a moment, my laissez faire response transformed into one of concern. The fact that the world’s richest man now has control over a social media platform with such enormous power to shape public opinion bothers me. The fact that a multi-billionaire who exhibits an unhealthy conservatism now controls a mechanism that feeds “news” to such a huge population of users bothers me.
I do not want the world to be controlled by rich egotists. I do not want public discourse to be moderated by someone whose motives are cloudy, but whose self-interest is almost certainly behind the purchase. What I want and what I get are not necessarily in synch, though. Money talks. I sometimes loathe the “free market,” the economy that rewards greed and promotes the idea that all value is determined by monetary worth. No, not sometimes. Always.
We began watching Entrapped last night. The Icelandic film, I learned this morning, is actually season three of Trapped. Entrapped involves the disappearance of a member of a cult. I have decided we should try to find Trapped, and watch it, before we go back to Entrapped. The “third season” might make more sense, though it flows well and does not seem to be untethered, the way some programs can. At any rate, I drifted in and out of sleep while trying to watch Entrapped. The film was not at fault; it was mine, entirely.
The last few nights, we have dipped our toes into various films and series with little success. After getting so engrossed in truly interesting series and films, viewing lately has been hit and miss. In scanning my “want to watch” list, it’s apparent I’ve become addicted to Scandinavian films, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts. But not just Scandinavian. Foreign language films; Spanish, Italian, German, British, etc. I don’t remember which one it was, but I recall watching something set in Finland; in and around Helsinki, I think. There’s something about many of the foreign films and series I’ve seen lately that is fundamentally more appealing than most American-made products. The creators of those products have canned something I cannot quite describe, but whose taste is quite nice.
But maybe we’ll try some more American-made stuff. Yesterday, a friend recommended An Unfinished Life, which is now on my list to watch on Amazon Prime. We’ll give that a shot one of these days before long. In the meantime, mi novia will find time to watch Sons of Anarchy, which she rented a day or two ago. I may join her from time to time, even though I’ve seen it. It is among my favorite series; very near the top.
Men are rather reasoning than reasonable animals, for the most part governed by the impulse of passion.
And with that, I will climb into the day to see what I can see.