2 Peter 2:1-3
Klaus Schwab “The Fourth Industrial Revolution”
“This revolution is different in scale, scope and complexity from any that have come before us. Characterized by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, DIGITAL and biological worlds, the developments are affecting all disciplines, economies, industries and governments, and even challenging ideas about what it means to be human. Artificial Intelligence is already all around us, from supercomputers, drones and virtual assistants to 3D printing, DNA sequencing, smart thermostats, wearable sensors and microchips smaller than a grain of sand. But this is just the beginning; nanomaterials 200 times stronger than steel and a million times thinner than a strand of hair and the first transplant of a 3D printed liver are already in development. Imagine “smart factories” in which global systems of manufacturing are coordinated virtually, or implantable mobile phones made of biosynthetic materials. The fourth industrial revolution is more significant, and its ramifications more profound, than in any prior period of human history.”
Two professors at Stanford University, Nick Couldry, and Ulises Mejias authored and published the book ‘THE COST OF CONNECTION; HOW DATA IS COLONIZING HUMAN LIFE AND APPROPRIATING IT FOR CAPITALISM. (2019)
“If historical colonialism annexed territories, their resources, and the bodies that worked on them, data colonialism’s power grab is both simpler and deeper; the capture and control of HUMAN LIFE ITSELF through appropriating the data that can be extracted from it for profit. If that is right, then just as historical colonialism created the fuel for industrial capitalism’s eventual rise, so too is data colonialism paving the way for a capitalism based on the exploitation of data. Human life is quite literally being annexed to capital. This new colonialism does not just happen by itself but is driven by the imperatives of capitalism. Whereas the relations between historical colonialism and what emerged as industrial capitalism became clear only after centuries, the new data colonialism occurs against the background of centuries of capitalism, and it promises to take familiar aspects of the capitalist social and economic order to a new and more integrated stage, a stage as yet too new to reliably name.”
“The telegraph pole, the Christian cross, and the rifle arrived all at once for the Bororo people of Mato Grosso. The rifle of the soldier and the settler served to seize the Bororo’s land in the name of industry and progress, the cross ‘pacified” and “civilized” them, and the telegraph integrated them into the rest of the newly wired Brazilian republic in the mid-nineteenth century. Some Bororo donned western clothing and moved from communal to single-family dwellings, as the priest told them to do. They learned the settler’s language and were put to work on the construction of the national telegraph network. Such history is what comes to mind when most of us think of colonialism. Yet we know that the effects of colonialism continue to be felt, as indigenous people even today resist dispossession, cultural invasion, and genocide. Consider next another starting point, the IDLE NO MORE MOVEMENT, a campaign by indigenous peoples in Canada to protect their ancestral resources. Like many activist movements, IDLE NO MORE has become a smart user of social media to promote its cause and enlist supporters. The telegraph pole used to link the Bororo into networks of colonial power has given way to a tool on which even the victims of colonization would now seem to depend. Nonetheless, the implications of such tools are, at best, ambiguous. Reflecting on the use of social media during the campaign’s protests, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson, a scholar, writer, and artist of the Nishnaabeg people, wrote that “every tweet, Facebook post, blog post, Instagram photo, YouTube video, and email we sent during IDLE NO MORE made the largest corporations in the world ….more money to reinforce the system of settler colonialism…..I wonder in hindsight if maybe we didn’t build a movement, but rather we built a social media presence that privileged individuals over community, virtual validation over empathy, leadership without accountability and responsibility.” “By tracing continuities from colonialism’s historical appropriation of vast territories, such as contemporary Brazil, all the way to data’s role in contemporary life, we suggest that although the modes, intensities, scales, and contexts of today’s dispossession are distinctive, the underlying function remains the same as under historical colonialism; TO ACQUIRE LARGE-SCALE RESOURCES FROM WHICH ECONOMIC VALUE CAN BE EXTRACTED. If historical colonialism annexed territories, their resources, and the bodies that worked on them, data colonialism’s power grab is both simpler and deeper; the capture and control of HUMAN LIFE ITSELF through appropriating the data that can be extracted from it for profit. If that is right, then just as historical colonialism created the fuel for industrial capitalism’s eventual rise, so too is data colonialism paving the way for a capitalism based on the exploitation of data. Human life is quite literally being annexed to capital.”
What do we mean by DATA?
