Sweltering heat of the August sun was beating down on us like it knew it would have only few hours before we retreat into our caves not to be seen for weeks. But I was a geek amongst geeks, and sun or no sun, I was ecstatic that tonight I will finally get what I was longing for all summer long. Windows 95.

So, I got mine, Jack.

I unwrapped my shiny new 386 loaded with Windows 95, set it up, and called America Online to activate my 30 day free trial.

I had America Online (AOL to the noobs) for exactly 5 hrs before I figured out what it was about.

It was a human-moderated directory that would give you a heck of a time if you tried to access the actual World Wide Web.

Well, I uninstalled that shit really quick, canceled my account and went with Earthlink. F U AOL.

Why?

For me, the Internet is beautiful exactly because it’s unmoderated.

Why would I want some human employed by a giant corporation to tell me what is suitable for mental consumption and what isn’t?

The TV sucks because FCC moderates the content and whitewashes it into blandness ’till there’s nothing left.

The Internet is awesome exactly because there are no arbiters of taste, morality and standards.

I want to explore and discover the nooks and crannies of the Interwebs on my own. I want to fail, and stumble, and catch something nasty so I can re-install. But maybe that’s just me…

Google and Facebook are Now AOL

What you may not realize is that Google and Facebook are doing the same exact thing AOL did back then.

When you search one of these giants, they are providing you with a human-moderated results.

The Big G and FB are little wiser than AOL of course. They are not employing a large staff of drones to filter what’s “inappropriate”, instead they are using your friends to figure out what search results you would like to see.

Search results I would like to see? WTF?

If you happen to be a Democrat and some of your friends have a Republican slant, Facebook will favor the newsfeed items by your Democrat-friends and obfuscate and suppress results returned by your Republican constituency.

Same is true of religion, brand awareness and everything else these algorithmic giants can figure out you would like to see instead of what it actually is.

This feels to me like Google and Facebook are forcing me to inbreed with like minded people. Not to mention that it skews the reality of my existence in a seemingly positive way while “protecting” me from bad people with differing opinions.

Two Systems, One Goal

This is absolutely disastrous behavior for us because two things are happening here.

On one hand, we are forced into groups of like minded people which results in our beliefs, opinions and realities confirmed and reflected by these like minded people.

This creates a pretty bubble of existence for us where none of our beliefs are tested, opinions questioned, and realities re-examined. If you like that sort of thing, then Google and Facebook are your thing, but…

On the other hand, forcing us deeper into one mindset separates us from people of a different mindset. If it ended there, that would be fine, but it doesn’t.

Studies were done where moderates (religious, political, etc) were placed with extremists for only few hours. Due to peer pressure, seeking of social proof and other psychological factors, these moderates were quickly converted into extremists.

The House Always Wins

The system always favors its creator.

Whether it’s a casino, the system of government, a religion or an online service, the system always favors its creator. And in order for the system to support itself, it needs to create a separation within a system, otherwise, the members of the system start to pay too much attention to the makers of the system and the system itself. And that is a huge threat to the system.

I forgot the details, but I saw this in an old documentary once. A member of Black Panther movement was receiving financial support from a corporation. The corporation figured as long as there is social unrest, the people and the government will have more immediate things to worry about than the questionable practices of the corporation. Clever, aren’t they?

My point?

As long as we are led into like-minded circles and given to reinforcement of our own beliefs, we are further taken away from opposing circles. This creates a chasm and this chasm is at the root of all conflicts.

Conflict however, favors the system for as long as there is conflict within the system, no one is minding the architect.