The implications of an international communication network are profound. It seems that we have two options:

  • The state regulates what communication technology people can have. Trusted Computing enforces both copyright and political dogma. Let's hope the political dogma enforced won't be Marxist!
  • People control their own computers and radios. Encryption is available and widely used. Copyright is non-existent on a personal level. People buy and sell drugs and weapons on the Internet. Anonymous assassination markets flourish. Militias organize in secret and people come to believe in the implicit authority of the state less and less. The power of the state decreases because people no longer believe in it, and is therefore replaced with more direct forms of control (that's option 1).

Let's hope the structures get put in place that will ameliorate the worrying implications of crypto-anarchism before we're coerced into accepting the first option, e.g. private security firms and gated communities. I don't have a clear idea of how such would work.

The Hive-mind

Ideas propagate across the world faster than ever before. There is such a thing as the 'balance of popular opinion' which can be powerful in a democracy. The internet is now a way to manipulate the balance of popular opinion. Even if the good arguments are out there, then will they beat the bad ones? What if the good ideas are painful and unfashionable and only a minority are curious enough to accept them? What if you had a government using AI bots to spam conversation forums and comment threads with pro-government views? I look forward to seeing the vagaries of future infowars!

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