Socialists have long had a weird desire to turn humans into mindless, programmable robots. Witness the surprise and shock of Trump’s victory and the media’s downfall in the wake of the 2016 elections:
It is interesting to see how concerned tech companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Google have become about user privacy. Of course, we know that the impetus for this drive for confidentiality comes primarily from the fallout surrounding the Cambridge Analytica scandal and the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which goes into effect May 25.
Still, the general feel from notices companies have been sending out is that they have always been concerned with our data privacy, but they just want to be more transparent about it now. The big talking point on data collection is that they (Big Tech) only want to use our data to “improve the user experience.” This altruistic point of view sounds good, but we all know that the data is being used to make money.
According to a short film uncovered by The Verge called “The Selfish Ledger,” Google had been thinking about using “total data collection” and social engineering to modify the behavior of entire populations. The nine-minute video examines the possibilities of using Big Data to guide users into conforming to a predetermined agenda. While the video does take a “for the common good” slant by using thought control techniques to solve problems like poverty and global warming, the mere fact that the video is seriously discussing behavior modification on a massive global scale is scary.
When asked about the film, an X spokesperson told The Verge, “We understand if this is disturbing — it is designed to be. This is a thought-experiment by the Design team from years ago that uses a technique known as ‘speculative design’ to explore uncomfortable ideas and concepts in order to provoke discussion and debate. It’s not related to any current or future products.”
I find this explanation somewhat hard to swallow. I know of no company that spends time, resources, and money on research that it has no intention of acting upon. Firms big and small are always looking for a return on investment. If the company knows there is little or no ROI, it abandons the idea. Does X expect us to believe that the ROI for The Selfish Ledger was only an internal philosophical discussion amongst employees over coffee?