[Fis] On disinformation

Pedro C. Marijuan pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es
Fri Dec 4 14:06:20 CET 2020

Dear Terry and FIS colleagues,

Thanks for the reflections--I will try to continue with rather 
disconnected ideas.

The term 'surveillance capitalism' introduced by Shoshana Zuboff (indeed 
complemented with a parallel 'surveillance authoritarianism') is  
addressed to cover the new negative aspects of current technological 
developments. However, my opinion is that these phenomena are inherent 
in all human societies in all epochs, for there is always a tension, 
say, between the individual "fitness" and the whole social "commons", 
which can be set in quite many different dynamic equilibrium points, 
basically maintained via circulating or communicating info flows. It is 
easy to see that information, disinformation, surveillance, persuasion, 
and coercion travel together in the socialization-communication pack. 
Historically, every new means of communication (then we land on McLuhan) 
alters those social equilibria and somehow demands a social or cultural 
reaction to re-establish an acceptable collective situation. The problem 
now, you mentioned in the previous post, is the enormous concentration 
of power, of brute info flows,  around these new media--without 
appropriate social curation at the time being. I doubt that these 
technologies can bring the solution by themselves . Institutional, 
social intervention would be needed...  Scholarly analysis might be 
important, providing cues on the the influence on individual and 
collective moods/personalities, on the possible counteracting 
institutional alternatives and on the needed new cultural norms to abide 
along these new forms of communication (sort of 'traffic regulations'), 
even a personal hygiene of communication...

The problems are far more serious, complex, and faster than in McLuhan's 
time. We have to reinvent his views... But how can we organize a 
collective, cumulative discussion? I was thinking that a feasible first 
step, apart of what we can do directly in the list, could be calling for 
a Special Issue in some interesting, multidisciplinary Journal. Well, at 
the time being, Terry, Joseph, and myself are promoting a sort of ad hoc 
group to move things--anyone else would join??

Best regards

El 01/12/2020 a las 22:54, Terrence W. DEACON escribió:
> Dear Pedro,
> Great suggestions. I like the idea of an ongoing separate thread 
> addressing disinformation.
> Of course I only addressed Western disinformation and didn't even 
> touch on highly massaged information that is often disseminated with 
> centralized governmental control.
> This disinforms by selective censorship and redundancy and is 
> increasingly taking advantage of the myriad new forms of surveillance 
> that can be used to shape the information made available to different 
> targeted audiences.
> And Yes McLuhan is definitely relevant.
> I wonder how he would think about the effects of these new media.
> How do they reshape the nature of content?
> How they can be understood using his notions of hot and cool?
> What is now in the rear view mirror within the new media that once was 
> in the foreground?
> On these matters Bob Logan might want to weigh in.
> -- 
> Professor Terrence W. Deacon
> University of California, Berkeley
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Pedro C. Marijuán
Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group

pcmarijuan.iacs at aragon.es

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