Is the president of The United States is believed to be the most powerful person in the world. He can’t even post to Twitter. Or facebook. or A set of other social networks As we discovered during the last week (she still has access to the atomic launch code, so this is an interesting dynamic to chew on).
The restrictions last week were extraordinary – but Trump is like that. There cannot be another president in this century who pushes the line of public discourse like the current living (at least, one can only hope) of the White House. If the entire Trump crisis was truly extraordinary, but it can easily be ignored. Rules, even rules around free speech, are always exceptions for handling exceptional circumstances. The President fires a violent protest, he gets banned. Certainly a unique moment in American executive leadership. Yet, apart from the actor, this is hardly an unusual response from the tech industry or any publisher, where violent threats have been banned for decades under the precedent of the Supreme Court.
Then why are we not ignoring it? I think we can all feel that something big is happening. The entire information architecture of our world has changed, and it has completely developed the structure of the rules of free speech that have governed America in the modern era.
Freedom of speech with science and rationality and positivity are intimately associated with human progressivism. The idea marketplace is intended for arguments to interact with each other, to check their own facts and deductions, and bad ideas to be washed away by better, more proven people. Many times yes, but a positive controversy, which ultimately leads to more clarification than provocation.
I am a free speech “absolutist” because I believe in that human progress, and I believe that the concept of the market of ideas is historically the best mechanism we have ever had for exploring our world and introspecting ourselves. Made as a species to do. Nevertheless, I cannot witness the events that transpired last week and just pretend that our information is working well.
I get it – which seems contradictory. I understand the argument that I am supporting free speech but no Actually Are supporting it. Nevertheless, a justification must be taken at this time to ask some deeper, more fundamental questions for something to be wrong with the system. I am struggling with the same context that the ACLU is struggling with in its official statement:
It is a milestone response, “We condemn but we are also worried” like lukewarm melange. It is also an appropriate response to the rapidly changing environment around speech. In the same vein, I am a staunch defender of the idea market, okay, a A market of ideas, one that unfortunately does not exist today. Think of everything that is not working:
- There is too much information, and it is impossible for any reasonable human to process all this
- Much of that flooding is garbage and outright fraud, or worse, brilliant pieces of psychological propaganda designed to distract and undermine the very information systems it distributes.
- We have never allowed so many people to gain access to the public square to deliver their limited missiles.
- Some ideas are now in dialogue. Collegiality is mostly dead, as the constructivist has thought. There is no market now because “stores” are no longer in the same public square but in each of our individual feeds
- A handful of incentives from effective, monopoly platforms influence communication practices wildly, encouraging cosmic “clickbait” in any form of discussion or debate.
- Given the extremely high user engagement numbers seen on the tech platform, most people prefer it
We know that this incident was going on for decades. Alvin Toffler’s Future shockIn 1970, about the inability of humans to process the complexity of the modern, industrialized world. Cyberpunk literature and sci-fi have generally suffered from this impending attack in the 1980s and 1990s. As the Internet rapidly expanded, Nicholas Carr’s books Shallow Inquiries were made about how the Internet prevents us from thinking deeply. It was published over a decade ago. Today, at your local bookstore (assuming you still have one and can actually still read text longer than 1,000 words), you can find an entire wing analyzing the future of media and communications. And what the Internet is doing cognitively for us.
My absolute belief in “free speech” was based on some clear beliefs about free speech to work in the United States. Those assumptions, unfortunately, no longer apply.
We can no longer assume that there is a cosmic public square where citizens debate, perhaps even angrily, issues that clash with them. We can no longer assume that the debris of information is filtered by editors, or publishers, or readers themselves. We can no longer assume that those who reach us with their messages are somewhat cautious, and speak with truth or facts.
We can no longer assume that any part of the market is functioning openly.
This is what makes this era so challenging for those of us who rely every day on our work and the right to free speech in our lives. Without those underlying assumptions, the right to free speech is not the bastion of human progressivism and rationality that we expect it to be. Our information commons will not ensure that the best and highest-quality ideas are about to rise to the top and advance our collective discussion.
I truly believe in free speech in its broad, American sense. So many friends who are equally concerned for the dangerous state of our market of ideas. Nevertheless, we all need to face the reality that is in front of us: the system is really, really broken and is just screaming “Freeach”! He is not going to change.
The way we improve the information architecture of our world is to advance the conversation around free speech to a wider range of ideas. How do we ensure that producers and people who generate ideas and analyze them can do so with the right economics? This means writers and filmmakers and novelists and researchers and everyone else should be able to do quality work, perhaps without an extended period of time, to stay “top of mind” every ten minutes with a new picture or insight Reduce your income without uploading. tumbles.
How can we align encouragement at every layer of our communication to ensure that fact and “truth” will ultimately win the day in asymptote, if not always true? How do you ensure that the power that comes with mass distribution of information is held by those who hold at least some notion of a public duty for accuracy and rationality?
More importantly, how do we improve the ability of each reader and viewer to improve the process of viewing information, and lead the discussion to uniqueness through their independent work? No marketplace can survive without smart and hardworking customers, and the market for information is no exception. If people demand lies, the world is going to supply them, and in spades, as we have already seen.
Tech cannot solve this alone, but it is bound to be part of the solution as a whole. Platform choices with the right incentives in place can completely transform humanity into understanding our world and what is happening. This is an extremely important and intellectually interesting problem that any aspiring engineer and founder should be tempted to deal with.
I will always defend free speech, but I cannot defend the system we see today. The only defense is to work to rebuild the system, to weed out the components that are working continuously and to repair or replace those that are not. I believe that the descent into rational hell must be fueled by misinformation. We all have the tools and power to make this system what it should be – what it should be.