Is all virtual activity mind control?steemCreated with Sketch.

in psychology •  last year  (edited)

Will the “web 3.0” promised by decentralization end up co-opted by mind control? The debate ensued…


Regarding the web-3.0 blog, the original web was just like this, everything decentralised, people running their own sites on their own machines, just like the bullitin board culture before it. The problem is that most people want to consume content not create it. You said yourself that history goes in cycles, and this is another one. Whatever web-3.0 is now, it will end up just like the web and bullitin boards before it, it’s not the technology that is the problem, it's human nature.

  1. Millions want to create content. Billions want to consume. The current Internet is controlled not by millions but by a few dozen companies. This is what decentralized ledgers could potentially fix. The millions who create want to disintermediate the dozens who control.

  2. Billions interacting with content are in effect creating content. But this data is all hidden away in for example Facebook’s databases. Decentralized ledgers could possibly fix this also.

Before Facebook people set up their own websites and blogs.

These blogging databases where not accessible. The trail of all the edits, censored comments, etc.

And people don’t care about much after, simple and free.

That is not true. People have many diverse interests and needs which are not being met by the overlords. Do you really imagine that the only activity people do online is vegetate and not interact?

So Facebook provides something that meets 80% of users needs

There is no fungible metric for needs. Needs are as diverse as humans are never xerox copies of each other. Have you never observed how each human has a different way of speaking, different mannerism, etc. God created every human unique.

Everyone is different, yet human nature is always the same. We all have a lizard brain under the human frontal cortex. You can short circuit all that individuality by reaching the lizard brain.

Even when reacting in lizard mode, we are still all reacting in unique ways.

People do not act rationally when in fight or flight mode.

Rationality has nothing to do with uniqueness.

I disagree, you can make good predictions. For example make a loud bang in a crowd and we can predict how they will behave on mass.

You can not predict which directions they will scatter. Entropy is always increasing, not decreasing.

And actually we can predict which way crowds will go.

Aggregate measures discard information.

True, but that doesn’t matter. Your body is made up of millions of cells, each with its own metabolism, yet you don't care about the individuals, just how the body as a whole reacts.

Says who? Some people care about certain details in the trail of information. For example building a model of a gamer’s moves. The final outcome of the game will obscure that data.

People behave the same, to a good degree, yes each individual may rationalise their actions differently, but as a crowd they behave predictably.

I think you are trying to argue that the only useful use cases which programmers should strive for are those which have some real world impact offline.

Psychologists have shown that social media makes us depressed, and is addictive.

Humans have always sought out addictive and depressing agents such as alcohol. That has nothing to do with uniqueness.

Politics is also addictive and depressing.

Life is a game which is also addictive and depressing.

If you are attempting to claim that decentralized ledgers have no use cases which are not depressing and addictive then you are incorrect.

I disagree, life can be inspiring and enjoyable.

You will die. Your offspring will die. Your descendants will forget you ever lived.

No I wasn’t thinking that. I was thinking that people wanting to consume are more than those wanting to create, so eventually power will concentrate in the hands of those who control the creation of content.

Power over what?

The entire point is to disintermediate the importance of fungible things such as money.

So you have more followers, how does that empower you in some absolute manner? Can you force those who do not follow you to follow you?

Power over the consumers of that content.

They have chosen to give them that power. What is the problem with that?

It’s got nothing to do with followed. When I see parents with their children, I see myself and my daughter. I empathise that we are the same, and feel the same. I know this will continue as long as there is life in the universe.

What does this have to do with power?

That is an example of the antithesis of power, i.e. negative power.

Fear and uncertainty create the desire to consume to feel better, which gives power to those who control the content, so they have an interest in creating fear and uncertainty.

Yet the number of musicians that the people are interested in continues to increase. So something is incorrect in your theory that all fear and uncertainty is the same outcome and that there’s no value in empowering that diversity.

All I am saying is that people are predictable as a group, I’m not saying that means you know what every individual will do, but you can know that 80% of people will vote republican if you stir up feelings about immegration etc.

Again I don’t just have two musicians to choose from. Nor even two styles of music.

The only choice that matters is do you learn to play an instrument and make your own music, or consume that produced by other people.

You are conflating millions of independent herds with a single political choice in a single nation. The reason democracy always fails is because people really do not agree about anything!

Underlying the pretense of agreement about for example socialism or conservatism is actually 1000s of points of disagreement within their own parties. You can verify this by noting that if a single party gains complete control, then they start bickering between themselves. People support socialism because they all want to get free money to go off and do all the things they all disagree about. There is no actual unity. Politics is a defection game. Everyone is defecting, not just the oligarchs in control of the power vacuum.

People are not making rational decisions, because their rational brain is being bypassed, by news that talks direct to their lizard brain.

Rational has nothing to do with the fact that they all disagree and all are unique.

You been reading too much BS from academics who can not think clearly.

You can convince yourself you are controlling the people but never are you actually controlling their unique moves and actions. This makes the insatiable Satan(s) very angry.

Yet the new laws get passed, and the public supports them.

They can not control the unique thoughts people have. So many things they can not control.

