Thought of the day #1 – virtual dictators

Nobody likes dictators, right? Hitler, Stalin, Ceausescu, Amin, Pinochet, Hoxha, Pot, Franco….. all names that for most people generate feelings of revulsion and people who are generally considered to have been BAD. But I wonder if society as a whole actually needs to be dictated to by someone or something? I mean, being dictated to does not have to involve mass murder, take Thatcher for example, or Blair, were they really much more than dictators with a better bedside manner? As the ‘characters’ of the past are replaced by vapid cardboard cut-out leaders the likes of Brown, Tusk, Cameron et al do we then crave dictatorship from other sources and are those sources now largely living on the world wide web?

I’m thinking, Facebook, just as one example. Google may be another one but there are many more. Wikipedia even, despite its philanthropic stance. Any seriously heavily used portal, application, networking site is now something that has the ability to dictate how we live our lives, what we do with our time, what information we are allowed to get, what junk we should have to put up with, how we should get things done. “Visit us on Facebook”, “Just Google it”, “I found this on Wikipedia”, “Johnny is currently enjoying the Naff Puzzle”, “Clarissa is following you”, “Would you like Ricky to be your friend?”.………… are we entering the age of virtual dictators? Will they end up being any better for us than the last lot? Fewer deaths, no doubt, but I genuinely worry about where this could all end up and I suspect it is a long way away from the free, open, democratic, hippy-like vision we all had for the www when it first hit the streets. You can argue that these places are far easier to avoid than were any of the people in my initial list but that, I’m sorry to say, is fast becoming a difficult argument to make.

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6 thoughts on “Thought of the day #1 – virtual dictators

  1. Dictatorship is not about dictating people what to do. Dictating people what to do is just strong leadership and being a visionary…Thatcher, Regan, Balcerowicz or whatever.

    Dictatorship begins when you can not get rid of the strong leader and his clique…usually corrupt family members or “party” members.

  2. By using Facebook, our every move on it is tracked. Along with that, we now have more and more lenient wire-tapping laws, so that the ordinary person can be listened in on. We are also watched by video cameras at a higher prevalence due to a higher response to a new type of bulk theft-shoplifter so that there are more detectives and more cameras throughout stores and throughout neighborhoods. We’re listened in on on via restaurant bugs (your Polandian article). Then on a grander scale, we’re studied via larger street cameras and on virtual maps via satellites. One day these sources will be even more comprehensively intertwined into the intelligence network in response to the world’s greater terrorist threats. The whole, unnatural scheme is unfortunate, to say the least, but much kindlier than the extirpation of humankind. So say, “Cheese,” and do your part for the planet in the name of FB dictatorship and FB with your grannies while you have the chance.

  3. I just can’t understand how you can compare facebook, google & co or even Brown, Tusk, Sarkozy, Obama to those dictatorship…

    You can leave facebook, refuse to use google, or don’t even use internet if it makes you feel anxious. Its no more than a question of choice and will! You are free of what you do, and what you don’t do. You won’t be threatened, your family won’t be harassed, the police will not turn the spotlights on you, your life won’t be at stake.

    And about the actual political leaders, you are free to disagree, free to fight their ideas openly, free to help their fierest opponents, free to write whatever you want, free to change the way you live, free to change of political ideas, free to create whatever organization you want as long as you don’t threaten the existence of the others.

  4. I use FB but very limited. I don’t do all those Farm games and other aps as I feel it is just a data farmer. I don’t get anything out of using it other than the occassional meeting up with a past friend but that lasts just so long. FB is a time waster…but human nature is being curious/nosey. One thing I did notice was on the side board there were messages FB posted that the info on it could only have been gathered by them accessing my email account somehow. (still trying to figure that one out) I also read that Google stores each and every bit of searching we do and has rented a space at NASA……probably to share with the holy one in DC.

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