A 2020 paper by Daniel Broudy and Makoto Arakaki1, Who Wants to Be a Slave? The Technocratic Convergence of Humans and Data, offers an important perspective of how the technocratic elites wield control over the people through mass media and the development, distribution and implementation of new technologies – through our smartphones, bioID, etc. The end goal being the establishment of a global neoliberal rule by a technocratic elite – a New World Order if you will. You know the drill.
“We shape our tools and, thereafter, our tools shape us.” – John Culkin
Electronic media technology so seamlessly and completely immerses the population that its influence on the mind of the masses is largely imperceptible – like the air we breathe. As I was musing about my smartphone, conscious awareness of the enormous reliance on today’s digital world is often not realised until we don’t have a WiFi connection, or worse, someone took the charging cable out of the car and your phone is about to die! Like suffocating, we are suddenly awakened to the reality and importance of oxygen! (OK, maybe not that dramatic for some, but I can tell you it can be for others).
One of the illusions of the technology revolution is the appearance of individual sovereignty and individual power, when it’s that very sovereignty and power that these tools erode through the management of elite power-brokers. We are sold a new iPhone on the basis of the extra freedom and control it will provide us with, when in actual fact it’s a powerful surveillance and control tool for a third party.
Broudy and Arakaki describe in their paper that our perception of reality has been shaped by the message channelled through the technology (and as I’ve been talking about at length, a left hemisphere message where everything is about commerce and the human is reduced to just a utility in the commercial world). Most of the people, most of the time, are not in an objective position to realise what’s going on. Again, like a fish in water – it’s unlikely to notice the water (until it’s pulled out of it). Or to offer a more science fiction analogy (albeit overused) – like Neo in the Matrix, he couldn’t see “behind the curtain” until he took the red pill.
The illusion, however, is not universal. Especially so here on Substack. Many are waking up to the marginalisation of dissident voices, the manipulation of political discourse in the mass media and the obvious discrepancies between the Narrative and reality. For authoritarian technocrats…
“algorithms conditioning the masses that the neoliberal global order, managed by the technocracy, is not just advantageous but necessary. The implied message is sufficiently clear: resistance to social change engineered and enforced by these new tools is futile.” – Broudy & Arakaki (2020)
We, as the human species, have been reduced to producers and consumers in a society that is increasingly becoming nothing more than an economic system – an economic machine, if you like. We have been conditioned as a society that “time is money” and the pursuit of money/things (and its illusion of security) is the principle purpose of life (we are defined as homo economicus). Elon Musk talks about us having to merge with technology if we want to “add value to the economy”. We are, as an individual, no longer valued as an autonomous and sovereign person but rather just another data point, and if we are to “add value” we should become a cyborg (if we are not already with our phones). Musk was particularly concerned that if we didn’t merge with the machine we would become slaves to emerging artificial intelligence, but I don’t believe this to be a reason to dehumanise ourselves. We seem to be assaulted by so many ‘threats’, and the way to keep ourselves safe from these threats (according to the technocrat elite overlords) is to give up our individual rights, our personal information, our everything.
“Once we searched Google, but now Google searches us. Once we thought of digital services as free, but now surveillance capitalists think of us as free.” – Shoshana Zuboff, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism: The Fight for a Human Future at the New Frontier of Power
We had hardly noticed that this mass communication technology has turned against us as a weapon of war, a means of social control, a freeway to slavery! But the last two years have slapped us in the face with this reality. It’s probably too late now for warnings to “beware of the neoliberal project that intends to enslave you,” as this is upon us. But it’s not too late to wake up individuals from the mass psychosis and to start building a parallel society (I realise referencing Neo taking the “red pill” is overdone these days, but it’s the perfect allegory) separated from the technocrats’ psychopathology.
I’ve now got myself a new version of an old ‘dumb’ phone – no smart thing about it. Yes, I can still be tracked with this relic of the past but that’s what a faraday bag is for. I’ve opted out of Google and Facebook, have a proton account and operate through a VPN – whatever I can do to stop feeding the machine… the beast.
What are you doing so as to not be a slave to the Werkzeugmeister?2
- 1 Broudy, Professor of Rhetoric and Applied Linguistics at Okinawa Christian University, Japan, researches signs and symbols in media and culture that serve to support contemporary political mythologies. He is Co-director of the Working Group on Propaganda and the 9/11 Global “War on Terror”; Associate Researcher in the Organisation for Propaganda Studies; and Associate Editor for Frontiers in Communication. And he has a book – Okinawa Under Occupation: McDonaldization and Resistance to Neoliberal Propaganda. Broudy D., & Arakaki M. (2020). Who Wants to Be a Slave? The Technocratic Convergence of Humans and Data. Front. Commun. 5:37. doi: 10.3389/fcomm.2020.00037
- 2 “Toolmasters” sounds better in German 😉
About the Author
Winston Smith describes himself as an ordinary guy driven by curiosity and the need to know and question everything. Born in the novel 1984, now liberated to explore the 21st Century. He’s “coming from an Australian perspective.” His alternative reality is as a mental health professional, author, and filmmaker.