However, none of the aforementioned cases poses a more serious danger than what I’m about to point out further below:
Keyboards are a tool for cybernetic control and for giving commands in nature, allowing users to transfer brain commands to different devices. Canadian philosopher Marshall McLuhan was of the opinion that devices are extensions of our body parts and feelings. To him, key boards are thus extensions of hands, either smart key boards or Google’s auto-correction or the mechanical wizard in front of the PC. In his book titled ‘The Gutenberg Galaxy,’ he says, “This externalization of our senses creates what de Chardin calls the “noosphere” or a technological brain for the world. Instead of tending towards a vast Alexandrian library the world has become a computer, an electronic brain, exactly as in an infantile piece of science fiction. And as our senses have gone outside us, Big Brother goes inside. So, unless aware of this dynamic, we shall at once move into a phase of panic terrors, exactly befitting a small world of tribal drums, total interdependence, and super-imposed co-existence.”
In order to piece together such a process in the context of war, combat keyboards are part of the operations, while a chain of infrastructure projects and management measures will be need to make the procedure yield results. In other words, under the pattern that could be derived from this process, the first step would be a division of tasks among knowledge workers, who are involved in activities related to generating data and information across the Internet. The produced content would then be distributed among the users or robots operating on social media platforms as the battlefield for the seemingly guerrilla but classic warfare. When circulated, this content would then find its friends and foes. An Iranian proverb says: Drop an insult and the intended receiving end will pick it up. What comes to happen next is a vast spread of ideas and remarks, which serve to make a certain intention materialize. And this is a systematic and organized activity, which could be easily indentified from repeats of the content and collective moves.
I was thinking to myself that if I had enough money and needed to gain fame and popularity or sought to run in elections, my election campaign and supporters would pour big sums of money into my pocket! How many thousands of virtual or real hands would I be able to add to my hands? This is a new and largely beneficial business, but there is not that much optimism when it comes to elections, especially since everyone has the opportunity to purchase thousands of hands. Concerns, however, arise when these virtual hands find legitimacy in the eyes of statesmen and politicians, something that appears to have actually happened. Populist politicians of the current era seek to extrapolate the legitimacy of their political decisions in a very superficial manner through chains of tweets. This is clearly reflected in the moves of people like US President Donald Trump or elites and politicians of other countries even Iran. This is how they work to circumvent bureaucratic structures of diplomacy using methods that appear to be democratic on the surface. Put it differently, they feed the public opinion with specialized issues at the national level in raw form and in an illogical way, using virtual hands — over even real ones — to lend cosmetic legitimacy to their decisions and feel satisfied with them, no matter what the outcome will be.
This is a serious threat facing democracy, but not as painful as when the psyops hijack the entire online social media platforms because of the availability of audience in those communication fields, where the audience — or social media users — will unwittingly spend a large part of its virtual life grappling with such psychological operations. And since it is governments and wealthy promoters of certain ideologies or prominent narratives who have the upper hand in communication networks in terms of both the infrastructure and content, today’s and future users of the modern Web will go insane due to the highly complex and numerous psychological operations launched by their potent rivals there. A big headache will be caused by either Web-based advertisement and marketing or policies and policy-making processes, which are rooted or seek to root themselves in cyberspace.
Everyone has learned how to use cyberspace — whether they be the guerrillas holed up in mountainous areas of Afghanistan and the Sahara in Africa or lawmakers in Canada and Switzerland. All of them delegate their work to professional social networking teams and are all best at their jobs. It should, however, be noted that all these strategies, tactics, methods of exploiting the Web, and psychological assault techniques are in reality targeted at the audience and make it experience a sort of neuroticism.
During elections or any political table involving multiple players, is it that only one side makes use of this space? The aforementioned neuroticism only leads users to increasingly grow careless, take things lightly, develop obsessive thoughts or superficial views, and experience a wide variety of distressing bipolar and multipolar disorders. They don’t even leave alone the silent and inactive audience. It is impossible to find an individual who has never been exposed to political or ideological campaigns. Commercial advertisements have already carved out their own place. They are forcibly thrust into the eyes and ears of the audience. Marketers are even taking into account the number of neurons in the brain that are devoted to their brand. The day is not far distant when neuroscience-related technologies will get to serve the marketers and the “attention economy,” which was pioneered by Simon, will change into an economy of neurons or that of the audience’s brain capacity. The casualties of such a psywar or the use of the Web for military purposes are much higher than what you do, but even if we get rid of the impacts of daily psychological assaults against the public opinion, there still exists a concern of vast dimensions. The chains of tweets designed to get public approval for or legitimize bombing other countries, imposing sanctions on nations, violating human rights, encroaching on the common heritage of mankind such as natural habitats and space, supporting terrorism and rebellion in other countries, and spreading fake news about the coronavirus pandemic, etc., could sometimes lead to real fatalities. We are witnessing that rumors are spread — with full impunity — not by ordinary people, whom media seek portray as the source, but by world leaders and those who have the power to create thousands of virtual hands to advance the brand new type of psychological operations against democracy using the most democratic communication tools.
Virtual life was created to safeguard security at the dawn of the day, exchange knowledge in the forenoon and link humans together at midday, but it is about to lead us to the era of psychological destruction and disruption of comfort when the sunset arrives. That was not something Guan Yin — with 1,000 hands and a delicate face — was seeking though treading the path to the god of gods. It is clear that there is no compassion in that.