The global tsunami of mental misery is ever-more-closely tied to rising manifesto, “Team Human.” In short, our natural collaborative instincts have been undermined and toxified into an unnatural anti-sociability, caused by (and also causing) dependencies.with technology. Media theorist explains why in his recently-published
How Human Collaboration Can Beat Screen Addiction
Suchdemonization must be reversed for humans to survive. Whether you think Rushkoff is right or wrong, what other discipline of scientist (besides theorist) is there to understand our communications problems, and to pose it specifically enough so we might have hope to solve it?
Enter cryptographers because they are, in essence,theorists too but of a much more powerful sort. Rushkoff is a traditional theorist, who studies “the ” directly. His tribe examines various (books, TV, the internet, Facebook) via historical examples and then publishes the results through similar outlets. It seems straightforward enough. Other theorists using that approach have been Ray Bradbury, Michel Foucault, George Orwell and Marshall McLuhan.
The superpower of atheorist is direct domain expertise through evidence of how actually operate in the real world. The super-weakness (or Kryptonite) is the reliance on the data — historical examples — on which their own work proves to be systematically biased and untrustworthy. The super-lesson of theorists is, in Orwell’s words, “He who controls the past, controls the future; and he who controls the present, controls the past.” Or more pithily, “History is written by the victors.” Hats off to theorists like Rushkoff, who have to fight fire with fire, and muck with muck. Media theory is slippery, the hardest sort of theory there is.
Fortunately, there are other ways that humans communicate and miscommunicate besides “the have done. You could be a magician or a medium (pun intended) who understands how to fool humans in real-time, and how easily we can be fooled. Or you could be a who understands as a general mathematics process of code-making and code-breaking. In that case, your results would be statistical, bulletproof and guaranteed..” Studying those ways might address our problems more effectively. For example, you could understand brains as signal-processing instruments and then calculate how nervous systems establish trust in mathematical terms, as Criscillia Benford and I
Cryptographers are the ones responsible for ATMs, data encryption and Bitcoin. They do the numbers so carefully that their results are guaranteed by the unchanging laws of mathematics and statistics. When they understand a communications channel or encoding/decoding protocol, their understanding is as reliable as anything in science.
Alice and Bob
A typicaldilemma involves communicating between A and B (usually denoted as and ). and want to communicate privately. That means they don’t want outsiders to eavesdrop and certainly don’t want outsiders to rewrite their messages surreptitiously. The name that cryptographers have for such maleficent manipulation of messages between and is a “ ” ( ). In their lexicon, is the mathematical term for a particular kind of hostile exploit, in this case exactly the kind of thing that do between humans.
It’s already obvious thatcompanies read our messages. That’s how Facebook and Google admit to making money in the first place. It’s less obvious how they write, rewrite and reorder our messages, at least until you consider how much people rely on auto-response, auto-correct and spam filters. And read and rewrite not at random, but in ways specifically calculated to take money and attention from us. That is, they mess with our messages in part against our interests. That means act like a “ ” when we communicate, making those — in terms — presumably not trustworthy.
Cryptographers calculate code-breaking, so applying their term has a kind of heft that traditional media theory could never have. Banks listen to cryptographers. The Pentagon listens to cryptographers. Bitcoin listens to cryptographers. Even venture capitalists listen to cryptographers, if they listen to anyone.
The only problem is that cryptographers typically solve different problems, using different assumptions. Cryptographers typically want trust to be perfect, then try to change the codes and channel to hit that goal. Compared to that, a human’s digital dilemma is inverted: We already have a faulty channel we can’t fix, a bunch of media corrupted by specific biases toward profit and power, so we need to find a way to use those damaged media in the most trustworthy way possible. This isn’t the kind of problem cryptographers usually solve, but I’m sure they and their mathematical tools are up to the job.
So, perhaps, in an ideal world, an officialor two could restate the “Team Human” problem, the problem of fake media, as something like this: Suppose many Alices want to communicate with many Bobs through media channels in which a is guaranteed to selectively amplify and filters messages, in secret, as advertising and profit-driven media must do for business reasons. Given this breached channel, what is the best strategy by which and Bob can still communicate with and trust each other?
Worldwide, ever-more important decisions — those about politics, business, personal finance, medical care and so on — are being made through digital rather than real-life media channels. Because so many digital interactions are already faked or fake-able, the channel is clearly not trustworthy and seems to be getting worse. Humans need a fail-safe, fail-over plan to maintain trust. Who better than the caretakers of mathematical trust to set it right?
So, if you know an actual, please forward this article. If you yourself are an actual , please consider this request: Uniquely among professions, you have both the tools for calculating what has gone wrong with human and the respect for suggesting a fix or two. We humans have been hacked. Please help us un-hack ourselves.
*[The articles in this column present a set of permanent scientific truths that interlock like jigsaw pieces. They span physics, technology, economics, media, neuroscience, bodies, brains and minds, as quantified by the mathematics of information flow through space and time. Together, they promote the neurosafe agenda: That human interactions with technology do not harm either the nervous system’s function, nor its interests, as measured by neuromechanical trust.]
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
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