a caveman's look

at the digital age.

After having spent quite a few hours over the last close to 40 years with com­put­ers as main tools for creative work, infor­mation gathering, services, and fun, I am getting a little fed up with the entire digital age.

There simply isn't much in the digi­tized part of the world that a caveman like me can be all that excited about. It is all just a bunch of ones and zeros lined up to form – for the most part rather vague – illu­sions that people in control of the source-code and servers want us to accept as real and adapt to.
Real (digital) money, real (digital) news, real (digital) stories, real (digital) services, etc, etc, etc… Who's fooling who in all of this?

I am of course not blaming digital technology, as variants of the illusory nonsense have been with us from back in the stone age. We are just getting many million times more of every­thing many million times faster into our homes, work- and leisure-spaces now, than before the digital age took hold back in the 90s.

As technocrat I realize that all solutions, as well as all problems, lies in intel­ligent use of tech­no­logy. The caveman under­stood that too, so what else hasn't changed over the ages?

the floodgates are open

The digitized stream over the Internet – with the World Wide Web and all the various services, sub­sidi­aries, and more or less shady “attach­ments” – is growing at an increasing rate. Whenever we “open a channel”, we are quite literally flooded with (mainly unso­lic­ited) infor­ma­tion, service offers, news, and non­sense – and the occa­sional com­puter virus to spice it all up.

Making informed choices about what services to use, which sources and con­nec­tions to accept, and – most important – what to ignore and/​or avoid, can be a real chal­lenge in a clut­tered and ever-changing market. Here now, gone tomorrow … is pretty normal both for services and files.

No matter which “set of apps” we choose to help us sort out stuff and guide us through the stream, we can not totally avoid being exploited and controlled. We are con­stantly being nudged, pushed and/​or forced into making choices that are against our interests, and that most often would not even have crossed our minds if we were in control.

Fact is that very few of us are in control of much of any­thing out here. Humans simply can't evolve, or mutate, fast enough to keep phase with advances in our own tech­no­logy, and that is taken advantage of by those who have put them­selves in control.

avoid mudflows

The more a stream grows in volume and speed, the more dirt it will rip up and carry along. The digi­tized stream is no dif­ferent, and by now it has become pretty muddy and full of debris. Surfers better take care to avoid being swamped. Or worse: become addicted to and par­tici­pate in the public mud­wrestling.

I find it a little hard to under­stand why anyone can become so upset by some­thing they read, hear, or see out here, that they react by throwing dirt – or worse. Clearly it happens all too often though; a teething problem when people with little experi­ence with active life in the fast lane let go of self-control in social media, maybe?

Whatever the reason behind the unnec­es­sary mud­sling­ing, it is best ignored. It will pass, as most par­tici­pants will grow up … even­tu­ally.

real alternatives – gone

One big flaw with the ever­spreading digi­tali­zation and online services, is that all alter­na­tives are allowed to disap­pear. Elimi­na­tion of non-digital compe­ti­tion is often a planned strategy, and one that we have to pay for – now and later.

When digital networks and/​or services go down, they often go down on a large scale. Power failures, glitches, nett­work failures, soft­ware problems, and hacking – you get the picture. No shortage of factors that can bring digital services we have come to rely on down locally, natio­nally, or glob­ally, for minutes, hours, days, months…

We can quite literally be thrown back into the pre-digital age in an instance, and most of us are totally lost when that happens.
We can't all be prep­pers and/or cope with living in isola­tion for very long, so either a func­tioning non-digital infra­struc­ture is kept in place to take up the slack, or entire socie­ties risk failure.

news and nonsense

The illusory nonsense I have mentioned earlier, is in large part all the half-baked and pro­pa­ganda-filled stories we are being served as news over the World Wide Web.
Individual news stories aren't any worse now than when we only had them served on paper, TV and radio, or by mouth. Only that the cascade of non­sen­si­cal news stories has multi­plied in their new, digi­tized, forms.

Whether it is “real news” or “fake news” that gets presented, doesn't really matter. There has always been spread false infor­mation, in news media and every­where else.
It is those “long, wav­er­ing, back-and-forth about nothing” talks that are served every time news pre­senters see a chance, that throws me off. What some­body/​any­body thinks about some­thing/​any­thing, is not news.

News stories should be served as clear and una­dul­ter­ated infor­ma­tion, and be left at that. News as entertainment or entertainment as news, is neither fish nor fowl.
Smalltalk, gossip, slander, pros­ely­tizing, propa­ganda, and other “non-news”, should be marked as such so it can be sorted in or out like many of us do with online adver­tise­ments.

When neither confirmed facts nor docu­men­ta­tion exists, why serve what­ever little else they have as news stories? Is “be the first to report” and “filling quotas”, what serving news is all about?

As it is, I rather indulge myself in purely fictional stories for a few hours, than take time to go through what is served as news. With fiction I do at least know what I get right away. With news I often have no idea until much later – when the facts surface.

caveman's reality check

The practicality and useful­ness of digital systems, networks and services, is undeniable – as long as the whole chain works with­out inter­fer­ence. A broken or tempo­ra­rily cor­rupted link in the chain may ruin my day. Shit happens…

Internet as communi­cation channel is useful in so many ways, but only with effective local filters in place – both tech­no­logy based and mental. That Internet more and more is used for intrusion into private communi­cation and spheres, is the down­side we con­stantly have to counteract.

I oppose censorship, surveil­lance, lock in, lock out, and discrimi­nation in all forms, every­where, and will always do what is neces­sary to protect my interests and privacy matters on my own terms, online as well as off­line. Intru­sion has con­se­quences.

A broad background in elec­tronics and computer pro­gram­ming, com­ple­menting lots of life experience, allow this cave­man/​tech­no­crat to make full use of digi­tali­zation instead of being exploited by and through it. At most I get a little irri­tated over all the non­sense that gets thrown our way in the name of “progress” – which most of it defi­ni­tely isn't.
I'll get by fine in the digital age, and hope others do too.

sincerely  georg; sign

Hageland 07.nov.2017
last rev: 17.sep.2018

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