The Zuckerberg chronicles

At the moment, up here in the High Doganate, or rather, inside my wee desktop communications facility, I am receiving requests from persons with names such as “Honey,” and “Alisha,” to do business with me. The sort of business was not mentioned; until Alisha hinted that it would be “long term,” and consist of me getting paid for advertisements on this website that would be automatically inserted so that I would never have to think about them. But I generally avoid getting into long-term relationships with people I’ve never met, who lack surnames. So, I hit “Spam,” as I have already done several times this morning, or “Report Phishing” for variety, and hope that if I continue hitting them, these “virtual ladies” will eventually go away, and I can get back to the more attractive business offers, that come from Nigeria.

The world out there is large, I have observed, in comparison to me. In the olden days, before the Internet was invented, and then Facebook and other obscenities, one had also to cope with the dodgy types; but only those in one’s immediate vicinity. Moreover, they had to show their faces. There was always buckshot, if they persisted in coming to your door. Now, thanks to technology, all the dodgy types in the world can come right through it, and the amount of effort that would have to be invested to give any one of them some much-needed pain, is beyond imagining.

I am not “on Facebook.” True enough, I tried a three-month experiment being “on Twitter,” several years ago. This ended in my freedom from the slightest temptation to ever be on it again. My problem was, the experiment was working. My “followers” were multiplying merrily, and my mind was becoming stuck in quick one-line responses to them and to my trolls. It was fun, in moments, the way battlefields are fun, for soldiers who enjoy heavy crossfire. And all of it “virtual,” and thus none of it harmful to the body; only to the soul. Ditto, I should think, for Facebook.

This kid called Zuckerberg is testifying to Congress at the moment, I gather from the news. People have been whining about how their privacy is invaded, and how he profits from the information he quasi-legally extracts. But the kid himself is only an “entrepreneur,” with proven skill appropriating anything that comes within his grasp. “You’re own bloody fault for opening a Facebook account,” I would say — if I did not know better.

Do you know that I was “banned” by Facebook, without ever having opened an account? This I learnt when I tried to read something unpleasant about me, which a friend said was on Facebook. He gave the link; cat-like I succumbed to curiosity. From the little I understand of the matter — yet it is more than I wanted to know — Facebook and other “social media” are able to “scrape” me algorithmically. Their machines, tipped off perhaps by some obvious cad, had guessed that I was not a liberal-progressive zombie, and was thus ineligible to participate in their “free service.”

It is in the nature of “post-modern irony,” however, that you must participate, or suffer consequences that the service can impose.

The analogy that comes to mind is driverless cars. We are told that these wonderful new computer-operated vehicles are perfectly safe and might even cut down on death and carnage from road collisions. That is good news for people in cars. The bad news will be an immense increase in death and carnage for pedestrians, who are harder than big metal objects for the machines to track. But those in cars won’t be criminally responsible, so why should they care?

In the reasoning of our progressive age, those who do not buy driverless cars will have only themselves to blame for getting “mistakenly” killed by them. Though I imagine we will soon be able to buy electronic implants, that will signal our location to the passing cars, and as a bonus to the authorities, allow satellite tracking of ourselves as we walk, sit, or sleep.

And then there is Sweden — in advance even of Canada in the movement towards the “cashless society,” in which, if you haven’t first bought the necessary high-tech equipment, you cannot buy even a loaf of bread. The intention is not to starve the elderly and feeble, of course. The Swedes already have elaborate social programmes for training these people like rats or hamsters. Rather, it is to provide the government, and the large corporations which interact with it (or vice versa if you’re Left instead of Right), with detailed information on your movements, and every transaction, no matter how small. The revenue offices need never again miss a penny of your taxes. And you get to pay for being hooked up.

Who could resist such a bargain, even were it not legally imposed? All these developments are good for the economy, and will contribute to an increase in our GDP.