Thursday, 7 July 2016

FACEBOOK - ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE

The following is the unedited version of an exposé currently featured in the 20th revised edition of Malleus Maleficus'  [Title withheld] . If you wish to report intrusiveness, bias or inaccuracies, please email MalleusMaleficus@aol.com  To make a formal complaint under IPSO rules please contact IPSO directly at ipso.co.uk .  

          
            I have never had a more dire and dreadful premonition against setting foot into the country of the blind. Indeed,  I have to admit to one terrible, irrational fear. I live in mortal dread of one day having to join the digital drones. I’m not being a Luddite here.  But dear God in heaven, I do not wish to be taken hostage in my own home - without any real consciousness of it. Without knowing whether I am the observer or the observed. Did you hear that sound? That's the voice of Amazon's Alexa  - essentially a surveillance system[1] - quietly listening for a wake-word. Learning and listening, it will remember all the datelines and everything you ever said. The sound you will not be hearing is Alexa monitoring your activities, providing insights into your offline habits, your secret desires, your private life, for data brokers stalking you with psychopathic persistence. For Alexa can also tell when you are asleep[2]. So you will never be aware of the mind-bending directives proceeding from today's commercial surveillance society - soon to include cameras that automatically take pictures of things they find “interesting.” Can you imagine the data that a fully functional surveillance system could gather? I just pray they do not get their hands on remotely invasive gene technology, the next step up in the deadly manipulative conspiracy "that currently recommends books for you on Amazon", with special attention to unsought but overriding advice on personal choices and political decisions, essentially determining what you read, write, or think of, not to mention the build up of abstract mnemonic structures where mutual dependency is digitally guaranteed. You could say it was ingenious. For every child is now a potential human rights casualty. If MEPs have voted to propose granting legal status to robots, categorising them as "electronic persons" and are warning that new legislation is needed to focus on how the machines can be held responsible for their acts (or omissions), well, they yet appear to be idiotically unaware that the great majority of "living persons" have long since been harnessed by complex computer algorithms which not only predict but determine what you’re likely to do next, or when, to whom and, conceivably also why. 
            What the rank and file among sociologists have failed to address is, that if Facebook is the neuromorphic C-and-C, made by and for a self-defining solipsistic social club, then what prevents it from exploiting “the almost unparalleled hoard of personal data it has amassed”[3] on its users, or carry out system instructions collectively? One observer felt more than unease: "Hate attacks,
trolling, fake news, live murders, advertising boycotts, cyber-bullying, facilitating secret communication by terrorists!" That Facebook conducted a covert psychological experiment on nearly 700,000 users in 2012, doctored their news feeds, comments, videos, pictures and web links, only goes to prove that it is possible to monitor the activities of millions of individuals by using cyber-space to manipulate minds and  modify political outcomes. As a self-determining, or “user-generated” information bubble without any
independent frame of reference, it’s rather like The Truman Show. Handing over all the secrets of his soul to a faceless controller observing him remotely, Truman was the loneliest man you’d ever know. More disturbingly,  he was  also symptomatic  of the deeper alienation of the human mind from its own biological nature,  and indeed, custom-made as  a new, engineered type of Mutant.  
            Social networking has become a primary reality, the cyber equivalent of the original 1950s classic The Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Indeed, it seems to me that all this must be part of the ever more desperate self-deception underlying our mental development, which is obviously experiencing the electronic equal of an auto-immune disease ravaging its own defences.  For whether  you finally crack and are taken to A & E suffering from Facebook Addiction Disorder (FAD) – now the commonest form of insanity - or die  from a cocktail of heroin and crack cocaine, is pretty much the same thing once you’ve become habituated to, or even dependent on, the hourly fix of being injected with yet another online-dopamine rush:
             “God, I need a fix now!”
            The other gods are nothing compared to this. You do not have to believe in anything but the most addictive drugs known to the human brain: neurological opiates. Soma for the feeble-minded! Research shows that the brain deactivates the networks used for critical social assessment and negative emotions while it bonds viewers through the chemical reward circuitry. So you start to hate the thing you crave even while you’re craving it. Indeed, it is difficult for me to describe adequately the horrors of the digital apocalypse. But there are in fact one hundred million potential psychos out there. The numbers are breathtaking. As are the many and palpable consequences of an isolated life spent playing mind games on the internet. Nor is it generally realised that we now have two species of men: Humans and Mutants. Of all the exploited, broken, demoralized,  isolated creatures fashioned by the internet, I present you with an entirely new subclass of beings, reared right before your incredulous eyes - and I am not thinking of dead-eyed feral packs of hoodies living on sink estates, but of deeply ‘institutionalised’ reactive individuals who have no real-life identity and no way of engaging with the world outside .... 
Every child is a potential human rights casualty!




[1] Amazon has Alexa, Apple has Siri, Microsoft has Cortana, Google has the Home Mini.

[2] “Don’t worry about whether or not someone has your date of birth, worry about whether someone is watching you while you’re asleep.” Carl Leeming, convicted internet hacker.
[3] How Facebook’sboss made the right call on mobile advertising. Simon Duke, The SundayTimes 01.05.16

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