“By Data we mean information flows that pass from human life in all its forms to infrastructures for collection and processing. This is the starting point for generating profit from data. In this sense, data abstracts life by converting it into information that can be stored and processed by computers and appropriates life by converting it into value for a third party. Data colonialism is, in essence, an emerging order for the appropriation of human life so that data can be continuously extracted from it for profit. This extraction is operationalized via DATA RELATIONS, ways of interacting with each other and with the world facilitated by digital tools. Through data relations, human life is not only annexed to capitalism but also becomes SUBJECT TO CONTINUOUS MONITORING AND SURVEILLANCE. The result is to undermine the autonomy of human life in a fundamental way that threatens the very basis of freedom.
These fundamental transformations of human life have dramatic consequences for the social world too. As social relations are thus transformed, we see the emergence of the CLOUD EMPIRE, a totalizing vison and organization of business in which the dispossession of data colonialism has been naturalized and extended across all social domains. The Cloud Empire is being implemented and extended by many players but primarily by the SOCIAL QUANTIFICATION SECTOR, the industry sector devoted to the development of the infrastructure required for the extraction of profit from human life through data. The exploitation of human life for profit through data is the climax of five centuries’ worth of attempts to know, exploit, and rule the world from particular centers of power.” “The Costs of Connection”
Michael Guillen in his book “The End of Life as We Know It” has a chapter titled: ‘LIVING IN A FISHBOWL’
“If you want to know where personal privacy is headed in our world, I’m here to tell you, ‘Don’t believe the hype from scientists promising a utopian future. I’ve seen the future. It’s the technology-intoxicated citizens of China!” After decades of living under Communism, the Chinese are used to having very little privacy. According to Yang Wang, a Syracuse University web expert, the most common Chinese word for privacy – yinsi – didn’t even appear in popular dictionaries until twenty years ago. But today’s lack of privacy is worse than ever, largely thanks to facial recognition technology, the powerful marriage of cameras and artificial intelligence. In the name of entertainment, convenience, and security, Chinese citizens submit to being photographed everywhere they go. And I mean, EVERYWHERE. Chinese enthusiastically use facial-recognition technology to unlock their cell phones and enter offices, hotels, schools, planes, trains, and taxis. All of which is quite convenient. Presently, there are 176 million surveillance cameras in China, a number Xi’s administration openly plans to increase by another 450 million. In Beijing alone there are 4,300 officers constantly monitoring the live feeds of more than 46,000 cameras – reportedly enough to keep an eye on every square inch of the city. In the east-coast industrial port city of Wenzhou – which has the highest concentration of Christians on the mainland – Christians vigorously resisted the heavy-handed surveillance, but to no avail. “Government officials came to the churches and put up cameras by force, ‘reports one unnamed Christian in the city. “Some pastors and worshippers who didn’t agree to the move were dragged away.” The Cost of Connection.
Edwin Black published his book titled: IBM and the Holocaust in 2001
“Mankind barely noticed when the concept of massively organized information quietly emerged to become a means of social control, a weapon of war, and a roadmap for group destruction. The unique igniting event was the most fateful day of the last century, January 30, 1933, the day Adolf Hitler came to power. Hitler and his hatred of the Jews was the ironic driving force behind this intellectual turning point. But his quest was greatly enhanced and energized by the ingenuity and craving for profit of a single American company and its legendary, autocratic chairman. That company was International Business Machines, and its chairman was Thomas J. Watson. The Fuehrer’s obsession with Jewish destruction was hardly original. There had been czars and tyrants before him. But for the first time in history, an anti-Semite had automation on his side. Hitler didn’t do it alone. He had help. In the upside-down world of the Holocaust, dignified professions were Hitler’s advance troops. Police officials disregarded their duty in favor of protecting villains and persecuting victims. Lawyers perverted concepts of justice to create anti-Jewish laws. Doctors defiled the art of medicine to perpetrate ghastly experiments and even choose who was healthy enough to be worked to death – and who could be cost-effectively sent to the gas chamber. Scientists and engineers debased their higher calling to devise the instruments and rationales of destruction. And statisticians used their little known but powerful discipline to identify the victims, project and rationalize the benefits of their destruction, organize their persecution, and even audit the efficiency of genocide. Enter IBM and its overseas subsidiaries. Solipsistic and dazzled by its own swirling universe of technical possibilities, IBM was self-gripped by a special amoral corporate mantra; if it CAN be done, it SHOULD be done. To the blind technocrat, the MEANS were more important than the ENDS. The destruction of the Jewish people became even less important because the invigorating nature of IBM’s technical achievement was only heightened by the fantastical profits to be made at a time when bread lines stretched across the world.”