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  • Neil Ide

Cause and Effect

The creation of the internet may have very well set us on an irreversible path to World War 3.


Say what?! Why?


Of the industries disrupted by the creation of the internet the two hardest hit were music and news media. In a very short period of time the vast majority of music was no longer bought in a physical format and same goes with the news.


Faced with financial hardship the music industry reacted by attempting stop the future instead of embrace it.

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Bad idea. The entire landscape changed. Record companies couldn't change with it. Now they're dead.


Squares will argue that Napster did it with the piracy. However, when the car was invented horses didn't sue, they relegated to a niche market permanently. New technology invalidates old technology, and if businesses aren't willing to adapt they die.


Kodak almost saved its-self when digital came around. But it wasn't willing to "boldly go". Whoops.


News media scrambled to save itself. Suddenly print media sales started to tank and the primary revenue stream for news organizations went into free-fall. The power of the blog and social media showed up. A blog makes money from clicks "views" and social media makes money by keeping people reading blogs "engagement". Traditional news organizations now are reporting based on attention (ad revenue from page views). If we don't PAY for attention, neither does our news.


There is certainly nothing new about falsified news. Deception is a core feature of the human psyche. This one time William Randolph Hurst's news company basically caused the Spanish American war. Henry Ford owned several papers and used them to publish anti-sematic crap, and even made the stock of his own company crash so he could re-privatize.


Falsified news has also been responsible for GENOCIDE! Yikes.


In the past you typically had to be a magnate to create influential yellow news. But with the power of the internet ANYBODY CAN DO IT NOW. The internet is like fusion powered fake news. It doesn't require serious financial interest. Just throw some crap in and it goes.

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When it comes to a topic, only a Subject Matter Expert(SME) can reasonably determine what's true and what's not. However, since there are a massive number of topics and most people are only SME's in a handful of topics we have traditionally relied on other SME's. There is so much false information that most people don't know, nor can agree who is a SME at what. Freedom isn't free as it turns out.


Formula: Evil


Modern neuroscience has more or less proven that anyone can be programed to commit violent murder. The our brain has an empathy processor. When you see a friend smash a finger your empathy center goes "ouch". You feel it in a way and usually say "ouch!", even though it is not your finger smashed. Empathy is a function that effectively at a top level decides what should live and what is irrelevant. It seems likely that the modern animal rights movement is because of cartoon animals in entertainment.


In the information disaster we are in the middle of, most SMEs don't understand that if they want to sway someone's opinion you have to meet them with empathy. However, far too many people simply react with "you're an idiot" or similar 'shame on you' type statement.


"You're an idiot", is a conversation stopper. Tragically that seems to be the rule, not the exception."


Auto-Ignition


The new paradigm in investing is also around social media influence. VC's and Angels get excited about how many social media followers an entrepreneur has. A CEO with 100 followers is far less likely to garner an investment compared to a CEO with 100,000 followers. Businesses are being encouraged to take sides in popular debates weather they have anything to do with them or not.


Since no CEO and executive board can be an SME in all the topics that are being debated on companies are being encouraged to take sides regardless of the facts. I have a friends in cannabis on social media with tens of thousands of followers who have gone straight up gone full tilt boogie polar on an array of topics. Their communication style on these topics is pretty much: "I'm ok and you suck".


I have been told that "Silence is violence". If I don't take a side, I'm an enemy.


ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!


No, I'm not. People are being pushed to take sides in a fight that they don't even know what the actual facts are in. However, this is a serious economic trend that a business needs to choose a side to perform in the market, and businesses are caving into it.

War is about Economics


Regardless of any and all motivations given, if there is not an economic reason to have a war there is no war. Economics may just in fact be demanding a war at this point. In fact many already believe they are at war with their neighbor and are ready to get violent about it.


I'm not talking about "violent communication" violent; I'm talking about bash-your-brains-in with a pipe physical violence.


Misinformation economics is real. Take meme stocks for example. Gamestop ($GME)

GameStop is a dying category. People don't buy physical games from physical retail anymore. That era is over.


However, though the power of attention, I made 5x on a bullshit investment in less than 2 months. No, I didn't YOLO the thing but I know the power of attention. The GameStop joke was so funny that I knew it would be around for awhile. GameStop is still trading at the value of a company that is worth something. Monetary value is a belief, and if enough people believe something in economics, it's made to be true.


Science may not care what you believe, but economics does.



Forces combine.


The combination of un-empathetic communication, combined with attention-based economics, combined with infinity scaling of false information, equals the recipe for organized mass-violence.


In chemistry when you mix reactants together the reaction kicks its self off. In many cases the reaction cannot be stopped and it has to play itself out. In the United States about 140,000,000 people are reacting and I don't know if the reaction can be stopped.


I pray that it doesn't, but real war, real shitty shitty, lots of people killing each other war appears to be coming.


Sorry.


Happy Monday.

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