Fahidioti ali sociopati?

Tudi jaz imam nekaj prijateljev in kolegov iz podobne zgodbe. Ki verjamejo v to, da lahko delovanje (in obnašanje) družbe in gospodarstva zapišeš v matematične formule. Najraje v statičnem modelu, sicer se “malce zakomplicira”. In če nečesa ni mogoče zapisati v matematične formule, je to itak irelevantno, ali pa nam (še) manjka sposobnosti za to. In ki so trdno prepričani, da bodo nove generacije mladih matematikov in fizikov, ki se bodo lotili ekonomije in financ, ter novi superzmogljivi računalniki lahko dovolj popolno opisovali svet. In s tem omogočili nam, da (ekonomsko in finančno) prihodnost napovedujemo in obvladujemo. Legitimno stališče sicer.

Moje stališče pa je vedno bilo, da gre za blodnje in fantazije tistih, ki so prešpricali humanistiko, od psihologije in sociologije do filozofije, in ki so v življenju prebirali le “tehnično” literaturo, leposlovja pa le toliko, kolikor so ga v osnovni šoli zahtevali za bralno značko. In da če bomo mi na ekonomski fakulteti vzgajali takšne fahidiote, bodo naredili še več škode, kot so je naredili matematiki in fiziki, ki so razvijali finančne modele in pisali algoritme za high-speed trading ali ki so razvijali makro DSGE modele. Da velikega “botra” Roberta Lucasa niti ne omenjam. Preprosto ne smemo dopustiti, da bi visoko inteligentni, vendar polovično izobraženi fahidioti brez socialnega čuta, ki živijo v abstrakciji realnega sveta in za katere je delovna sila zgolj črka L v enačbi produkcijske funkcije, postali naši socialni inženirji.

Ampak to je bilo še pred Trumpovo zmago in takrat še nisem pomislil, kakšno škodo lahko naredijo polizobraženi fahidioti, četudi nehote, kadar svoje ambicije in znanje uporabijo za oblikovanje digitalnih družbenih omrežij in kadar uporabijo znanje desettisočev podobno polizobraženih fahidiotov za pisanje algoritmov, ki sledijo in skrbno beležijo vsak naš klik in vsako črko, ki jo zapustimo na spletu. In ki to znanje o nas zapakirajo in prodajo nekomu, ki nas želi “nagovoriti”. Ko dobimo Facebook in Google etc. kot orožje za množično dezinformiranje … če le nekdo, ki ima interes, plača za to.

Spodaj je nekaj odstavkov iz čudovitega članka v današnjem The Guardianu o tem, kako je nova polizobražena fahidiotska tehnološka elita zasedla naš svet, se prisesala na naše žile in omogočila zlorabljanje množic – z umetno kreiranimi popularnimi trendi, s ciljanimi reklamami, dezinformacijami in nezavedno ideološko in politično agitacijo. Nekateri med njimi so se šele zdaj zavedli, kakšnega monsterja so ustvarili. Vprašanje je le, ali gre pri izvornih kreatorjih in lastnikih teh omrežij le za sprva naivne polizobražene fahidiote ali pa za zavestne sociopate … ali pa za oboje skupaj.

Put simply, what Google and Facebook have built is a pair of amazingly sophisticated, computer-driven engines for extracting users’ personal information and data trails, refining them for sale to advertisers in high-speed data-trading auctions that are entirely unregulated and opaque to everyone except the companies themselves.

The purpose of this infrastructure was to enable companies to target people with carefully customised commercial messages and, as far as we know, they are pretty good at that. (Though some advertisers are beginning to wonder if these systems are quite as good as Google and Facebook claim.) And in doing this, Zuckerberg, Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin and co wrote themselves licences to print money and build insanely profitable companies.

It never seems to have occurred to them that their advertising engines could also be used to deliver precisely targeted ideological and political messages to voters. Hence the obvious question: how could such smart people be so stupid? The cynical answer is they knew about the potential dark side all along and didn’t care, because to acknowledge it might have undermined the aforementioned licences to print money. Which is another way of saying that most tech leaders are sociopaths. Personally I think that’s unlikely, although among their number are some very peculiar characters: one thinks, for example, of Paypal co-founder Peter Thiel – Trump’s favourite techie; and Travis Kalanick, the founder of Uber.

So what else could explain the astonishing naivety of the tech crowd? My hunch is it has something to do with their educational backgrounds. Take the Google co-founders. Sergey Brin studied mathematics and computer science. His partner, Larry Page, studied engineering and computer science. Zuckerberg dropped out of Harvard, where he was studying psychology and computer science, but seems to have been more interested in the latter.

Now mathematics, engineering and computer science are wonderful disciplines – intellectually demanding and fulfilling. And they are economically vital for any advanced society. But mastering them teaches students very little about society or history – or indeed about human nature. As a consequence, the new masters of our universe are people who are essentially only half-educated. They have had no exposure to the humanities or the social sciences, the academic disciplines that aim to provide some understanding of how society works, of history and of the roles that beliefs, philosophies, laws, norms, religion and customs play in the evolution of human culture.

We are now beginning to see the consequences of the dominance of this half-educated elite. As one perceptive observer Bob O’Donnell puts it, “a liberal arts major familiar with works like Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, John Stuart Mill’s On Liberty, or even the work of ancient Greek historians, might have been able to recognise much sooner the potential for the ‘tyranny of the majority’ or other disconcerting sociological phenomena that are embedded into the very nature of today’s social media platforms. While seemingly democratic at a superficial level, a system in which the lack of structure means that all voices carry equal weight, and yet popularity, not experience or intelligence, actually drives influence, is clearly in need of more refinement and thought than it was first given.”

Vir:  John Naughton, The Guardian

2 responses

  1. Odličen blog o enem največjih problemov sodobnega sveta,ki dobesedno vre na dan,s vsako mlajšo generacijo.Problem je že globoko vkoreninjen v prosveti in za tem v neusmiljenem potrošništvu.Vem,da je to pesimistično,toda tudi propad planeta ali bolje naše vrste tega,brez humanistike in ekologije ne bo ustavil.Hvala piscu na to opozorilo!

  2. Vsake toliko pridem prebirat, ne da bi pustila sledove. Tokrat, ob tem prispevku, pa moram avtorja pohvaliti za njegovo prodorno in globoko razlisljanje in zavedanje, v katero smer gre razvoj sveta in da je lahko tovrstvo vrhunsko obvladanje zgolj dolocenih znanj in zloraba le-teh – za cloveka usodno in dolgorocno skodljivo! Mankjako znanja o lepem, plesu v soli, poeziji, yogi v soli, stara ayurvedska znanja in vse tiste duhovne vescine, ki so nekoc bile popolnoma samoumevne in vsem znane, danes pa so tabuji! Zgolj lepo plemeniti svet in estetika lepega ( beri umetnost ) bi morala biti baza vseh ostalih znanj. Intuicija, ki je povezna z desno stranjo mozganov, je dom kreativnosti in z njo povezane vse vrste umetnosti….ne le humanizma. Se moderni studij psihologije je cista znanost kemijskih formul in bioloskih procesov, matematike in fizike. Anatomije. Duso svet znanosti s prezirom izloca in si umislja, da obvladuje svet. Kaksna zabloda!

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