- As the world saw Nazi Germany, becomes a threat to all our rights.
- Free flows of information allow us to form our opinions freely, we cannot afford to make one person the global gatekeeper to our minds, no matter how keen they may seem to be on freedom.
- We need serious regulation to check the systems that want to get inside our heads and we need it now.
Elon Musk calls himself a “free speech absolutist,” but tales of the treatment of his company employees who used their free speech rights to criticise him may suggest that his dedication to free speech has its limits as reported by Time.
Freedom of thought
But as Musk’s bid to takeover Twitter progresses in fits and starts, the potential for anyone to access and control billions of opinions around the world for the right sum should focus all our minds on the need to protect an almost forgotten right—the right to freedom of thought.
The assumption that getting inside our heads is a practical impossibility may have prevented lawyers and legislators from dwelling too much on putting in place regulation that protects our inner lives.
It was thereby possible to subject them to the will of one man….
Today the danger of being terrorized by technocracy threatens every country in the world.”
When whole communities are deprived of independent thought, it undermines their individual rights to freedom of thought and opinion.
Facebook’s role in facilitating genocide in Myanmar, a country where the platform turned into a “beast” according to UN factfinders was a wake-up call to the potential for social media profiling and targeting to twist people’s minds and inciting deadly violence.
When propaganda can be automated, curated and targeted to reach billions worldwide for profit, it is an existential threat to humanity and one that none of us can afford to ignore.
Twitter is valuable, not because of what you can say on the platform, but because of the billions of opinions, you can control through the duration of individual news feeds.
Our minds are a valuable commodity in both the commercial and the political spheres.
The rise of “necropolitics” and the use of political behavioural psychography in electoral processes around the world is problematic because it undermines the foundations of democracy, no matter who is paying for it or which way you vote.
The use of these tactics spans ideological divides but when we are talking about mass mind control, the implications are so profound and devastating that the ends can never justify the means.
The Washington DC Attorney General’s recent move to sue Mark Zuckerberg personally for Facebook’s role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal may mark a shift in the right direction.
Free flows of information allow us to form our opinions freely, we cannot afford to make one person the global gatekeeper to our minds, no matter how keen they may seem to be on freedom.
Elon Musk’s Neuralink has its sights set on nothing less than direct access to our brains.
Reading our minds in real-time is only a part of it, in 2019, neuroscientists published an experiment whereby implanting electrodes into the brains of mice they could make the animals see things that were simply not there.
Musk has reportedly claimed that Neuralink could help control hormone levels and mood to our advantage.
Keeping it private
Whether we are looking at the global management of information flows or the tiny threads of Neuralink’s brain-computer-interface pushing through our skulls, we need to wake up to the fundamental threat of systems that allow direct access to our minds en masse.
While freedom of speech can be limited in certain circumstances, the right to freedom of thought is absolute in international human rights law.
It means that we have the right to keep our thoughts private, not to be penalized for our thoughts alone, and to keep our inner lives free from manipulation.
It is crucial to the cultural, scientific, political and emotional life in our societies.
Once we lose it we may never get it back.
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