Internet Narratives, Self-propagating Complexity and Adversarial Evolution

Some philosophical thoughts on these contemporary, massively-distributed online communications systems:

• social media now (largely) subsumes news media and the powerful, potentially unmanageable, flow and form of recursively self-propagating information-processing systems is such that even putatively reputable media or news channels – not to mention governments – are forced to contort themselves and their narratives in uncomfortable ways to maintain relevance and solvency as they hang off the back of the speedboat of accelerating cognitive, cultural and technological hyper-inflation.

• it is as much a matter of physics (and logic) that these complex abstractions, idioms and artefacts of information production and processing are natively biased towards the “emergent” cultivation of optimally-concise, maximally-efficient methods of algorithmic self-replication and cultural diffusion.

• aspirations towards regulation (or a synchronous projection of psychological – and perhaps inevitably, ideological – control) are serially corrupted by profound misrepresentation of the way(s) that these systems, communications logics and technologies self-propagate.

• disconcerting questions might be asked of the extent to which the seemingly ubiquitous dissonant voices and overtly unproductive narratives haunting social media are as much created by an implicit bias in information and energy-processing systems towards generating the conditions which prioritise adversarial dissonance over harmony; which suggests that – as a large-scale statistical experiment in probability and information self-replication – the internet (and the hyper-extended cognition of technology more generally) necessarily evolves as much through disorder as through order.

Context: How to make the internet safe for democracy

One reply on “Internet Narratives, Self-propagating Complexity and Adversarial Evolution”

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