[Top][All Lists]

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

GNU's involvement in polarization of politics

From: Akira Urushibata
Subject: GNU's involvement in polarization of politics
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 2020 07:15:22 +0900 (added by address@hidden)

I hear concerns of the coming U.S. presidential election due
November 3rd.  President Trump does not promise a peaceful transition
of power should he lose.  300 lawsuits have been instigated on how
ballots should be counted, with many more likely to come in the event
of an unfavorable for the incumbent.  Several groups, representing
both sides of the political spectrum, are preparing for mass
demonstrations.  Many people fear that these demonstrations may lead
to violent clashes or be accompanied with arson and looting.

President Trump is known as a conservative.  In reality he is the
exact opposite thereof, for he is constantly disregarding precedents
and established norms.  No president before him exhibited similar

Division and intolerance is the defining characteristic of
contemporary politics.  This is so in the United States as well as
many other countries.  Differences in opinions are virulent.
Quite often the very facts are disputed: someone's truth is another's
falsehood.  This environment allowed Donald Trump, a businessman with
no political experience, to become president.

Modern internet media has much to do with the situation we have now.
The newer media companies like Facebook derive their revenue from ads.
They understand that the more attentive people are the more effective
the ads become.  To this end Facebook feeds content suited to one's
cravings.  Sophisticated algorithms have been developed for this purpose.

Traditional media, the newspapers and magazines, do have political
inclinations but they try to portray both sides of the issue.  Citizens
who make decisions based on what they read are at least aware that
others are likely to behave differently.  This does not apply to the
new digital media: those who get news and hear opinions mostly from
such sources often end up in a cocoon which shields them from
divergent opinions.

GNU occupies a place in this state of affairs.  GNU software and its
offspring play a crucial role in the systems of Google, Facebook,
Twitter and many others.  These companies do not want to distribute
working copies of their programs so they put them in servers and
let people access them.  This is possible because the internet is
highly reliable.  Free software provides the foundation of such

Without GNU, the internet would have been a very different entity from
what we have now.  Major players who define the digital industry
would never have taken off.  Indeed many of the core engineers of
Silicon Valley firms and elsewhere would not have learned programming.

I believe people who converge here do not think that GNU should be
held responsible for Trump's ascendancy or the intolerance, delusions
and other ills which have spread through society.  We live in the
"information age" but in reality, people are not well informed.

So I have a question to you:  What went wrong? 

reply via email to

[Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread]