Excerpt from Chapter 24. Information Techmology
Subheading: Technology of Democracy
It is easy to underestimate the worldwide paradigm-shift taking place, caused by the internet and cheap information technology. This global communication system is developing at such a speed that it is virtually unstoppable and almost uncontrollable by governments. It can nevertheless be restricted by governments, but increasingly more business is being done on the web, so that too much restriction could bring economic disaster.
This rapid spread of the internet is also somewhat scary, because it allows all manner of perversity and scams to spread. It also allows individuals to communicate freely and gain access to hitherto politically censored information, hidden by governments to increase their power and keep their populations blissfully ignorant.
In earlier times, de-classified government documents were accessible only at the relevant departments or libraries, making access to them very cumbersome and time consuming, so people generally just didn’t bother. Increasingly such documents are becoming available online. There they can be accessed within minutes (in free, developed countries), via any of the many free search engines. So as the internet spreads, all this information is becoming available to anyone interested in it.
Ultimately this is a very good thing because it takes some critical controlling power away from government (censorship and propaganda tools) and redistributes this power – the access to unlimited information – to individuals.
The internet is a democratising medium, distributing intelligence and subsequent decision-making ability among the people of the world. Authoritarian regimes may try to censor their national internet, but the technology is evolving so fast that even if they find a way, other levels of internet technology will be developed to maintain communication. It is unstoppable. Mobile phones now usually have built-in cameras, and have the ability to transmit their photos and videos worldwide instantly. This new information technology can no longer be controlled.
Industry and commerce are becoming increasingly more dependent on this information technology, so the harder it will be for despots to limit it without causing economic repercussions. In this way businesses are indirectly assisting in democratising their nations, by immersing themselves ever deeper in this technology.
The internet is tapping the absolute power of megalomaniacs and leaking it back to the people of their nations. This haemorrhage will eventually be lethal for such regimes, which now face a very bleak future. The best path for them is to accept the technology – they cannot fight it and win – and abdicate with a measure of dignity by phasing in democratic rule voluntarily and without bloodshed. We see many news articles and documentaries where mobile phone pictures and videos were taken and broadcast by individuals within such authoritarian nations. The internet is then in turn a vital link in also directing these images and videos – often uncensored – back to the people of those nations. These are vital new channels for publishing breaking events worldwide.
People can now freely associate with nearly anyone they wish, to forge connections and relationships, which will eventually extinguish opportunities for malevolent dictatorships. Such regimes are currently only possible where the population does not have general access to information, and can therefore easily be deceived, misinformed, patronised, controlled and manipulated.
Technological advances must now be kept up at a pace too fast for authoritarian censorship to follow.
We are mankind and we now have the most powerful communication tools ever conceived, at our disposal. We also have the knowledge and skills to use them effectively to set up an awesome world future. We have the plan, motivation and tools to finally get it done. We can do this.