How did that work out? Well, here we are more than two decades later and the information superhighway has become a misinformation superhighway filled with cesspools of information potholes that create a driving hazard for anyone who dares to believe that unfettered free speech will save humanity.
Apple has taken plenty of criticism for its walled garden, Disneyesque approach that promises to bring people together with useful tools that can be used by the masses. That means Apple curates applications on the App Store and even prunes content on iTunes, Podcasts, and elsewhere (but, oddly enough, not so much from music available on Apple Music which is rich with foul language and seemingly uncensored music).
The world of the 21st century seems just as filled with stupidity and ignorance as humanity in the dark ages. We live in an age of fake news and civil unrest often based upon ignorance, not an understanding of facts or even the difference between news and opinion.
Jonathan Swift from a few centuries before the internet:
Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale hath had its effect… like a physician, who hath found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead.
Since that was written in the early 1700s, it would appear as if humanity has not made great strides in understanding humanity because here we are a few hundred years later in the middle of a technological revolution which gives every citizen of earth the ability to communicate with anyone else anywhere else, to gather and utilize information to help advance the species, and instead, find ourselves wading through the cesspools on a misinformation superhighway seemingly without a roadmap.
Ipso facto and alakazam– Apple cannot fix stupid; despite ongoing attempts to curate and prune content it dispenses to customers, or applications it makes available to customers. Executives at Facebook and Twitter and other online publishers are modifying their rules of engagement and standards policies trying to prevent growing unrest from a large segment of society which demands that somebody somewhere fix what obviously is stupid.
The misdeeds of Alex Jones is just one example of where the information superhighway takes its users on treks of misinformation. I applaud Apple’s efforts to curate a better world. I applaud Facebook for finally standing up for something even if we’re not altogether sure what it is via Community Standards (trash is trash, and like former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart on p-o-r-n-ography, I know it when I see it, and I see plenty of it).
Science has already proven that you can’t fix stupid so we must depend upon various entities to build walls– think Apple’s walled garden– to protect those who do not want to succumb to the ravages of fake news and hatred.
Psychologist David Dunning:
The incompetent are often blessed with an inappropriate confidence, buoyed by something that feels to them like knowledge. A whole battery of studies … have confirmed that people who don’t know much about a given set of cognitive, technical or social skills tend to grossly overestimate their prowess and performance, whether it’s grammar, emotional intelligence, logical reasoning, firearm care and safety, debating or financial knowledge.
That sounds utterly familiar.