It’s time for Facebook and other social media to refuse all anonymous and fake entries. That will give them a lot of work but they should do it as part of their licence to operate. It should be statutory not advisory. It could be done very quickly. And it should be.
If you say it, say it is you who does so. Everyone is entitled to their opinion – provided they identify themselves by their ordinary name. You are entitled to – and generally known by – one normal name. It is quite enough. If you have something to say, say it but don’t hide behind anonymity. That is cowardice. A basic entitlement of life is your name. That entitlement does not extend to other names except perhaps for children’s parties. Absolutely not for accusation.
I can already hear the cries of those who say they will be persecuted if they use their own name, Well, we are all victims of persecution of one sort or another at one time or another. Not, for most people, to the extent of physical hurt or death. In these cases I have three recommendations.
First, if you are whistleblowing, a perfectly legitimate thing to do, go to the organisation that can do something about your pleas. Make them sign a top solicitor’s one-sided NDA that your name will be kept secret. This should prove adequate protection. If you are still persecuted give your case to the media. They’ll know what to do. Taking no risk at all is hardly courageous.
Second, make your accusations as questions to the organisation or person concerned. Send them first to the top person. If they don’t respond, repeat them. If they still don’t respond, go to the media. Taking a case to the media means that you will be subject to the greatest scrutiny, so be sure of your facts. It’s a good thing to do anyway.
Third, couch your criticism politely. You don’t make any bigger impact by using foul language or shouting. The most effective people are calm, reasonable and polite. Watch how the reshaping of the Hong Kong protests has forced at least a discussion. Whether it gets anywhere will depend on the power each party has and how much they are willing to use it. We all know the answer to that and to the question won’t it just lead to greater riots. Possibly. The point is that discussions have been brought about by a silent demonstration, not a riot. Quiet is always more powerful than noise.
It is the duty of Facebook and similar internet social platform users to encourage reason. I don’t suppose for a moment that they will agree with that. At the very least they will ask why. I’ll tell them. Because Artificial Intelligence is starting to overtake human reason. Soon, if we are not careful, it will control us all. It will then turn us into slaves because all power corrupts even Artificial Power. Great forums of debate are the foundations of human purpose. In half a million years humanity has not yet found its purpose even though individuals may have done so.
We need that purpose now more than ever before. We need it to ensure the future of the greatest species we consider possible. We need it to allow us to continue being human, with all the quirks and quivers of our race. We need it to enhance a species still able to develop its own purpose before a successor species determines one.
Most importantly we need it to ensure that as Artificial Intelligence becomes Artificial Power it doesn’t enslave us forever.
AP could so easily turn out to be Against People.
Let’s avoid that.