Something bad happens, newspapers replay it, government says it needs to remove freedom to make things safer, people support it. No individuality here. Utterly predictable, turkeys voting for Christmas. Goodbye freedom, hello police state.

Agreed but even in a police state people weren’t all fornicating in the military position. Of course I do not like the politics of it, but there will be lots of diversity ongoing even in a police state. If ever the-powers-that-be can stop the trend to maximum entropy, then they will somehow have made the universe cease to exist. Not likely.

If humans find a way to totally enslave themselves such that they have no freedom at all, then the human race will go extinct and some new diverse species can take over where we left off.

It’s not what people say, it’s what affects them. Newspapers sell because they get people annoyed. Headlines like "Immigrants take or jobs" or "gun massacre at Florida school and Trump does not want to ban guns" make people anxious and upset, because they worry about their job or their children, even though it does not actually directly affect them.

Do you remember when newspapers used to be about news? I do.

My mother and I were talking about that recently. How we used to enjoy relaxing in the evening and listening to feel-good news stories back in the days of Walter Cronkite (c.f. also).

I wonder if there is a market to bring back that sort of programming. That is what I mean by diversity.

Yet it’s interesting how much the Internet has disintermediated the sort of single-minded spiritual control Walter Cronkite and the major television networks used to have. Yet we replaced it with only a few number of corporations controlling the major social networks.

All the major social media and newspapers are owned by a few corporations. They dictate the advertising revenue model which forces content producers to focus on stimulating mindless visits not readers’ contentment. And their stock valuation model is based on advertising revenue. I think you are wrong to conclude that the only content that will be consumed is shock content designed to maximize zombie-fied clicks. The advertising model of funding seems to be driving that and perhaps decentralized will enable new funding models.

Nobody cares what music you listen to.

Disagree. Some people are interested in discovering new music from others.

Other examples are discovering new clothing designs and food recipes.

Yet if the sheep get rounded up into the pen, who cares what they think about it. They still move away from the sheep-dog.

The sheep do. They obviously aren’t that focused on the fact that they are inside a corral and will be harvested in the future.

Someone may only care about keeping them in the corral. But they and the bugs under their feet may have a different perspective.

I’m just presenting one side of the debate, I actually agree that those things are important. Switch off the TV, don’'t read the newspaper, the probability the things you read about affecting you directly are lower than being in a traffic accident, so pay more attention when driving, and enjoy all the things you mention.

Okay good. I hope we have not been reduced to the book 1984 yet.

The illusion of choice is allowed, only when it doesn't really matter.

That is our political voice speaking. As you noted, when we stop to smell the roses, we realize the final outcome is not the only thing that matters. The final outcome is we all die. Hopefully there is more to life than the final outcome.

Thanks for the stimulating debate.

SUBJECT: Quora is an example of what social networking can accomplish for cultivating knowledge

It’s unfortunate that it’s not on a blockchain so censorship resistant with decentralized moderation (wherein per my idea everyone could choose different moderator(s) and have a different filter on content). And with token gamification.

Stimulating answers:

The following one is interesting mostly only because the answer reaffirms the assumption of the question even though the person who wrote the answer appears to be oblivious to this fact:

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To the question in your title, my Magic 8-Ball says:

Signs point to yes

Hi! I'm a bot, and this answer was posted automatically. Check this post out for more information.

I wrote at the Corbett Report:

Do we really think new internet platforms will increase the percentage of enlightened people over time?

I wrote a related blog recently: Is all virtual activity mind control?

I say that youth are increasingly tuning out of the State schools and tuning into their own autodidactic experiences including those on the Internet which are consuming a monotonically increasing proportion of their waking hours. The Millennials are very Internet and mobile connectivity oriented. They like high tech.

So I think we are in the process of disintermediating the State schools.


I wrote at the Corbett Report:

It not just that facebook is a bad example of social media. The whole concept of “social media” was bad idea in the first place.

The irony is that then why are you commenting here? This forum is social media.

It is obviously incorrect to assert that all social media is deleterious.

I wrote a blog about this recently: Is all virtual activity mind control?

Again I reiterate that all my major contacts in the Bitcoin arena which has been my financial lifeline for the past 5 years have all been formed virtually on social media. If my survival (and the funding for treating my near death experience with Tuberculosis) has been created by social media, then how the heck is social media irrelevant to me.

It’s not that social media gave us any new capabilities either.

You’re obviously incorrect. This forum is an example of a new capability for social interaction and networking that wasn’t available before the Internet.

Even the term “Social Media” is an oxymoron. You could not find anything less social than interacting with a computer.

I’m not interacting with a bot, as I presume you are a real human.



Was it top-down control of mass media which destroyed the moral fabric of society?

Gary North wrote:

Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is used to justify the drugging of millions of young children in America’s public schools. But where did this affliction come from? Why has it become an epidemic in the public schools since about 1980?

A recent medical report says that too much television viewed from ages 1 to 3 help to create this affliction. Children’s TV shows keep switching images every few seconds. This supposedly undermines children’s attention spans.

My view is this aspect of commercial television is a permanent feature. Attention Deficit Disorder is television’s gift to adults, too. We all suffer from it.