Computers and Conspiracies

From stevewallis <stevewallis@supanet.com>
Date Wed, 10 Jan 2001 13:14:19 -0000


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I sent the following message out on two socialist mailing lists over a month ago; it is similar to the "Socialism and Conspiracies" message I posted here recently, but goes into more detail about the role of computers. The Observer (UK) article I mentioned will also be of interest to anybody who is concerned about privacy and the further intrusions of "Big Brother".

Regards,
    Steve.



The Observer article I sent to the lists on Sunday (http://www.observer.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,6903,406191,00.html) pointed out that a leaked document reveals that MI5, MI6 and the police are demanding new legislation to log every phone call, email and internet connection made in Britain and store the information for seven years at a vast government-run 'data warehouse', a super computer that will hold the information.

George Orwell obviously got the year a bit wrong when he wrote 1984!

The article also points out that "It would cost about 3 million to set up and 9m a year to run." Only 9m a year for such a vast amount of information! Do the powers that be have access to much more powerful computer equipment than that they let you or I get hold of?

I found a bug in a version of Windows (NT I think), which caused programs to run very slowly if they accessed more than a few megabytes of data in a short period of time. This was on a computer with about 256MB! It doesn't make sense for it to be anything other than a deliberate feature put in by Microsoft in the interests of their class.

Computers can be used to model us. Models can be constructed out of many interacting components, each of which represents a person or an organisation, or a faction within an organisation. These components can be arranged in hierarchies, with some components inside each other. These components can build models of how they think that other components are thinking, in order to cooperate with them (if they think that the other components are friendly) or compete with them (if they think that the other components are hostile). How do I know? For the last eight years I have been building a modelling language, called SDML, to do this very thing!

For more information, visit the SDML homepage which I've constructed:
    http://www.cpm.mmu.ac.uk/sdml

If any of you are computer programmers (preferably with a knowledge of Prolog) and you have got a lot of time on your hands (it takes about a week to go through the tutorial and you really need to devote a lot of time in succession to get through it), you can download it from the website. It runs on most platforms.

[Recently, my boss Scott Moss, who is perfectly open about the fact that he supports capitalism but used to be an anti-war activist in the USA, got me to work on upgrading to a newer version of the language it is implemented in, Smalltalk, so that it is now also available on Linux platforms, in addition to Windows, Macs & Unix, and nobody any longer has to mail me to get an initialization file that is needed to get SDML to run. I don't know if this is significant to the conspiracies that are going on, but it may be so I'm sharing that information with you all.]

Now what if the state has a massive amount of computing power that they are not telling us about? That means that they could use computer languages like SDML to model our minds. Not every single neuron firing; that is of course impossible without a computer bigger than the whole planet! But the thoughts that go around in our conscious minds, and in our sub-conscious (which controls our conscious), and in our sub-sub-conscious (which controls our sub-conscious). I'm speculating a bit - I don't know exactly how the mind is structured, but structure there has to be. How else could a brain control an entity as complex as a human being? What if the same sort of structures that exist within our minds can be constructed inside a computer? - they can then model us, predict how we are going to behave, and therefore out-maneovre us.

You don't need to model every human being on the face of the planet. Marxism tells us to look below the surface, at clashes of class forces. The powers that be can model all the key organisations, including companies, trade unions, components of the state, socialist organisations, factions within socialist organisations, fascist organisations, anti-fascist organisations, anarchist organisations, green organisations, single-issue campaigns, entrist organisations, etc. They can also model some key individuals, who they believe will play an important role (for or against them) in the future. This is not speculation! I know I've been modelled. When too many coincidences occur, you are pretty darn sure that they aren't coincidences!

This all sounds doom and gloom! But despair not! What happens when a group of genuine socialist revolutionaries gets together and gets an inkling of what is going on? Isn't it obvious! If the enemy is using computers against us, then we must use computers against them. If the enemy is modelling us, then we must model them. If they are inflitrating our organisations then we must infiltrate theirs (and ours as well to combat the enemy within).

But it isn't all modelling by computers! That is only part of the story! If a brain can do it a computer can do it, and if a computer can do it a brain can do it. Humans build models of other humans around them - this is natural - we need to do it to get by in the world. If we don't have some sort of model of somebody we know, obviously with lots of unknowns in it, then how can we hold a proper conversation with them? We also build models of organisations - we all have notions about how organisations behave, whether it is the National Health Service, the Labour Party, the SWP, the NRF, Coca-Cola, Amnesty International, Earth First!, the Cabinet, MI5 or whoever. Our models of these organisations change with time as we learn more about them, and as some of our previous misconceptions disappear.

Marxism tells us that there are two key classes in society - the working class and the ruling class. Each class has (probably many) groups of conspirators working to serve the interests of that class. They also have their individual adherents, who have decided independently that they want to serve the interests of a particular class. The aims of both sides are simple - you either want to preserve the status quo (wars, famines, poverty, depleted uranium weapons, environmental destruction, etc.) or you are a revolutionary socialist and you want a world socialist revolution so that society is democratically organised on the basis of cooperation.

There are of course other vested interests which have their adherents, whether they be Liberal Democrats, fascists, Scientologists, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Catholic Church, Islamic fundamentalism, Stalinists or whoever, but they are not nearly as powerful. These groups are all prone to the influence of the two main classes; since big business is still dominant, they are mainly influenced by the ruling class. But that can change - they can be influenced or destroyed by the working class as the balance of class forces changes.

I have got by, in difficult circumstances, over the last two-and-a-bit years, by trying to model people and organisations I have come into contact with. If you think they are on your side, cooperate with them. If you think they are on the other side, compete with them. If you are not sure or you think they are neutral, be careful and analyse further inputs to try to work them out.

Got to go - someone's at the door.

Comradely,
    Steve.



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