Guest essay by Eric Worrall
h/t Breitbart – President Obama and Chancellor Angela Merkel have jointly blamed the disruptive influence of the Internet for their political losses, and have demanded more government control of emerging technology.
Obama and Angela Merkel Blame Internet and Social Media for Disrupting Globalism
President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are blaming the internet for disrupting the forces of globalism, suggesting that technology is making it more difficult to unite people behind a common purpose.
“Because of the internet and communications, the clash of cultures is much more direct,” Obama said during a press conference on his trip to Berlin. “People feel, I think, less certain about their identity. Less certain about economic security.”
Obama predicted that the rise of technology needed to be managed to give world citizens more control, beyond the simplistic answers found online.
His German counterpart agreed.
“Digitization is a disruptive force, a disruptive technological force that brings about deep-seated change, transformation of a society,” Merkel added.
She compared the internet to the invention of the printing press, citing the consequences it had on industrialized countries.
“It took a while until societies learned how to find the right kind of policies to contain this and to manage and steer this,” she said.
President Obama didn’t used to worry so much about the internet, back in the days when the internet helped Obama win office.
To his credit Obama also spent a fair part of his speech emphasising the importance of elections having integrity, of citizens being able to replace a government which was doing an unsatisfactory job – a right which has grown rather tenuous under the auspices of the authoritarian undemocratic European Union.
Why is this criticism of internet freedom relevant to WUWT?
Imagine if Climategate had occurred in the 1990s, or even the 1980s. Would we have ever heard about it? Most Mainstream Media didn’t start to cover Climategate until they had their noses rubbed in it, by rising awareness on non traditional news outlets.
Thanks to the Internet, the power to judge is placed into the hands of the people – even the Communist Chinese with their vast teams of internet censors have trouble controlling the flow of information.
Sure a lot of the information purveyed on the internet is nonsense – but the mainstream media also purveys a lot of nonsense. I have never seen compelling evidence that well paid mainstream media journalists are more careful about vetting the stories they publish than dedicated volunteers.
With unfiltered information from the internet at our fingertips, we have an opportunity to learn what is really happening in the world, beyond the control and social management of politicians like the Obamas and Merkels of the world.
To me, this unprecedented access to raw information is a freedom worth protecting. Because this window of freedom will potentially slam shut in the very near future, as the rise of artificial intelligence makes it increasingly possible to clamp down on the flow of information presented on the internet. For example, the climate fanatics at Google are working very hard on trying to filter search results according to their view of what constitutes the “truth”.
The following is the clip of President Obama and Merkel discussing the challenges posed by the Internet. The full original press conference is available here.